Thanksgiving Recipes: Sensational sides like prosciutto peas, sausage orzo and fresh cranberry sauce

Side dishes to make your Thanksgiving a smash

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From now until Thanksgiving, we will bring you recipes every day to help you plan your Thanksgiving menu.

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While turkey is the star of the show, side dishes play a strong supporting role in your holiday dinner cast. Truth be told, there are probably some of us who look forward more to the sides, than the main course. Here are some ideas to keep them asking for seconds.

 

Peas with Prosciutto

This dish combines the sweet flavor of peas with the saltiness of prosciutto.  It's tasty, and it's easy!  But, your guests don't need to know that.  We won't tell if you won't.

4 cups fresh or frozen peas

½ pound prosciutto, chopped

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 tablespoon of white wine or water

salt & pepper

Heat a nonstick skillet to high. Add prosciutto and cook until browned and crispy. Deglaze with white wine or water. Add butter and peas. Reduce heat and sauté until peas are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Orzo with Sausage

Pasta at Thanksgiving? Sure. This recipe showcases orzo, a rice shaped pasta and the hearty flavors of sage and pork.

1 cup orzo, uncooked

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup red bell pepper, chopped

½ pound sage pork sausage (most breakfast sausage will work)

1 tablespoon vegetable Oil

salt & pepper

Bring broth to boil in a pot and add orzo. Boil orzo until cooked. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and the bell pepper and cook until soft. Remove onions and peppers and reserve. Add sausage to skillet and cook until brown and crumbled. Return onion/pepper mix to skillet along with the orzo. Mix thoroughly over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Savory Pumpkin Pudding

Fall means pumpkins. We've found a unique way to celebrate them on your Thanksgiving menu.

1 29-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

½ cup chestnuts, chopped (optional)

½ cup kale, chopped (You can substitute other greens like chard or collards)

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cup milk

2 slices country or white bread

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350. Combine milk and bread in a large bowl. Work together until you have a pasty mixture. Add pumpkin and mix well. Heat butter in a skillet. Add onion, celery, chestnuts, and kale. Cook until onions are golden. Add cooked vegetables to pumpkin mixture.  Add herbs, spices, and salt & pepper. Transfer to an oiled baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more. It's optional, but if you want, garnish with chopped bacon or a sprinkle of grated parmesan.

 

Fresh Cranberry Relish

What's more traditional at Thanksgiving than cranberries? Of course, we've all had the cranberry sauce in the can. Usually, it's served on a plate, and it retains its can shape. Here's our take on cranberry sauce. It's fresh, vibrant, and definitely not shaped like an aluminum can!

1 12-ounce bag of cranberries

½ cup pecans, chopped

½ cup Mandarin oranges

1 tablespoon cinnamon

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Gran Marnier (Cointreau can be substituted)

This is a "no cook" relish. Simply place all the ingredients in a food processor. Give it a couple of whirls to incorporate and chop everything. Then refrigerate. Once chilled, it's ready to serve. You can add more sugar if you like it sweeter.

 

Noodles with Goat Cheese

Simple, bold flavors are sometimes the best.  We think this recipe is the epitome of that theory. It's easy to put together, but the flavors are unbelievable.  Your holiday dinner guests will remember it long after the celebration is over.

1 pound egg noodles, cooked

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup goat cheese, crumbled (You can substitute feta, or go with a mixture of bleu & goat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in an oil baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly.

Tomorrow: Appetizers

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