You already know how to roast a turkey, make stuffing and traditional pumpkin pie for the Big Day in November. This month, we offer recipes for simple yet elegant sides and snacks that will inspire and impress – and let you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family.

Pumpkin Seeds

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 cups clean, dry pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine salt

Sauté the pumpkin seeds in oil over medium eat until they “pop.” Remove from heat and season with the cumin and salt. Let cool and serve.

Traditional Juniper Syrup

Juniper syrup can be added to cocktails or used as a marinade or brine for roasted meats.

  • 1 ounce juniper berries
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Place the juniper berries in a small saucepan and crush slightly with the back of a spoon. Add the cardamom pods, orange zest and water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the sugar and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Stain the syrup in into a clean jar and refrigerate. Use within 3 weeks.

Rosemary & Sesame Crisps

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the flour, sesame seeds, rosemary and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and ¼ cup of the olive oil and mix just until a soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in a half. Roll out each half into a 9 x 15 inch rectangle about 1-inch thick and trim the edges. Cut the dough into strips 1-inch wide and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Repeat with other dough half and remaining oil and salt.

Bake the crisps for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Oranges in Thyme Syrup

This is a refreshing treat that can be made hours ahead of dinner and served for dessert.

  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 long strips lemon peel
  • 4 navel oranges

Combine the wine, water, sugar, thyme and lemon peel in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Peel and trim oranges of pith and slice crosswise into segments. Remove the syrup from heat, add the orange segments to the pot and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the oranges and thyme syrup into a glass bowl. When completely cooled, chill until ready to serve.

Brussels Sprouts in Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
with Walnuts, Capers and Bacon

  • 3 pounds Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and cut into halves
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the sprouts on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring now and then to loosen charred bits.

When tender, remove sprouts from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the shallots, bacon, capers, mustard, honey, red wine vinegar and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the sprouts and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.