5-Ingredient, $5 Thanksgiving Sides

Photography by Jackie Alpers.
Is it just me, or can contributing to a Thanksgiving dinner get unexpectedly expensive and complicated, really fast? Something you thought would be an easy ask, like stuffing, can turn into a whole day in the kitchen with way too many ingredients. But things don't have to be that hard. In fact, in my culinary book, simpler is better. Here are three totally creative, delicious recipes that cost just $5 and include just five ingredients.
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Photography by Jackie Alpers.
Citrus-Infused Cranberry Sauce
Makes 4-6 servings

Grapefruit and orange take this simple cranberry sauce to the next level and create a brilliant tartness.


16 oz frozen or fresh cranberries (thawed if frozen)
1 orange, juiced (1/4 cup) and zested (1/2 tsp)
1 grapefruit, juiced (1/2 cup) and zested (1/2 tsp)
1 cup light-brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon


1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil, uncovered; immediately lower to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 30 minutes, until the cranberries have burst and all the flavors have blended together.

3. Serve warm or room-temperature.
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Photography by Jackie Alpers.
Cinnamon-Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Makes 4-6

Potatoes are like a blank canvas. While very inexpensive, they can serve up beautifully and elegantly when done right. Laced with sweet cinnamon and maple syrup and studded with raisins, these sweet potatoes will shine on your holiday table.


For Potatoes
4 large, uniformly shaped sweet potatoes, washed
5 tbsp canola oil, divided
¼ tsp salt
For Streusel Topping
8 cinnamon graham crackers (3/4 cups crushed)
¼ cup raisins
½ cup maple syrup, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking dish with tinfoil.

2. Cut about 8 slits into each potato, stopping just before you cut all the way through, so that the slices stay connected and the potato stays intact. Each slice should be about ¼ of an inch thick. Tip: Place potatoes in a baking dish or rimmed plate and use that as a guide. Slice straight down and stop cutting when your knife hits the edge.

3. Rub potatoes liberally with 3 tablespoons of oil, making sure to coat all sides and inside the slits. Sprinkle with salt and bake 50-60 minutes — until softened and cooked through, but not mushy. Time may vary, depending on size of potatoes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel: Place graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush until you have coarse crumbs. Add in 2 tablespoons oil, raisins, and ¼ cup maple syrup, and crush again until it resembles wet sand.

5. Remove potatoes from the oven and gently pull apart to expose slits. Stuff the slits with graham-cracker mixture. Drizzle each potato with remaining ¼ cup maple syrup, making sure to get into each slit.

6. Lower oven to 350° and place potatoes back in the oven to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
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Photography by Jackie Alpers.
Spiced-Pumpkin Stuffing Bread Pudding
Makes 6

Bread pudding and stuffing are two of my favorite dishes, so I figured, why not fuse them together to create the ultimate Thanksgiving comfort food? The result is this heavenly pumpkin side dish that is begging to be served at your Thanksgiving meal this year. Serving it family-style, straight from the baking dish, makes it all the more rustic and cozy-feeling.

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups spiced pumpkin pie filling (not plain pumpkin puree)
5 slices plain, white bread, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 tsp salt
4 eggs
oil for greasing baking dish


1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with oil.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Sauté on medium heat for 7-­10 minutes, until onion is golden. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin pie filling, bread, salt, and eggs. Add in the onion and mix well.

4. Pour into a prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30-­40 minutes until set and slightly browned. Serve warm.

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