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Easy holiday entertaining: Oven to table side dishes

Karen Miner is the Food & Travel Assignment Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of ori...

Less stress, less mess

Simplify your holiday dinners by cooking side dishes that can go straight from oven to table, no serving dishes required. There will be less stress, less mess and fewer dishes, which is always a good thing.

Wild rice and sausage stuffing

Holiday entertaining can be stressful, especially just before your meal is ready to be served. With all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen, timers going off and multiple dishes coming out of the oven, it can be overwhelming. By taking advantage of cookware that can double as serving dishes, you'll get your holiday dinner on the table in no time. Cookware like Calphalon's Simply Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron products can go from the oven, straight to the table, leaving you more time to enjoy your guests and relax with a well-deserved glass of wine.

Wild rice and sausage stuffing recipe

Skip stuffing the turkey and make this stand-alone side dish instead. It just may be the star of your Thanksgiving spread.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 hot Italian sausages
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/4 cups uncooked wild rice blend
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove casing from sausages and brown in a five-quart Dutch oven, breaking it up into small pieces. When browned, remove sausage and drain on paper towels. Reserve. (Sausage does not need to be cooked through, as it will finish cooking in the oven.)
  3. Add olive oil to same pot and saute onions and celery over medium heat for about five minutes, or until softened.
  4. Deglaze pot with white wine, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Let wine simmer until no liquid remains.
  5. Add mushrooms, fennel and garlic to onion mixture. Cook for about seven minutes, or until softened.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Add sausage, rice and chicken broth to pot. Stir well to combine. Top with cubes of butter. Cover and bake in oven for one hour.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes before serving. Top with chopped parsley if desired.

Potato and zucchini gratin

Potato and zucchini gratin recipe

You won't miss those cream and cheese-filled, fattening scalloped potatoes with this lightened up version of a classic.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces red potatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided use
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut ends off potatoes and zucchini, then slice very thinly. (A mandoline works well.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof frying pan. Saute shallots until soft. Add red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for another minute.
  4. Remove pan from stovetop and let cool slightly.
  5. Layer potato slices into the pan in concentric circles, overlapping each slice by about half. Cover entire bottom of pan.
  6. Season layer of potatoes with salt and pepper, then top with about one-quarter cup of Gruyere cheese.
  7. Repeat with zucchini, making one layer on top of the potatoes, then season with salt and pepper and top with another one-quarter cup of Gruyere cheese.
  8. Lastly, add one more layer of potatoes on top of zucchini. Pour chicken broth over the top, letting it soak down to the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, top with remaining Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Dot top with cubed butter.
  9. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more. (Check for doneness with a fork. Depending on thickness of potatoes, gratin might need to cook longer.)
  10. Remove from oven and let sit about five minutes. Sprinkle with chopped basil just before serving.

More holiday side dishes

Savory potato gratin with rosemary crust
3 Decadent slow cooker sides
Pumpkin spice biscuits

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