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Thanksgiving main dish and sides: Cranberry wild rice bake recipe included

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With the Thanksgiving and holiday festivities upon us, stress can be at an all time high. Proper planning can alleviate some of your feeding-frenzy anxiety.

Whether or not you are hosting the event or just bringing along a dish or two as your contribution to the festive meal, make it easy on yourself and plan ahead.

Consider these savory appetizer, main and side dish recipes that will allow you to enjoy the holiday with your guests rather than leave you sweating and cooking in the kitchen.


Main Dishes

  • Turkey (make ahead night before including gravy; serve room temperature or warm in 175' oven)
  • Roast Beef (make ahead night before, rare, warm in 175' oven or serve room temperature)
  • Pork Crown Roast (prepare first few steps and finish the day of)
  • Salmon (prepare fish up to a day before and serve at room temperature)


Cranberry–Wild Rice Bake

Lower Calorie

Make this your next dish to take along and share. If you’re anticipating feeding a crowd, double the recipe and bake in a 13x9-inch baking dish or 3-quart casserole.

Prep 45 min Total 2 hr 20 min l 8 servings

Cranberry–Wild Rice Bake


  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 21/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (3 oz)
  • 21/2 cups chicken broth, heated (for homemade broth, see page 528)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat wild rice and water to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes; drain.

In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion and mushrooms in butter, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. Mix wild rice and onion mixture in baking dish. Mix broth, salt and garlic; pour over rice mixture.

Cover and bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Cover and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

1 Serving: Calories 170; Total Fat 2.5g (Saturated Fat 1g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 410mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 5g Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2

Corn pudding
Corn pudding sgs

Corn pudding

Corn pudding that looks bubbly and brown will have your guests chomping at the bit to dig in.  Great news!  Make this dish ahead, freeze, bake from frozen state and it will still be super-delicious!

Kineret Challah makes great stuffing
Kineret Challah makes great stuffing sgs

Kineret Challah makes great stuffing

Think of challah as a breakfast food only? Think again!  Challah makes great stuffing! Light, eggy, moist and rich, challah soaks up all your delicious meat juices and delivers a superb stuffing experience.

Crown roast of pork
Crown roast of pork sgs

Crown roast of pork

Crown roast of pork is a show stopper of a main dish.  Biggest secret?  It's figure friendly and easy to prepare.  Even a beginner can master this special dish.

Holiday ham
Holiday ham sgs

Holiday ham

Cook's ham does not look sexy at the grocery store, but it delivers a sticky, smokey, glazed ham to your guest with almost no work. Look for the shank portion which has less bone than the butt.

Jack Daniel's Whiskey and ham
Jack Daniel's Whiskey and ham Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's Whiskey and ham

Wonder why your ham is getting all the raves?  It's the Jack Daniel's for sure!  Sure, you can buy a pre-made Jack sauce, but make it your own in less than 2 minutes and your dish will surpass your expectations.  Superb!

Maple Glazed Turkey
Maple Glazed Turkey sgs

Maple Glazed Turkey

Maple glazed turkey is a Thanksgiving favorite with our staff.  We make it a day ahead, including the gravy, pop it in the refrigerator until the next day when we place it in our warming oven for 30 minutes and serve.  Perfection.

Mustard glazed salmon
Mustard glazed salmon sgs/Newsday

Mustard glazed salmon

Salmon is perhaps the easiest and most party friendly fish on your buffet table.  When purchasing for a crowd, pick up .25 lb per person in one piece. Do not get it portioned out. You can make your fish up to a day ahead and serve it room temperature.  How's that for easy?

Cabbage and noodles
Cabbage and noodles sgs

Cabbage and noodles

Halushki is a vegtarian's dream on a buffet table; cabbage, noodles and onions. This dish does not sound sexy, but trust us... it is a party pleaser and a dish that your friends and family will be asking for year after year.

Rich cranberry sauce
Rich cranberry sauce sgs

Rich cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce is a must on every holiday table.  Good news!  Make it up to a week ahead.  Store in your refrigerator and pour out in a dish on the day of your meal.  You can't do better than that!

Pre made mashed potato
Pre made mashed potato sgs

Pre made mashed potato

Pre-made, store-bought mashed potato?  Take us to the dungeon!  Not so fast.  This product actually delivers a delicious mashed potato product. The best part is that it takes virtual minutes to prepare from freezer to table.  Pour on some homemade gravy and nobody will ever know you didn't peel the potatoes!

Betty Crocker cookbooks
Betty Crocker cookbooks BM/Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker cookbooks

Find a bunch of great, simple to prepare holiday recipes in our favorite go-to cookbook, Betty Crocker Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013).