Holiday Side Dishes

For my latest AARP December column, I gave myself the challenge of updating some of our favorite holiday side dishes like creamed spinach, broccoli-cheese casserole, and green bean casserole. I wanted to lighten these stodgy classics, but not to the point of austerity. I wanted them to still look and taste familiar, just a tad hipper. And if I could trim preparation or cooking time, I’d do that too. To see how I did, check out the following recipes. Click here to for The Best (and Simplest) Creamed Spinach. For Quick and Fresh Green Bean Casserole, click here. And finally, for A Better Broccoli-Cheese Casserole, click here.

I thought I had developed three winning recipes, but after spending the day photographing and tasting these holiday side dishes, Maggy was the one who recognized how utterly simple and outstanding each dish was. I always know a dish is good when she wants to take her fair share home, and she was adamant she wanted some of all three.

The next day she told me how much Andy loved Simplest Creamed Spinach and A Better Broccoli-Cheese Casserole. “But what about Quick and Fresh Green Bean Casserole?” I asked. She hesitated and then responded with a smile in her voice, “I ate them on the train on the way home.”

If you like these recipes, remember to thank Maggy. Just as she insisted on taking home a portion of each of these dishes the day I made them, she was equally insistent that you should get all three recipes on one day!

A Better Broccoli-Cheese Casserole

The Best (and Simplest) Creamed Spinach

Quick and Fresh Green Bean “Casserole”