By Dawnye Appel
Current trends in lifestyles and health can make it difficult to navigate a holiday that is focused on the feast. If you’re hosting an upcoming holiday dinner, it’s courteous to consider your guests eating habits. The meal plan on the next few pages will help facilitate today’s contemporary diets and picky tastes to make sure you have a menu that will make everyone happy.
1. Paleo – Baked Green Bean Fries
1 pound cooked green beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
Spread out the green beans on a silicone or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on them.
Broil for 10 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the green beans in there for another five minutes.
2. Gluten-free – Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup pineapple, diced
1 cup mango, diced large
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
In a large saucepan, combine water and sugars, and heat over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar, stirring until it’s dissolved. Add the cranberries, pineapple, mango (if using frozen fruit, no need to thaw it first, just add in the frozen pieces as is), cinnamon, ginger, optional spices and flavorings, and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and allow it to boil steadily for about five minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure fruit is not sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow mixture to thicken and reduce by almost half; this will likely take about 30 minutes, depending on strength of the boil, juiciness level of the fruit, and preferred thickness for preserves. Cook for no longer than about 45 minutes.
Pour preserves into a heat-safe vessel, such as glass jars, glass measuring cup or a ceramic bowl. Covered preserves will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.
3. Keto – Truffled Mushroom Deviled Eggs
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Small drizzle of white or black truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped exotic mushrooms
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with room temperature water. Sprinkle a little salt and white vinegar in the water. Turn heat on high and bring water to a full, rolling boil, uncovered. Let the eggs boil over the heat for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Don’t forget to cover them with lid.
After 20 minutes have passed, pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs. Next, pour all of the water out of pan, cover with lid and shake gently to break shells. Cover again with cold water and let sit for five minutes. Finally, peel eggs and refrigerate.
Heat butter and olive oil in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted and on the verge of browning, add mushrooms, thyme and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You want the pan to be hot so mushrooms crisp up. Stir occasionally and remove from heat when mushrooms are fully cooked through. Spread evenly over a plate and let cool.
Place egg yolks, mascarpone, mayo, mustard, truffle oil, salt and pepper in food processor. Blend until completely smooth. If mixture is dry, add more mayo or mascarpone cheese.
Fill the egg whites with yolk mixture. Top with mushrooms and garnish with truffle oil and fresh, chopped chives.
4. Vegan – Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion
2 ribs celery
1 medium carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
14 ounces extra-firm tofu (one 14- to 16-ounce package)
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon spicy brown or whole-grain prepared mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaf
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup quinoa flakes or quick oatmeal
Wash a medium sweet potato, pierce it several times with a fork, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave until done, about four to five minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle and then peel and set aside.
Mince the onion, celery and carrot. You can do this quickly by cutting each vegetable in quarters and then pulsing in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet. Add the minced vegetables, including garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until they become tender, about six to 10 minutes. Add water by the teaspoon if necessary to keep the vegetables from sticking or becoming dry. Once they’re softened, add the drained beans and mash them lightly with a slotted spoon or spatula.
Place the peeled sweet potato into the food processor along with the tofu, soy sauce and all seasonings, including nutritional yeast. Process until fairly smooth. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times. Scrape the tofu mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the quinoa flakes and the cooked vegetables. Stir well.
Preheat oven to 375 F. If you have a silicone baking mat place it on a baking sheet. Otherwise line the baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Spoon the tofu mixture onto the prepared baking surface, using dampened hands to shape it into an oblong or oval loaf about 2 1/2 inches high. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is evenly browned. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and cook for 20 more minutes. Check to make sure that the center is firm; if not, give it a little extra time. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
5. Vegetarian – The Best Vegetarian Gravy
8 cups vegetable stock (or 7 cups stock and 1 cup dry white wine)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup butter (to make it vegan, substitute a good olive oil or Earth Balance)
1 minced shallot, optional
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Marmite
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Pour the vegetable stock into a medium pot and drop in the shiitakes. Bring stock to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and let mushrooms steep for 30 minutes. Pour stock and mushrooms into large spouted measuring cup or bowl, and wipe out the pot with a paper towel.
Add the butter to the empty pot and melt over medium-high heat. If using the shallot, add and cook for a minute or so, whisking once or twice. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until it turns very lightly golden, about two minutes. Pour in the stock with the mushrooms in a stream, whisking the whole time. Add soy sauce, marmite, and a few grinds of pepper.
Bring stock back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until gravy is reduced by almost half, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and additional pepper if desired. Remove mushrooms before serving.
6. Raw – Cinnamon Spice Cheesecake
2 heaping cups regular sliced almonds for raw version
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons agave, maple syrup or coconut nectar
2 heaping cups raw whole cashews (approximately 10 ounces)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup agave or pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
Prepare the crust first by adding the almonds and cinnamon to a food processor. Process until a fine flour forms. Add the agave, starting with 2 1/2 tablespoons and add more if needed, and process until it clumps together. It should stick together when pressed between your fingers. Pour in a lightly greased 10 inch tart pan. Spread out evenly, pressing flat with your fingers and working your way just slightly up the sides. Set aside.
Add all of the filling ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides as necessary. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you will need to first soak the cashews in a bowl covered with water for about 5 hours. Drain and rinse and proceed with the next steps. Adding the remaining filling ingredients and process until smooth.
Pour the filling over the crust, making sure to scrape all the liquid out of the blender.
In a small cup, add the swirl ingredients and stir until well mixed with a fork. Drop spoonfuls all over the filling and gently swirl with a butter knife. Don’t overdo it or you will lose the swirl effect.
Place in the freezer to chill overnight or for several hours until solid and firm. Remove 10 to 15 minutes before serving and slicing. You can either slice it directly in the tart pan or gently pop out the tart pan from the bottom and then slice. Place immediately back in the freezer to retain the firm shape, as it will soften if left out too long.
7. Kid friendly – Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
Pour potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.