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Holiday side dishes worth boycotting — and what to make instead

If people are sleepy after your big dinner, it may not be the L-tryptophan but the boring menu. Some holiday dishes are so tired that they need to be retired. If you want to revamp your table, give the following dishes a timeout — and make these alternatives instead.

BOYCOTT: Green Bean Casserole

When you ask your friends to bring a side dish to your Friendsgiving dinner, you end up getting ten green bean casserole dinners. Why? Because it’s easy to make. Just open a can of gelatinous Campbell’s mushroom soup and add it to your beans, then sprinkle on some crunch.

MAKE: Fresh Green Beans with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions

If you want some real cuisine, try a recipe that isn’t on the back of a package of fried onions. From comes a recipe that requires more time and effort — but it is so worth it. These green beans tossed with caramelized onions and salty, smoky pancetta will make your stomach happy instead of sitting like a brick in the pit of your gut.

Green bean side dish

BOYCOTT: Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are good for you, but when you dump a bunch of marshmallows on top of them? Not so much.

MAKE: Maple Balsamic Butternut Squash

For an autumnal sweet and savory treat, make this recipe for Maple Balsamic Butternut Squash from instead. Featuring squash with a balsamic and maple glaze, it also has the tart flavor of cranberries mixed with garlic, which is balanced by the addition of goat cheese. It’s fall in a bowl.

Sweet potato side

BOYCOTT: Canned Cranberry Sauce

When you are preparing, on the average, ten dishes for Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce tends to be the red-headed step-child of the table. It’s an afterthought usually popped out of a can at the last minute, retaining the ridged can shape as it sits shaking on the plate like sour Jell-O. Cranberry sauce deserves better.

MAKE: Vanilla Bourbon Balsamic Cranberry Sauce

With only slightly more effort, you can put oomph into this tart and sweet dish and feature it more prominently on the table. Vanilla Bourbon Balsamic Cranberry Sauce from features vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar and bourbon to give it a swift kick of delicious. You can serve it with the main meal or, as suggests, drizzle it on Brie cheese and make some crackers fall in love.

Cranberry sauce

BOYCOTT: Crescent Rolls

That doughboy can giggle all he wants, but his roll is really… basic. A basket of these can go unnoticed on a full holiday table, mostly because the taste can be similar to the foil-wrapped cardboard the dough comes in.

MAKE: No Knead Cloverleaf Rolls

Your guests are lucky if you make these scrumptious Cloverleaf Rolls. Somewhere between a Yorkshire pudding and a salt covered pretzel, they are light, fluffy and buttery. There’s no knead to go with any other bread.

No knead rolls

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