What is turkey without stuffing? What is lamb without a potato? In the flurry of holiday dinner preparations, it’s easy to gloss over the most important additions to the table, but remember that no lead wins applause without an equally stunning supporting cast. In the spirit of sharing, our Pulse posse selflessly offered their families’ most beloved side dish recipes. You can finally convince your family that canned cranberry sauce is not okay—even if the can’s ribbing is intact.
Sausage Apple Stuffing
Nothing says holidays like stuffing. And no other stuffing can say holiday quite like this. Think of it as speaking English with a southern accent.
2 1⁄2 cups chopped onions
12 tbsp unsalted butter
3 unpeeled apples cut in squares
1 lb seasoned sausage
3 cups crumbled corn bread
3 cups crumbled whole wheat bread
3 cups crumbled white bread
2 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried sage
1⁄2 tsp salt and fresh ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped parsley
11⁄2 cups pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat butter in a skillet on low heat and add onions. Sauté about 15 minutes and put in a bowl.
3. Crumble sausage into the same skillet on medium heat. Cook until browned and add to bowl with sautéed onions.
4. Combine all remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl. Hand knead all ingredients.
5. Add to a ceramic dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, adding any additional sausage fat from the skillet.
Meatball Stuffed Mushrooms
Mushrooms aren’t always a family favorite, but add these Italian elements and a few select ingredients and you’ve got yourself a loaded side. Our Pulse person is divulging her grandfather’s secret recipe, if anyone asks you did not get this from us.
1 lb ground beef
1 lb veal
1⁄4 cup milk
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 cup crumbled white bread
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/3 tsp fresh pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp fresh parsley
15 baby bella mushroom caps
15 half-inch slices mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with hands.
3. Place mushroom caps in an oven safe dish.
4. Roll meatballs small enough to fit firmly inside the mushroom caps and top off lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.
6. After removing the dish from the oven, top each stuffed mushroom with a slice of mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
7. Add a gravy, tomato or cream of mushroom sauce to the final product.
A little grease never hurt anyone, add some sauce to the dinner table with this fried side. Our unique Pulse staffer serves this between bites of turkey and guests are encouraged to jump on the gravy train.
3 cups flour
1⁄2 cup butter
3⁄4 cup water
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
1. Pour and combine flour, baking powder, butter and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix in 1 tbsp water at a time until mixture forms a dough-like consistency.
3. Roll and form several meatball shaped dough balls.
4. In a large skillet, sizzle oil over medium/high heat.
5. Flatten dough balls and fry both sides until crispy and browned—about 21⁄2 minutes each.
6. Let dumplings drain and dry on paper towels.
Rice & Beans
Liven up the table with this traditional coconut-infused medley. It’s a Jamaican side that will blow away classic mashed potatoes and gravy.
1 can (19oz) kidney beans, including liquid
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
2/3 cup water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks scallion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups long grain rice (rinsed and drained)
1. Add coconut milk and drained liquid from the beans into a measuring cup. Use water to fill up to 4 cups.
2. Add liquid, beans, garlic, chopped onion and thyme to large pot.
3. Add salt and black pepper to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Add rice and boil on high for 2 minutes.
5. Turn to low heat and cook covered until all water is absorbed.
6. Fluff with fork before putting on a platter and serving
There is debate over whether this is a side or a starter. Either way, slice this pizza-like roll beefed up with broccoli, ham and cheddar and serve to much-awaited praise. Important: hands off the salt. The ingredients are naturally salty enough, adding more than a dash before rolling and baking would be too much.
1 lb pizza dough
1⁄4 lb ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup steamed broccoli
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Knead and roll out dough with a roller, adding flour to the surface and the dough.
3. Generously place cheese, ham and broccoli on the center of dough and roll like a stromboli.
4. Put the stuffed dough on a baking sheet and top with olive oil using a brush.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
6. Once cooled, slice into individual bite-sized rolls.