Thanksgiving “Happiness” is all about the Sides and Dessert

With Thanksgiving only four days away, odds are that you already have your Turkey Day menu set and are gearing up to hit Whole Foods some time tomorrow.  If you are more of a procrastinator, or just have not had the time to even think about what to put on your holiday table, here are some recipes for quick and delicious sides and a tasty dessert that I will be preparing for my family this Thanksgiving.

Roasted Beets, Pickled Red Onions, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese (Serves 6)


  • 6 large red beets
  • 4 oz. aged goat cheese (Bucheron, cana, or Humbolt fog)
  • 2 oz. pickled red onions
  • 2 oz. hazelnuts, peeled, roasted
  • 1 orange
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 leaves chervil or taragon leaves

Picked Red Onions – Ingredients:

  • 2 large red onions
  • 1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepot.  Make sure to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the hot vinegar over the onions in a a bowl, chill and reserve until ready to serve.


Place the beets, skin on, in a roasting pan with 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and a good dusting of salt.Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until the flesh of the beet is pierced easily with a knife.

Roast Hazelnuts in oven at 350 Degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Chop hazelnuts with knife until coarse.Allow beets to cool and then peel the skin with the abrasion of a dish towel.Cut the beets in cubes about ½ inch square and place on a platter or plate. Meanwhile, combine the juice of 1 orange, shallots, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture becomes emulsified.

In a medium mixing bowl toss the beats with orange dressing, check seasoning and then top with pieces of the cheese, hazelnuts and the pickled red onions.

Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta, Chestnuts and Lemon


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, rinse, dry, cut in half
  • 3/4 lb. chestnuts, peeled, cut in half
  • ½ Lb. Pancetta, diced about ½ inch squares
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Chestnuts – How to roast and peel:

Chestnut season runs from early October through late December. Look for healthy, unwrinkled shells and a glossy brown surface. Dingy or mottled shells may indicate mold, and small pinholes likely indicate that worms have been drilling; avoid such nuts. Fresh chestnuts are firm to the touch and heavy in the hand, with no space between the shell and the meat of the nut inside.

First, using a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference.  After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a chestnut roasting pan or a rimmed baking pan, and roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes.  While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. Reserve chestnuts for brussels sprouts.


In a large skillet or saute pan heat the pancetta on medium heat until golden brown. Reserve the fat and pancetta seperately for later. 

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper. Cook until golden (15-17 mins).  Add chestnuts and Cook for 20-25 mins. Raise heat to medium-high and add vinegar, chicken broth and sugar.  Cook until liquid is reduced to syrup (4-5 mins). Squeeze lemon over and zest on top. 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes


  • Cake:1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Stay tuned as tomorrow I shop for the recipes that I have shared and prepare these dishes on Tuesday.


One thought on “Thanksgiving “Happiness” is all about the Sides and Dessert

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipe: Jamie DeRosa’s Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta … | Food Square Recipes

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