Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday-partly because of the food!  My mom’s stuffing is my favorite, so much so, I would keep it all to myself if I could.  I also make a great cranberry chutney every year that I serve with brie as an appetizer, use it as a side with dinner, and then on leftover turkey sandwiches.  I just realized I never posted the recipe for it and will have to when I make it this week.  Thanksgiving is also my favorite because of time spent with family.  When I was little, my great Aunt Betty would have Thanksgiving at her house in Reading and in later years in York, PA.  Some of my most cherished memories are from those Thanksgivings.

Most Thanksgiving dinners are centered around traditions.  My mom’s stuffing is a staple, and I would never dare to change it.  Her sweet potatoes are the same.  I’m sure you and your family have your own traditions too, but if you’re looking to mix it up, then you must try my Maple Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots and Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Bananas with Pecan Crumble topping. Both have lots of flavor, and I’m sure your Thanksgiving guests will go back for seconds!

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

3 cups butternut squash, cubed
25-30 Brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 slices extra thick cut bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400º F.  In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss well to combine.  Transfer to a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.  Scatter the bacon and shallots over top.  Roast in the oven for 60 minutes turning the mixture over every 20 minutes.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Bananas with Pecan Crumble

3 sweet potatoes, washed and unpeeled
2 bananas, unpeeled
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

IMG_0107Preheat oven to 375º F.  Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork.  Put in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes.  Add the bananas and continue roasting until the potatoes and bananas are very soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

In the meantime time, combine the pecans, 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, brown sugar, and flour.  Using your fingers, rub everything together until well combined.  Set aside.

Once cool enough to touch, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.  Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with the butter, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil,  and the honey.  Season with salt and pepper. Mash with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined and the mixture is fluffy.  Spoon into a baking dish and top with the pecan mixture.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.


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