Thanksgiving is ALMOST HERE!

Hello everyone! I hope that you’re enjoying the crisp autumn weather, as the days grow shorter and snowflakes begin dotting the air. As our thoughts turn collectively to turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, I wanted to touch base for a quick run-down of Thanksgiving recipes.

The holidays can be especially hard for those on salt-restricted diets – but they don’t have to be. With a little preparation and ingenuity, these times can be the best – and healthiest – you’ve ever known.

So let’s talk TURKEY. When it comes to the bird, think fresh. Although most free range fresh turkeys are expensive, they’re worth it. Not only will you be getting a bird much lower in sodium, but the animals themselves are also treated much more humanely. WIN-WIN. Whole Foods Markets, as well as many food co-ops, farmer’s markets, and butcher shops are selling fresh birds like hot cakes this time of year. With a little leg work, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find one. If you haven’t or can’t purchase a fresh bird though, don’t despair! Most supermarkets have a whole array of options. In the past I’ve opted for kosher birds, which tend to be lower in sodium than the standard butterballs. But don’t limit yourself. Roast chicken is a healthy substitute, as are guinea hens, duck and quail. And many butcher shops have fresh birds that have not been treated with the broth/salt injections commonly afforded the processed birds.

Or, if you’d prefer skipping poultry altogether, I highly recommend this fabulous recipe for Roast Pork with Dried Plums.

Not to overlook vegetarians, I have recipes for several meat-free entrees that are sure to please. Vegetarian Holiday Loaf is adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe of the same name. Vegetarian Lasagne, Zucchini Cakes, and meaty Gorgonzola Portobellos are all delicious, and there are a ton of other vegetarian entrees at THE DAILY DISH.

But – as usual – I’m getting ahead of myself! Why not start at the START with a delicious soup or salad! Soup makes any meal more memorable, and I have recipes for some serious stand-outs. Butternut Squash Soup will have your guests raving. As will the phenomenally gorgeous Beet Soup or Apple Butternut Soup. If greens are more your speed, try this tasty Warm Asparagus Salad or Simple Autumn Salad.

Now, let’s talk sides. No turkey dinner is complete without Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing! Baked apple slices are delicious with fowl, and are a sure hit with kids. Another idea is topping Mashed Sweets with some marshmallows, baking, and serving as an irresistible sweet potato casserole. Or you could try your sweet potatoes roasted, as in Fingers and Sweets. Creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes are FABBBULOUS, as are the always popular Twice-Baked Potatoes. Winter squash is also wonderful this time of year! For an extra showy and delicious meal, I highly recommend both Stuffed Acorn Squash, as well as Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots.

Since most of us love some bread with our meal, try the simple rolls I made this summer with my daughters. Incredibly easy and delicious – and a great time even if you don’t have children of your own.

And what holiday meal is complete without DESSERT? Pumpkin pie is a must-have at our house. But there are some other absolutely delicious pies to consider as well – Squash and Pear Pie and Sweet Potato Pie are particularly popular this time of the year. I also highly recommend Pears in Wine, which look (and TASTE) divine but are supremely simple to make.

Finally, don’t forget beverages! I recommend a nice chilled white wine to complement the meal, but if you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to feel deprived. Try some sweet milky Chai Tea with dinner or dessert.

Just remember, Thanksgiving is set aside as a day for giving thanks for all of our blessings, enjoying friends and family, and celebrating life. So don’t let your kitchen time stress you out so much you lose perspective. If things burn, flop or turn out just plain ugly, laugh and put your feet up, knowing you tried your best. There was always plenty of cursing around the kitchen while I was growing up, and my mom often sat simmering long after the meal was over. But there’s no reason to sweat the little things. So enjoy yourself, and enjoy a big satisfying meal without having to worry about the aftermath.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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16 thoughts on “Thanksgiving is ALMOST HERE!

  1. !!! Some of you links aren’t working!!! (404 error)

    Whilst I poke around your site, I’ll print off some of your culinary delights as I always like to surprise The Misters family with a vegetarian dish that they don’t know is vegetarian πŸ™‚

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  2. Yes I know I have no Turkey Day but I was thinking of celebrating anyway… I mean I do have American friends… surely that counts?
    Some of those recipes would work for a an English non-holiday meals also though. See, you don’t realise how good you are!

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! I’m not making a cake, so I have a chance that things will look good! We are keeping up with our tradition of late, of having some major, house-messing-up project going on right at Thanksgiving, so I will have to overcome the mess to cook and entertain, but I shall prevail!!!!! I hope.

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  4. Daffy, darling, you can celebrate any non -holiday you wish…Happy Non Thanksgiving Day to you!

    Dishy, thanks for the great ideas, wishing you a Happy before Thanksgiving week and a Happy Day of Thanksgiving!!!

    I am just so thankful for all my friends, both real and imagined :), near and far, online and off!!!

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  5. HAHAHAHAHAHH!! Hayden that is TOO FUNNY! If you do get it, make sure you order one w/ hot peppers. MY FAVORITE!

    Connie, you are just the most gracious person ever. I am sending extra special Thanks for having you as a friend.

    Tracie, hang in there! OR maybe you guys could order Papa John’s too>?

    Daff, you are hereby granted official American Spirit Status (or, ASS) for the entire day of November 27th. Go Get Yer Turkey On, Woman! xo

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  6. Knowing your food phobias, I am honored to be asked!

    BTW: I am planning on sending holiday packages before long.. are you willing to eat cookies I have made or should I stick to commercial chocolates?? I do not want you throwing anything out!

    PPS: I’m home sick – sympathy please..

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  7. are you homesick or at home AND sick? sending sympathy either way.

    as for cookies, yay! i’ll eat cookies. just don’t tell me what’s in them (and don’t put anything freaky in them, like wheat germ or something).

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  8. Oh man, Curl, I am definitely NOT homesick. I am SO SICK w/ 2 capital eSSSeS,

    You know when you’re so ill all you can do is lay in bed wishing you had the strength to do anything..? And you look out the window, and the sun is shining glorious and the snowflakes are as big as vanilla wafers? But instead of running outside all you can do is hack & cough & ache..?

    Me too.

    We’re ordering Indian. Spicy food always makes me feel better.

    PS: Great news about the cookies! No healthy stuff, I promise. xoxo

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