Beverages, Crossover, Dessert, Dinner, Drinks, E, FP, Holiday, Recipe, S, Sauces, Dressings, Sides, Snack, Veggies

My Thanksgiving Picks

Do you know that Thanksgiving is 3 weeks from today! I feel ready and I hope you do too. I have spent the last several weeks gathering and posting recipes here to get ready for the holiday season. Here is what I have gathered.

The first thing on my menu is the turkey of course. I started using a “spatchcock” method for cooking my turkey lately and I highly recommend it! It cooks so much more quickly and evenly. Check out how to Spatchcock a Turkey and get a bonus gravy recipe HERE.

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Here are my picks for the best things to have alongside the bird:

Sweet Potato Casserole (Crossover or E)

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Bean Casserole(XO)

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Green Bean Casserole (E)

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The Best Green Beans (S)

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Loaded Veggie Casserole (S)

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Roasted Veggies (S, E or XO)

ro veg

Stuffing (S)

stuffing

Cranberry Sauce (FP)

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Mashed Cauliflower (S or FP)

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Rolls

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Broccoli Salad (S)

And for dessert I suggest the following:

Pumpkin Roll (S)

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Coconut Cream Pie (S)

slice-of-pie

Pecan Pie (S)

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (S)

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Pumpkin Pie (S)

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Tagalong Pie (S)

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (S)

Berry Crisp (S)

Need some beverage suggestions? Here are my favorites:

Cranberry Wassail (FP)

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Pumpkin Spice Latte or Creamer (S or FP)

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How is your holiday planning going?

Dinner, Holiday, Recipe

How to Spatchcock a Turkey + Gravy Recipe

The most time consuming part of your Thanksgiving day is definitely cooking the turkey. It keeps the oven occupied for the better part of your day. The length of time it takes to cook often means that the breast meat dries out by the time that the thigh meat is cooked properly. Well this method of cooking fixes both of those problems! Spatchcock is the very strange term for this method. Here is the explanation I found:

Think of it as butterflying the chicken. The real term is to “spatchcock.” Alan Davidson explains in The Oxford Companion to Food: “The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of ‘dispatch the cock,’ a phrase used to indicate a summary way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat.”

This method results in fast, even cooking. Freeing up your oven for other things during the day. Here is what you will need to do.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey (or any poultry)

  1. Cut Out the Backbone

    Put the turkey breast-side down. Use poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone, beginning at the tail end. When it gets hard to cut use just the tip of the shears. This process is not super simple. It takes some “oomph” to cut through the rib bones. Have lots of towels handy to keep your hands from getting slippery. This picture shows my initial cuts in the skin along the sides of the backbone.
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  2. Open the Turkey

    Take hold of edges, and open the turkey. Turn the turkey breast-side up.

  3. Break the Breastbone

    Place your hand on one side of the breast, close to the breastbone, and push down firmly until you hear a crack then do the other side. (You may want to have someone tall do this part or stand on a step stool to give you better leverage. I seriously had to stand on a stool and press hard. I am 5’7″.)

  4. Flatten the Turkey

    Pull the thighs outward so the turkey lies flat. Tuck the wing tips under to secure.

  5. Brush with Oil or Butter and Roast

To Roast:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, basting twice. Continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
  • These instructions are based on a 12 pound bird. A larger bird may require a bit more time. Please use a meat thermometer to check if the meat is cooked fully. (Mine was a 16 pound bird and it took just under 2 hours.
     

    The skin is super crispy and even the breast meat is nice and juicy!
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Use for the giblets:

  • If you don’t choose to use them in your Thanksgiving preparation please don’t throw them away! Use the giblets, neck-bone and the backbone you removed in the spatchcock process to make stock. (The picture on the left is just the neck, back and giblets simmering. The right is that plus the carcass being made into stock.)
     

  • I like to use the giblets for Thanksgiving day in both my stuffing and gravy. To prepare them. When I remove the giblets and neck-bone from the bird I put them straight into a saucepan, cover them with water and set the covered pot to simmer on low for at least an hour. After the giblets are cooked I remove the meat from the neck-bone and then chop that meat and the giblets into tiny pieces, removing any fat. I put a little over half of this into the stuffing and the rest into the gravy.

Now for the gravy:

  • Take the drippings from the roasting pan and put them in a saucepan on medium to medium-high heat.
  • Add enough chicken or turkey stock to bring the amount of liquid up to 1-2 cups depending on how much gravy you want.
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  • Taste your liquid. Your seasoning requirements are going to vary based on the amount of seasoning you put on your turkey that transferred to the drippings. You will probably want to add about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 pepper and a TBSP nutritional yeast. Alternatively you can add a TBSP of THM.¬†Bouillon¬†(That link will take you to a recipe for stuffing AND the bouillon). It is very important to taste and season to your liking.
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  • Once you have the flavor you like then you will add glucomannan, whisking rapidly as you add to prevent clumping. The amount you add will depend on the amount of liquid you are using. You will want to start with 1/4 tsp per cup of liquid. Allow the gravy to simmer at a low boil, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes of simmering, if the gravy is not thick enough add another 1/8-1/4 tsp at a time, every 5 minutes, until it is as thick as you’d like. Do not add too much at a time.
  • Taste again to make sure your seasoning is still correct. Sometimes glucomannan can “dampen” flavors, making it necessary to add more seasoning. Once seasoning is correct, add the giblets if desired.
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Want some help on your journey? Join my fall book study group! It starts in just a few days!! Anyone who participates in this book study will also be eligible for a 10% discount for any of my coaching or class packages that are booked before January 31st, 2019!

