Every year of our adult lives, those of us who love the traditional Thanksgiving meal, anguish over what to prepare. Thanksgiving should bring back good memories or create new ones. This is a special time to remember how America began and at the same time, add to the glue that bonds us together.
Past Thanksgivings in my lifetime have been filled with a handed down corn bread and chicken dressing mixed with boiled eggs, poultry seasoning, sage, salt, pepper, butter, onions, celery and chicken stock . Sound good? It is, but one drawback. It does tend to cause a full feeling and bloat. It is high on carbohydrates and will aggravate those sitting at your table who are sensitive to high carb or sugary foods. The corn meal and white flour that go into this pan dressing does turn to a massive amount of sugar when digested. No, not as bad as eating a piece of cake, but if you are sensitive to carbs, you might as well eat the cake as to eat this dressing. The only thing that makes “less” bloating and swelling is the fact of the fats present in the dressing. Still not enough to stop the unwanted effects. So, you say, “well, what if you just eat one small portion?” Know anyone who will do that on Thanksgiving?
So, the last few years I have tried to develop a more and more carb friendly Thanksgiving meal. Last year (2010) I believe was the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever prepared for taste and after-effects. It was 100% satisfying as well as 100% no drag with the carbs! So, I wanted to share this with my fellow Thanksgivingites! First, seems its a good idea to have a preparation plan in effect before you start out. If you purchased a frozen turkey, set it in refrigerator to thaw for 3 to 4 days. If not thawed completely the evening before Thanksgiving, set in cold water in the sink for 2 hours. Then stuff and return to the refrigerator in a kitchen trash bag over a platter. So, 3 days before the event you start with Day 1 of the preparation. Note: this is not for the faint hearted. It is hard work and you need to stop and rest your feet and legs ever so often during the next 3 days:
Day 1 – Today you prepare home-made refrigerator rolls (Betty Crocker Old Time Recipe that rises in the refrigerator! No kidding!) Use Whole Wheat and Unbleached White Flour equally in the recipe. Also, 4 desserts: 2 lemon meringue pies (only fresh ingredients), 1 lemon ice box pie w/home-made graham cracker deep dish pie crust and 1 fat free cheesecake with sugar free fresh strawberry topping.
Day 2- test your refrigerator rolls and start preparation of turkey dressing. Set out the table decorations, china or pottery, glassware, silverware, baking dishes needed for each part of tomorrow, pots, cranberry sauce, tea, napkins.
Day 3- White Organic Russet Potatoes, whipped; baked sweet potatoes (no sugar) with butter, mashed, fresh or frozen broccoli steamed with butter, giblet gravy from scratch, baked turkey, optional Ham for those Ham lovers you may have at your table. Put your clover-leaf shaped rolls in muffin tins in the oven 10 minutes before serving the entire meal. Fill glassware with ice and have pitchers of water and unsweetened tea available to pour as needed along with low carb sweeteners like Stevia or Xylitol, but nothing chemical.
I told you this would be work! It becomes habit when you do something on this order year after year. Its so worth it!
Now, you are going to need the recipe especially for the turkey dressing.
The rest of the items, like the desserts, are just examples of how you can be lower carb. Lesson on sugars: The rougher then sugar, less it breaks down and less likely to cause you grief. The purity of the sugar is another factor, buy organic sugars. My favorites to keep in the cabinet are 1. Sugar in the Raw (coarse and flavorful, much less a problem) 2. Beet sugar (less problem to those sensitive to sugar 3. Xylitol (all natural sweetener derived from sugar, but less problem and half the calories) 4. organic dark brown sugar (the absolute best to bake cookies, use on oatmeal and make cinnamon toast) 5. Stevia – the ultimate sugar substitute, an herb, no chemicals and no calories! tastes great with lemon juice, cranberry juice – some things tastes bit bitter.
Now we start with recipes of old time but with a low carb twist:
Old Fashion Turkey Dressing (Southern Style)
This recipe is to taste. You can use mine or take your favorite one and just use Rye Flour and Spelt Flour instead of the Corn and White flours. That’s the low carb key to the entire thing!
Here is what is in my dressing for a turkey and 1 large baking dish full of dressing:
Need: plastic dish pan for mixing the dressing ingredients; poultry seasoning, stick of butter, about 6 to 8 chicken no-skin thighs, boiled and keep the broth, about 1 medium celery stalk washed and cut up into small pieces – strip off the strings so its not hard to chew, about a dozen boiled eggs (5 minute), 1 package of turkey gizzards and hearts (about dozen) boiled, keep broth, salt, red pepper, garlic powder, one large white juicy onion and one red onion cut up finely, 2 to 3 cake pans of recipes of low carb pan bread -(use rye flour and spelt flour instead of corn and white), sage, broth. Last, after putting all those things in the mix, add 3 or more raw eggs to make the dressing stick together. Prepare all of these according to the directions. I will include 1 single recipe of the corn-bread that is now rye/spelt bread below.
