Thanksgiving means many things depending on who you are. To a foodie, it means the best day of the year. To a man, it means football. To a child, it means putting on a polite facade when Aunt so-and-so insists on squeezing your cheeks and telling you how much you’ve grown. To the head cook in the house, it often means hell.
No matter how much you love cooking, preparing for Thanksgiving can be a traumatizing event. Every year, a couple days before The Big Day, my mom starts grumbling about how much she hates holidays. She doesn’t actually hate holidays. What she hates is spending the whole day cooking, and I don’t blame her. Planning and executing a successful Turkey Day feast is no simple task. It becomes even more challenging when you’re working with what she accurately refers to as “The Barbie Oven.” Yeah, it’s really that small (check out my What’s Cookin’ slideshow if you don’t believe me). We wind up cramming various side dishes into every square inch of that oven and cooking things in the toaster. The bird gets deep-fried, which is good because we wouldn’t have a place for it in the oven anyway.
I know my mom is not alone when it comes to Turkey Day terror. It’s so much food, a whole day’s worth of cooking (sometimes two if you’re the make-ahead type). And the pressure! Everyone’s counting on you to put the feast of a lifetime down on the table. It’s got to be perfect. Who wouldn’t be stressed?
Luckily, my mom’s had my help in the kitchen the past couple of years. We’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t (mostly what doesn’t). For one, not every dish has to be complicated. If you’re making fancy fresh rolls or an impressive roasted turkey, there’s no reason why everything else has to be complex.
This Oven-Roasted Asparagus is absolutely delicious, and it’s SO EASY to make. It’s exactly the kind of side you want to serve up on your Thanksgiving table. It’s got a beautifully impressive presentation, delicious oven-roasted flavor, and no one will know how little effort it took.
When you’ve got so much else to worry about, why stress over a veggie too? This can be thrown together at the last minute as the rest of your meal finishes coming together. This way, you’ll have one thing you know you can count on. This green stuff is bursting with flavor, but it’s also on the lighter side and packed with nutrients, which is very refreshing amongst a table of rich dishes. So save yourself a mental breakdown, and make this delicious asparagus a part of your Turkey Day Team. Quick & easy wins the race.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Oven-roasting isn’t rocket science. If you need to adjust the oven temperature so you can cook this at the same time as another dish, go right ahead. It’ll still turn out. Just watch for it to turn golden brown and you’re good to go!
- Fresh garlic = happy food.
- Got picky eaters who don’t like asparagus? Chop the green stuff up smaller so it no longer resembles asparagus, and they’ll never know. This stuff tastes so good that the only way they’ll know it’s asparagus is if they see that it’s asparagus.
- You can skipping adding garlic if you use a garlic-infused olive oil.
- If you like a little bit of kick, add a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Cut this in half if you’re cooking for two.
Recipe by The Smart Cookie Cook
- 2 bunches of asparagus, chopped into halves
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Spread asparagus halves out on the tray in an even layer. Sprinkle garlic over top.
- Drizzle olive oil evenly over asparagus. Roll the asparagus back and forth to make sure it is evenly coated.
- Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.