Dinner, E, Lunch, Recipe

Bean and Bacon Soup ~ THM E

Sometimes, you throw things together in a pot and out pops something that turns out to be one of the best things you’ve ever tasted! That happened with this bowl of soup. I was in the need of an E lunch and I was low on most E ingredients. I was going to make my Ham and Beans recipe but I didn’t have the ham. I was also out of canned beans, but thanks to the fact that I had made and frozen a bulk batch of beans when I made my Amazing Baked Beans I was still able to improvise.

I really wasn’t expecting much from this recipe. (Which is why I didn’t take any good pictures in the process, in fact the one picture I have is kind of blurry because it was only for meal tracking purposes.) I mean, even calling it a recipe feels silly, because I literally just threw some things in a pot, but it worked out so well I had to share it. This was really just going to be a bean soup, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Hormel, Real Bacon Bits I had in my refrigerator only had 1.5 grams of fat per tablespoon! Therefore, Bean and Bacon soup it was!

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Bean and Bacon Soup ~ THM E (Single Serve)

  • 1 cup navy beans
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast or THM Bouillon
  • 1/8 tsp bacon natural flavor or liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 2 -3 tablespoons real bacon bits (5g or less of fat)

Place beans, broth and seasonings into a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in gelatin to dissolve. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until everything is warmed through. If you want the broth to be thicker you can mash some of the beans, or you could whisk in 1/4 teaspoon of glucomannan. That is it! Just a few short minutes to a warm and hearty lunch!

Oh, and if you can get your hands on a really good pear it makes a great side! I know that looks like a shiny apple in the picture, but it was a pear. I couldn’t believe how good the pears were that I picked up at the produce stand! Forget pumpkin and apples, I think pears are the unsung, fall fruit heroes!

Want some help on your journey? Join my fall book study group! Anyone who participates in this book study will also be eligible for a 10% discount for any of my coaching or class packages that are booked before January 31st, 2019!

Dinner, E, Recipe, S, THM

Stuck in a Rut? Try these recipes!

Everybody gets stuck in a food rut sometimes. It is great to have an arsenal of family friendly recipes to go to. Give some of these a try, you’ll be glad you did!

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Crossover, Dinner, E, FP, Lunch, Recipe, S

Secret Ingredient Chili

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Fall is coming! School has started and that is a sure fire sign that soon enough it will be sweater weather. And that means chili! This is a meal that we enjoy all year round but especially when the weather is cooler.

I have to let you in on a little joke though. It is pretty well assured that when I make chili it will be the warmest day of the week! I don’t plan it that way, really I don’t! It just happens. This week I wanted to make chili so I could take pictures for this article. It was only supposed to get up to 81 degrees which is bad enough. It ended up getting up to about 95! Oh well, the chili was delicious anyway.

Now on to the recipe. Let me preface this by saying that we are not super spicy food lovers around here. You can feel to spice this up as much as you want, but this recipe is pretty mild as written. This recipe is so easy to multiply to make large pots. I almost never make it without doubling it because we love the leftovers.

And the secret ingredient? OKRA! Don’t worry, no one will even know it is there! Trust me on this one!!

Secret Ingredient Chili THM S

2 lbs ground beef
2 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can black beans
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs dried minced onion (optional)
1 Tbs cumin
4 tsp mineral salt
2 bay leaves
1-2 cups frozen cut okra
1 cup very hot water

  1. Begin by browning the ground beef. After beef is browned, drain off grease and put beef in stock pot or crock pot. Add tomatoes, beans (no need to drain), seasonings and bay leaves. Stir it all together.
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  2. Next place your cut okra in the blender. I have a ninja. The way I processed the okra was to blend it till it turned into okra “snow”. Then I poured the hot water in and blended again for about a minute till there were no more chunks of okra at all. If you do not have a high powered blender then you can pour the hot water in with the frozen okra and blend away.
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  3. Now pour the mixture into your chili. Don’t worry, your chili will not be that green!
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  4. Stir everything together.
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  5. You now just need to heat your chili through. You can do this in less than 20 minutes if you are doing it on the stove-top by just simmering it on medium-low heat. Stir it occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. I personally like chili best when it has simmered for a long time. So I put it on very low heat and simmer for at least an hour. I like it best when I put it in the crock-pot on low all day! Remove bay leaves before serving.

I hope you love this chili as much as my family does. This is an S recipe as it is written. The amount of black beans does not amount to enough per serving to take you out of S mode so feel free to add cheese, sour cream or avocado to your bowl.

If you would like to make this chili FP then make sure you use 97% lean ground beef or rinse your ground beef in VERY HOT water. Make the rest of the recipe as written. Use 0% Greek yogurt to top it.

Want an E chili? Follow the FP suggestions above and add a few more cans of beans.

Feel like having a crossover? Use the original recipe and add a few more cans of beans.