Thanksgiving Trimmings
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Thanksgiving Trimmings: Side Dishes

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I can hardly wait for all the Thanksgiving trimmings this year. I love the recipes in my family that have been handed down for generations. Here’s the deal, I now live away from all my kids and grandkids, but as my girls moved out of the nest we learned to compromise on holidays. You know, it’s our family or the in-laws turn this year. Then we had a few divorces and that broadened the spectrum, but it also brought us more grandchildren. So, life is good for our family.

I realize some people don’t celebrate some holidays, but my family does and we love getting together whenever it’s feasible for all involved. I’m hoping some of my recipes will make it to your table someday. Our family is notorious for appetizers, and sometimes I wonder why we even buy a ham or a turkey. But, my husband always wants to see the “wishbone.”

Plus the Thanksgiving trimmings must include a turkey, or a ham, right?

Turkey Meat Is Delicious

Mark likes the dark meat from the turkey, like the drumsticks and the heart you find stuffed inside the turkey. We toss the giblets and add some celery, chopped onions, and a cube of butter to the inside of the washed-out turkey. It’s a tradition, we don’t eat that stuff, but my mom did that, so I do the same thing to the fresh turkey.

I should say defrosted turkey. I would love to hear what your family serves on Thanksgiving. There is something really special about looking at the decorated tables and the loved one sitting around the table and eating together. Family brings us joy, what else can I say?

My entire family makes different dishes the day before so we can all enjoy the day together.

Thanksgiving Trimmings

Turkey or Ham

My daughter, Heidi started using an electric roaster to cook the turkey a few years ago and it makes the turkey really moist and tender. I never put stuffing inside my turkey when it’s baking. I heard it was unsafe to eat, and so that’s how I roll.

We pick up a ham at Costco that is sliced in a spiral shape and make sandwiches later with turkey or ham. I love to make ham salad with the leftover ham as well. You grind it, add mayo or Miracle Whip, and pickle relish! Love it!

Turkey Stuffing

I cook my turkey stuffing in a slow cooker because we have so many appetizers, rolls, and casseroles baking.  This is Mark’s mother’s dressing recipe and we still make it to this day. I cut the original recipe in half because we could never eat the original recipe amount.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dressing

Thanksgiving Turkey Dressing
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cups chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped celery (leaves and all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons GROUND sage (not rubbed)
  • 12 cups of dried bread cubes
  • 3 cans of 14-ounces each chicken broth (add water if needed for a moister dressing)
  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the celery, onions, and spices and cook until tender.  Grab a large stainless steel bowl and combine all of the ingredients, add water if you like your stuffing a little moister. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased covered casserole dish until heated thoroughly. I put mine in a large greased slow cooker and put it on low to heat it through.

Mashed Potatoes

Here’s the deal, I have to have real mashed potatoes, sometimes I peel them and sometimes I don’t. This year I will probably peel them, cut them into chunks and use my pressure cooker to cook them. I add butter, sour cream, and a little milk. I use my hand masher because I love a few chunks. Oh, I can hardly wait for T day. Sometimes I do use my hand mixer, either way, they are yummy. Cooking Potatoes In A Pressure Cooker by Linda

Read More of My Articles  The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing

Green Beans or Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is right off the French’s Crispy Fried Onions. You know you grab 2-3 cans of green beans, drained. Add some milk to some cream of mushroom soup, stir in the beans and sprinkle on the crispy onions after putting the green beans in a greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the onions look a little crispy. Yummy!

Lisa’s Apple Yams

My family grew up on sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows on top. I have never fixed these because Mark calls them Ipecac. I know my daughters love plain sweet potatoes, but we have never made them for Thanksgiving. Update, my friend, Lisa B. shared this yummy recipe with me.

Lisa’s Apple Yams aka Sweet Potato Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 4 large sweet potatoes or yams (peeled and cooked until tender. Slice the sweet potatoes/yams the thickness you desire)
  • 3-4 cooking apples (cored, peeled, and sliced)
Sweet Potato Casserole Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Nutmeg and Cinnamon to taste
Sweet Potato Casserole
  1. Gather all of your ingredients.

  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut the ends off.

  3. Place foil on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Place the sweet potatoes/yams on the foiled and greased cookie sheet. The cooking time will depend on what size of sweet potatoes/yams you purchase. I used rather large sweet potatoes, it took 1-1/2 hours to bake them.

  4. Remove the baked sweet potatoes/yams from the oven and allow to cool.

  5. After the sweet potatoes/yams have had a chance to cool, it is time to peel and slice them to your desired thickness.

  6. Next, throughly wash the apples. Using an apple peeler or other tool – peel, slice, and core the apples. Slice down the center of the peeled and cored apple to create apple slices that will be ready to be place in the casserole dish.

