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Thanksgiving dinner is all about the sides

Gobble, gobble--it's time to talk turkey, though for many, Thanksgiving is about everything else AROUND the turkey. Here's a few sides to enjoy on your autumn holiday.

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family with our Slow Cooker Stuffing recipe, a “set it and forget it” version of this classic side dish.

Our Honey Cranberry Sauce can be easily made ahead of the big day. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used in our simple recipe flavoured with orange peel, cinnamon, bay leaf, and cloves.

SLOW COOKER STUFFING

2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) thinly sliced celery

1/4 cup (50 mL) butter

1 Tbsp (15 mL) sage, crumbled

1/2 tsp (2 mL) marjoram, crumbled

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp (1 mL) savory, crumbled

1/4 tsp (1 mL) thyme, crumbled

12 cups (3 L) bread cubes, lightly toasted

1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken stock

In a large frypan, sauté onions and celery in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage, marjoram, salt, pepper, savory and thyme. Combine vegetable mixture with bread cubes and parsley. Pour stock over bread mixture and toss to combine. Spoon mixture into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 1 hour. Reduce to low heat setting and continue cooking for 2 - 3 hours, stirring every hour. Serves 10.

 

HONEY CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 pkg (12 oz / 340 g) cranberries

1 3/4 cups (425 mL) cranberry juice

3/4 cup (175 mL) honey

1 Tbsp (15 mL) grated orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks (4 inches/10 cm each)

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cloves

Dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until berries pop and sauce is thickened. Remove cinnamon sticks and bay leaf; cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Makes 2 cups (500 mL).

 

Frozen hash brown potatoes a make our Cajun Ham Hash a breeze to make. Serve with eggs—any style—for an easy weekend brunch, or a satisfying meal at any time of day.

Our Ham and Broccoli Strata is another brunch favourite. Like a savoury bread pudding or French toast casserole, strata features bread cubes baked in a cheesy egg batter dotted with broccoli, ham, and green onion. This recipe can be made ahead to allow the flavours to marry overnight, then popped in the oven in the morning for a hearty, comforting meal.

CAJUN HAM HASH

3 Tbsp (40 mL) oil

2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked ham

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) sliced green onions

1 cup (250 mL) diced red bell pepper

3 cups (750 mL) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

3/4 tsp (3 mL) Cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp (2 mL) thyme, crumbled

 

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add ham, onions and red pepper; saute for 5 minutes. Stir in hash browns, Cajun seasoning and thyme.

2. Cook until hash browns are heated through and slightly crisp, about 5 - 7 minutes. Serves 4

 

HAM AND BROCCOLI STRATA

8 cups (2 L) bread cubes

2 cups (500 mL) frozen chopped broccoli

2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked ham

8 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups (750 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups (750 mL) 2% or homo milk

2/3 cup (150 mL) sliced green onions

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard

1/4 tsp (1 mL) white pepper

1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper sauce

Layer bread cubes, broccoli and ham in a lightly greased 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over bread mixture; cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake, uncovered, at 325ºF (160ºC) for 50 - 55 minutes. Serves 6 - 8.

 

Our Chicken Pot Pie with Harvest Vegetables puts the autumn harvest front and centre, replacing the classic mirepoix (onion, carrots, and celery) with root vegetables. Tender bites of chicken are complemented with diced butternut squash, celery root, and parsnip in a creamy bechamel sauce baked underneath flaky puff pastry.

 

CHICKEN POT PIE WITH HARVEST VEGETABLES

 

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 lb (0.5 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash (1/2 inch)

1 cup cubed peeled celery root (1/2 inch)

1 cup cubed peeled parsnip (1/2 inch)

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 Tbsp salted butter

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken broth

2 cups homogenized milk

1/2 cup frozen green peas

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/2 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg

1 tsp water

 

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through.

3. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside.

4. Add onion to Dutch oven and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.

5. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

6. Add squash, celery root, parsnip and bay leaf; sauté for 10 minutes.

7. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is almost evaporated. Add butter and flour; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

8. Add broth and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add milk, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat; remove and discard bay leaf.

9. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Add peas, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Spoon chicken mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

10. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to fit baking dish. Place on top of chicken mixture.

11. Whisk together egg and water until blended. Brush pastry with egg mixture. Cut vents in pastry to allow steam to escape.

12. Bake until chicken mixture is bubbly and pastry is golden brown, about 50 - 55 minutes.

13. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

 

Our Banana Bread Pudding combines two crowd-pleasing desserts. Sliced banana and toasted pecans add flavour and texture to the classic bread pudding recipe. A simple Warm Chocolate Sauce made with whipping cream and semi-sweet chocolate adds the final touch.

BANANA BREAD PUDDING

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

3 cups light cream (10%)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup salted butter, melted

16 cups day-old French bread cubes (1/2 inch)

3 medium bananas, sliced

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Warm Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows)

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk in cream, sugar and vanilla until blended and sugar is dissolved. Stir in melted butter. Add bread cubes and stir gently to combine.

3. Spoon half of bread cube mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with banana slices and sprinkle with half of pecans. Spoon remaining bread cube mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

4. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

5. Uncover and continue baking for 15 - 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

6. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

7. Serve warm with Warm Chocolate Sauce. Serves 10.

 

 

Warm Chocolate Sauce

 

3/4 cup whipping cream

8 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

 

1. Place cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

2. Add chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. May be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Reheat over low heat. Makes about 1 cup.