When we planned our Thanksgiving Day meal last week, I didn’t take into consideration that not everyone likes sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Truth be told, in my younger days, I didn’t like sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts. My sister-in-law turned me around on the sweet potatoes with a simple recipe that adds maple syrup, butter and cream to the cooked, mashed spuds. A recipe I found earlier this fall for Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and maple syrup earned its way onto the holiday table.

I know they’re not for everyone, so I’ve decided to add a vegetable and a starch that may be more palatable to some – purple-hull peas and mashed potatoes.

The peas are a no-brainer, but I wanted the mashed potatoes to be holiday-worthy. I found a recipe that guarantees creamy, not gloppy, potatoes and it’s easy to prepare.

I never have to worry about making homemade cranberry sauce because my mother-in-law always comes through on that one, but here’s a simple recipe if you’re in need.

HOLIDAY MASHED POTATOES

4 pounds russet potatoes

1 1/4 cups hot whole milk

2 sticks butter, room temp (not melted)

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Peel potatoes and cut in half if very large; otherwise, keep whole. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain well and transfer to bowl of a stand mixer. Mash potatoes lightly by hand with a whisk or potato masher to break them up. Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Start mixer on low, then increase speed to medium and slowly drizzle in the hot milk. With mixer on, add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. Potatoes will be whipped and fluffy. Finally add salt; taste and adjust seasoning. Place potatoes in a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Note: To keep potatoes warm until serving, cover them and place in a warm oven or transfer to a slow cooker on the low setting.

Recipe adapted from natashaskitchen.com

CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 large orange

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries

Zest the orange, then squeeze the juice from it. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey, water, 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve honey.

Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Once boiling, adjust heat to keep at a low boil and cook 10 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cranberries will burst and sauce will begin to thicken. A minute or so before turning off the heat, taste for sweetness and add more honey, if desired.

Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick and cool cranberry sauce to room temperature (it will thicken as it cools). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 10 servings.

Recipe adapted from natashaskitchen.com

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