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Sensational Sides for the Holidays

10/26/2015 05:31AM ● Published by Family Features

The holiday season often comes with a calendar full of festive celebrations and get-togethers. Whether you are hosting a holiday dinner or attending as a guest and bringing a dish, why not whip up some stellar sides to pair with the bird or roast? Sides are a great way to experiment with new recipes and create new traditions with family and friends.

Here are some of the top tips for making crowd-pleasing sides from Macy's Culinary Council, a national culinary authority featuring some of the nation's leading chefs from across the country:

  • Meals eaten around the holidays tend to be traditional, but try mixing things up and creating new traditions. Chef Rick Bayless recommends weaving chipotle chili into cranberry sauce for extra flavor and a fiery kick. Another favorite is braised greens, such as kale, cooked slowly with caramelized onions and a touch of garlic. Exploring new ways to prepare your sides will keep the menu fresh and exciting.

  • The holidays are a great time to take advantage of seasonal ingredients that are at their peak freshness. Chef Todd English says it’s all about the harvest this time of year. Late harvest vegetables, such as root vegetables, as well as apples, pears and grains, are all good options. Try a hearty seasonal salad with grains, kale and even some fruit or sweet potato. This is also an excellent vegetarian option – both festive and filling. 

  • Chef Nancy Silverton knows side dishes can make a holiday meal, and a little can often go a long way. A simple favorite is roasted winter squash tossed with brown butter. She also suggests a sturdy green salad, which is easy to make and will cut the richness of a heavy meal. Instead of hours spent prepping an over-the-top dish, use a few key ingredients and keep things simple, allowing more time to spend with guests.

For winning holiday recipes from the full roster of leading chefs, visit macys.com/culinarycouncil, where you can also find helpful videos and information about culinary events happening across the country. Visit macys.com for all of your holiday essentials.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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