Holiday

An Ode to Thanksgiving: A Few of My Favorite Things

stuffing in red casserole dish, mac and cheese in red casserole dish, with cranberry sauce on black table with decorations of nutmeg and herbs

 

GUYS.  We are days away from Thanksgiving, which I might add…is my ALL TIME fav Holiday.  Thanksgiving is the epitome of what this blog is all about, which is why I’m so excited to share these recipes with you!  Not to mention, this Holiday is basically an entire day that revolves around food.  Can I get an amen?!

In honor of Thanksgiving being my favorite Holiday, I decided to feature 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share with you guys!  So without further ado, let me introduce you to the crew…

  • THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese will change your life forever.  I’m serious.  It’s so dang good that anyone you serve it to will become your new best friend.  This was a recipe my mom used to make for us growing up, and it continues to be a classic to this day.  AND to make this all the more exciting…there’s a secret ingredient!  Yup…NUTMEG.  Adding nutmeg takes this mac to a whole other level, and will seriously challenge your will power to not eat all the cheese sauce before adding pasta!

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.
  • Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing 

Just to be clear…stuffing is the real MVP of Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s probably the one item that you could mix in with every other dish and it all tastes bomb.com.  Think about it…turkey? Yup.  Cranberry Sauce?  Yup.  Mashed potatoes?  Yup.  Pumpkin Pie?  Well, maybe not pumpkin pie.  

This recipe gives you a gluten free stuffing to make for the centerpiece of your plate.  Find yourself a GF bread, get yourself some sausage, and mix in all the veggies!  Mixing in wild rice is so yummy and gives it added flavor.

Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, rosemary, sage, sausage, stuffing, thyme, wild rice
Servings: 10 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 3/4 loaf bread
  • 8-10 oz sausage cooked
  • 3 tbsp butter grass-fed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 sticks celery peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 pack portabello mushrooms chopped
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice yielded from 1 cup dry wild rice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with oil.  Set casserole dish aside. 
  • Cook 1 cup of wild rice (should yield approximately 3 cups cooked).
  • Add 2 tablespoons EVOO to saucepan and cook sausage over medium heat.  Break apart with a spoon.
  • Take a loaf of gluten free bread, and cut 3/4 of the loaf into small cubes.  Take bread cubes and set aside in casserole dish.
  • When sausage is done cooking, pour over bread in casserole dish.
  • Chop garlic, onion, mushrooms, and celery.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan with sausage drippings, add chopped veggies, and cook over medium heat. Sauté veggies for 8-10 min or until wilted.
  • Add chopped herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary), and 2 cups broth to veggie mixture and stir.  Once broth is warmed up, remove from heat.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of broth, two eggs and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. 
  • In the casserole dish, already containing the bread and sausage, add the vegetables with broth, and cooked wild rice.  Stir together and let cool a little.  Then add broth/egg mixture (want the dish to cool down so the eggs don't cook).  Stir all ingredients together.
  • Drizzle apple cider vinegar over the top to bring out the flavor.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil over top.  Remove foil for last 10 min of baking.

Notes

  • In order to cut down on time there are definitely parts of this recipe that can be prepped days ahead.  For myself, I chopped all the veggies the day before making it.  OR you could make the entire dish a couple days ahead of time and store in an air tight container or freezer bag.  Then on the day of serving, just grease the pan and pop in the oven to cook!
  • If made ahead of time, bring it to room temp, add a little more broth (as it was all soaked up while in the frig), blend and bake.
  • If putting the stuffing in a bird, just stuff and cook as usual.
  • Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

There is something to be said about a really good homemade cranberry sauce.  This recipe avoids the refined white sugar and uses natural sweeteners, like honey and oranges, instead.  The sauce has a wonderful mixture of bitter and sweet, with added dimension from the orange juice, and some seasonal spice of cinnamon.  As if the taste isn’t enough to get you to try it, the color it makes is absolutely gorg!

Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: cinnamon, cranberry sauce, fesh cranberry, homemade, orange
Servings: 10
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 naval oranges juice
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • In a sauce pan combine cranberries, honey, juice from oranges, and cinnamon stick.  (Some chunks or orange fell into the saucepan while I was juicing them and I just left them in there!)
  • Cook on medium heat for 20 min.  Cranberries will start to pop.
  • Stir a couple times while over heat.  This will help blend the ingredients together, and you'll start to see the sauce forming.
  • Remove from heat to allow sauce to cool and thicken.  Once sauce has cooled, remove cinnamon stick.
  • Store in container or mason jar and refrigerate until time to use!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving this week and that we all take a moment to appreciate those around us.  Enjoy the craziness of family, the time with friends, and the moments shared with one another over some really good food:) 

Vegetarian Meals

Roasted Beet Salad

 

Hands down, this has to be one of my all-time FAVORITE salads.  It brings such a unique and refreshing taste to the table, and is a great way to incorporate these mega-nutritious beets into your diet!  (Not to mention, the display will surely impress your family or guests).  Be bold and different this Holiday season, and leave the traditional food fare to everyone else!

