Foodie Friday: Homemade Side Dishes for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to get cooking. Along with our main course or meat courses in our house we need a lot of sides. For some of us, the pressure can make the decision to grab a can of cranberry sauce or box of stuffing mix an obvious choice. This does not have to happen! While we all know it’s harder to make everything from scratch don’t we owe it to ourselves as cooks and our families to make them the good stuff? After all, these are the most important meals of the year, perhaps of our lives in some cases. Do we really want to remember the tin-flavoured green bean casserole or the canned candied yams? The answer is no.

This week, I wanted to share a couple of quick and easy side dishes that will hopefully take some of the stress out of your holiday meal planning. Along with these recipes I would also like to share some tips from a few of my other posts. Think of this post as a holiday montage show. giving us the chance to think back over all the other epic meals we have prepared. Armed with these tips and a little bit of luck, you can surely make your holiday meal go off without a hitch.

Let’s get started! Planning and organization are key as mentioned in my earlier posts “Mise-En-Place Part 1” and “Part 2”.  There is no substitution for working and thinking ahead. For example, if you want to make your stuffing from scratch you can make your croutons weeks in advance, the same is true for chicken, veggie, or turkey stock. You can freeze and store stock when ever you make a batch to be used later in a number of dishes. Practicing and perfecting recipes in the weeks leading up to the big day can also be a great way to grease the wheels. Your family and friends will not complain about a roasted turkey dinner believe me. Plus, this gives you a head start on preparation as you can pre-make some ingredients for certain dishes, as I mentioned earlier.
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Foodie Friday – Thanksgiving Edition: Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving, the day of all days for Foodies, allowing us to pull out all the stops and create a cornucopia of cuisines. A day for reflection and gratitude for all of life’s gifts and generosities past, future and present. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending time with my loved ones on Thanksgiving.

I remember watching my grandmother as she expertly cut vegetables and stirred simmering pots of delicious sauces and side dishes. This may very well have been one of the catalysts that sparked my interest in cooking in the first place. There was a level of wonder in watching such an experienced cook whisk and stir in a calm, controlled, yet vigorous pace. Year after year everyone that was at our house for Thanksgiving walked away full, content and with at least two plates of leftovers. I’m sure most people feel this way about their grandmother’s cooking, and I don’t blame them. The memory of some of those flavors and textures still boggles my mind to this day. I may never unlock the full power of my grandmothers recipes, but I will keep trying to get them as close as I can. For me it’s something to strive for year after year.

Everybody has a favorite holiday dish. Cranberry sauce, stuffing, green bean casserole, candied yams, and mashed potatoes are just a few of the many items enjoyed across the country on Thanksgiving day. Whether you bacon wrap, deep-fry, grill or roast it, in my house the big day isn’t quite the same without turkey. There are many tricks and tips to “the perfect turkey” and in this weeks edition of Foodie Friday, I want to share my recipe with you.

This recipe, as usual, is open to your own interpretation and should be used only as a rough guide in your journey to a great bird.
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