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Holiday Side Dish Recipes

by Dawn
holiday dinner table

A Roundup of Side Dish Recipes for your Holiday Meal

I hope you’ll indulge me over the next two weeks as I depart from the normal gardening posts and delve into some holiday recipes you can make. It just seems appropriate this time of year, and I hope these posts will help you with your holiday planning!

I imagine you have some fast favorites you make every year, but if you’re anything like me, you love to find something new and different to try, too. Sometimes, new and different ends up giving you a favorite that you’ll end up adding to your traditional meal. Sometimes, not so much (yikes!).

This week, I’m giving you two side dish favorites my family loves, plus a roundup of other side dish recipes to try. Next week, my favorite…..dessert!

If you’d like a printable version of the two recipes below, sign up here for my Resource Library. You’ll have access to not only these recipes, but other recipes and gardening resources as well. You’ll also receive a weekly newsletter that I try to make super useful and helpful for my readers.

Let’s dive in!

This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through one of these links, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your purchase price.

New England-Style Baked Beans

My family LOVES these baked beans! We make them every year for Christmas Eve with my hubby’s family, and we’re lucky if there are any left over afterwards!

baked beans

The best thing about these beans is that they’re done in the crockpot, so they don’t take up that all-important oven space.

In fact, this recipe came from the small pamphlet that came with my crockpot. I wish the pamphlet had a date in it, but I think I got it right after I got married, so it’s almost 30 years old (as is that crockpot!).

If for some crazy reason you don’t already have a crockpot, the one below is a nice, basic, economical model.


  • 1 1/2 pounds (3 cups) dry navy beans
  • 1 pound lean, boneless ham, cubed (we often use salt pork instead- it’s cheaper and works just as well!)
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Need an awesome mini chopper for the onion? The one below is my absolute fave!


NOTE: VERY IMPORTANT: Beans MUST be softened completely before adding to recipe.

To soften beans, place them in a large pot with at least 9 cups of water and boil for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat, cover your pot and allow the beans to simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours (or until tender) before adding to recipe.

Drain beans and pour them into crockpot.

baked beans on spoon

NOTE: We often soften the beans the day before, then mix all ingredients and place in the fridge overnight. The morning of our Christmas Eve dinner, we’ll start the crockpot and let it cook all day.

At this point, the recipe becomes really complicated. Just kidding! Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl, and add to crockpot on top of beans.

Mix everything together and cook beans on low setting for 10-12 hours (longer is always better with these!). The recipe does say you can cook them on high for 5-6 hours, but I think the longer time at a lower temp really brings out the flavor.

This will make approximately 6 to 8 servings.

Note: If you happen to have leftovers (highly unlikely!), you can freeze the beans for reheating later.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Ever had sweet and sour meatballs? This is another recipe we have year after year and until I got smart enough to double the recipe, there was always a scramble to get some before they were gone!

This recipe is so basic it’s not really a recipe. Seriously!


Here you go: Go buy 2 packages of premade meatballs. Try to get the kind that aren’t seasoned. (And yes, I have to double the recipe and make 4 packages at a time for my family, which means I haul out the BIG crockpot, like the one below!)

Alternatively, you can make your own meatballs but go light on the seasonings (onions, salt, and pepper are fine, but don’t add oregano, garlic, etc.). If you make your own, be sure to cook them before adding them to this recipe.

Then, empty a large jar of grape jelly and a large bottle of barbecue sauce (your favorite brand is fine!) into the crockpot and stir them well to combine.

Add the meatballs and stir again to coat them in the sauce.

Then, cook for 6-8 hours on low. That’s it!

I know, it’s weird. Trust me on this, just try them. They are A-MAZ-ING!

I’ve included the recipe in the Resource Library as well, even though they’re so incredibly easy!

A Few Side Dish Recipe Links

I made the “plain” version of this Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron the other night, and they’re yummy! The fact that the sweet potatoes came from my very own garden didn’t hurt either!

If you’d like to learn about growing sweet potatoes in your own garden next year, you can find my post here.

How about these Roasted Parmesan Green Beans from Made to be a Momma?

cranberries and apples

Or this Creamy Cranberry Apple Slaw from The Flavours of Kitchen? Oh my goodness, this looks amazing!

When I was at the grocery store the other day, I tried a sample of a Cranberry Orange Walnut relish. It was really good! I can’t be sure this recipe from Under 500 Calories is exactly the same, but it looks pretty good too!

And last, but certainly not least, this Cornbread Casserole from Tastes of Lizzie T. I make a recipe almost identical to this fairly often and it’s always a big hit!

That’s it for today. Be sure to come back next week for Part 2, Desserts!

If you’d like to save this for later, be sure to pin one of the images below to your Recipes or Holidays board on Pinterest!

As always, thanks for reading, smile, and have a crazy organic day!

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A Roundup of Side Dish Recipes for your Holiday Meal

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Nikki Gwin 12/13/2019 - 6:06 pm

Ok. I was already hungry before I came here and NOW… yikes! I want food!
As a kid we only ever had sweet potatoes baked and I was just NOT a fan. I am excited to try the recipe you linked to.

Dawn 12/19/2019 - 3:39 pm

I haven’t tried that one personally, but it really looks good!

Linda Carlson 12/13/2019 - 10:33 am

I make a bean dish similar to what you had but I use coconut sugar in place of brown.


Leave a Reply to Linda Carlson Cancel Reply

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