Wow! Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Fall is my favorite time of year but I swear it flies by the quickest! I’m having so much fun planning out what I’m going to cook for Thanksgiving this year. This is the first year we are spending Thanksgiving with Michael’s family. Yes, we’ve been married for over 6 years and this is the first time. I’m feeling a little guilty just talking about it. He honestly deserves a gold medal or “Husband of the Century” award for always being so ‘go with the flow.’ But it’s about time we spend a holiday with his family, and I am stoked!
Typically with my side of the family, we divvy out the responsibility of certain side dishes, but there are some Thanksgiving staples that always go to the same person. For instance, my grandma always makes the stuffing. Her stuffing is BOMB! I may be a little biased since it’s what I’m used to, but I swear she adds some grammy magic in there. Thankfully, she was kind enough to share her recipe with me. *Happy Dance!!*
This year, Michael and I are bringing the stuffing, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, and THE PIES. I feel a great sense of responsibility with these dishes because they are the ones I look forward to the most at Thanksgiving! The thought of preparing all of this is a little daunting, so I haven’t decided if we’re going to take the easy route and buy one of the pies from Costco. That may seem like cheating on Thanksgiving but have you tried Costco pies? They’re GOOD.
Each year we usually bring some sort of veggie, and for the past couple of years we’ve been roasting brussels sprouts and carrots. It’s just so easy and delicious. But I wanted to change it up this year and add some more seasonal ingredients. The medley in this recipe includes brussels sprouts, carrots, dried cranberries and pecans. You could also add sweet potato or butternut squash!
Now, Thanksgiving day tends to be a little hectic, but it should be a day where you spend most of your time with friends and family. I used a stalk of brussels sprouts, but to cut back on time you could just buy a bag of brussels sprouts. You can also chop the veggies up and make the dressing ahead of time. Just store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to prepare the dish on Thanksgiving day.
Originally I tried making this recipe with fresh cranberries, but after multiple attempts, I decided to go with dried cranberries. Fresh cranberries have a lot of water in them and by the time the veggies finished cooking, the water from the cranberries left a bit of a soppy mess. I prefer my vegetables, especially brussels sprouts, a little crispy.
Michael and I always dream about making new family traditions with our children in the future. One thing my family does every year is go around the dinner table and say what we’re thankful for. The person next to you not only has to say what they are thankful for, but also has to repeat what everyone before them is thankful for. We’ll see if Michael’s family is up for the challenge! What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Leave them in the comment section below!
- 1 large stalk of brussels sprouts (or about 32 sprouts)
- 2 large carrots
- ½ cup pecan halves
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ orange, zested
- Orange Maple Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ orange, juiced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse the brussels sprouts and carrots.
- Trim the brussels sprouts by cutting off the bottoms and removing any damaged leaves. Cut the brussels sprouts in half, top to bottom.
- Cut the carrots into 1-2 inch chunks, cut each chunk in half, then cut each half into thirds length wise to make carrot strips.
- Add the brussels sprouts and carrots to an oven safe dish.
- Prepare the dressing by adding oil and maple syrup to a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the bowl. I used a lemon juicer by cutting the orange into fourths so that each piece would fit. The lemon juicer helps prevent any pulp or seeds from getting into the dressing. Add the black pepper and salt, and whisk until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix everything together until evenly distributed. Zest the orange over the top of the veggies.
- Bake for 75 minutes, stirring after the 25 minute and 50 minute mark so that the veggies roast evenly but don't burn.
- minutes before it finishes cooking, add the pecans and dried cranberries.
- Serve as a festive and delicious side dish at Thanksgiving!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! Let me know what your favorite family traditions are in the comments below!