Stressed about Thanksgiving? Don’t be.

Author and chef Lauren Braun Costello hit The Couch to show us three easy-to-make side dishes you can make on your stove top so you don’t occupy the oven.

Find the recipes below:

Panfried Baby Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Honey

Lots of people say they dont like Brussels sprouts.  But once they taste them made with bacon and honey, they cant stop eating them!  Baby Brussels sprouts are bite-sized and cook faster than the regular kind, which makes this as quick as it is scrumptious.


1.5 pounds baby Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
3 slices slab bacon
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place bacon in a cold sauté pan and turn heat to medium. Cook the bacon, turning as needed, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan from the heat, and then remove the bacon to drain on a paper towel. Chop into ¼-inch pieces and set aside.

Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan and return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Allow the Brussels sprouts to cook without stirring them until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, and quickly stir the Brussels sprouts and scrape the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan immediately and let the Brussels sprouts steam until tender when pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook until all the stock has evaporated. Drizzle the honey and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bacon pieces. Season with salt freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Cider Braised Butternut Squash –

Butternut squash and apple cider, two of autumns greatest pleasures, are perfectly paired in this stovetop side dish.  The cider both cooks and sweetens, resulting in a glazed and tender squash.


1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, deseeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
sprigs thyme
3 cups apple cider
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes: ¼ cup toasted pecans¼ cup dried cranberries

Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat until foams. Add the thyme sprigs, stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Add the squash, cider, and salt and pepper to taste.

Increase heat to high and cook until the cider comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender and the cider has reduced to a glaze, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs and season again with salt and pepper. Garnish with pecans and cranberries, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Grilled Fennel and Pears with Balsamic Reduction –

This is a sophisticated side dish that is deceptively easy to prepare.  Quartered fennel bulbs and pear halves both have similarly elegant shapes, but their flavors contrast and therefore pair together well, especially when grilled.  A drizzle of balsamic reduction ties the whole thing together.

2 fennel bulbs, quartered and stems trimmed
2 unripe Bosc pears, halved and seeds removed
¼ cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup balsamic reduction*

Brush the fennel quarters and pear halves with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a grill pan or grill over medium high heat. Once hot, place the oiled fennel and pears on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Turn the fennel and pears and cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Season again with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Place on a platter and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

*To make balsamic reduction, pour 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the vinegar to a boil over without increasing the heat.  Once boiling, turn down the heat to reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the vinegar has reduced by ¾ for a  syrupy consistency.