You can't have turkey without stuffing, or mashed potatoes without gravy, or even host Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

All of that is well and good, but everyone loves sides. Add one of these recipes to your repertoire, and you'll soon have another signature dish for holiday celebrations, church suppers and potlucks. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut up, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat well. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cranberries. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix flour, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger in medium bowl. Cut in remaining 4 tablespoons butter with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pecans. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and stir gently. Sprinkle evenly with pecan topping.

Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes  or until sweet potatoes are tender and topping is lightly browned. Serves 8. 

Source: McCormick 

Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole 

  • 5 pounds baking potatoes (such as russets), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (6 tablespoons at room temperature, 2 tablespoons cut into small cubes), plus extra
  • Kosher salt and ground black or white pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot,  add cold water to cover by 1 inch and a spoonful of salt; cover and bring to boil. Set lid ajar; reduce heat to medium-low and cut potatoes until barely tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain potatoes well.

Return potatoes to pot over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until potatoes film bottom of anm, about 3  minutes. Add cream cheese. Uuse a handheld mixer to whip potatoes until cream cheese melts; add sour cream, milk and 6 tablespoons butter. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lightly butter 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Transfer potatoes to baking dish, smoothing the top. Dot casserole with 2 tablespoons cubed butter. Let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before final baking.

When ready to reheat, position rack in center of oven; heat oven to 375 F. Uncover casserole. Bake until  top is lightly browned and casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 10.

(Recipe adapted from Rick Rodger's "The Big Book of Sides," Ballantine Books, 2014)

Roasted Grape Succotash

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
  • 16-ounce bag frozen corn kernels, thawed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze, to serve
  • Crumbled goat cheese, to serve

Heat oven to 450 F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In large bowl, combine vegetables and grapes. Toss with several tablespoons olive oil until well-coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring several times, or until browned and tender. 

Pile into serving dish; drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Serve hot. Serves 8. 

Garlic Creamed Spinach

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Three 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Smash each garlic clove. Peel away and discard skins. In large saucepan over medium heat, combine garlic and cream. Bring to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes, or until mixture is slightly thickened and reduced to 1 cup.

Meanwhile, drain thawed spinach inmesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, squeezing out as much water as possible. Set aside.

When cream is ready, use slotted spoon to transfer garlic cutting board. Use the back of a fork to mash cloves to a paste, then return to cream, along with spinach. Cook, stirring well, on medium heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.