This post is a doozie so I’ll keep it short and sweet! I have 3 recipes for you today, all of which are perfect for Thanksgiving but honestly, they’re great any time of year!
The first is a modified version of my mom’s mac & cheese recipe which is AH-MAZING! The second is a lazy version for dirty rice. For all of you who aren’t from here, dirty rice is traditionally a “poor mans” meal. Back in the day, meat scraps and giblets were cooked together with bell pepper, onion and celery, mixed with rice and then seasoned with black pepper and cayenne. But because I hate giblets, we’re just using regular ground beef. And finally I have sauteed garlic butter green beans, which are quick, easy and will add some much-needed greenery to your side dish spread. So let’s get cooking!
Mac & Cheese
I don’t know about you, but I love mac and cheese. Especially special Thanksgiving mac and cheese! Thanksgiving is the one of the only times of year my mom ends up making it, and aside from the turkey, it’s my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Here’s how to make it:
Ingredients: (makes approx. 8 servings)
- 1 box elbow pasta
- 1 jar alfredo sauce
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup milk
First, cook your pasta, then drain and set aside. In a small/medium saucepan, combine your alfredo sauce, milk, and 2 1/2 cups of your cheese in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until cheese has melted.
Then mix the sauce and pasta together in a large baking dish. Helpful tip: For easy cleanup, you can use disposable roasting pans!
Top with the remaining 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, then bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has turned a nice golden brown.
Easy Cajun Dirty Rice
Someone in my family always ends up bringing dirty rice (aka rice dressing) to Thanksgiving, and every year I fill my plate up with it. I swear, All I end up having on my plate is turkey, mac and cheese, dirty rice and mashed potatoes. How healthy am I right? Thankfully dirty rice is super cheap and really easy to make, especially with this lazy recipe!
Ingredients: (serves 8-10)
- 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (~1 whole onion)
- 1 1/2 cups diced green bell pepper (~2 peppers)
- 1 tbs garlic
- 1 lb ground beef (or pork or turkey) – I do 1/2 beef, 1/2 pork
- 1/2 tbs fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 tbs fres or dried parsley
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 tbs cajun spice
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
- salt to taste
Brown your meat in a LARGE pan along with 1/2 tbs cajun seasoning. Once browned, add in all of your veggies, garlic, herbs and your remaining cajun spice and cook until onions are translucent.
Once your veggies are cooked, gently fold in your cooked rice, making sure to not smash your rice!
Add your half stick of butter (sliced) and mix in. Side note: I always use unsalted butter in my cooking because I like to see how much salt in going into my food!
Salt to taste and enjoy!
Buttery Garlic Green Beans
I know, I know. No one is actually planning on eating the green beans at Thanksgiving dinner, especially if there are mashed potatoes right next to them, BUT STILL. I figured I would a little health and color to this recipe round-up with these tasty and quick sauteed garlic butter green beans!
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
- 1lb Fresh green beans (I just used a large package from a wholesale store)
- 1 tbs garlic
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- Salt + pepper to taste
Add butter and garlic to a large pan on medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in your green beans, making sure to snap off the stems. Toss green beans in garlic/butter until evenly coated.
Once coated, cover pan and let sit (still on medium heat) for 3 minutes or until green beans are a bright green, but not soft.
Uncover and cook on high heat for an additional 3-5 minutes, making sure to stir/toss, until green beans are are soft on the outside, but still have a bit of a crunch! Add salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have it! 3 super-simple, easy side dishes that are perfect for Thanksgiving! Or really any time of year tbh…
So what do you think?!?! Does it look delicious?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!