Cooking to Cure: Fixing Thanksgiving Feast Frets

Do you look forward to mugs of apple cider and the jovial teasing that comes with a family reunion? To the nutmeg aroma of pumpkin pie, the tang of fruity cranberry sauce, and the warm, soft center of a baked sweet potato? 

Well, I do. 

Thanksgiving is my favorite excuse to take over the kitchen and cook up a fabulous feast. However, I’ve heard for some, Thanksgiving is a bore because they think the food is bland. For others, Thanksgiving is a chore because of the lengthy task at hand. But with a little guidance, a few quick and easy spins on classic recipes, I can cure countless cooking concerns and help you prepare a delicious dinner. 

The following recipes are quick, easy and guaranteed to be tasty. Five classic sides—potatoes, pumpkin pie, green beans, cranberry sauce and corn stuffing—with a healthy spin on each one. Assuredly appetizing, colorful and crowd-pleasing, this menu will fix all your fall feast frets. 

Photo by Skye Connors                         

Cook like you’ve got pumpkin to prove: vegan pumpkin pie (serves 6) 


1 store-bought pie shell

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

1 cup canned coconut cream

1 cup brown sugar 

3 tablespoons cornstarch 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger 

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt 

⅛ teaspoon allspice 

⅛ teaspoon cardamom 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Blend all of the ingredients, except the pie shell, in a blender (or just whisk in a bowl if you don’t have a blender). 
  3. Pour mixture into pie shell, fitted in pie plate. 
  4. Bake for one hour. Remove from the oven. It will be jiggly, don’t worryit will thicken as it cools.
  5. Cool for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 
Photo by Skye Connors

The lean, green, fighting machine queen bee-n: Asian-inspired stir fried green beans:


12 ounces of green beans (stems trimmed)

¼ cup of water

1 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce 

1 tablespoons of minced ginger (or ginger paste)

1 tablespoons of minced garlic (or garlic paste)

½ teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes 

1 teaspoon of maple syrup 

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar 

1 tablespoons of coconut oil (or olive, sesame, chili, etc)

a pinch of sea salt 

toasted sesame seeds (for topping)


  1. Trim the ends of the green beans and discard. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, maple syrup, vinegar, and salt. 
  3. Heat a frying pan over high heat. Once hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. 
  4. Add the green beans and sauté to fully coat them with oil. Cook for four minutes until browned in spots but still crisp. 
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the sauce. Cook for five minutes. Beans should be wilted but tender and the liquid should be reduced. 
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds. 

Sauce like a boss: cranberry sauce (serves 6)

Skye Connors


12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries

½ cup of maple syrup

¾ cup of water 

1 tsp of orange zest (zest from 1 medium orange)

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

pinch of salt 

cinnamon stick for garnish


  1. Add maple syrup, water, orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt to a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Mix in the cranberries. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. 
  3. Cook for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries has popped. 
  4. Remove from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. 
  5. Garnish with grated orange zest and a cinnamon stick. 

Socrates and potato: sweet potatoes three ways (serves 6)

Skye Connors


6 whole sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried

olive oil (or olive oil spray)

pinch of salt 

black pepper

ground cinnamon


garlic powder


cayenne pepper or chili powder





  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. 
  3. Spray the potatoes with olive oil, or add ½ tablespoon. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Stir to coat all the potatoes. 
  5. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork, so they’re littered with tiny holes. 
  6. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the sweet potatoes on the foil. 
  7. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until puffed up and soft on the inside when pierced with a fork. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes. 
  3. Chop the sweet potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Add to a large bowl. 
  4. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. 
  5. Season with desired spices. My preference is 1 teaspoon each of cumin, garlic powder, and paprika.
  6. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Spread the cubed potatoes onto the foil. 
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stir halfway through. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes. 
  3. Slice the potatoes into “french fry” shape (¼ to ½ inch wide and three inches long, as they will shrink in the oven). Add to a large bowl. 
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Add a hint of chili pepper for a little kick. 
  5. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Toss to flip the fries, and cook the other side for an additional 12 minutes. 
  7. Serve warm. 

Tip: Slice the potatoes thinner for crispier fries. Use the top baking rack for crispier fries. 

Tip: Substitute melted coconut oil for olive oil for sweeter baked/roasted/“fried” potatoes. 

Whisper sweet stuffings: cornbread stuffing (serves 9)

Skye Connors


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons of fresh sage, chopped (or 2 teaspoons of dried sage)

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped (or 1.5 teaspoons of dried thyme)

1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced

½ cup of parsley, chopped

Fresh ground pepper

Salt, to taste

1 large onion, chopped

5 stalks of celery, diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 batch of cornbread (homemade or store-bought—I used Marie Callender’s), crumbled

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup milk, or as needed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


  1. Make the herb butter: In a medium bowl, mix the six tablespoons of softened butter with the fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. 
  2. Make the stuffing: melt the herb butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic and saute for 12 minutes or until soft and translucent. Remove from heat. Let cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked onion, celery and garlic with the crumbled cornbread, lightly beaten egg, milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Place in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.