Okay, folks, I’m hoping you’ve been following my pre-holiday workout plan that I laid out in last month’s post. If so, you have built-up your poultry roasting muscles. The big day isn’t far away and I trust you will be up to the task of confidently roasting that Big Bird now.

I have continued to roast a chicken once a week. There is one more roasting technique I want to try: the brown paper bag method. So far, my take-away from the pre-season roasting workout is: Keep It Simple. Butter, salt and a handed-down roasting pan never seem to disappoint.

Now the question is what to serve alongside the bird?

In my family, there are certain side dishes that one does not tamper with no matter what level of cooking qualifications you may possess and no matter how much you might like to play around with the ingredients.  I have and made the fatal mistake and the responses are, “Where are Papa’s mashed potatoes? Where are the canned creamed onions? Why aren’t the crispy onions on the green beans? Why didn’t you just use a Butterball?”

I have discovered that as long as I serve the deep-rooted traditional dishes, I can bring at least one new dish to the Thanksgiving table without a fuss. That new dish has involved sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts, or a butternut squash soup. Sometimes it’s been an apple pie in addition to the pumpkin. About ten years ago, at the height of my efforts to make the Thanksgiving meal a little healthier, I introduced a green salad to the table. Can I tell you what a respite that bit of green has become on a plate full of starch? I would even venture to say that the salad has almost earned “traditional dish” status.

I give you the recipe here in case you would like to introduce this bowl of fresh greens to your Thanksgiving Table as well.

Wishing you all the best with Thanksgiving meal preparations. Enjoy the time spent around the table with your family and friends.

I would love to know if you’ll be trying a new dish this Thanksgiving and what it will be. Please leave your comments below!

Deep Autumn Green Salad

Serves: 6


1 tbsp finely minced shallots

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp stone ground mustard

¼ tsp honey

½ cup fruity olive oil

Pinch of salt, to taste


1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces

1 med/lg Honeycrisp apple, cored and cut into thin slices

A handful or two of pomegranate seeds

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup shelled walnut halves/pieces, roasted and coarsely chopped*

Wash lettuce leaves. Make sure leaves are dry before tossing with dressing.

Combine shallots and vinegar in a bowl. Set aside to macerate for at least 10 minutes. Whisk in mustard and honey. While whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add a pinch or two of salt. Use a bit of lettuce to taste. Dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Put your prepared lettuce in a large bowl or on individual plates. Arrange apples on top, then pomegranate seeds, then blue cheese and finally walnuts. Toss with dressing right before serving. Enjoy.

*Roasted Walnut Pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss 1 cup walnut pieces with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread walnuts evenly on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool. These can be stored in an airtight container for a week or two.

Carrie Cook Minns
1859's Home Grown Chef | + posts