Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Sides

Time is a valuable commodity around Thanksgiving! There never seems to be enough time to get all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner finished at the same time. These quick and easy sides are a life saver! They can easily be prepared ahead, and they are sure to earn rave reviews from your guests. Try a new twist on traditional stuffing by baking it in a muffin tin. The individual sized portions are perfect for a buffet table and make serving easy!

Cheddar Corn Casserole

This delicious corn casserole combines all the tasty flavors and vibrant colors of fall, from the juicy yellow corn to the gooey orange cheddar to the tangy red paprika topping! This casserole can easily be prepared up to two days in advance; simply store covered in refrigerator, reheating prior to serving.

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups fresh corn kernels (or thawed frozen)

2/3 cup reduced-fat milk

1 small package (4 ounce size) reduced-fat cream cheese (neufchâtel)

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

¾ cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

3 eggs

1 tablespoon paprika


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place oven rack in middle position. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick spray.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté until lightly brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.; add garlic. Sauté until fragrant but not brown, about 2-3 minutes. Place onion mixture in medium bowl; add corn, milk, 1½ cup cheddar, cream cheese, ½ cup panko, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons chives. Stir well; add eggs. Stir until well-combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter; place in medium bowl. After slightly cooling, stir in ½ cup panko, ½ cup cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon chives. Sprinkle topping over filling in pie pan. Place pie pan on cookie sheet; bake for 30-35 minutes, until slightly puffed and light brown. Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with paprika prior to serving.

Yield: 10 servings. Calories (per serving): 120; Fat 4g; 
Cholesterol 47g. Cost Per Serving: $.67

Stuffing Muffins

6 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh bay leaf

4 ribs celery, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 medium McIntosh apples, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

8 cups cubed bread stuffing mix

2-3 cups chicken stock


Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter a muffin tin with 2 tablespoons butter. Place 4 tablespoons butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. When melted, add bay leaf and vegetables in order listed, then add apples. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasoning. Cook 5-7 minutes, until beginning to soften; add parsley, stuffing mix and 2 cups broth. Stir well to combine. If mixture is dry, add additional broth until moist but not wet. Remove bay leaf. Using an ice cream scoop, divide stuffing into muffin tins. Bake until set and tops are slightly crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 servings. Calories (per serving): 165; Fat 3.2g; 
Cholesterol 38g. Cost Per Serving: $.86.

Suzette Zara is a cookbook author, certified nutritionist, creator of Satan’s Salsa (SatansSalsa.com) and a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking. Suzette@SuzetteZara.com