If I’m being honest, I think beets get a seriously bad wrap.  I know they have this super rigid exterior, with very little “sex-appeal”, BUT…if you give it some time (in the oven), get to know it a little bit, maybe even pour it a nice glass of wine; they will turn out to be one of the most beautiful vegetables you’ve ever seen! 

One reason you should get to know beets better, is because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties.  Interestingly enough, their potent anti-inflammatory properties are what give them their deep pigments!  They are also known to lower blood pressure, increase energy levels, boost digestion, improve brain health and heart health, help prevent cancer, and promote weight loss.  

So yeah, I actually can’t think of one bad thing to say about beets.  Oh, and they taste AMAZING TOO!  So do yourself a favor, and give this beet salad a try…I think you’ll be surprised at the end result 🙂  But if you don’t believe me, take it from my friend Dwight here…

Image result for dwight schrute and beet

Roasted Beet Salad


Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized beets or 2 large (gold or red)
  • arugula enough to make a bed on serving dish
  • 2 tangerines peeled; or 1 orange, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates pits removed
  • 1/3 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • goat cheese optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil EVOO or avocado oil

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice or juice from half a fresh lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Italian herb mixture

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel beets and cut into large chunks.
  • Transfer beets into a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp. of EVOO with salt and pepper, and mix well.
  • Wrap beets in tin foil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour. Beets are done cooking when they become soft (you can stick a knife/fork into it easily).
  • While beets are cooking, toss arugula and onions in a mixing bow, and mix in the dressing.
  • Lay arugula mixture on a serving tray.
  • Cut beets into smaller chunks and lay over arugula.
  • Add tangerines, dates, and walnuts to rest of salad and serve. If using goat cheese, add at this time.
Vegetarian Meals

Veggie Tian

 

Think of it as the grand-daddy of vegetarian lasagna!  This dish is so yummy and healthy, not to mention it looks totally gorg on your table!  There are layers upon layers of veggies for you to enjoy, topped off with some grated parmesan and fresh basil. 

Seeing as we’re approaching Holiday season (aka family pot luck season), this dish is beneficial for 2 reasons…

-IT WILL STAND OUT.  Everyone else will likely be bringing a dish that consists primarily of meat and cheese.  Having a totally different option will be refreshing .  Scandalous, am I right?!

-NUTRIENT DENSE.  All three of these veggies have high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  Vitamin A supports healthy vision, skeletal tissue, and skin, while Vitamin C helps the body fight off free radicals.  Free radicals are known to cause cancer (boo).  Tomatoes and Zucchini are also known to promote heart health and have anti-inflammatory effects.  Basically, there are vitamins all up in this tian.  

Also, if anyone else is like me and has never heard the word “tian”, let me save you the google search…”a dish of finely chopped vegetables, cooked in olive oil, and then baked”…also defined as, “one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven”. 

Irony?  I think not!

 

Step 1: Saute onions and garlic, and add into bottom of baking dish
Step 2: Layer in zucchini
Step 3: Layer in sweet potato
Step 4: Layer in tomatoes and spices
Step 5: Add parmesan cheese, then repeat another layer of zucchini, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
Step 6: Top with fresh basil, cover with foil and bake for 40 min @ 375 degrees. Remove from oven, add cheese, and bake for another 30 min.
Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

 

Serves: 6-8 Total Time: 1.5 hrs (prep time 20-25 min, bake time 70 min)

Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 zucchini (green and/or yellow)
  • 4-5 large tomatoes (heirloom, beefsteak or similar)
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4-6 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray an 11-in round or 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish with olive oil or avocado oil.
  3. In a saute pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8-10 min, until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and sauté a few more minutes.
  5. Take onion mixture from pan and add to bottom of baking dish. 
  6. With a mandoline slicer, slice the sweet potatoes and zucchini.
  7. With a knife, slice the tomatoes into thin slices.
  8. Lay down slices from 1 zucchini over onion layer, then lay down slices from 1 sweet potato over zucchini.  Finally lay down slices from 2 tomatoes over sweet potato layer.
  9. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley, red pepper, and half of parmesan cheese.
  10. Repeat layers with remaining zucchini, sweet potato, and tomatoes.  Top with another layer of salt, pepper, and chopped basil leaves.
  11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 min.
  12. After 40 min, uncover dish, sprinkle remaining cheese and bake for another 30 min.
  13. Optional: Garnish with extra cheese and fresh basil leaves if desired. 
  14. Serve warm.