Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I’m starting to plan my menu.  Do you feel prepared?  I think most families have a list of recipes they make every year and traditionally serve and aren’t necessarily looking for new recipes.  For example, my mom makes 2 turkeys every year.  One goes on the grill, and one goes in the oven.  Both are delicious and there is always a ton of meat to go around.  Everyone (and I mean immediate family, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) looks forward to her cooking every year.  My point is that she isn’t looking for a new turkey recipe.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Or in this case, if no one is complaining about the food, why make something else? 😊

BUT…there is always room for more sides or different sides.  Are you assigned to bring something this year?  Perhaps you are hosting Friendsgiving and aren’t sure what to make.  Or you simply want to change things up a bit this year.  I enjoy the predictability and consistency of my mom’s menu but also find joy in trying new recipes (whether my family likes them or not) and like to whip up a few new recipes each year (even if they only end up on my table).  So today I will be sharing with you 4 recipes for Thanksgiving sides that I think are a hit and hope they make it onto your table!


No Thanksgiving table is complete without mashed potatoes.  Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes are incredible!  They are called “twice baked” because they are baked twice; once to cook the potatoes so they are nice and tender and once to cook after they are mashed and loaded with all the tasty add-ons.  They are super soft and creamy, salty, loaded with butter and cream cheese, and have a crispy crust on top from baking.

This recipe can be prepared the day before, covered, and placed in the fridge until ready to bake.  Which is a huge timesaver on Thanksgiving when you already have dish ready to heat and serve.  It also holds up well for any leftovers you plan to consume.  They potatoes were just as soft and creamy the next day, and the flavor held up well.

The recipe can be found here.

Let’s work under the assumption you are going to prepare and bake this dish right away.  Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Wash and peel the potatoes and place in a large pot.  I find it easiest to place the potatoes in a strainer and wash them that way.  Then, I grab one at a time and peel it and transfer it right to the pot for boiling.  Once all the potatoes are peeled and placed in the pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Boil the potatoes until soft and tender, and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Add the half & half, 1 stick of butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and Lawry’s seasoning to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the cooked potatoes on top.  Turn on the mixer and mix until well combined and creamy.  It’s OK if there are a few smaller chunks but blend until the consistency you want is reached.  The warmth from the potatoes will melt the butter and cream cheese.  If you don’t have half & half on hand you can substitute with heavy cream or whole milk.

Alternately, you can add the ingredients to a mixing bowl and use a potato masher or hand mixer to blend the ingredients.  The heat from the potatoes will melt the butter and soften the cream cheese so it’s easy to combine.

Pour the mixture into the 9×13 baking dish and smooth into an even layer.

Melt the remaining ½ stick of butter and pour over the top, then sprinkle with paprika.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Then, uncover and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes.  I think the entire 45 additional minutes is needed to get a crispy top.  The butter will be bubbly around the edges.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  Season each serving with additional salt and pepper, as needed.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

The potatoes are delicious as is, but you could mix in ½ lb. cooked and crumbled bacon before baking or have on the side as a topping.  Some shredded cheese, chopped chives, or sour cream would also make nice toppings.  Think mashed potato bar where you can build your own.  Or be lame and just serve the mashed potatoes…kidding!  They are amazing and everyone will enjoy them!

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn could not be any simpler to make!  This literally is a “set it and forget it” recipe you can prepare in about 2 minutes.  It’s frozen corn, cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, and seasonings combined in a slow cooker.  It’s a creamy yet tender side dish with rich flavor.  You can easily double the recipe if you are serving a crowd but as a side dish, one recipe seems to be the perfect amount.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by adding all ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker but do not stir.  I like to cube the cream cheese and butter so it’s easier to melt.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Stir every hour to prevent burning and to help the cream cheese melt into the mixture.

Once finished, remove to a serving bowl, and serve warm.  You can also keep the creamed corn in the slow cooker for a few hours on the “warm” setting if not serving right away.  It will hold up just fine.

Enjoy!  Any leftovers should be cooled completely and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

The recipe can be found here.

