By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Mashed potatoes, side dishes and dessert for Thanksgiving Day

Many of us enjoy the side dishes at the Thanksgiving Day dinner table as much or more than the turkey.

Last week we discussed stuffing/dressing and this week we will talk other important side dishes. First out of the gate is mashed potatoes. One year I suggested we take this dish off the menu since we had so many other starchy dishes. Ha! After my people threatened mutiny, I put it back on the menu.

As many of you know, Paul grew up in Northern Maine, picking potatoes like most of the children did back then. His love of potatoes led me to create the ultimate mashed potato recipe. These are not low in fat. Instead, you feel like you gain weight just reading the recipe. But, it is once a year and so I say, go for it.

The ultimate mashed potatoes

3 1/2 to 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chives, finely minced


Add peeled and cut up potatoes to pot and cover with cold water. Add bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil and then continue cooking until potatoes are fork tender, 20 minutes or so. Drain and discard bay leaf. Heat whipping cream and butter until boiling. Whisk potatoes, adding salt, pepper and the hot cream/butter mixture a little at a time, until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with chives and serve immediately.


Green bean casserole is also always on the menu. But why not skip the canned mushroom soup recipe and try making it from scratch. I promise, it’s simple and infinitely better.

Green bean casserole

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup onion, finely minced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup mushrooms, diced

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup milk, preferably whole

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces or a large bag of frozen cut green beans

1 can fried onions


In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for two or three minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another few minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and salt and cook, stirring constantly until mushrooms begin to brown, a few more minutes. Pour in the stock and milk, continuing to stir. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about four or five minutes. Set aside.

Blanch green beans in boiling water or cook frozen green beans according to package directions. Remove and drain well. In a large bowl, combine cooked green beans with mushroom gravy. Stir in ½ cup fried onions and then pour into a buttered casserole dish. Top with remaining fried onions. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.


Sweet potatoes are also always on the menu, and this recipe uses maple syrup giving it a unique flavor.

Sweet potato casserole

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until tender. Cool. Scoop out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and discard skins. Mash the potatoes and then add in the eggs, butter, syrup, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, whisking to combine. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and sprinkle with pecans. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.


Dessert at our home varies from year to year, but apple pie is definitely a family favorite.

Apple pie


2 1/2 cups flour

4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons ice cold water

2.5 sticks of butter

In food processor, add flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles corn meal. Add the egg and ice water and pulse until dough comes together. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.



2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup butter

1 egg, lightly beaten


Toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice. Pour sugar over apples and toss to combine. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and combine. Divide dough in half and roll each one out. Place pie dough in a pie shell and trim edges. Add apples with their juices. Dot with butter and top with dough. Cut several vents. Brush with egg. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 50 minutes. If edges brown too fast, cover them with foil.

Check out next Friday’s food column where I will be talking turkey!