  7. Grease a 9×13 inch pan and layer the sweet potato/yams and apples.

    **It is time to make the sweet potato sauce! See below for instructions.**

  8. Once the sauce has been poured over the sweet potatoes/yams and apples, it is time to bake.

    Cover the sweet potato/yam mixture with foil and bake in the oven at (350°F) = (176°C) for 30 minutes. No marshmallows on this one. This recipe is fabulous! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole Sauce
  1. It is time to prepare the sauce that will be pored over the layered sweet potatoes/yams and apples in the greased 9×13 in pan.

    In a medium to large pot, combine the water, brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch, stirring constantly.

  2. Add one cube (1/2 cup) of butter. Continue stirring constantly. Cook until it starts to thicken. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.

  3. Stir the brown sugar mixture constantly to keep from burning. Stir until the mixture is throughly mixed.

  4. Pour the sweet potato sauce over the sweet potatoes/yams and apples. Try to make sure each piece is covered with the sauce.

  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg (I forgot to add these earlier).

Frozen Peas

We buy one bag of frozen petite peas and microwave it. I think I’m the only one at the table that eats them. It’s a tradition.

Gravy-Lots of It

You bring the drippings from the turkey pan to a boil and add flour that I have mixed with water and I slowly pour the mixture into the hot drippings. I lower the heat and use a hand mixer to keep the lumps away.  I add some pepper, and a little sugar and it’s good to go.

5 from 8 votes
Linda’s Homemade Gravy
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  1. I use the pan that the turkey, chicken, or beef was baked in with the "drippings" and bring the liquid to a boil. If you have very little juice or drippings, add some water. Now, I can't give you exact measurements because this depends on the size of a turkey, chicken, or roast you purchased and how many drippings are available. Over time, with experience, you'll learn.

  2. I take about 1-2 cups of flour put it in a quart jar with cold water and shake it like crazy.

  3. I slowly add this mixture to the hot boiling turkey, chicken, or beef drippings. Use a whisk and stir constantly.

  4. I have a quart pitcher with cold water to add to this pan as the gravy thickens. I add water until it's the consistency I prefer. Not too runny, but not too thick.

  5. I add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Yep, it's the sugar that brings out the best flavor. Of course, it's optional.

  6. If you have some lumps, no worries, bring out the hand mixer. The flavor is fabulous and so easy to make.

Homemade Dinner Rolls

My no-fail recipe is at the bottom of the post. Please use fresh yeast, fresh bread flour, other fresh ingredients and they will always turn out awesome, I promise.

5 from 7 votes
dinner roll
Linda’s No-Fail Dinner Rolls
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 36 rolls
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 4 Teaspoons SAF Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Cups Warm Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 4 Teaspoons Dough Enhancer
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6-7 Cups White bread flour (Add 1/2 of the flour and then add more until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl)
  1. Place all of the ingredients in order into your mixing bowl. Be careful with the eggs not to add the warm milk too slowly or you will have scrambled eggs.

  2. Add half of the flour and keep adding the rest of the flour until the bread dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

  3. Cover with greased plastic and let rise the first time about an hour.

  4. Punch the dough down and mold it into small balls about 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches in diameter.

  5. Cover with greased plastic and let rise for about an hour or until double the size.

  6. Remove the plastic wrap and bake at (350°F) = (176°C) degrees for 15-20 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Do not overbake. They should be golden brown.

  7. I spread a little butter on the tops after baking so the rolls are soft on top. If you like a crispier top you can skip this step.

Cranberry Sauce

I buy the fresh cranberries and follow the recipe on the bag from the produce department, or I just buy ready-made cranberry sauce. I make it the day before so I can pull it out of the refrigerator right before we sit down and enjoy our meal.


I buy the following pies: pumpkin, pecan. I wish I could say I make pies from scratch, nope. I own it. I love those huge pies at Costco, they rock! They are cheap and yummy!


My favorite post includes my Appetizers by Food Storage Moms



Whipping  Cream




Final Word

I hope my Thanksgiving trimmings post today gives you some new recipe ideas. Please tell us what you fix on Thanksgiving, I love to hear from you. I realize we have a lot of turmoil in this world right now, but we must continue to prepare for the unexpected and be thankful for what we have. May God bless you all.

My favorite things:

Large Stainless Steel Bowl

Turkey Roaster

Gravy Ladle

Whole Dinner Rolls by Linda

White Dinner Rolls by Linda

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    1. Hi Janet, I hear you, it gets stored in the garage the rest of the year. I used to have two of them but gave them to my daughters. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving. Linda

  1. You got me in the mood to start planning a tiny thanksgiving for the animals and myself… family not here, one in hospital with new replacement hip, one bedridden for over 2 years from a fall in her kitchen, and my sons far away… last year I didn’t even fix anything and it is the beginning of the joy of sharing time of the year so this year i will get a small turkey, never cooked one under about 22 lbs, and will have my baked yam and mashed taters and gravy. sounds like the right way to start off the holidays.. we start becoming hermits as we age, looking in instead of out… thanks for the up messages…

