Super Side Dishes

I’m all for potlucks. For big meals like Thanksgiving, they’re a way to split the cost and the labor. But if you’re going to a potluck, you want to bring a dish that impresses without needing lots of last minute work or kitchen space.

I have four great recipes that are perfect to take along to Thanksgiving. They’re either made ahead or just need a little last minute assembly. Best of all, they’re guaranteed crowd pleasers.

Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole


Makes 6 to 8 servings

Mashed potatoes are notorious for not holding well, but this casserole is made completely ahead then baked before serving. It can also be baked, transported, then reheated if necessary right before the big meal.



3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3-inch chunks


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus extra for dotting the top

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup whole milk

Generously butter a 21/2-quart baking dish.

Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

Mash the potatoes with a hand-held potato masher or put them through a ricer. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream and milk to warm potatoes. Stir vigorously to combine. Season generously with salt.

Transfer to prepared pan. Dot top with additional butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover casserole and bake until top is golden brown and casserole is heated through, about 1 hour.

Image 2


Makes 6 to 8 servings

This is a repost from last year, but it’s such a big favorite at our house, I thought it was worth sharing again. Leave the sausage out if you feel it’s too heavy. The casserole is still divine.



1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Cook sausage in a skillet until no longer pink, crumbling into small pieces. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. Drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet.

Add onion to skillet. Saute until tender but not browned. Cool.

Whisk broth and cream in a small bowl. Arrange half of potatoes in prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange sausage and half of onion slices over. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, salt, pepper and remaining onion slices. Pour cream mixture over.

Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until potatoes are tender, liquid is thickened and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.

Broccoli Cauliflower


Makes 8 servings

The beauty of this dish is it is completely make ahead. Think of it as a winter version of panzanella, the Italian tomato and bread salad.



1 head broccoli, cut into florets

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets


6 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound day-old rustic Italian or French bread, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Pinch of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook broccoli and cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice and water to chill. Drain well. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over bread cubes. Toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until croutons are lightly toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.

Whisk vinegar, thyme, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Pour over vegetables. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

One to 2 hours before serving, add bread cubes. Toss again.


Makes 8 servings

Having something green and light on Thanksgiving is always a welcome break with so many heavy dishes. Prep everything and take it with you to the feast location, then assemble right before serving.


8 cups mixed greens

2 tart apples, cored, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Pomegranate seeds


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To make salad: Combine lettuce, apple and onion in a large bowl.

To make vinaigrette: Whisk mustard, basil, vinegar and syrup in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss salad with enough dressing to coat (any remaining dressing can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days). Top with walnuts and pomegranate seeds and serve.

Categories: Recipes

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1 reply


  1. Why no one ate my sweet potato casserole |

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