Secret Ingredient Sides

Jazz up your Turkey Day sides with unexpected ingredients. Forget same old, same old sides, The Kitchen's got three new ideas to perk up your Thanksgiving feast.

Sweet potatoes with banana are displayed as seen on The Kitchen, Season 15.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow

Jason DeCrow

Sweet Potatoes

For a sweet and interesting twist to the typical recipe for sweet potato casserole, try adding 2 to 3 roasted bananas. Bananas add a creamy sweetness and complexity of flavor. It's also a great use for overripe bananas. Simply pop the desired number of bananas into an oven at 350 degrees F and roast them in their skins for 10 to 15 minutes. The skins will turn black and the flavor will become more concentrated. Once the bananas have cooled, mix them directly into your mashed sweet potatoes along with traditional spices such as ground ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Cranberry sauce with dried cranberries is displayed as seen on The Kitchen, Season 15.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow

Jason DeCrow

Cranberry Sauce

Another great way to perk things up is to add a little texture. When making your favorite cranberry sauce recipe, add dried cranberries too. They lend a surprising sweet chewiness, which complements the cooked fresh cranberries. Punch up your favorite recipe at the end of the cooking time by stirring in up to 1 cup of the dried cranberries. Once you add them, remove the pot from the heat to cool. Dried cranberries are very sweet, so you may want to lower the sugar in your original recipe.

Pumpkin pie with black pepper is displayed as seen on The Kitchen, Season 15.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow

Jason DeCrow

Pumpkin Pie

What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? You make it every year, but this Turkey Day staple doesn't have to be boring. Give your favorite recipe a warm punch by adding 3/4 teaspoon black pepper! Black pepper is a warming spice, so it blends together nicely with other pumpkin pie spices. Adding the black pepper complements and intensifies the other fall flavors, such as cinnamon, clove and ginger. Oils within the peppercorns are released when they are crushed and lend a very subtle peppery heat.

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