Family friendly turkey and sides for Thanksgiving
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For a family-friendly Thanksgiving dinner, the sides matter. A lot.

For example, now is not the time experiment by spiking the mashed potatoes with blue cheese or extra garlic.

With that in mind, here is a kid-pleasing but adult-friendly recipe for buttery mashed potatoes (recipe at left), a baked stuffing that is fantastic, but not fancy; a soup that offers a fresh take on squash and a few other family-friendly recipes (see below) to make sure everyone at the table has a joyous meal.

Asparagus and haricots verts with goat cheese and pine nuts

1 teaspoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Salt

1 pound haricots verts, trimmed

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped golden raisins

1/2 cup grated firm goat cheese

In a medium skillet over medium, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook just until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the coriander and season with salt. Set aside.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Blanch the haricots verts in the boiling water until bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to immediately remove them to the ice water. Repeat the process with the asparagus, cooking it for 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks.

Drain and pat dry the vegetables, then arrange them on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil, then top with the pine nuts, raisins and goat cheese.

Servings • 8

Squash bisque with roasted corn salsa

2 tablespoons butter

1 large red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

4 cups cubed butternut squash

2 carrots, diced

1 quart vegetable stock or broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper

1 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture. Add the ginger, butternut squash, carrots and bring to a simmer. Cook until the carrots and squash are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While the soup cooks, make the salsa. In a skillet over high, heat the oil. Add the corn kernels and grape tomatoes and sear until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved onions. Stir in the vinegar, then season with salt and pepper.

When the soup is ready, transfer it, working in batches, to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the salsa.

Servings • 8

Source: The Associated Press

Caramel apple pie

We decided to see what would happen if we transformed that classic treat of autumn — the caramel apple — into a crazy good no-bake apple pie.

6 baking apples (such as Fuji or Gala), peeled, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 (14-ounce) package caramel candies, unwrapped

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

Pinch salt

1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1/2 cup crumbled shortbread cookies

1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, toss the apple slices with the vinegar. Cook until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the apples and any juices in the pan to a large bowl. Set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat. Add the caramel candies, half-and-half, apple pie spice and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Pour the caramel mixture over the apples and stir until well coated. Spoon the apple-caramel mixture into the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle the top with the cookies, peanuts and chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Servings • 8

Source: The Associated Press —

Buttery mashed potatoes

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved

Kosher salt

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Ground white pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until very tender but not falling apart.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 F.

When the potatoes are just tender, drain them and spread them in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Return the potatoes to the saucepan. Add the butter, half-and-half, mustard and garlic powder. Mash the potatoes until smooth, then season with salt and white pepper.

Servings • 10

Source: The Associated Press —

Plain Jane turkey and gravy

6 medium carrots, rough chopped

6 stalks celery, rough chopped

3 large yellow onions, quartered

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

12- to 14-pound turkey

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the carrots, celery and onions in an even layer over the bottom of a large roasting pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, salt and black pepper. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Rub the butter mixture all over the inside and outside of the turkey, making sure to get under the skin, too. To do this, gently lift the skin over each breast with one hand while working the butter under it with the other.

Set the turkey over the vegetables and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, basting the turkey with juices from the pan every 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven when the breast reaches 160 F and the thigh reaches 170 F. If the turkey darkens too much before reaching those temperatures, cover it with foil and continue roasting.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, cover with foil, then set a large, thick towel over it to keep it warm.

Remove and discard the vegetables from the roasting pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat (you may need to use more than one burner). Bring the juices to a simmer. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and flour. Pour into the pan, whisking continuously. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Strain the gravy, if desired.

Servings • 8-10

Source: The Associated Press —

Cheesy stuffing

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese

Salt and ground black pepper

1 large loaf (about 18 to 20 ounces) stale bread (such as challah), torn into pieces and lightly toasted

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened and the onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the flour and stir to coat. Stir in the milk, then the broth. Stir continuously and bring up to a simmer, cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the torn bread into the mixture, then spoon into the prepared baking dish, arranging it in an even layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Servings • 10

Source: The Associated Press —

Asparagus and haricots verts with goat cheese and pine nuts

1 teaspoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Salt

1 pound haricots verts, trimmed

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped golden raisins

1/2 cup grated firm goat cheese

In a medium skillet over medium, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook just until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the coriander and season with salt. Set aside.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Blanch the haricots verts in the boiling water until bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to immediately remove them to the ice water. Repeat the process with the asparagus, cooking it for 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks.

Drain and pat dry the vegetables, then arrange them on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil, then top with the pine nuts, raisins and goat cheese.

Servings • 8

Source: The Associated Press