Easy sides for a holiday meal

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Every one has their holiday meal traditions.  On Thanksgiving and Christmas my mother always roasted a turkey.  Stuffing and gravy  Sweet potatoes.  Green beans.  Cranberry sauce. Coleslaw.  My mother always made cole slaw with the holiday turkey and with a Sunday roast beef.  Always.  Not sure why she did, but I loved her cole slaw and it wouldn’t be a special dinner for me without it.

Here are three easy, make ahead recipes to include with your holiday dinner.

Cole Slaw

Ingredients:
a small head of cabbage (or half a large head)
water (that is on the leaves after you rinse and drain it)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
sprinkle of salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
mayonnaise

Directions:
1.  Slice the cabbage into thin strips, then again crosswise.  Do not use the stem or core of the cabbage.  (You can use a food processor for this but be sure to use the attachment with the large holes).


2.  Rinse the sliced cabbage in a colander with water.  Allow to drain for a few minutes. You want wet cabbage but not too much water.
3.  Put the sliced and rinsed cabbage in a large bowl.  Put in the vinegar and salt.  Stir.IMG_6995
4.  Let the cabbage, vinegar, and salt sit for about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
5.  After the cabbage, vinegar, and salt have marinated together for a while, add the mayonnaise.  Start with a 1/4 cup and mix well.  Add to your taste.  Be sure to taste as you go.  IMG_7007
6.  After you have added the mayonnaise to your liking, serve or chill.  Cole slaw will last 24 hours in a covered dish.

Cranberry Sauce (so easy the children can help!)

Ingredients:
1 pound of fresh cranberries (about 3-4 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Directions:
1.  Rinse the cranberries and pick out any bad ones.
2.  Dump cranberries in a large pot.  Add 1/2 cup water.

Heat on medium until the berries begin to pop.  You will hear them and see them pop!  (about 8 minutes).IMG_7028
3.  Once the berries have started popping, add the 1/2 cup of sugar.

Stir into the simmering berries until the sugar is absorbed.  That’s it!


4.  You can serve the sauce with the berries simply popped or you can mash the sauce with a potato masher or you can blend the sauce with an immersion blender.


5.  Serve hot or cold.  This can be made several days ahead and keeps about a week in the refrigerator.

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Fried onions with thyme and balsamic vinegar

Ingredients:
6 to 10 onions (a panful)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:
1. Clean and slice 6 to 10 large onions.  Enough to fill a very large frying pan.
2.  Melt butter and olive oil together in the frying pan on medium heat.


3.  Toss in the sliced onions.  Stir them around so the slices are separated.IMG_7049
4.  Allow the onions to slowly cook over medium heat.  Stir frequently.  The onions are going to slowly caramelize.  The key is low and slow.  The process of cooking the onions can take 20 to 30 minutes.


5.  When the onions are done (they should be limp and brownish…not burnt) add the thyme and balsamic vinegar. Stir.


6.  Serve these warm with turkey, chicken, or roast beef.
7.  The cooked onions can be stored for a week in a jar in the refrigerator.  (They make a wonderful and quick start to any fried vegetable dish and a fabulous addition to any hot sandwich.

Holidays are hectic no matter how much planning is done.  These three simple dishes are easy, delicious, and will help make a big dinner even more impressive.

Hint #1:
If you are storing your food in jars…wide mouth jars and wide mouth funnels are very helpful.  You can get them almost anywhere!

Hint #2:
To get rid of the onion smell on your hands (works with garlic too)…wash your hands with soap and touch stainless steel while washing.  Cutlery, pot, the faucet.  I have a little stainless steel “bar of soap”…works like a charm!

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Thanksgiving turkeys can be ordered from Springdale Farm.

Cabbage – Savoie Organic Farm, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm

Cranberries – Springdale Farm, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm

Onions – Savoie Organic Farm, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm

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