How to Shop for Thanksgiving Sides

Don't get overwhelmed by Thanksgiving sides.
green bean casserole

Just keep it simple. "The more options we have, the more anxious we are," says behavioral expert Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University. "Sticking with the classics helps relieve pressure." But there are still a few choices you'll need to make. Here's what to toss in your cart:

Mashed Potatoes
Choose rich, buttery yukon golds for no-peeling mashers. Or peel rough-skinned russets -- their flesh cooks up dry and fluffy, absorbing milk and butter well for a velvety-smooth puree.

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VIDEO: How to make the world's easiest mashed potatoes

Potato Gratin
Pick red-skinned potatoes. They have a creamy texture, yet hold their shape during cooking -- perfect for the thin slices required in this dish.

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Green Bean Casserole
Gault says shopping from the freezer case will save you around 30 percent. But Diane Morgan, author of The New Thanksgiving Table, says if you want to avoid mushy beans, buy them fresh.

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Brussels Sprouts
Frozen brussels sprouts, no matter which way you prepare them, "will end up soggy and likely uneaten," says Morgan. Fresh, on the other hand, will turn out crisp, browned results when you roast them.

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Butternut Squash Soup
The frozen version may be pricier, but it's a great time-saver, since you’ll be able to skip the prep work without affecting the taste, says Morgan.

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