Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu 2014

I was watching The Chew yesterday and Carla Hall said something that I agree with 1000%  "Thanksgiving is about food memories!"  and it really is.  I have a ton of food memories from Thanksgiving when I was a child and now, as an adult, my Thanksgiving menu is based on mine.  Recipe Redux this month is about redoing favorite food memories in a healthier way.  And since Thanksgiving is only a few days away I decided I'd share with you all of my Thanksgiving recipes.  

Honestly, what is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?  I'm betting most of you named a side dish and the ones that didn't, you named a dessert.  In my opinion, no one loves Thanksgiving for the turkey.  I haven't had a turkey on my Thanksgiving table in over 2 years.  Last year I made meatloaf and the years before that I made fish.  But really, the stars of my Thanksgiving are the sides.  This year I decided to ditch the main dish all together and JUST make sides.

The  Grain Foods Foundation emailed me this infographic which proves my point.

One of my favorite sides growing up was my mom's stuffing {me and 89% of the people}.  {side note:  My favorite was the stuffing that came out of the bird.  YUM!}  My mom's stuffing wasn't super complex or fancy.  And honestly that was what made it so good.  She used to saute the vegetables in copious amounts of butter, she used chicken stock that was high in sodium, white bread, and whole eggs.  Here is my lightened up, remake.

Mom's Updated Healthy Stuffing

Approx. 18 slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread, cubed
1 cup of onions, diced
2 cups of celery, sliced small
1 T poultry seasoning
1 T ground sage
1/2 cup egg substitute or egg whites
1 cup veggie broth 

  1. Saute onions and celery until soft (if you're using regular non-vegetarian sausage you want to cook it too at this point)
  2. Place all ingredients in a big bowl and mix together (use your hands, it works the best.  Don't be afraid to get messy!)
  3. Place in a baking pan and cover with tin foil. 
  4. Put into a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes
  5. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
I usually triple this recipe.  Kaylee could eat 1 whole pan by herself.  She LOVES stuffing!  I actually make my own whole wheat fat free bread to use for the stuffing. This year I might add some kale or spinach to one batch of it.  

What else is going to be on my table?

For breakfast I'm going to do a pumpkin bread pudding.  I normally don't make a special breakfast but, I'm feeling nice this year.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
15 oz can pumpkin
.5-1 cup brown sugar
3 cups skim milk (or almond milk)
.75 cup egg substitute
1 t cinnamon
.5 t ground nutmeg (or cloves if you'd prefer
1 t vanilla extract
12 slices of whole wheat, or cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (if you're using homemade bread it's about 6 cups)


  1. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together everything except bread.  
  3. Put bread in baking dish and let sit for 30 minutes (you can let it soak overnight if you'd prefer.  It actually tastes better that way)
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55-65 minutes until a knife come out clean.  
  5. Serve with warm sugar-free maple syrup.

Let's get back to dinner!  I normally have both mashed white and sweet potatoes on the table.  I have found a perfect recipe for gravy.  For veggies we have green beans with mushrooms and onions, broccoli, and rolls.   Normally I buy frozen rolls but, since I have discovered my soy intolerance I am going to have to make rolls.  

Mashed Potatoes (or Mashed Sweet Potatoes)
2 potatoes per person 
Fat Free Cream cheese
Skim Milk

  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Place in a pot and cover with water.
  2. Boil for about 20 minutes or until tender. (Sweet potatoes take a bit longer)
  3. Drain, place back into pot and mash.
  4. Add milk and cream cheese and stir until creamy and smooth.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions
16 oz frozen green beans
16-24 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bag pearl onions


  1. Saute mushrooms until soft, set aside
  2. Cook green beans according to package directions.  Boil pearl onions with the green beans.
  3. Toss everything together.
There are 2 ways to do your gravy.  They are both super simple and easy.  The mushrooms and onions are optional but, I like it.  I feel like they replace the giblets that my mom used to put in her gravy.
For both recipes
16 oz mushrooms, sliced
1-2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, either minced, or sliced


  1. Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic until the vegetables are soft, and the onion is translucent

Vegetable broth


  1. Bring desired amount of broth to a boil
  2. In a separate bowl mix together 1 T cornstarch and 1 T water per cup of broth
  3. Whisk cornstarch slurry into broth, bring back to a boil and simmer until thickened.  If it isn't as thick as you'd like it then mix together another tablespoon cornstarch with a tablespoon water and whisk in.  
  4. Mix in mushroom, onion mixture
Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup Mix

  1. Follow directions on box.
  2. Add in mushrooms and onions

Herb Dinner Rolls
2.5 - 3 cups flour (I combine whole wheat and white)
.75 cup water
.25 cup skim milk
1 T sugar
1 package (2.25 t) yeast
1-2 T herbs of your choice (I normally use garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, thyme, and sometimes dill) 

  1. Heat milk and water between 105 and 110 degrees 
  2. Add sugar and yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes
  3. In a separate bowl add 2.5 cups flour and herbs
  4. Add water mixture to the flour mixture and stir together.
  5. Place in a cool dark place to rise for 45-60 minutes
  6. Put dough on a floured cutting board, or a stand mixer after it's risen.
  7. If dough is still sticky add more flour until it's no longer sticky and knead for about 5-7 minutes until dough forms a smooth ball.
  8. Divide dough into 4 sections, then divide into 4 more sections.  
  9. For regular rolls, evenly spread dough balls on a greased cookie sheet.  For cloverleaf rolls divide each of the 16 balls into 3 again.  Place 3 pieces into 16 greased muffin tin.
  10. Let them rise again for another 20 minutes  
  11. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until the outside is brown and the inside is flaky.   
And lastly, dessert!  I found this recipe when I was doing a photo series for Food Holidays.  October 21st is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day.  I made this and it was a major hit in our house so, it became the Thanksgiving dessert.  After I became sick I stopped using a crust and switched everything to fat free.  It's adapted from Paula Deen's Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Fat Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
3 (8 oz) packages fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin
egg substitute (or egg whites) equivalent to 3 eggs
.25 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1.5 cups sugar (you can do half white and half brown for a more pie-like taste)
.5 t cinnamon
.125 t cloves
2 T flour
1 t vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add all the other ingredients, stir until combined
  3. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan, and bake for 1 hour.  
  4. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes.  
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours until cold.
You can also prepare your cheesecake in a bain marie (water bath.) 
  1. Line springform pan with tin foil.  
  2. Pour in cheesecake batter.
  3. Place springform pan in a roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan so it comes about halfway up the springform.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 70-75 minutes.
  5. Remove from water bath, and cool on rack until barely warm
  6. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

That's it!  That's my menu!  What's on yours?  Anything exciting?  What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

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