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with Chef Domenica Catelli

Domenica Catelli's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years. For more information on nutrition and eating well, visit our Real Life Nutrition blog.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Sides: Thinking Outside of the Can

I don’t know about you, but it feels to me that Thanksgiving snuck up on me overnight. I’m cooking my first turkeys tomorrow for an elementary school that is having a Thanksgiving feast a few days early. The buzz of mashed potatoes, yams, turkey and gravy is in the air!

The question that always comes up for me is sides! There are great dishes that will get you thinking outside of the can. Cranberry sides and green beans can be so much better when made fresh.

Photo: bemomalicious.com

Fresh cranberry sauce is so simple to make. The cranberry and balsamic raw relish pictured here takes about 5 minutes to make. You can find it here on the momalicious website. You can buy fresh cranberries in the produce department. By adding orange zest and agave nectar or honey to sweeten the cranberries, you will have a treat that will take you many days beyond turkey day.

If you are one of those who grew up on green bean casserole with the beans coming out of the can, I want to encourage you to try using fresh or frozen beans this year. The flavor and texture will be worlds above what you may have had in the past.

Another transformation to a side dish is my recipe for “Not Your Mamma’s Brussels Sprouts.” So many of us grew up on overcooked steamed and stinky sprouts and therefore think we don’t like them. I’m here to tell you that this dish is one that the most finicky of eaters — especially kids — will enjoy and is so simple to make.

Some tips to sides: prep all vegetable and savories the day before (have potatoes peeled and soak in water, cut Brussels sprouts in half, have herbs chopped and ready to rub on turkey or stirred into veggies or sauces. If you take an hour or two on Wednesday night you will save twice that amount of time on Thursday in stress and cooking. Also, get the kids and family to help.

Take some time, prep ahead, add fresh herbs and have fun!

Until next time, stay fresh and delicious!

~ Chef Domenica

Posted by: Chef Domenica Catelli at 7:20 am

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