Honest Thanksgiving: Simple Sides with Simply Scratch

Honest Thanksgiving: Simple Sides with Simply Scratch

Thanksgiving is officially one week away  -- can you believe it?! In case you aren't quite ready for the big day, we've got a few more show stopping side dishes for you to drool over. Today's recipes come courtesy of Laurie McNamara, the mom-genius behind Simply Scratch. On a mission to cut out processed foods and shortcuts, Laurie's brand new book will show you how to feed your family (mostly) from scratch. Enjoy!


Honest Thanksgiving: Simple Sides with Simply Scratch

If there’s one dish that reminds me of my childhood, it’s glazed carrots. I used to avoid cooked carrots like my life depended on it. Whenever we had meat loaf, I knew I could expect glazed carrots to be its sidekick, and I had to figure out a way to somehow eat or hide them. And eating them was out of the question. My mom called them “nature’s candy.” I used to think, Puhlease! Hand me a carrot straight from the garden and I’d rinse it off with the hose and gladly eat it on the spot. But cooked carrots? Uh, no thanks.

I’m not sure how, when, or why I changed my mind about cooked carrots, but it eventually did happen. Maybe I just needed to grow up, or tell myself, “Uh, hello, Laurie! They’re coated in honey and butter!” I mean, seriously. These glazed carrots are now easily one of my favorites: caramelized carrots, garlic, honey, and butter . . . and then there’s the whole one-pan thing, too.

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Serves 4 | Total time: 35 minutes


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound carrots, cut into roughly

1-inch chunks

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a 10-inch skillet, heat the butter and carrots over medium heat. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and toss to coat once the butter has melted. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges caramelize and the carrots are fork-tender.
  2. Decrease the heat to low and add the garlic, thyme, and honey.Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the honey butter glaze has thickened. Season with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, if desired.
  3. Sprinkle the glazed carrots with the parsley and serve immediately.

Simple Scratch Tip:

I’ve discovered that not all honeys should be considered equal. I’ve bought cheap honey before because I was in a pinch, and it was horrible. Now I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for. Good quality honey should have less than 18 percent water content and be golden to dark in color. Using good-quality honey will definitely make a noticeable difference in any recipe, and it’s not much more expensive.


I’m ever so diligently trying to convert my family into sweet potato aficionados. It’s a work that’s still in progress, but recipe by recipe, meal by meal, I hope they’re starting to see that sweet potatoes are just as good (if not better) as regular potatoes.

I, on the other hand, am irrevocably in love with them. I love them mashed with jalapenos. I love them simply diced and roasted, or made into breakfast home fries. But twice baked? Those are my jam. This recipe is perfectly spiced with chili powder and cinnamon, sweetened with maple syrup, and, of course, butter is involved. Who even needs a main dish when there are twice baked potatoes? I’m not even kidding.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4 | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons chili powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt


2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 pinch kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Massage the olive oil onto the skins before placing the sweet potatoes on a small sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife glides through effortlessly. Cool until safe to handle.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half horizontally and carefully scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Add 4 tablespoons butter, maple syrup, chili powder, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to the flesh. Use a potato masher and mash until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the honey, pecans and a pinch of salt.
  4. Place the skins side-by-side in a small baking dish. Spoon the filling back in before topping with the honeyed pecans and baking for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.

Reprinted from Simply Scratch by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2015, Laurie McNamara

What's cooking in your kitchen? Let us know your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes in the comments below!

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.