While the turkey may be the star of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, it's the sides people really want.

Let's face it, turkey is fun and tasty, but it can be pretty one dimensional. Sides are why people keep returning to the table.

Side dishes are always the stars of the show

As a cook, you are going to do far more work on the sides than you are the turkey. So, if you are going to work harder, at least work harder on stuff that will be memorable.

I recommend you keep your side dish menu simple. But simple doesn't mean boring. You can transform an ordinary Thanksgiving meal into something spectacular with a little bit of creativity.

For this year's menu, make the following sides to go with the meal. With the following menu, you have every dish you need to provide for a full and memorable Thanksgiving meal. Or, choose one of these dishes if somebody assigned a side dish to you for the holiday.

1. Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls are an essential for the Thanksgiving table. After all, you need something to mop up all the extra gravy. You might want to make them right before serving the food, they will be warm and crispy. Also, have plenty of soft butter on-hand.

2. Green Bean Salad

Green bean salad or casserole sparks a lot of memories in people's minds. The key to this dish is to always have something crispy spread on top.

3. Brussel sprouts with bacon

You don't have to add the bacon, but it sure gives it a great taste. And, bacon is one of the sure ways to get meat eaters to eat their vegetables.

4. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes may seem easy to make, but to make them well takes time. Don't use boxed mashed potatoes, making the real thing doesn't take much more time and the taste is far better than potatoes from a box.

Also, make sure they are thick enough to act as a bowl for the gravy.

5. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is both a visual and culinary delight. There a few things as iconic at Thanksgiving as the golden orange color of roasted sweet potatoes. Don't forget to add butter across the top, and consider spreading some toasted pecans on top.

The crunchy pecans add a unique taste and texture to the dish.

Here is one more can't-forget-this-dish....

Here's a bonus dish, added because you can't have Thanksgiving without cranberries. You don't have to make anything spectacular. You could even buy the canned jellied cranberries, open both ends of the can and push out the solid mass. Slice it up and you have a well-respected cranberry dish. Whatever you do, don't forget the cranberries. If you do, you'll never hear the end of it.