Last week someone asked me on Instagram if our family celebrated Thanksgiving since we seemed to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas. I wanted to answer with a joke but the truth is we aren’t celebrating this year and all I can think about is my favorite Thanksgiving sides I will be missing.
Our typical Thanksgiving since I can remember has been held at my Mom’s house. We always have way too many Thanksgiving sides, my Dad gets frustrated with carving the turkey and someone burns the rolls. My kids usually ask for a scoop of everything and then end up eating pie. It’s a little crazy and crowded in my parents kitchen but it is a day I enjoy immensely.
We made the decision as a family not to celebrate together this year because of the pandemic and the cases rising in our area. I know we are all trying to do what is best but in a year marked by everything being cancelled I have to admit, I am a little sad. 2020 will be the year of blank space in a long line of traditions and while there is so much to be grateful for and hopeful for I am struggling.
Our immediate family (Justin, me, Peyton, Paxton and Porter) will be celebrating at home. We have decided not to do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but instead make a new tradition. We are going to be doing fun appetizers, everyone gets to pick a type of pie and there will be root beer for the kids and beer for the adults. Plus there will be lots of football. However I wanted to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving sides with you.
My Mac and Cheese
I get asked for my recipe a lot and until recently I never wrote it down. I just knew how it was supposed to look. I finally made an actual recipe although I still don’t personally follow it when I am making Mac and Cheese.
- Box of Elbow Macaroni
- Stick of butter
- 8 tbsp flour
- 6 cups of milk
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 8oz medium yellow cheddar
- 2 8oz sharp white cheddar
- 1 cup parmesan
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook Macaroni al dente and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pot melt butter, add flour and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Make sure that you are stirring the flour and butter constantly or it will burn. Add milk and whisk together. When the milk is warmed through, you want to get it right before it starts to bubble, add cream cheese and allow to incorporate thoroughly. Add cheddar cheese a little at a time allow it to fully melt and incorporate each time. When you are done with the cheddar add your parmesan, noodles and mix. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Spicy Whipped Sweet Potatoes
I joined a cooking group on Facebook a few years ago and it forever changed how I make sweet potatoes. Roasting the potatoes in the oven is the hack I never knew I needed.
- 4 to 5 large sweet potatoes
- Maple Syrup
- 1/2 to 1 Stick of Butter
- 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour. Depending on how big your potatoes are you may need more time. I like to see the peel start to pull away from the meat of the potato and I know they are done. When finished roasting I add to mixing bowl. Add butter and maple syrup to taste and whip for 2 to 3 minutes with a stand or handheld mixer. Add a touch of cinnamon and the cayenne and serve hot!
No matter how your Thanksgiving looks this year I hope your family can be together in some way and stay safe and healthy.
Looking for more Thanksgiving Inspo? This is a great article on 50 more sides you can make!