Thanksgiving is kind of the Super Bowl of the foodie world. I’m only hosting a small dinner this year (the three of us plus my dad and his wife), but that certainly will not stop me from planning a fabulous menu. Enter Cooking Planit, a new online tool for home cooks that started up right here in Austin.
Cooking Planit has a wide variety of meals and sides in its database, but there’s a twist that makes it better than any old recipe site. Once you pick your recipes, it generates a grocery list for you, and then helps you organize what to do when, so that your meal gets ready right on time. I love the grocery list feature, but I will say that I am far too entrenched in my haphazard ways in the kitchen to change now. I like my haphazard style. It works for me… but that’s just me.
But, onto the real deal: the side dishes. Over the next few days, I’ll be cooking my way through several of Cooking Planit’s chef-created sides as a trial for the main event. Who will make the cut? Can you feel the tension in the air? I’ll also be providing a few of my own tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes in the hope that they may find their way to your Thanksgiving table. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!
With our kale going like gangbusters out in the garden, it was a no-brainer to try this deliciously simple kale salad recipe first. I cooked it up with ingredients I already had on hand, and it was ready in about 5 minutes flat, no joke.
I served it alongside a quinoa-stuffed acorn squash for dinner one night this week, and it was delightful. I didn’t have pine nuts on hand, so I substituted walnuts, and it was fine (though I do think the pine nuts would be better).
Does it make the cut for Thanksgiving? The jury is still out. I love the idea of using our garden’s bounty on our Thanksgiving table, but a salad just seems a little non-Thanksgiving-ish for some reason. We shall see.
2. Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Next I decided to try out a recipe for cream cheese mashed potatoes. Hey, I like cream cheese, I like potatoes — what could go wrong? Turns out, not much.
These are fluffiest, creamiest, richest mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. Plus they’re a snap to throw together. Hey, if I can pull it off while my kid is watching Signing Time, anyone can do it. Speaking of kids, Nora couldn’t get enough of these potatoes. She kept stealing them off my plate.
Do they make the cut? Absolutely.
- 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3-4 green onions, chopped
- 6 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs sour cream
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Scrub the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cover with cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the water and place the saucepan back on the stove for a couple of minutes to cook off any excess water, stirring frequently. Remove the potatoes from the heat and mash them in the pan.
- Return the saucepan with the potatoes to the stove over low heat and add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and parmesan cheese, stirring to combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
As for turkey? Yes, there will be one. I won’t be eating it, of course, but the hubby ordered one from Rudy’s. We’ll just have to send our guests home with lots of leftovers.
I’ll be having my holiday standby, quinoa-stuffed acorn squash, as a main course. Check out my post on LiveMom for details and the recipe!
Note: I received a small grocery stipend from Cooking Planit in exchange for reviewing these meals, but I was not otherwise compensated, and my opinions are my own.