Another Thanksgiving has come to pass, and if you’re like me and you cooked your Thanksgiving day dinner in your home, you spent most of the day in the kitchen stuffing, roasting , baking, whipping and all the other techniques involved in putting together the delicious dishes that made your dinner memorable. Now that the dust has cleared and all the leftovers are wrapped and refrigerated and all of the pots and pans are cleaned and put away, like any red blooded American Male I’m watching football. I have my comfortable pants on as I finish up the day with a Thanksgiving Day tradition, watching my beloved Cowboys. All I will say is it;s been a rough season….sigh
But you’re not here today to talk about football, it’s guest post Friday! I met my next guest while I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and after speaking with Nicole from Prevention RD, I knew she would be a perfect guest blogger to share with you on this very special day of the year. Thanksgiving is a time of indulgence for many of us, and I know I do tend to overeat from time to time..sigh. So I just knew that a Registered Dietitian would be a wonderful choice for today. Now I know what some of you are thinking, oh its going to be all that healthy food that’s just good for you…..well, your partly right. When I say partly right, it will be a healthier fare, but you certainly wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t told you. While Nicole does her best to keep things healthy, she still works her magic making her dishes delicious! So today is like a bonus post for you! Great food that’s still good for you, what a concept!
So let’s get this show on the road, sit back, relax and put your feet up and prepare yourself to be amazed, as I give you…….
The blogosphere is a big place and if it weren’t for the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco a few weeks back, I may have never met Chef Dennis. After visiting with Chef Dennis and pursuing his blog, I quickly recognized many similarities between our food philosophies and day jobs.
When Chef Dennis asked me to write a guest post for his Thanksgiving Day post, I was flattered and stoked. Seeing as my husband and I are always the ones traveling for the holidays, the one person in our families who would love to cook (that’d be me)…doesn’t get the chance to. Chef Dennis’ request spurred an idea to make a Thanksgiving meal for just hubby and I. Of course, there was no “meal planning” involved. I have been filing away Thanksgiving ideas for the past 6 weeks! Scaling back my meal for two was the difficult part.
For me, Thanksgiving is all about the stuffing. I prefer stuffing with bold flavor. Whether the flavors are of sage or sausage or something entirely unique, I need a stand-out flavor or ingredient. The recipe I most wanted to try was a Cornbread, Chorizo, and Jalapeno Stuffing that I had seen in one of my favorite cooking magazines, Cooking Light. As a Registered Dietitian I am constantly seeking that perfect balance between health and flavor. This dish was a perfect example of how there’s no need to sacrifice flavor when you can use small portions of very bold flavors like jalapeno and chorizo.
Cornbread, Chorizo, and Jalapeno Stuffing adapted from Cooking Light
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
½ cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz. chorizo sausage, casing removed and crumbled
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
2 celery stalks, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup French bread, cubed
2 egg whites
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 lime, cut into wedges
Make the cornbread according to the directions on the box, adding the ½ cup cheese to the batter. Allow cornbread to cool and then crumble into a large mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Add in chorizo and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the jalapeño, celery, garlic powder, salt, and green onions. Cook for 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the contents into the crumbled cornbread. Stir in the French bread, egg whites, and broth. Stir until the bread is moist.
Spoon the cornbread stuffing into the baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with lime wedges. Yield: 8 servings.
Next up was a vegetable. I love all vegetables, so I wanted to try something that was a bit over the top. A recipe I had seen for Whiskey-Glazed Carrots quickly came to mind. Though our Thanksgiving meal didn’t include the traditional sweet potato, this recipe encompassed the flavors of the prepared sweet potato in the way of sweet, syrupy brown sugar. A small portion of butter, a bit of whiskey, and brown sugar turn the humble carrot into a vegetable side that’s worthy of a spot at any Thanksgiving table.
Whiskey-Glazed Carrots adapted from Pioneer Woman
4 Tbsp butter, divided
3 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into thick circles
1/2 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
3/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
chives, chopped (optional garnish)
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add carrots and cook about 2 minutes until they start to brown in spot. Remove carrots.
Pour in whiskey and allow to evaporate 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter. When butter melts, sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Stir together. Return carrots to the skillet and stir.
Cook about 15-20 minutes more, stirring often, so the sauce thickens into a glaze and the carrots cook through. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour onto a platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired. Yield: 10 servings.
For dessert, I went all out. Much to my husband’s dismay, I opted out of both pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Seeing as he bats for team pumpkin pie and I bat for team pecan pie, I decided to try something completely different – fudge! I have made fudge before, several times, and I’m always pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to make. Plus, it’s pretty full-proof for a novice or those who prefer not to bake (that’d be me, too!). Mr. Prevention and I agreed that this pumpkin pie fudge fulfilled any pumpkin pie desires. The flavor of pumpkin pie was spot-on and the texture was dense, velvety, and rich. Other than the antioxidant properties of pumpkin, there is nothing healthy about this recipe…but the portion size limits the damage!
Pumpkin Pie Fudge Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats , as seen on Eats Well with Others
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
9 oz white chocolate chips
7 oz marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stir together the sugar, butter, milk, pumpkin, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 234 degrees F (soft-ball stage).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla until well blended. Pour into a greased, aluminum foil or parchment paper-lined pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool. Cut fudge into 64 squares (1-inch x 1-inch each).
Thanks for stopping by to take a peek at my Thanksgiving spread. And thank you, Chef Dennis for sharing your corner of the blogosphere with a new friend!
What a spread indeed! I always enjoy seeing what other people serve for holidays, and Nicole really outdid herself giving us 3 dishes to choose from! I’m a stuffing person too and that chorizo stuffing would make a great side anytime of year! So before everyone goes into a food induced coma from all that they ate, head on over to Prevention RD and say hello to Nicole, just don’t forget to tell her Chef Dennis sent you! Make sure to stay for awhile and check out all of the tasty healthy dishes that Nicole has in her recipe index, she even has them graded for you, with the vegetarian options in green! I know your going to find some new dishes to add to your must make list, I certainly did!
So my friends, after a rough week, it was good to enjoy our Thanksgiving bounty, and to take a few minutes before the meal to tell what we were truly thankful for. I know I’ve said it before, but your all on that list, I am so thankful to be part of this community and know so many wonderful talented bloggers.
Have a great weekend!