Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Roasted veggies are easy, but you'll want to be sure to chop them to the same size so they cook at the same rate. This dish can be made a day ahead -- just reheat before adding the cider glaze. Consider doubling the recipe for pumpkin seeds; they're addictive. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. From "American Flavor," by Andrew Carmellini.

• 2 c. apple cider

• 1 butternut squash, skinny top half only, peeled and cut into 1-in. chunks (about 2 c.)

• 2 small white turnips, peeled and sliced into 1-in. chunks (about 2 c.)

• 1 small rutabaga, peeled and sliced into 1-in. chunks (about 2 c.)

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. dried cranberries

• Roasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe that follows)

• Handful of fresh celery leaves


Make sauce by cooking apple cider in a small sauté pan over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until it reduces to about 1/2 cup and thickens into a syrup.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay squash, turnips and rutabagas on a rimmed baking sheet and pour olive oil over them. Season with salt and pepper, then use your hands to turn and mix the vegetables so that they're coated with oil all over.

Roast vegetables on middle oven rack. At 8-minute mark, pull baking sheet out and turn vegetables over to make sure they roast evenly on all sides, then put the sheet back in the oven.

Keep roasting vegetables for another 7 to 9 minutes or so, until they've browned up and softened and a knife can go through them easily.

Pull vegetables out of the oven and pile them into a large bowl. Add dried cranberries to the reduced cider. Spoon cider glaze over vegetables, and toss everything together, so the vegetables are coated and shiny. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon vegetables into a serving bowl, and top with roasted pumpkin seeds and celery leaves.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 187 Fat 11 g Sodium 260 mg

Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 51 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 3 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 fruit, 1 bread/starch, 2 fat.



Makes 1/2 cup.

Note: Unroasted pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, can be found in the produce section next to the nuts. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 2 tsp. butter

• 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds

• Pinch of salt

• Pinch of cayenne pepper


Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat.

Add pumpkin seeds, reduce heat to medium, shake seeds around to coat them, and let them toast for a couple of minutes, until they start to puff up and make sharp cracking sounds.

Add salt and cayenne and shake pan to coat the seeds with the spices. Then pull the pan off the heat, but leave seeds in pan. They should be buttery, salty and a little bit chewy -- like really good popcorn.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 102 Fat 9 g Sodium 55 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 8 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 high-fat meat, 1 fat



Serves 6.

Note: Don't add all the milk at once as you may not need the full amount. From Fine Cooking magazine. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 11/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces

• Kosher salt

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 medium leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, washed and sliced into 1/4-in.-wide pieces (about 1 c.)

• 1/2 c. sour cream, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. whole milk, heated, more as needed

• Freshly ground white or black pepper


Put potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, add a generous 1/2 teaspoon salt and lower the heat to a steady simmer. Cover pot partially and cook until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 6 minutes.

Drain potatoes and return to the pan. Steam-dry over low heat, shaking the pan until potatoes leave a light film on the bottom, about 3 minutes.

Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in leeks, sour cream and milk, adding more milk as needed to reach your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 190 Fat 8 g Sodium 69 mg

Carbohydrates 26 g Saturated fat 5 g Protein 3 g Cholesterol 22 mg Calcium 71 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 bread/starch, 1 1/2 fat



Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Most everyone expects green-bean casserole on holidays, but what a way to pack on the calories. This easy stir-fry is a bit kinder on the waistline but still full of flavor. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• Salt

• 2 lb. small, slender green beans, stem ends trimmed

• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 tsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

• Freshly ground pepper

• 3-oz. piece Parmesan, cut into shavings with a vegetable peeler (about 3/4 cup)


Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt water, add green beans and cook them until tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer immediately to ice water and let cool for 1 minute. Drain again and pat dry.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook, stirring, just until pale gold, 2 to 3 minutes. Add beans and tarragon and toss to coat with garlic butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Top with Parmesan shavings just before serving. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 168 Fat 12 g Sodium 240 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 7 g Calcium 224 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 1/2 high-fat meat, 1 1/2 fat.



Serves 4.

