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Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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Twisted Sweet Potato Casserole

5 sweet potatoes (you can use canned)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 can crushed pineapple in own juice
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. white sugar (Truvia can be used instead)
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 c. butter, softened
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake sweet potatoes 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until they begin to soften. Cool slightly, peel, and mash. (If using canned drain and mash.) in cheese cloth or a fine strainer drain pineapple. Try and remove as much as you can. In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, pineapple, salt, 1/4 cup butter, cayenne pepper, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and milk. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix with a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until topping is crisp and lightly browned. Serves around 6 people.

Sauteed Green Beans with Red Pepper and Water Chestnuts

1 lb. green beans (frozen will work but thaw first)
1 can water chestnuts (drained)
1 large red bell pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
pinch of sea salt for taste
2 Tbsp. parsley chopped (dried is ok)

Snap the ends of the green beans but leave long (for presentation). In a sauce pan place green beans and add 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and pat dry. In a sauté pan add your olive oil and garlic and heat. Add water chestnuts and red pepper carefully (they might pop). Now add green beans and heat until hot. You want to keep everything crisp. Remove and plate. Garnish with parsley. Serves around 4.

Sauce for Wild Mushroom Ravioli

1½ Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in milk. Return pan to heat, bring to boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in gorgonzola and remove from heat.

Autumn Bellini

2 quarts apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 lemons, juiced
1 granny smith apple, washed, cored, skin-on and cut into thin sticks
1 bottle dry Prosecco, chilled

In a medium-size pot combine the cider, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir to blend and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Cool. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate. When ready to serve pour the cider halfway up champagne flutes, add one or two apple sticks, and top with Prosecco.