Thanksgiving Side Dishes

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I have been receiving many requests for easy side dish ideas. Here I have complied 4 sides that will make the perfect addition to any menu! In this post, I will share the recipes for four Thanksgiving side dishes that can each be made in less than 25 minutes! I begin by sharing my favorite homemade cranberry sauce, the ultimate silky smooth mashed potatoes, garlic-parmesan green beans and roasted delicata squash! 


Cranberry Sauce

I start with the ever classic, cranberry sauce. If you plan to serve cranberry sauce, please do not use that stuff out of a metal jar. Its SO easy to make fresh and you won’t have that weird tin taste. 

I infused my cranberry sauce with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and topped it with mint for freshness! 

cranberry sauce

Here is my recipe:

4.3 from 3 reviews
Cranberry Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 nutmeg pod
  • ½ tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combined cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick and nutmeg pod.
  4. Allow to cool completely and top with fresh mint.
  5. Enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes 

One of my favorite side dishes are mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes that are rich, creamy and smooth! I first learned about mascarpone while watching Giada DeLarentes on Food Network. She added them to her potatoes and I had to re-create them immediately. There are a few important steps to take with mashed potatoes.


4.3 from 3 reviews
Mashed Potatoes
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for topping
  1. Boil potatoes until soft and tender
  2. Drain water off potatoes.
  3. Add in the butter, mascarpone, heavy cream. Using an electric mixer, mix the potatoes until smooth.
  4. Taste for salt and add additional to your liking
  5. Top with chopped chives, freshly ground black pepper and remaining butter
  6. Enjoy!

  1. Potatoes must be cooked properly. Inserting a knife into the center of the potato, it should come out easily and clean. 
  2. Be sure butter, mascarpone and cream are at room temperature. 
  3. Use a mixer to mash the potatoes, this ensures they are smooth and even throughout. 

thanksgiving side dishes

I mean look at this *drools over keyboard*

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

With the oven being occupied with the turkey, a casserole and maybe some roasted sweet potatoes, I like to make veggie sides that can be made on the stove top. These are super easy, yet delicious green beans, that can replace a heavier side and provide a crisp, bright, side dish to the table. 

The key to making the perfect textured green beans, is blanching. This means placing the green beans in boiling water, then immediately immersing them in ice water to stop the cooking process. 


4.3 from 3 reviews
Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • ½ teaspoon malton flake salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  1. Bring 5 quarts salted water to a rolling boil
  2. Prepare a bowl of ice water along side the pot
  3. Place the green beans into the water and boil for 3 minutes
  4. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and place immediately in the ice water
  5. Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté garlic
  6. Add the green beans to the skillet and heat for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat
  7. Top with parmesan
  8. Enjoy 🙂

Roasted Delicata Squash 

Delicata squash is great for many reasons. One being is you can eat the skin, making preparation very easy. For this dish, I sliced the ends off the squash, spooned out the seeds and roasted the squash. 

4.3 from 3 reviews
Roasted Delicata Squash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 large delicata squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • micro-greens for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut ends off squash and spoon out the insides.
  3. Slice squash into ¼ inch rings.
  4. Place on lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Roast until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and top with pomegranate, goat cheese and micro greens
  7. Enjoy 🙂

delicata squash



Make any of these recipes? Put your own twist on them? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate #CreateAmandasPlate 

I am so thankful for all of you who continue to read and support Amanda’s Plate! I appreciate that you trust in my recipes and make them in your homes for your loved ones! THANK YOU <3



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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue Topping

pumpkin cheesecake, amandas plate pumpkin cheesecake

Cheesecakes are my absolute favorite desserts! They were the first recipe I learned to make on my own. I was in fourth grade and was looking for a book to purchase at the book fair. I selected a cookbook and I couldn’t wait to get home and start baking!

I made my cheesecake first at age 11 and ever since then, I have been tweaking and perfecting the recipe. I created this pumpkin cheesecake after multiple requests from Hussein! 😀

pumpkin cheesecake with marshmallow meringue topping

Tips For Cheesecake Baking: 

  1. Start with room temperature ingredients, this includes the cream cheese! It will be easier to mix your batter into a smooth, silky texture.
  2. Whip your batter far on low speed. You want the batter to be super smooth, but you do not want to introduce a ton of air in. The air will create pockets that will crack when cooling. 
  3. Pre-bake your crust! This helps ensure it is the proper texture and maintains its shape.
  4. Bake in a water bath. This means placing your cheesecake pan in a large pan and surrounding the cheesecake with water. *be sure to wrap your spring form pan in foil to prevent the water from ruining your crust.
  5. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the oven door cracked. Do this for about 20 minutes for a slow cooling process to prevent cracking.

The cheesecake can be made a day ahead of time. Make the marshmallow meringue the same day you will be serving it!

marshmallow meringue pumpkin cheesecake

I mean, look at that topping!!!! 


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue Topping
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Pumpkin Filling
  • 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 1¼ cups white sugar
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
Ginger Snap Crust
  • 2 cups finely ground ginger snap cookies
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Meringue Topping
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap 9 inch spring form pan with heavy aluminum foil. Be sure that the entire pan is covered in the foil and that there are no openings to the pan.
  3. Combine ginger snap crumbs, flour, brown sugar and melted butter.
  4. Using back of measuring cup, press crumbs onto sides of your pan.
  5. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Cheesecake Batter
  1. Mix cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla and spice on low speed until smooth.
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in flour.
  3. Pour batter into crust.
  4. Place spring form pan onto a large cookie sheet and surround with 3 cups of water.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool in the oven, with the door open for 15 minutes.
Make your Meringue
  1. In your stand mixer, mix the egg whites until fluffy.
  2. Add cream of tartar. Continue whisking and increase speed.
  3. Add in vanilla extract.
  4. Add sugar and continue to whisk mixture until shiny, stiff peaks form.
  1. Be sure to cool cheesecake completely.
  2. Pipe or scoop meringue onto the top of cheesecake.
  3. Torch the marshmallow meringue
  4. Enjoy 🙂

pumpkin cheesecake

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or #CreateAmandasPlate

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Mini Pecan Tarts

I absolutely love pecan pie. However, it is not a pie I grew up eating. Our family enjoyed pumpkin, sweet potato and apple pie during our Thanksgiving gatherings. It was not until I saw an episode of the Pioneer Woman where we baked a pecan pie, that I decided to try it and immediately loved it. 

pecan tarts

I created my mini pecan tarts as a spin off of the classic pecan pie. I really love individual desserts, as they make serving so easy! 

For the crust, I used a short pastry that I have been using in my lemon bars for years. I love this crust because it is a few simple ingredients, is fool-proof and it is absolutely delicious. 

mini pecan pies

I will be making these for my family this Thanksgiving. I love that they can be made ahead and will keep for two days at room temperature stored in an air tight container 😀

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Pecan Tarts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ⅔ cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, 2 cups AP flour, brown sugar and pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture begins to come together. Add in the ice water and pulse a few more time, until the dough comes together.
  3. Divide the dough evenly into each tartlet pan. Press the dough up the sides. Prick the dough with a fork.
  4. Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. While the dough is blind baking, make the filling.
  6. Whisk egg, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  7. Remove the crusts from the oven. Place1 tablespoon pecans in each tartlet.
  8. Pour the filling over the pecans. Return tartlets back to the oven for 12-15 minutes, until they are just set.
  9. Remove from oven and enjoy!

amandas plate mini pecan pies


Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or #CreateAmandasPlate

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