Note: Typically candied, sweet potatoes often are the sweetest dish on a Thanksgiving table. Not so with these individual gratins, which get their flavor from a creamy béchamel sauce and salty bacon. Adapted from "The Food 52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes From Exceptional Home Cooks," by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 8 pieces bacon, chopped into 1-in. pieces

• 1 c. chopped onion

• 2 tsp. chopped garlic

• 4 c. sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8-in. thick)

• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter

• 4 tbsp. flour

• 2 c. whole milk

• 6 tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream

• 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

• 2 tbsp. brown sugar

• Salt and black pepper, to taste

• Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste


Lightly grease 4 individual baking dishes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, crumble and toss with onion and garlic.

In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, and cook until the mixture is well combined but still pale. Stir in the milk and the crème fraîche. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer. Stir in nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

Layer 4 to 6 slices of potato at the base of each of the prepared baking dishes. Top with a few tablespoons of béchamel and a few spoonfuls of the bacon mixture. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, another layer of bèchamel and more bacon. Top with one last layer of potatoes and spoon remaining béchamel over the top. Finish with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake the gratins until they are bubbly around the edges and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 486 Fat 27 g Sodium 620 mg Saturated fat 14 g

Carbohydrates 48 g Calcium 224 mg

Protein 14 g Cholesterol 72 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 milk, 2 1/2 bread/starch, 1/2 other carb, 1/2 medium-fat meat, 5 fat.



Serves 6.

Note: Smoked paprika adds a wonderfully smoky flavor to these cheesy, make-ahead potatoes. There's very little taste difference between white, yellow and orange Cheddar, so feel free to use what you have on hand. From Food Network Magazine. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

• 1 small shallot, finely chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 tbsp. flour

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

• 3 c. half-and-half

• 1 to 2 tsp. smoked paprika

• 21/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

• 1 c. grated sharp white Cheddar cheese (see Note)

• 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter foams, add shallot and garlic and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the half-and-half, smoked paprika and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour half the potato mixture into buttered casserole dish. Shake pan to arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle half of each of the cheeses on top of the bottom potato layer. Add remaining potatoes and shake again to arrange in a layer. Sprinkle on remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake 45 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove foil and place back in oven for another 15 minutes, or until potatoes and cheese are golden and browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 466 Fat 28 g Sodium 276 mg Saturated fat 17 g

Carbohydrates 42 g Calcium 320 mg

Protein 14 g Cholesterol 84 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 milk, 2 1/2 bread/starch, 1/2 high-fat meat, 5 fat.



Serves 6 to 8.

Note: This is weeknight-easy, so don't limit this to the holiday. Panko bread crumbs are larger and lighter than regular bread crumbs, which could be substituted. From Fine Cooking. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 11/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed

• 2 large shallots, halved

• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 11/4 c. heavy cream

• 31/2 oz. (11/4 c.) finely grated Gruyère

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 3/4 c. panko bread crumbs (see Note)

• 1/2 c. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary


Position a rack in the center of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, slice Brussels sprouts and shallots.

In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to cook butter until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the browned butter in a medium bowl.

Add Brussels sprouts, shallots, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the pan and toss to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts and shallots begin to soften and brown in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, Gruyère, nutmeg, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat until cheese is melted, whisking occasionally, about 4 minutes.

Do not boil. Add sauce to sprouts, carefully stirring to combine.

Add panko, Parmigiano, rosemary and a pinch of salt to the reserved butter and mix thoroughly. Top the sprout mixture with panko mixture.

Bake until crumbs are browned and sprouts are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cook for about 5 minutes before serving.

For a more elegant presentation, transfer sprout mixture to a 12-inch wide, 11/2-inch-deep ceramic baking dish before topping with panko and baking.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 316 Fat 26 g Sodium 230 mg Saturated fat 16 g

Carbohydrates 12 g Calcium 280 mg

Protein 10 g Cholesterol 85 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 1 high-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat.



Serves 4.

Note: From "Holiday Dinners With Bradley Ogden" by Bradley Ogden with Lydia Scott. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• 3 tbsp. butter

• 1 lb. squash, such as banana, acorn or butternut, peeled and cut into 1/4-in. matchsticks

• 1 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

• 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage

• Salt and pepper


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash, brown sugar and chopped sage. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 123 Fat 9 g Sodium 230 mg

Carbohydrates 12 g Saturated fat 5 g Calcium 44 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 23 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb, 2 fat.