Low-Carb Imitation Corn-bread (for stuffing) (use Corn flour and white flour instead of the Rye and Spelt if you want corn-bread recipe and eliminate guar gum)
Rye/Spelt Pan Bread for Stuffing
1 Cup of Organic Rye Flour
1 Cup of Organic Spelt Flour
4 tsp of non-aluminum baking powder (Whole Foods or other store that sells natural non-chemical products)
1/2 tsp guar gum per recipe of this pan bread to help the spelt/rye to rise and thicken
3/4 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp sugar
1 slightly beaten chicken egg (cage-free and organic are best for you and have more flavor)
2 Tbls of Vegetable Oil (Cannola, Safflower or Olive Oils are fine)
1 1/4 cup or more (make like pancake batter consistency) using unsweetened Coconut Milk (green colored print, milk carton at Central Market, HEB or Whole Foods is an outstanding healthy milk – is low carb and low calorie)
Sift the dry ingredients, then stir in the wet ones and mix well with spoon until smooth and pour into one round cake pan, metal or glass. This will make 1 pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
It should look a little golden when its done. Use a toothpick test to see if comes out of middle clean and if so, its done.
Directions: 1. De-bone all your chicken, cut up your giblets and trim off the hard edges (gristle) 2. cut-up veges in 1/4 to 1/2″ pieces (celery and onion) 3. cut up your boiled eggs 3. keep your turkey giblet broth for the giblet gravy 4. keep chicken broth for the dressing 4. cut up chicken or turkey heart(s) taking out hard pieces 5. Dump at least 2 pans of your rye/spelt pan bread into the plastic dish pan or similar (need mixing space) breaking it up into smaller clumps 6. add the about 2 – 3 cups of chicken meat, the veges, the boiled eggs, mix, then pour in enough warm broth to mix (2 cups), add stick butter, mix, add a 2-3 tablespoons of poultry seasoning, 2-3 tbls sage, about 1 tsp powdered garlic, gizzards, about 1 tbls salt to taste, 1/2 tsp red pepper to taste, mix well, add 3 raw eggs, mix well, taste it, seems like a smooth taste, if need more salt add or more sage add. Then ready to put in a large baking glass dish, 13 x 9, enough left to stuff the Turkey (about 2 cups or more). This is a general guideline, you may change it up some. You are looking for the buttery smooth poultry seasoned garlic taste. You can use more onions if you like more. This is a “light” kind of recipe, more on the bread side than other things. In order, it should have the most to least 1. pan bread 2. chicken meat 3. gizzards 4. boiled eggs 5. white onion and red onion 6. celery 7. spices 8. raw eggs 9. warm broth.
22 lb turkey (baked in separate electric oven, weighted with iron skillet to keep steam inside and 2″ of water in bottom of turkey baker. Rub salt inside and out of turkey, Rub olive oil on outside of turkey all over breast and sides, put butter under the skin on top side over breast, stuff with raw dressing, wrap up and refrigerate until early morning if you want a 12:00 time meal (around 4:00 a.m.) at 325. When the turkey is somewhat browned, not overly and legs seem to separate from side of turkey, its done just about right.
Organic Russet or Gold Ukon Potatoes – boil in stew pot, drain, (with or without skins) mash with potato masher, butter, some non-fat milk powder (for creamy effect), salt and some of the potato water. You can hand whip or put in your mixer and whip. Keep hot in metal bowl and cover with a dinner plate until ready to serve. 20-25 minutes on steady low boil to cook.
Sweet Potatoes – wash, rub with olive oil, put some water in bottom of glass baking dish, place them in there to fill up, cover with foil. Bake at 350 about 1 1/2 hours, until soft all way through. Take out, pull off skins, mash in the dish with butter or in a bowl and put back into the hot dish and cover until serve.
Broccoli – fresh or frozen. wash and cut up if fresh, fill up stew pot, put about 2-3 inches water and steam, add some butter and salt, 20 minutes approx. cooking time.
Refrigerator Rolls – take out dough and cut, shape into balls, piece 3 together to make a clover look and place in muffin tin. Leave out ready to bake. Put in oven 350 for 10 minutes prior to the meal being ready to serve.
When turkey is done. Turn off oven and let it stand for 30 minutes.
Easy lemon ice box pie:
Homemade is always best! Use a box of graham crackers and put in your processor to make crumbs. Much less sugar and tastes fantastic! Mix with butter and press into your deep dish glass pie plate. The filling is 1/2 Cup of fresh lemon juice plus 1 can of 14 ounce condensed sweetened milk (Satini) that does not have high fructose corn syrup or other chemical compound. Satini is a natural brand at Whole Foods. Use 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (Satini) and 1 cup of fresh lemon juice for a deep dish pie. Just put the condensed milk in a bowl, add the lemon juice measured exactly and stir well until it looks smooth like pudding. Pour it in the graham cracker pie shell prepared by you and refrigerate for 2 hours. Now you can put whatever your choice of whipped cream on top. Its super good and the lemon offsets the effect of the sugar. Low carb dessert.
Also, you can make a cheesecake using the sour-cream recipe on back of Graham Cracker Crumb box. Use best sugar you have (low carb) and taste it so you can lower the amount. I find a lot of recipes have way too much sugar anyway, just reduce it to taste. For the topping, use fresh low carb strawberries. For a glaze, use unsweetened strawberry jelly, with squeeze of lemon juice, no sugar, heat with little water, stir until seems thick and pour over the cheese cake. Use home-made graham cracker crumb and butter crust around the edges.
Lemon Meringue Pies – use Spelt pie shells from Whole Food instead of white flour. Use fresh lemon juice and xylitol for making the filling. Just use Betty Crocker plain Jane recipe. Whip up your meringue as usual and bake as directed.
Of course, everyone’s favorite, cranberry sauce! Just get this one prepared already unless you just want to cook the cranberries. This would be the only thing I would not elect to do scratch normally. Although I have done this.
Have a great holiday and let me hear about YOUR Thanksgiving meal for 2011!