Maple-Mustard Glazed Fresh Ham
Fresh ham is different from the cured ham you may be used to. It's juicy, full of rich pork flavor, and much less salty—a wonderful special-occasion roast. Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes.
Smashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Chives
If you want to make the potatoes ahead, chill them and reheat just before serving, adding extra liquid to desired consistency. Stir in the chives just before serving. For a nice presentation, sprinkle additional chives over the top.
Roasted Side of Salmon with Shallot Cream
This dish is as simple as it gets, and yet it's very impressive for company. Shallots, dill, and lemon are classic flavorings for salmon. If you can't find crème fraîche, use sour cream.
A fresh, crisp salad balances the lineup of heavier, rich side dishes. You can follow a recipe or just compose one with pretty cuts of your favorite vegetables and herbs tossed with a light vinaigrette. Make this salad a day ahead if you want the flavors to absorb into the cauliflower a little more. Just hold off on adding the cheese until right before serving.
Herb and Citrus Roast Leg of Lamb
Orange and lemon in the marinade make for a bright counterpoint to the earthy cumin. Stuff leftovers into pitas, and drizzle with yogurt.
Supersavory Wild Rice Pilaf
The fluffy pilaf will soak in all the delicious juices from your plate making it the perfect side dish.
Home-Cooked Classic Menu: Apple Brandy-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Holiday pork roasts often use pork loin, a tasty cut but one that really needs to be brined to stay moist. But brining lengthens the cooking process by hours or even days, and we wanted something quicker. So we went with tenderloin, a buttery-soft cut that stays moist until it's cooked well done (and even then, sauce comes to the rescue). We cook it until pink in the middle, basting partway through to give the meat a flavorful crust, then drench it with sauce spiked with brandy and cider. We use unfiltered (cloudy) cider because it has pectin to thicken the sauce.
Mom's Smashed Mashed Potatoes
To keep potatoes warm until the meal is ready, place them, loosely covered, in a heatproof dish or bowl, and set them (without submerging them) in a larger pot of hot water over very low heat. They'll stay warm without scorching on the bottom.
Sage and Garlic-Rubbed Cornish Hens
The highlight of your meal is going to be a bird that's a twist on the classic. Because the hens are roasted spread out flat (called spatchcocking), the Thanksgiving main course is ready in less than an hour. You can't beat that.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots
When did the lowly sprout become a side dish superstar? This was a happy turn of events: It's a flavor-packed veggie that is both meaty and pleasingly bitter when sautéed or roasted, perfect for pairing with smoky bacon. Garlic, bacon, shallots, and just over 15 minutes are all you need to create this easy, 5-ingredient side dish with intense flavor. To trim Brussels sprouts, simply cut off the stem end and halve. If they're large, you can quarter them, just making sure the Brussels sprouts are cut into uniform pieces so that they'll cook evenly. If you don't want to discard the leftover bacon drippings, carefully transfer to a heatproof container, cool, and store in the fridge. You can use it as a replacement for any other cooking oil or fat.
Rosemary-Orange Roast Turkey
We like to give the bird a pretty finishing sheen by brushing on savory-sweet marmalade glaze. If you don't like the slightly bitter flavor of marmalade, you can substitute currant jelly for tart, bright flavor. Fresh rosemary brings the flavors of the turkey to life and will make your kitchen smell amazing. With a splash of citrus, this turkey is anything but bland, without being doused in high calorie glazes and sauces.
Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts
This side dish is positively Pacific Northwest, as Oregon produces ample amounts of cranberries and hazelnuts. Blanch the beans ahead, and store in the refrigerator for a quicker dinner.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Gastrique
The gastrique, a tangy-sweet glaze, is holiday worthy but also simple enough to pull off on a weekday.
Foolproof Cheese Fondue
Fondue is forever tied to the kitschy themed parties of the 1960s and 70s, but the dish is worth reviving: It's a casual, fun way to entertain. Nutritionally, fondue is a great way to stretch the calorie and saturated fat content of rich cheeses over several servings without losing any melty goodness. We add evaporated milk to make the base even creamier with fewer calories and less saturated fat. Guests will keep coming back for more. Any Gruyère works wonderfully here, but the aged kind has a bigger, nuttier flavor. While a double boiler is used in many recipes, you'll need a heavy saucepan and direct heat here to activate the cornstarch and thicken the fondue. Serve with tart, crisp apples and crusty whole-grain bread.
Hasseltots with Crème Fraîche and Caviar
This two-bite, no-fork-required appetizer is perfect for parties where guests will be juggling drinks and nibbles. Choose a sustainable, budget-friendly roe. Depending on what kind you choose, it can be affordable or break the bank. Make note of the origin to be sure you aren't buying caviar or roe from endangered fishing areas or species. We suggest Classic American White Sturgeon Caviar ($85/oz.), Paddlefish Caviar ($44/oz.), Salmon Roe ($8/oz.), and Masago ($5/oz.). Store opened caviar on ice, and use within one to two days. In a pinch, sour cream can stand in for the crème fraîche.
Sesame-Soy Nut and Pretzel Mix
If any one dish is devoured quickly and constantly (usually by the fistful) throughout the holiday, it’s snack mix. Consisting of salty nuts, pretzels, and cereal doused with a Worcestershire and butter, this innocent munchie racks up sodium and calories quickly. Our healthier version gives you all the salt, crunch, and bold spices of the original with the addition of whole-grain popcorn, toasty whole-wheat cereal, and spicy wasabi peas. The peas inspired an Asian track with toasty sesame oil and reduced-sodium soy sauce, cashews, and pungent ground ginger.
Perfect Beef Tenderloin
Inspired by J. Kenji López-Alt, author of The Food Lab and managing culinary director of Serious Eats, we take a 3-step, 5-ingredient approach to the best holiday roast: First, season, chill, and air-dry the beef overnight to create a flavorful crust; second, slow roast in a low oven to keep it extra juicy; and third, broil a few minutes to brown it. Serve with Board Dressing, Classic Horseradish Cream Sauce, or both. You can build the sauce on the cutting board where you'll carve your roast. Chop, stir, and mound the ingredients. Then rest the cooked roast on the dressing, roll it, and carve it so the roast's juices and the dressing marry.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Like other dairy products, be sure your butter doesn't contain additives with gluten.
You'll make more rosemary syrup than you need, but it's great to have extra on hand. It keeps well in the refrigerator, where it will last for 2 to 3 weeks. Molly suggests stirring some into club soda to make a rosemary soda, and mix with vodka or gin for a cocktail. Or, she suggests, "If you have a clean yard with freshly fallen snow, you can put some in a cup and drizzle the syrup over it" for a homemade snow cone. "That's really, really tasty," she says. You can also share the syrup with someone on your holiday gift list; attach a card with suggestions for how to use it.
Kale and Pomegranate Salad
Balancing hearty bites of kale and sweet notes of pomegranate, this salad is a flavorful, seasonal way to kick off a holiday meal. Packed with vitamins, and nutrients, kale and pomegranates are both superfoods that make for a wholesome, healthy salad. This starter is colorful and crowd-approved, making it the obvious option for your next hosting gig.
Sweet Potato Gratin
Evaporated milk unifies and enriches the layers of this dish. Use all sweet potatoes or mix them up. Use a loaf pan for maximum height, and bake gratin up to 2 days ahead. Rewarm, covered, in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.