    1. Hi, Jeanne, oh my gosh, I’m sorry to hear about your family, the one in the hospital with a hip replacement and the other bedridden for two years. It is interesting how we become looking in instead out the older we get, I totally understand. If I didn’t hear from readers like you when I write my blog, I would be one lonely chick. I’m married and have a great husband, but women need women, it’s “chicks’ or friends like you who keep me going. I have to mention I remember never buying turkey less than 20-22 pounds as well. We had to get more meat with the bigger birds. I love your comments! Hugs, Linda

  2. We make a huge batch of cranberry sauce from the Ball Fresh Preserving website, and then water bath can it so we have it all year. It’s not my favorite cranberry sauce recipe, but it’s the one formulated for canning so it’s the one I use.
    We usually make green bean casserole, it’s unhealthy, but we only make it once a year.
    Stuffing/Dressing of course and gravy is a given.

    We make sausage rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast. Basically just bulk sausage meat wrapped in puff pastry and baked, I make them the night before put them in the fridge, and bake them in the morning while I get the turkey ready to go in the oven. They’re awesome hot out of the oven (for the cook) and they’re great at room temp later for those that are sleeping in.

    1. Hi K, oh I’m all over this, I have got to try that puff pastry with sausage!! I hear you on the unhealthy green bean casserole, but once a year it works and its a tradition. I love your idea of canning your own cranberry sauce, I’m with you I follow the correct canning guides. Thanks for the sausage/puff pastry idea! Yummy! Linda

  3. Your daughter (and the rest of you?) might enjoy this simple sweet potato recipe:

    Preheat oven to 350F (or just use whatever temp you already have it at for other dishes).
    Peel 1 sweet potato per 1-2 people. Cut into chunks. Put 2tsp butter and 1/2-1tsp cury powder per sweet potato in a covered casserole dish and heat until butter is melted. Add sweet potatoes and mix to coat in curried butter. Bake in the covered casserole until tender. If you overbake, mash them and serve sprinkled with toasted nuts, but we like it best with perfectly baked chunks.

    Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving menu,

  4. Hi Linda, do you have any advice for enjoying the holidays during sad times? We just found out my son and his wife are divorcing, and we have 2 young grandchildren. How did you make the best of things?

    1. Hi Roxanne, first of all, the first divorce of one of my daughters was totally unexpected and disappointing at the same time. My parents were divorced and I turned out great, so I have to look at the good in any situation. The second divorce of another daughter about ten years later made Mark cry for three weeks. It is not fun. But we never ever talk bad about the dads EVER in a negative way. They are the father to my grandkids. Divorce is not fun, but then I have a daughter who I wish would divorce her husband. He has treated her poorly for over 20 years. After a few years, it gets easier, it is never perfect. But we have to make sure the kids are okay in the turmoil. I can still remember every Wednesday my four grandkids waiting for their “dad” to pick them up for the night. He never showed, EVER. But he is the father to those 4 grandkids. I hug him every time I see him. The other dad is treated with the utmost respect, he is a really good dad. He always has been. Mark and I hug him when we see him. I hope your soon to be ex-daughter-in-law does not talk badly about your son. Life brings us curves we do not expect. I remember thinking wow, when the girls grow up and go to school, get married, life will be good good good. I wrote a post about divorce and a reader was a little critical of me writing it. But I had to tell the world that divorce closed one door and opens a fresh new door. We must keep the kids out of the turmoil. Here is the post I wrote: I will pray for your family. My heart aches for you, Linda

  5. Thanks for this wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving post. It is my favorite holiday since I was a young girl. For my major Home Ec project in the early 60’s, I made a thanksgiving dinner for 10 people. In our tiny kitchen in the home my family rented, the stove was a 4 burner apartment stove with equally small oven. But it was such a wonderful experience to cement my love of cooking and baking, especially the Thanksgiving meal. We have our son and his family coming this year. My daughter-in-law and I love to make the dinner together with many of the things that you have. She absolutely loves the green bean casserole. My favoite is the stuffin which about anything goes in the mix. Then we love the leftovers the next day. I have the big roaster and have a place to actually use it in the garage to keep the kitchen cooler. I make a lot of the food for their week-long visit ahead of time to give more time to viist together. So keep encouraging all of us to get prepared for the unexpected. I can hardly wait to show my family the things we have added to our preparations: Blue Can water, Breathing mobile washer, and the Scrubba Washbag. My RVing neighbor ordered a Scrubba Washbag after watching the videos from my packaging. I look forward to each of your posts. Thanks for all you do to help us. May God bless you abundantly this year as you think about all that each of us have to be thankful for.

    1. Hi, Carol, oh I was thinking in my head how your kitchen looked back in the 60’s, what a great story! I’m so glad you love Thanksgiving as much as my family does, may you all enjoy the days around that wonderful T-day. I love to make a sandwich with the leftover turkey, a little stuffing, and some cranberry sauce. Oh, my gosh, my mouth is watering! Have a blessed day and keep up the prepping. God bless you, my friend, Linda

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