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Bring on the Holidays and the Thanksgiving Sides

Hello fellow cheese heads! I hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween! I, for one, feel like October came and went in the blink of an eye. Now that the holiday season is upon us, the days are really going to fly by. Is it just me, or does it seem like the stores start putting out Christmas décor earlier and earlier every year? Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the most festive people out there but I really have no interest in seeing Santa paraphernalia before Halloween even hits. Slow your roll Target, Homegoods, Walmart and every other retail superstore filled with all of the things you never knew you needed! Anyway, back to the facts, whether you’re ready for it or not the holiday season has officially begun, and with that my blog will be completely festive over the next few months! Guaranteed to be filled with joyous chatter and every cheese and queso recipe your heart could desire.

I don’t know about you guys but over the next three weeks I’ll be perusing through hundreds of recipes trying to compile the perfect Thanksgiving menu. It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it and lucky for you that somebody can be me! You see, there are great benefits to being a loyal cheese blog follower.

As we all know, there are many components that go into the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Starting with the appetizers, moving on to the grand turkey with an array of carefully curated side dishes and a soft warm roll and finishing up with mouthwatering desserts. Today, I have side dishes on my mind. For some, the turkey is the star of the show. For me, it’s all about the tasty sides. I like a little turkey on my plate as an accoutrement to my plethora of delectable sides… the true stars. With that in mind I’m going to get your creative juices flowing, and hopefully inspire you to start compiling recipes for your own mind blowing Thanksgiving menu with some of my favorite side dishes below.

 

Easy, Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin

Would it even be a cheese blog if we didn’t start with a cheesy side? Now a lot of people will go the traditional mashed potatoes for Turkey Day. But we want to take our potatoes to the next level! These potatoes au gratin and a show stopper.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Gordo’s Cheese Dip Original
  • 1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

GARNISH:

  • freshly chopped parsley
  • freshly chopped chives

 

HOW TO PREPARE: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Wash the potatoes under cold water, and peel and cut them into 1/8’ slices. (using a mandoline is the easiest and fastest way to do this) Lay half of the potatoes flat in a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Set the remaining potatoes aside. Melt butter & flour in a sauce pan and simmer 2-3 minutes. Add mustard powder, salt, pepper and milk. Whisk over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.  Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes, layer the rest of the potatoes on top of the sauce, and cover the potatoes with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the reserved cheeses over the sauce. Spray a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 60 minutes, and then remove the foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or light golden brown in color and the potatoes are cooked through. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then garnish with freshly chopped parsley or chives (optional) and serve.

 

French Green Beans Almondine

Since I already have a nice heavy side with the Potatoes Au Gratin, let’s go to the lighter side of sides! Green beans are a classic Thanksgiving dish. Whether you like your green beans southern style, French style or in a casserole, you probably have green beans somewhere on your plate!

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound French green beans
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces slivered almonds
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper

HOW TO PREPARE: 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Add green beans to boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to ice bath. Allow to chill completely, then drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen towels or paper towels. In a medium skillet, heat butter and almonds over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds are deeply browned and nutty, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes longer. Add lemon juice, along with a tablespoon or two of water. Increase heat to high and stir and shake pan rapidly about 30 seconds. The sauce should have a glossy sheen and not appear watery or greasy. If it’s still watery, continue to simmer and shake. If it looks greasy, add another tablespoon of water to re-emulsify. When sauce is ready, remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beans to pan with sauce and toss to coat and combine. Return to medium heat and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

 

Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

Here is one of the easiest ways to get your little ones to eat broccoli or cauliflower. Just cover them in cheese! Growing up this was one of my personal favorite sides dishes and it will soon be yours too!

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 16oz container of Gordo’s Cheese Dip Original
  • 1 8oz package shredded cheddar and jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prep the broccoli and cauliflower: Cut the crowns away from the large stems. Break the crown up into bite sized florets. Rinse the florets thoroughly. Bring steamer water to a boil: Fill pot with water below steamer line and bring to a boil, add broccoli and cauliflower, cover; reduce heat to medium and steam for 5 to 6 minutes. Broccoli and cauliflower will be done when you can pierce with a fork. Remove from heat. Drain, and transfer to a medium baking dish, add butter, salt and pepper, toss to combine. In a separate medium saucepan over low heat, warm Gordo’s Cheese Dip and sprinkle in 2/3 of the shredded cheese, and stir until melted. Pour sauce over broccoli and cauliflower. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, until bubbly and lightly brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese shredded during the final 10 minutes of cooking. 

 

Hopefully after reading through these delectable Thanksgiving side dishes I have you in the holiday spirit! Try one or all of them out as a part of your weekday meal planning and see if you have a winner to add to your Turkey Day menu. In the meantime, I’ll be hard at work trying out more mouthwatering recipes to share with you next week. Until then, enjoy all of the chaotic, festive days leading up to Thanksgiving because before you know it, fall will be over and we’ll be welcoming winter!