Now that trick or treating is finally behind us, the focus around our house turns to Thanksgiving. There are many things that I am thankful for this year and one of them is that I don’t have to cook a turkey! I will however be cooking some side dishes.

If your kids are like mine they usually pass over most sides at the table (especially the green ones) and stick with the turkey, gravy and buttered rolls. So I am testing out a few, not so traditional, side dishes that might be more appealing to them.

Sweet Potato Fries

Something about the texture of mashed sweet potatoes turns my kids off. But they absolutely love sweet potato fries. I am not adding any sugar or butter so this is a much healthier option than a traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato pie. I also bake them, instead of frying.


3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Prepare large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut sweet potatoes into uniform sticks. Soak the fries in cold water for about 1 hour before baking. This step is optional but helps draw out some of the starch for a crispier fry. Although they will not be as crispy as a typical French-fry.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drain sweet potatoes and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl combine the olive oil and sweet potatoes until the sweet potatoes are well coated. Pour the sweet potatoes onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Toss the sweet potatoes to make sure the spices are evenly distributed and then spread out in a single layer.Picture2

Bake in oven on the upper rack approximately 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fries, turning once at the halfway point. The halfway point will be when the underside of the potatoes are lightly caramelized.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.


Note: If you are making these ahead, you can reheat them on a baking sheet but watch carefully. There is a high sugar content in sweet potatoes so they can burn easily.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “More please”

Liam (age 4): “I want the longest one!”

Dylan (age 4): “More for me too!”

Garlic Edamame

Why not swap out the traditional green bean casserole for some kid-friendly edamame? A little garlic and oil dresses up the dish for the adults and the kids get to eat with their fingers! Win – Win

1 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bag of frozen edamame, in the pod

Salt & pepper

Heat a large pot of water to boiling; add frozen edamame and a large pinch of salt. Bring the water back to boiling for 2-3 minutes.Picture4

Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. When the edamame is cooled, pat dry and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and stir frequently until it just begins to brown.Picture5

Add the steamed edamame to the garlic and cook for about two minutes until warmed through.

Serve with lots of napkins and bowls for the shells.Picture6

Note: These can easily be made ahead and reheated in a skillet. Add a tiny bit of olive oil to the skillet before adding the edamame.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “It’s Deelicious – BUT why is the garlic on the outside when we only eat the inside?”

Liam (age 4): “I want the one with the most garlic!”

Dylan (age 4): “Bean poppers! WooHoo!”

Image Source:// All Author’s Own

Elaine Studdert

Elaine Studdert


I am no chef – I am just a girl who loves to cook and loves to eat! I have three of the toughest little critics around who are my official tasters. My mission is to expose them to new flavors and have them eat real food, not from a box, and actually enjoy it too.

My blog is about documenting my culinary experiments with three very rambunctious and opinionated little boys. Each week I test a new dish, a new spice, or a give a twist to an old classic.  I don’t want to change the world but I do want to get my kids to eat some broccoli once in awhile.