Cooking With Ease

The turkey is great, but at Thanksgiving, I look forward to some of the side dishes just as much. Sides do not have to be complicated, but they add so much to the meal.

I have included my Mom’s cranberry sauce recipe, which was passed down to her from her Mom. My Mom adjusted the measurements some, so that it would set up better. It is a simple recipe, two ingredients plus water. What makes it nice is that you can make it even a couple of weeks in advance. I have never in my life eaten a canned cranberry; we have always had Mom’s cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table.

Likewise, corn pudding could be made in advance, the night before and left in the refrigerator until time to bake it, saving valuable time when cooks are preparing all of the other food on Thanksgiving Day.

Parmesan-roasted green beans are the easiest of these three recipes, all you need to do is place the ingredients on a sheet pan and bake. They make a nice and lighter alternative to the green bean casserole dishes most of us are used to.

MOM’S CRANBERRY SAUCE

Ingredients:

Three 12-ounce packages of fresh cranberries, rinsed

3 cups sugar

2 cups water, total

— Put cranberries and 1 cup of water in large saucepan. Cook over high heat, continually stirring for about 10 minutes. The cranberries will pop open, and begin to release their juices.

— Over a second pan, place a sieve (strainer), and pour cranberries into strainer. Using a large spoon, press the berries through the sieve until all the juice and pulp of the berries are in the second pan, leaving only the skins of the berries in the strainer. Much of the pulp will accumulate at the bottom of the sieve. Just scrape it off with the spoon, and add to the rest of the pulp and juice. Discard skins.

Note: Cranberry sauce should set to a jelled consistency, if desired, you could add a little fruit pectin or unflavored gelatin. You could also add about ½ cup of orange juice in place of one-half cup of water for flavor and to set up better.

— Place the juice/pulp on a burner and add the other cup of water and sugar, stirring on high heat. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

— Pour into glass storage containers with lids. I use two 4-cup Pyrex bowls with lids. Let cool for at least one hour before placing lids on. Store in refrigerator. My Mom would use one container for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas.

SWEET CORN PUDDING

Ingredients:

Six ears fresh sweet corn (optionally, you could use 5 cups of frozen corn)

One-half cup milk

One-half cup heavy cream

One-half cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

One-half teaspoon cayenne pepper

Two eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

— Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease casserole dish.

— Shuck the corn and cut all kernels off with a knife into a bowl, making sure to keep all of the runoff juice from the corn, reserve.

— In a large bowl, mix together the milk, heavy cream, cheese, cayenne pepper and eggs. Pour mixture over reserved corn.

— Pour into casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes or until set.

PARMESAN-ROASTED GREEN BEANS

Ingredients:

1 pound thin green beans (haricots verts)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

— Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

— Trim off the tough end of the beans and arrange the beans on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake until the cheese melts and forms a crisp shell over the beans, about 10 minutes.

— Let the beans sit a few minutes for the cheese to cool slightly. Lift the beans out onto a platter and serve.

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