See how little effort this recipe requires?  Delicious yet simple.

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce is a fresh and flavorful side dish that will leave your hands free to prepare other items because it cooks in the Instant Pot all in about 5 minutes (plus the time to pressurize).  This recipe requires only 3 ingredients – fresh cranberries, sugar, and water.  I am someone that swears by cranberry sauce in a can, but I was willing to try something different and this recipe fits the bill.  It’s tart and tangy but slightly sweet and pairs well with the rest of the meal.  You can prepare this recipe 1-2 days in advance if needed and serve cold or reheat to serve warm.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by adding the cranberries, sugar, and water to the Instant Pot.  Stir to combine.  I think you should use fresh cranberries for this recipe (fresh is almost always better) but if you are unable to find fresh cranberries, go ahead and use frozen.

Close the lid and make sure the valve is in the sealed position.  Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.  The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to preheat.

Once done, let the pressure naturally release for 8-10 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.  Remove the lid and set aside.

Stir and transfer to a serving bowl.  Serve warm (or chill until ready to serve) and enjoy!

Leftover should be chilled completely and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

The recipe can be found here.

This recipe also required little effort and can be considered a “set it and forget it” side dish.  The recipe can easily be doubled if you are serving a crowd or have a guest (like me) that will eat most of the cranberry sauce themselves.  What can I say, I love cranberry sauce!

I haven’t tried this but adding a tsp of cinnamon might add some spice and warmth to this dish if you’re willing to experiment 😊

My last recipe today is for Mini Green Bean Casserole Cups.  This is a spin on your traditional Green Bean Casserole.  I will admit, Green Bean Casserole isn’t a favorite and something I will often skip if I don’t have room on my plate.  However, I am a fan of this recipe where it’s served in individual cups.  I think the phyllo dough (aka filo dough) adds a nice crunch and buttery taste to each bite.  The green beans are tender and have wonderful flavor when combined with the broth and cream of mushroom soup.  Season the dish to your taste…I tend to add a bit more salt and pepper.  But the crispy fried onions on top are where it’s at!  I will eat those directly out of the container (no judgements around the holidays, please).

The recipe can be found here.

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Unroll the phyllo dough on the counter.  The package I bought had 2 rolls.  Each roll had about 18 sheets, so you only need one roll, unless you are doubling the recipe.  The sheets are thin but easy to work with.

Lay one piece of phyllo dough on the greased baking sheet.  Spray the dough with cooking spray (you don’t need a lot, just spritz it on).  Place another piece of dough on top and spray with cooking spray (again, just spritz).  Repeat this until you have 6 sheets of dough but do not spray the top sheet with cooking spray.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 8 pieces (once down the middle and 4 across).  Place each rectangle (6 sheets per rectangle) in a muffin cup.  Press down slightly to form the dough into the cup with the corners hanging out the top.  Repeat these steps twice more, until you have filled 24 muffin cups.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove and set aside.  Do not overbake.  These will be going back in the oven to finish baking.

Drain the green beans.  Try to use CUT green beans so they are smaller and easier to fit inside the cups.

Add the cream of mushroom soup and chicken broth to a mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Add the green beans and stir to combine.

Pour into a baking dish (a small 9×9 baking dish will suffice) and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and evenly divide between the pastry cups.  Top with the crispy onions and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully / gently transfer the cups to a serving platter.  Serve immediately while still warm.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

This recipe makes 24 individual cups.  I do not think these hold up well for leftovers.  The phyllo dough cups get soft and mushy, and the texture really isn’t there after sitting in the fridge overnight.  You can scoop the green bean mixture out of the cups to reheat and that tastes just fine!  But be aware, you won’t be happy with these as leftovers.  Try serving as an appetizer if you need more ideas in that department!

Good luck planning your menu this year whether it be Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, a potluck, you name it!  Please check out some of my other Thanksgiving blogs if you are looking for other recipe ideas.

Happy Cooking & Happy Thanksgiving!

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