There's so much that goes into Thanksgiving dinner, and if you can manage to make a few of your dishes quick and easy, then I say you should do it. Here's a roundup of side dishes that feature traditional Thanksgiving flavors without the traditional slaving away in the kitchen. And, you have permission to use pre-cut produce, canned pureed squash, and frozen vegetables — as well as permission to not let anyone know you did.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce (pictured above): A quick sauce is poured over oven-roasted sprouts. To make this quick side dish even easier, buy Brussels sprouts that have been cleaned and cut in half. Many grocery stores now do the prep on vegetables. It may cost a little more, but if it makes Thanksgiving dinner less stressful, it's worth the extra money.
Crock Pot Vegetarian Stuffing: The slow cooker makes everything easier because it can be left unattended and frees up the stove for other dishes. Store-bought stuffing cubes make this a quick dish to throw into the slow cooker, and pre-sliced mushrooms save time.
Sweet Potato Cornbread: Stone-ground cornmeal and mashed sweet potatoes create a perfect flavor combination for a Thanksgiving side dish. It can be made ahead, frozen and defrosted (or made a day ahead and kept in an air tight container). Pop it in the oven to warm up right before serving. To make it easier, you can use canned mashed sweet potatoes. Farmer's Market offers an organic version in a BPA-free can.
Cranberry Applesauce: Apples, cranberries and a few other ingredients cook unattended in the slow cooker for hours (and make the house smell amazing). Mash it all right in the slow cooker when it's done or run it through a food mill for the freshest, easiest applesauce ever.
Creamed Pearl Onions: Using a bag of frozen pearl onions makes this traditional side dish come together quickly.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter: The easy-to-make flavored butter can be put together up to four days ahead of time. All that needs to be done on Thanksgiving is to put the sweet potatoes into the oven to roast, either by themselves or with other dishes cooking at the same time. Couldn't be easier.
Slow Cooker Honey Orange Glazed Carrots: Open a bag of baby carrots, throw in a little honey, a little O.J., and a few other simple ingredients, and you have one of your side dishes out of the way with less than 10 minutes hands-on time.