1. Quick Wild Rice
Combine 1 cup golden raisins and ½ cup sherry in a small microwave-safe glass dish; microwave on high until the mixture boils. Prepare three 8.5-oz packages of ready-to-serve wild and brown rice (Uncle Ben’s) according to package directions. Put in large bowl along with the raisins and sherry. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium heat and add one cup slivered almonds, stirring until they begin to brown. Add to rice along with ½ cup chopped fresh parsley. Serves 8.
2. Potato Leek Gratin
Slice 4 baking potatoes and the white part of 4 leeks into ¼ inch slices. Mix 2 cups heavy cream, salt & pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg with 1 tbsp melted butter and 2 to 3 cloves finely chopped garlic. In a buttered casserole dish layer the potatoes, leeks, then the cream mixture, alternating until the potatoes are lightly covered with the cream. Bake at 350ºF for approximately one hour, until golden brown on top. Serves 8.
3. New Green Bean Casserole
Prepare one-pound bag of frozen French-cut green beans according to package directions, and place in a buttered casserole dish. In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt 1 tbsp butter and sauté ½ cup diced onion until soft. Add 1 tbsp minced parsley and ½ cup sour cream. Pour mixture over the green beans and top with 1 cup of buttered breadcrumbs. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Serves 6.
4. Whipped Sweet Potato Bake
Microwave a 24-oz bag cut sweet potatoes according to package directions and place in large bowl. Add ½ cup softened butter; beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Add one egg, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, ¼ cup sugar and ¼ tsp salt. Transfer to buttered 9×9 dish. Bake 25 minutes at 400ºF. While sweet potatoes are baking, prepare topping by combining 6 tbsp melted butter with 1½ cups crushed cornflakes (or any unsweetened crunchy cereal) ½ cup brown sugar, and ½ cup chopped pecans (optional). Remove dish from oven, spoon topping evenly over potato mixture, and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Serves 8.
5. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cook 1 lb package of pre-cut butternut squash for slightly less than package directions until almost tender. Peel and cut 3 large Granny Smith apples into 1-inch pieces. Place in buttered casserole dish along with the squash, 1/3 cup raisins, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 2 tbsp butter, 6 tbsp pure maple syrup, and 1 tbsp lemon juice until butter is melted. Pour over squash mixture and toss to coat evenly. Bake one hour, stirring occasionally until apples are very tender.