I say it every year: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What could possibly be wrong with a special day focused on food, family, and gratitude? A few years ago, our family became the host for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a challenge that I found very exciting, but I was also worried about combining traditions for two different families (and hopefully addiing our own to the mix). How would I manage? (And do it all with three kids running around?)
One obvious solution was to ask for help. So every year I delegate certain dishes to the people who cook them the best. That leaves me with the turkey and just a few sides.
Thanksgiving dishes don’t have to be heavy and fattening. It’s easy to lighten up your sides with Country Crock, a spread that has less fat and fewer calories than butter. I’ve given two of my Thanksgiving dishes a “make over” and I”m sharing them with you today. You’ll notice that they’re not fancy, they’re not involved, and they’re pretty traditional. They’re also pretty delicious, if I do say so myself!
First is my recipe for sweet potatoes. I didn’t grow up eating them at Thanksgiving (or ever), but my husband did, so I like to incorporate them into our meal. Instead of loading up the potatoes with marshmallows, I rely on maple syrup to add a little extra sweetness.
Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp. Country Crock spread
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove potatoes from oven and carefully cut each potato in half. Scoop out the flesh and combine in a bowl with the Country Crock, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Using a fork, whip until the mixture is creamy. Stuff the whipped potatoes back into the skins and arrange on a serving platter. (You can transfer the whipped potatoes directly into a serving dish, if you’d rather skip stuffing the potato skins.)
This recipe can easily be scaled up, adding an addition 1 Tbsp. Country Crock, 1 tsp. maple syrup, and 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for each additional sweet potato. You can also make this ahead and simply reheat in your oven as the turkey finishes cooking.
On to my second “must have” dish at Thanksgiving. Both of our families enjoy green beans, and they are a quick side dish that also adds a nice burst of color to your dinner spread. Adding lemon gives the beans a fresh, light flavor that provides a bit of contrast to all the heavy dishes.
Green Beans with Lemon
1 lb. trimmed, cut green beans (you can also use frozen beans)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Country Crock
Zest the lemon and squeeze out 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Set aside. Cook the green beans in a pot of boiling, salted water until they are tender (about 10 minutes). Drain the beans and return them to the pot. (Do not put it back on the heat.) Add the Country Crock and lemon juice. Toss until the Country Crock has melted. Transfer the beans to a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon zest.
Thank you to Good to Know & Unilever Spreads for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.