First up: If the notorious green bean casserole doesn't make an appearance on your table every year and you can't quite bring yourself to make it despite your curiosity, here is a vintage variation:
I'm sure the canned asparagus spears will make the canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onions a lot classier than the canned green beans do. With water chestnuts to add a styrofoam-y texture and hard-cooked eggs to add random egg bits, it's an instant classic.
If you prefer sweeter sides and can't resist the allure of a promised "surprise," this next recipe is for you:
Roll mashed sweet potatoes around marshmallows, then coat in crushed corn flakes and bake until they explode. Serve with brown sugar glaze. Brag about how you get your kids to eat their vegetables without ever disclosing that the vegetable to sugar ratio is roughly 1:1.
Lastly, a gift for the gelatin salad fanatics:
Rainbow creme! There is no finer way to give friends and family salmonella by feeding them raw egg whites whipped with gelatin. I'm not quite sure what to think of the layers. The gelatin is unflavored, so the bottom layer would be chocolate gelatin, topped by a layer of maraschino cherry and lemon extract gelatin, crowned by vanilla and pecan layer. It sounds more odd than festive to me, but at least it's pretty!
If artificial sweetener were substituted for sugar, the bottom layer used nonfat dry milk powder and chocolate extract in place of the real chocolate, and the top layer left out the nuts in favor of some almond extract, this would be a vintage Weight Watchers recipe, I suspect.
I think I just blew my mind.