Yes, yes, it’s that yummy time of year again! Beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes… she forgot butter, sugar, cream and swine, then you gain a couple of pounds, sleep a couple of days, and feel all bloated by Monday.
I remember a time when I had to provide a place to lay down and digest my buttery southern goodies. I literally had a bed in my dining room for just that purpose. One year I had people sprawled all over the place, suffering from culinary inebriation, not fit to drive home after the grueling work of digesting all the richness I could fit in one meal. I slayed, but not in a good way. For that, I ask forgiveness.
Not this year, Diva. Not this year. My food has been Californized.
Last year I had the pleasure of hosting our family Thanksgiving feast, and you know I made it healthy. And you know what else? They didn’t even notice. Or at least it seems that way, as all I heard was smackin’ and plate scrapin’. So I figure I better do it again, since I got nominated to host the dinner again.
I just followed the 80/20 rule. 80% of the food was healthy, 20% fatty/rich stuff. That was all that was needed. A few tweaks to the traditional diabetic coma on a plate, and you’ve got a feast fit for a Well Diva.
First of all, I let hubby be in charge of the meats. Of course there’s turkey – I’ve learned he wants fried turkey this year. Okay. Alright, I’ll let him have that. That’s part of the 20% I mentioned, so we’re good. I think he’s also doing some sort of beef, or lamb. Like I said, he’s in charge there.
For my part, first I’m doing my mommas dressing, or at least as close to it as I can get. That’s when you make your own buttermilk cornbread (no gluten needed) in a cast iron skillet, crumble it up and add sautéed onions and celery, cream of celery (or cream of chicken) soup, broth, and poultry seasoning. Spread into a pan or stuff the bird, and bake until a golden brown. Oh lawd I’m sitting here drooling!
Then I’ll roast some vegetables – probably Brussel’s sprouts and butternut squash together this year. Spread on a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and sea/kosher salt and bake at about 400 for 15 minutes or until browned. THEN, pour browned butter with sage on top. OH LAWD. Skip that last part if you really want to save your butter quota for something like dinner rolls.
Of course there’s greens, but in my house they’re meatless, and they’re highly adored. Saute onion in a bit of oil until tender, then add chopped garlic and continue to sautee a bit. Add vegetable stock and about a half teaspoon of liquid smoke. Let that simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes. Add more stock if you need to. The more you let it simmer and reduce, the stronger the flavor. Add your chopped greens, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and simmer until tender enough for your liking. Go ahead, hurt yourself enjoying this one.
And of course everybody loves my Hennessey sweet potatoes. This started when I ran out of rum one year trying to make my pina colada yams, and grabbed the first thing I could find in hubby’s stash, Hennessey. Just add a tablespoon of Hennessey, or some kind of rum or whiskey.
And finally, one more carb for you carbaholics. My mushroom rice bake has been on our holiday table for as long as I can recall. I can get away with sliding this one in to replace mac n cheese and believe me, those who were looking for mac n cheese soon forget about it. Since I honestly can’t name one good for you ingredient in mac n’ cheese, I removed it from my menu. I did make a vegan version once, and ate the whole thing almost before I could get good pics, but I wouldn’t make it in place of the real thing. It’s good, but just different.
The bottom line is when you make a little of this and a little of that and it’s ALL amazing, nobody remembers what they were expecting for dinner. He he he.
Needless to say after this meal you can still walk, talk, and drive home safely. And you may even be able to eat dessert. Now that’s an area where you’ll want to splurge, and now, you can!
This weekend is the time to get started on all of this. So if you need a little help, be sure to join my Facebook Live event Sunday, where I’ll be talking about these dishes, and doing a bit of demo. Bring your questions and your notepad. Shall I expect to see you there? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to share the recipes with you afterwards.