The following post was written by Craig Chapman, a member of POPSUGAR Select Food, whose traditional recipes can be found on Real Food Real Kitchens.

Everyone knows the stars of holiday meals are the side dishes! It seems everyone in the family has their own special side dish that they bring to the table each year, so I am bringing you just a couple from the Real Food Real Kitchens kitchen: cranberry-pineapple sauce and garlic mashed sweet potatoes. 

The story behind the first recipe starts here: as each holiday passed, I got so tired of eating even the smallest amount of that cranberry sauce that was so right out of the can that it was still in the Jell-O-shaped mold of the can from which it came. So through some trial, error, and constant tasting, I came up with a delicious cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries, brown sugar, and crushed pineapple — an amazingly tart/sweet sauce that tastes great on all the other sides and on the turkey, too.


Garlic mashed sweet potatoes with heavy cream and butter was another delicious side I perfected on my own, and this year, I decided to add some sweetness to it by using sweet potatoes instead of regular old baking potatoes. Wow, what a delectable difference it made.

For the recipes, keep reading.

Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce


1 cup of orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
20-ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 cup of brown sugar
12 ounces of fresh cranberries


  1. Combine the orange juice, vanilla extract, and the juice from the can of crushed pineapples together in a medium-sized pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and continually stir until dissolved.
  3. Add 12 ounces of fresh cranberries and reduce heat to a slight boil until the cranberries all pop, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the entire can of crushed pineapple, and stir well.
  5. Let it cool for about an hour. Sauce will thicken upon standing

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes


1 large sweet potato
1/8 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 dash of nutmeg
A pinch of thyme
Garlic powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse and cut the sweet potato into cubes.
  2. Place into a medium pot and cover with water by one inch.
  3. Bring to a boil and continue to boil, checking regularly with a fork. Once you can penetrate the potato cubes easily with a fork, remove from the heat and strain.
  4. Put the strained potatoes back into the same pot (away from heat) and add in the milk and butter. Mash potatoes with a whisk or fork by hand and mix in the milk and butter to the potatoes. You want the final potatoes to be mashed but still have some chunks in them for texture.
  5. Add in the nutmeg, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  6. Serve with a pinch of thyme on top.

With this holiday plate, we also served Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (meat-free) covered in our cranberry-pineapple sauce and some steamed green beans with salt and pepper.