3 Easy Side Dishes to Serve with Your Holiday Dinner


In our family, Christmas dinner looks like this: my mother-in-law hosts the main holiday meal and is in charge of cooking the turkey, stuffing and gravy. Her three sons and their wives are in charge of providing all of the side dishes, including mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and dessert.
At minimum, there are sixteen of us around the table, including eight children ranging in age from two to thirteen. Because we are a mix of generations, with a variety of taste preferences, we try to keep our side dishes simple yet flavourful, offering familiar ingredients that the kids are likely (hopefully!) to eat. In addition, we try to make dishes that are simple in preparation, which is essential as we’€™re all busy parents in need of seasonal shortcuts wherever we can find them.

Here are three of the simple side dishes that often make an appearance on our holiday dinner table:

1. Orange and Honey Glazed Carrots with Thyme

Place 2 lbs. of baby carrots in a large saucepan, cover with water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 10’€“15 minutes. Drain well. In the same pot you used to boil the carrots, combine 2 tablespoons of honey, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the juice of 1 large navel orange. Cook until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Add the carrots and stir gently to coat them with the sticky sauce. Continue cooking until the carrots are hot and glazed. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme, and serve hot. To make up to two days in advance, transfer glazed carrots to a casserole dish and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge. Reheat in a 400-degree oven until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grainy Mustard Sauce

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Slice the ends off the bottom of the sprouts (cook as many as you need for your family) and cut each in half. Remove the outer leaves and the toss the rest onto a large baking sheet, separating some of the leaves from the core. Add a few glugs of olive oil, season well with sea salt and lots of fresh ground pepper, and massage the oil and spices into the sprouts, placing the cut sides down on the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the leaves are a dark amber colour and the cores are nicely caramelized. Combine equal amounts of honey and grainy Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Transfer the cooked veggies to a serving bowl and drizzle the mustard sauce over, gently tossing to combine. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of sauce per each two-person serving of sprouts

3. French Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Cook trimmed green beans in a pot of salted boiling water until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool completely. Drain again and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. To serve, melt butter (1/4 cup for every 2 lbs. of beans) in a large skillet. Add the beans and toss until heated through. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with toasted almond slices, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.


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