On TV: 3 Easy Sides for Thanksgiving

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Judging by the lines at the grocery store, the furrowed foreheads of shoppers clutching lengthy lists, and the questions about making things ahead of time, serving sizes and the like, Thanksgiving is almost here.

If this comes as a surprise to you, don’t panic.  Whether you need inspiration for your own table or need to bring a dish to another, you’ll find what you need in my segment on “3 Easy Sides for Thanksgiving” on the Charlotte Today show this morning.   For your convenience, recipes are below.  For tips and tricks, check out the segment.

Travel safe! Eat well!  And enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Winter Greens with Garlic and Bacon – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 6-8

4 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ pounds winter greens (such as collards, chard, and/or kale), stems removed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup beef broth

In a large pot over medium heat, render the bacon until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrot and cook until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add half of the greens and toss until wilted. Add remaining greens and toss them until wilted. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and beef broth.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the greens are tender, at least 30 minutes.   Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumbled the bacon over the top and serve immediately.

Baked Acorn Squash with
Miso Butter Glaze and Walnuts
Printer Friendly Recipe 

Miso comes in many flavors and colors. I like shiro (also known as white) miso. It is mild and sweet and not as salty as other misos

1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1-tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
½ tablespoon shiro miso
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the acorn squash halves, cut side up, on a small baking sheet. Melt ½ tablespoon of the butter and brush it over the yellow flesh of both halves. Bake for 45 minutes.

Melt the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter and stir in the dark brown sugar and miso until smooth.   Stir in the walnut pieces.

When the squash has cooked for 45 minutes, remove the squash from the oven and drizzle the miso butter glaze over the two halves. Use a brush to cover all of the yellow flesh with the sauce and walnut mixture. Bake for another 15 minutes until fork tender, basting the squash with the glaze once during cooking. Serve hot.

Poached Pear Salad with Gorgonzola over Mixed Greens – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 6

Adding a few peeled and sliced red beets to the poaching liquid ensures that your pears come out a brilliant, ruby-red color. Hate beets? Don’t worry – the beets don’t affect the flavor of the pears.

For salad:
3 cups dry red wine, more if needed
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, and cored
½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
6 cups mixed greens

For dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the red wine, star anise, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Simmer the wine mixture for five minutes before adding in the pear halves. Add more wine if needed to cover the pears. Reduce the heat to medium-low and poach the pear halves for 45 minutes or until they are tender. Turn the pear halves occasionally to ensure equal cooking. Once tender, remove the pear halves from the poaching liquid and set them aside to cool. Note: If not serving immediately, the pear halves can be left in the poaching liquid and refrigerated until ready to serve.

To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, the minced shallot, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil to the vinegar mixture while whisking constantly. Season the dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To assemble the salad, cut the pear halves into thin slices. Pour some of the dressing into a large bowl and add the mixed greens. Toss the greens with the dressing, adding more dressing if needed. Mound 3/4 cup of mixed greens on each plate and top with the pear slices. Sprinkle the salad with the gorgonzola crumbles and serve immediately.

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