Thanksgiving Side Dishes Kids Will Actually Like

Filed under: Holidays, Mealtime

Dishing it OUt

Welcome to Dishing it Out, ParentDish's weekly food column. Katie Workman lives in New York City with her husband and two boys, Jack and Charlie. By day she is the Editor-in Chief of the soon-to-be launched recipe website, Cookstr.com. Her posts will appear on Tuesday mornings.

Thanksgiving conjures up warm, fuzzy images of the family gathered around the table, enormous turkey center stage, generations exchanging loving looks as they pass the side dishes around the table....the kids scrunching up their noses and saying "Gross" as the cranberry sauce passes by. Where is Norman Rockwell when you need him?

Even though it's hard to imagine a more family-centric meal than Thanksgiving dinner, most of the traditional side dishes don't seem to be all that kid-friendly: cranberry relish with citrus zest, Brussels sprouts, stuffing with oysters (those crazy Pilgrims) and sausages. The kids' plates end up looking like a white winter wonderland with a slice of turkey, a dollop of plain mashed potatoes, and a piece of bread.

Below the gallery are a few simple simple side dishes that should make everyone happy (or at least be worth a few bites with the promise of pie to come).

Holidays on the Southern Side

    Our Favorite Side Dishes

    Side dishes are many people's favorite part of a holiday meal -- along with the company of friends and family. We think there's something extra special about 'em when they're served up Southern-style.

    Green Bean Casserole

    Fresh summer green beans are grand, but in the chilly months, canned beans can stand a little dressing up with a touch of creaminess and the savory crunch of fried onions.


    Browse Our Green Bean Casserole Recipes

    Corn Pudding

    Sweet, fluffy corn pudding is stunningly simple to make, and simply delicious. Make a double batch, 'cause it's guaranteed to go quickly.


    Get the Charleston Corn Pudding Recipe

    Creamed Onions

    Elegant pearl onions look so luxurious lounging in a sea of cream sauce, and taste simply luscious to boot.


    Get the Creamed Onions Recipe

    Candied Sweet Potatoes

    It's only once a year, so go ahead and indulge in these ooey-gooey marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. Consider them a prelude to dessert.


    Get the Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe

    Congealed Salads

    Call these salads "congealed," Jell-O, gelatin or whatever else you'd like. Just make sure you call everyone to the table to admire your molded masterpiece before you dig in.


    Get the Bing Cherry Salad Recipe

    Cranberry Sauce

    As long as there are holidays celebrate, the debate will rage on: fresh or canned cranberries. Our sweet, no-stress recipes will muffle the debate for a little while -- or at least while everyone's mouth is full.


    Browse Our Cranberry Sauce Recipes

    Giblet Gravy

    So long as you've got the bird in hand, you may as well put the giblets to work. They add wonderfully rich depth to plain ol' pan drippings -- just start working out your whisking muscles NOW.


    Get the Giblet Gravy Recipe

    Wendell Webber, FoodPix / Jupiter Images

    Cornbread Dressing

    Instant dressing is dandy and all, but slip sweet, crumbly corn bread into the mix, and no doubt you'll find this from-scratch dish deserves a place at every one of your holiday meals.


    Get the Cornbread Dressing Recipe

    Sausage Dressing

    Sweet or spicy sausage can add a great herbal kick to your stuffing and dressing. Experiment with various brands and spice levels to find the one that'll be most at home on your holiday table.


    Browse Our Sausage Dressing Recipes

    Mark Thomas, Jupiter Images




Mashed Sweet and Yukon Potatoes

Serves 8

The combination of sweet and white potatoes creates a pretty pale orange color. Mashed potatoes are usually totally kid-pleasing, the sweet potatoes are a bit more autumnal and festive, and as a bonus provide some great vitamins (A, C, and B6, since you asked). A touch of maple syrup adds sweetness, and a pinch of cinnamon provides warmth.

4 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
3 Yukon Gold or baking potatoes (about 1 - 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup whole milk
salt to taste
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
cinnamon to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 inch chunks. Put them in a saucepan with water to cover and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain, let cool slightly, and mash, using a masher or a ricer.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it's hot, but not boiling. Add the hot milk, salt, butter, syrup and cinnamon, if using, to the potatoes and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Simplest Green Beans

Serves 8

Ever wonder why green beans at a restaurant taste so good? Instead of just steaming them, and adding a pat of butter after they are cooked, there is a very simple way to cook them that turns the butter and the cooking water into more of a sauce, so they have that nice glazed salty-sweetness. My kids ate a bowl of these last time I made them. Here's how it works.

2 pounds string beans, ends trimmed (see Note, below)

Salt to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely minced (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place the string beans in a large saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the beans are crisp tender. Drain off the water, leaving only 1 tablespoon in the pot with the beans. Add the butter, shallot and salt and pepper. Stir over medium high heat until the butter and the water have formed a nice glaze-y sauce on the beans. taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.


Note: If you can find haricot verts, which are the thin French green beans, do try. They are more tender than regular green beans, and have a wonderful flavor. (My husband just read this post and said, "Haricots verts? You sound like a big snot." Look, I didn't invent the name.)

To sign up for Cookstr, launching soon, and see what Katie Workman does for her day job, please visit www.cookstr.com.

What is your child's favorite side dish?
Peas! So fun to play with.4 (11.8%)
Mashed potatos. Basic kid food.24 (70.6%)
Brussells sprouts. I have no idea why.5 (14.7%)
I have to serve a SIDE DISH?!?1 (2.9%)

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