Special Occasion Sides - Roasted Fall Vegetables, Apple Sage Stuffing and Asparagus Polenta Gratin
Total Time - up to 1 hour / Makes 8 Servings
Special occasions usually involve much more effort than everyday meals. This is a collection of outstanding side dishes, done Simple Meals style, so you can give your attention to other details. They are designed to accompany a nice main course such as a rib roast, baked ham, or roasted turkey. While the meat is cooking, prepare any or all of the side dishes for baking.
- During the meat stand time (essential before carving), increase oven to 450°F.
- Bake Roasted Fall Vegetables and Asparagus Polenta Gratin for 10 minutes; then add Apple Sage Stuffing to oven (see each recipe for more details).
- Complete your menu with warm dinner rolls and petite gourmet pastries.
Roasted Fall Vegetables
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups pre-diced fresh sweet potatoes
2 cups pre-diced fresh butternut squash
2 cups refrigerated red potato wedges
1 1/2 cups fresh baby carrots
1/2 cup pre-diced red onions
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk apple butter and oil, in large bowl, until smooth. Stir in all vegetables until well coated.
- Line baking sheet with foil; arrange vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle garlic salt and seasoned pepper over top. Bake 35–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender and golden. Serve.
Prep and Cook: 45 minutes (Makes 8 servings.)
Apple Sage Stuffing
1 pound ground pork sausage with sage
8 ounces trinity mix (fresh diced onions, peppers, celery)
1/2 cup dried berry medley (berries and raisins)
1 large Granny Smith apple (rinsed)
1 tablespoon flour
1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (6-ounce) box cornbread stuffing mix
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Crumble sausage into pan (wash hands); stir in trinity mix and berries. Cook 5–7 minutes, stirring often, until meat is well browned and vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, peel apple; cut into small pieces.
- Stir flour into sausage mixture and cook 2 minutes, stirring often, until flour is hot and well blended into mixture.
- Stir in apple, broth, and stuffing mix until well blended. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; add stuffing mixture. Bake 20–25 minutes or until golden and internal temperature reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Prep and Cook: 40 minutes (Makes 8 servings.)
Asparagus Polenta Gratin
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
large zip-top bag
1 pound fresh asparagus spears (rinsed)
1 (17-ounce) tube prepared polenta (plain or flavored)
2 tablespoons herb garlic butter
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Place flour and seasoned salt in zip-top bag; shake to mix. Cut 1 inch from tough root end of each asparagus spear and discard. To do this quickly, group half the spears together, align ends, and slice with sharp knife. Cut into 2-inch pieces; add to bag.
- Cut tube of polenta in half (this allows wrapper to be easily removed); discard packaging. Cut into bite-size pieces and add to bag; seal tightly and gently shake to coat.
- Place butter in small microwave-safe bowl (or into baking dish, if microwave-safe); microwave on HIGH 15–20 seconds or until butter melts. Pour into 2-quart baking dish; swirl to coat. Add asparagus mixture; then pour half-and-half evenly over mixture. Cover dish tightly with foil; bake 30 minutes.
- Remove foil. Sprinkle cheese over top; bake 5–7 more minutes (uncovered) or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Prep and Cook: 1 hour (Makes 8 servings.)
Utensils & Cookware
large sauté pan, baking sheet
two 2-quart baking dishes
small microwave-safe bowl
large bowl, cooking spoons
vegetable peeler, whisk
knife and cutting board
Foods should not sit out more than two hours. Divide leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Don't stuff the shelves; good air circulation is required.
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