By Wini Moranville

Make your Thanksgiving (or any dinner) easier and add flavor to your vegetable dishes with these "Standout Sides."
Make your Thanksgiving (or any dinner) easier and add flavor to your vegetable dishes with these “Standout Sides.”

If you want to take a kitchen shortcut or two this Thanksgiving, consider the “Standout Sides,” available at Accents and Interiors.

These culinary blends are designed as a way to flavor-charge your fresh-made sides–without a lot of work on the cook’s part. Each package comes with the ingredients you need to expertly season three pounds of vegetables. Options include Balsamic & Roasted Onion Veggie Roaster, Dijon Pepper Vinaigrette Veggie Roaster, Herby Dill and Garlic (for green beans) and Caramelized Onion and Chive (for mashed potatoes).

“Yes, it’s cooking from a box,” says Amanda Duncan, a buyer for the Urbandale housewares and home decor store, “but no one will know you’re cooking from a box.”

I gave the Caramelized Onion & Chive mix a go and agree that the dish avoided the powdery taste that many “from the box” seasonings bring. I appreciated the bold flavors of the onion and garlic, though I did find the overall dish more salty and peppery than I’d like. That’s easily remedied: Next time, I’ll simply use less of the mix than the instructions call for.

The bottom line: If, on a 10-point scale, a take-all-morning scratch-made version of caramelized onion and chive potatoes would rate a 10, this shortcut take rates an 8.

And sometimes, the convenience factor trumps those few extra points.

Accents and Interiors is at 2701 86th St., Urbandale; 515-276-7201.

Wini Moranville is a freelance writer who covers the food and dining scene for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food – DSM Wini Moranville.

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