November 10, 2015
There are only 15 days left before Thanksgiving! Most people associate Thanksgiving with eating a lot of food and then doing it all over again for a before bed snack and then the next day with the leftovers. It doesn't have to be that way though.
For the past several years, since I've been with my fiance, there have almost always been three separate Thanksgiving dinners. My mom would make a Thanksgiving dinner not on Thanksgiving, my future mother-in-law would make a Thanksgiving dinner not on Thanksgiving and finally, on Thanksgiving Fiance's parents would take us all out for Thanksgiving at a fancy local restaurant.
This year, however, I put my foot down and I now have the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving! This is very exciting for me as I love to cook! And what I love even more is putting a healthy twist on heavy favorites, which is what I am going to try to do this year. There are a couple things, however, that I will keep traditional. As Shaun T says, "eating 85% healthy, working out consistently, and eating 15% fun!" So 85% of my Thanksgiving feast is going to have to be healthy and 15% will have to be fun!
So what's on my menu you ask? Well, the only thing set in stone is the local farm-raised turkey, stuffed with aromatics rather than dressing/stuffing. Don't get me wrong, I love stuffing, and that is one of the things that I will leave traditional, but I really am interested in playing around with aromatics and poultry. So I will be placing things like lemon, fennel, garlic, sage, and rosemary in the bird and we will see how that works. Of course, I will make gravy with the drippings. I am planning on roasted brussel sprouts and butternut squash, or sautéed if the oven is too busy. I am debating mashed potatoes because my mom really loves them, but I will make half the amount that is usually made since a huge bowl almost always sits in the fridge for the week following and never gets eaten. There was an amazing recipe for white mac and cheese with horseradish that Chef Carla Hall made on the Chew yesterday, but I think that would just kill me because I would totally overeat that for sure. I think some sort of corn dish might be appropriate, but I haven't thought one up yet. Maybe some green beans too, but not that creamy junk with the French's fried onions on top, I never did like that stuff. I also plan on making my own cranberry sauce and I am pretty excited about that.
For the 15% fun, I will make via stovetop a version of my mom's beloved stuffing, but try to lighten it up a bit and I love adding chia seeds for a little flare. Of course I will make homemade rolls and/or crescents. I already rock at making my own big fluffy dinner rolls, but I have never made crescents, so this will be a new challenge. I know, it's easy just to pop open the exploding tube and pop them in the oven but like I said, everything is going to be made by my own two hands, crescents included!
Finally, for dessert I will offer two pies. One pie will be a pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash pie. The other one is the kicker and partially the reason why I wanted to host Thanksgiving, it's called the Miley-High Apple Pie, which is probably really called the Mile-High Apple Pie, but Chef Michal Symon named it after Miley Cyrus, who he was dressed as on the Halloween episode of the Chew, where this pie was debuted. The pie is unique to me – Granny smith apples piled high with an aged white cheddar crust. SOLD!
So that's my potential menu, and like I said I am planning on sharing some recipes over on my Facebook page in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, so be sure to check it out!
P.S. I will leave you with this recipe that I saw yesterday on the Chew (I know I have talked about the Chew at least three times in this post). I wasn't planning on serving a salad with my Thanksgiving meal, but if I did, it would be this one. I plan on making this in the next couple days because it just looks too delicious not to. Here's the link: Acorn Squash with Baby Bitter Greens Recipe from ABC's The Chew