Easy Thanksgiving Sides with a Twist    

Can you feel it in the air?  I certainly can and I could not be more excited. The changing leaves of autumn. Cozy sweaters. Family, friends, and food…what could be better? To me the autumn leaves and cooler temperatures mark the beginning of the holiday season, and that means its time to plan for celebration.

Every year I am reminded of the special dishes from holiday meals passed. My mom’s mashed potatoes. My grandmother’s warm apple cider. These memories lead to the excitement of knowing that we don’t have to wait much longer before diving into family traditions at the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner table. 

I’ve adopted those family recipes and others, making them my own over the years. In fact, if you have recipes from year’s past that you adore, I encourage you to make them yourself and add your own flare. Nothing coming to mind? Well then, I’m happy to share a few dishes that are special to me. I made a quick online order on Save-On-Foods to get all of my fresh and staple ingredients needed to make these dishes! Did you know right now you can get your 1st Delivery or your first 3 Pickups FREE when you order online at Save-On-Foods?

Give these classics with a twist a try this holiday season if your side dishes some pizzazz.

Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese

Spice up your Mac’n’Cheese by adding pumpkin or squash to give it an autumn twist 


2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

2 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 – 2 ½  cups of milk

1 cup of Western Family pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 

12 oz of cheese (usually part cheddar) – examples aged cheddar or white cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan

Pinch of nutmeg 

2 teaspoons paprika

Dried pasta of choice 

Salt and pepper


In a saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, add flour and mix until well combined.  Slowly and gradually add milk while continuing to whisk.  Mixture will become chunky but will slowly begin to form a smooth consistency.    Once the sauce is smooth, add grated cheese, pumpkin puree, Dijon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated.  If sauce is too thick, add ¼ milk at a time until desired consistency. 

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water seasoned with salt.  Add dry pasta and cook as directed. Combined cooked pasta with sauce and toss.  Garnish with parmesan and service.

Herb and Garlic Dinner Rolls

When it comes to sides nothing says Thanksgiving quite like homemade dinner rolls straight from the oven.  We’ll add a hint of herbs to bring these rolls to life. 


1 tablespoon yeast

1 ½ cup warm milk – approx 110 degrees F

2 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs – room temperature

3 – 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter plus extra for brushing on tops– melted and cooled

3 cloves garlic – minced

4 sprigs fresh thyme – minced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary – minced


In a medium bowl or stand mixer add warm milk, yeast and sugar. Allow yeast to activate (about 10 minutes).  Add butter and while mixing, add each egg one at a time until incorporated.  Make sure the butter is cooled or it will curdle the eggs. Slowly add flour until a dough begins to form.  Continue to add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl.  Dough should be soft but slightly tacky. 

Grease a bowl, add dough and cover with saran wrap.  Allow dough to rest for 40 minutes or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Punch dough and divide into 12 even sections.  Roll each section into a ball and place on a baking sheet or pan lined with parchment paper.  Allow to rest an additional 15-20 minutes. Rolls should have risen enough to be touching the other rolls. 

Mix melted butter with minced herbs. Brunch the top of each roll with butter mixture.  

Bake in the oven until golden brown (approx. 30 minutes). 

Remove from the oven and serve immediately or at your leisure.

Cauliflower Mash

Mashed potatoes usually make you feel too full? Try cauliflower mash for a delicious alternative that does not feel so heavy.  Don’t worry, they still taste great with gravy!


1 large head of cauliflower – broken into 1–2-inch pieces 

4 cups of Western Family chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot add cauliflower and broth. If there is not enough broth in the pot, top with water or additional broth until cauliflower is covered. 

Boil cauliflower until soft. 

Transfer cauliflower into a blender with butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Blend until smooth.  With the blender still on, slowly add olive oil.  Continue to blend for an additional minute.  Cauliflower should be velvety smooth. 

Remove and serve.