Thursday, November 24, 2011

Debi's First Paleo Thanksgiving!!

SUCCESS!!  Though I gave in and made my hubby and teen 'real' mashed potatoes and stuffing, I made Paleo versions for me and I thought they were delicious!!  My teen tasted mine and LOVED them, too.  He just said he likes the "old kind" better.  Ha ha!!

Here's what our Paleo/Non-Paleo Thanksgiving table looked like:
From left top to right bottom:  Paleo "Cornbread" Stuffing, Mashed Cauliflower, Acorn Squash, turkey gravy, Cranberry Relish, Brussel Sprouts and Bacon, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, Traditional Stuffing


Deep Fried Turkey (hubby did this!!)
Old Fashioned Sausage Stuffing - Mother-in-law's original recipe and Paleo version
Mashed Potatoes and Mashed Cauliflower
Acorn Squash
Brussel Sprouts and Bacon
Cranberry Relish (from
Turkey Gravy

PALEO "OLD FASHIONED SAUSAGE STUFFING":  (original ingredient in brackets)
1 pound sausage (the kind in the tube like ground meat)
1 tart apple - peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped selery
1 onion chopped
½ Tbsp Poultry Seasoning (or equal amts sage and thyme)
pepper and sea salt to flavor
1 Tbsp clarified bacon grease or ghee (margarine)
½ cup nuts, chopped - walnuts are my choice!!
8 cups almond bread cubes (regular bread) - I halved this part as I made two different pans of stuffing, ½ Paleo/ ½ traditional...
2 ½ to 3 cups chicken stock

IF you are a super prepared person, you can cut up the bread cubes the day prior… if you're like me, cut them up and put them into a pan, set in the oven at 250 deg F for an hour or until hard.  If you're prepared, you can do this a day ahead without the oven… just cut up and put in the pan and let go stale.  I like the flavor of the heated bread cubes… alway have.  (for the recipe of the almond bread, click this link).

Cook sausage meat in non-stick pan.  Remove from pan and save dripping in pan to which you'll add the grease or margarine for next step.

Cut up onion, celery and apple.  In the tablespoon of grease or butter, cook onion and celery until clear and tender.  Add to bread cubes.  Add apple chunks to bread cube mixture, too.

Sprinkle seasoning, pepper and salt over the cube mixture and mix thoroughly.  Sprinkle chicken stock over bread cube mixture and make sure all cubes get slightly moist.

"Cornbread" (Almond Bread) Stuffing
Traditional - used wheat bread cubes and no celery

Cover and place in oven, cook for 1 hour at 325deg F.

Cranberry Relish: (adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods)

12 ounces fresh cranberries (pick out yuckie ones!)
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped small (I used one Fuji and one Jonagold)
1 lemon's zest
1 orange's zest
Put picked-ver cranberries in a medium saucepan
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks

I was lazy… I food processed the apples!!

The apples and cranberries.

Add apples to cranberries in a medium saucepan, then add the zest, orange juice and water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Sauce should thicken somewhat.

The zest, orange juice and water added.

After 15 minutes of simmering… 

Place in refrigerator and serve cold after removing cinnamon sticks.  I, of course, did not prepare this ahead of time, so I was speed cooling in the freezer.  It was still excellent.  It earned thumbs up from all, even picky hubby!!

Acorn Squash: Slice two acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Sprinkle cinnamon inside them and turn them open-side down in glass baking dish, put in ¼ to ½ cup water and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30 mins at 400deg F.

Turkey Gravy:  As I did not have kuzu or arrowroot powder, I did have to go decidedly unPaleo (but still gluten-free) by making gravy with cornstarch.  I used homemade turkey broth and had it on hand in the freezer.  If you cooked your turkey in the oven, you probably have a TON of drippings… use these.  Put turkey drippings in medium saucepan, add salt and white pepper to taste and bring to boil, in a separate small bowl, put in 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or other thickener) and liquify with about ¼ cup water.  Pour this slowly into the boiling turkey drippings, stirring the entire time.  This thickens quickly, so remove from heat before it burns or gets clumpy.  If you added too much cornstarch, it WILL thicken too fast and clump, so have extra water on hand for 'just in case'.

Mashed Cauliflower:  I have been DYING to make this!!!  I just bought a food processor and now HAVE THE POWER to mash ANYTHING I desire!!  So… I did!!  As you noted above, I used it for the apples… that was fun!!  I also had the wrong sausage on hand for the stuffing… so I cooked the links (the kind without the coating, though) then processed the h*ll out of them!!  Needless to say, I was READY by the time I got to this recipe!!

HOW TO MAKE:  Take 1 head of cauliflower (I only needed ¼ as I only made this for me).  Cut off center stem and into huge chunks… then, steam the cauliflower in the microwave for 7-9 mins depending on microwave power.  Carefully (so you don't burn your fingers like I did), put into food processor.  Add 2-3 Tbsp butter and ¼-⅓ cup milk/cream/almond milk/whatever milk you want and process on low speed.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't add either as the butter was the salted kind and I felt that was enough sodium for me.  

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon:
My freakin' favorite!!

1 bag frozen brussel sprouts
6 pieces bacon (uncooked and low sodium)
salt and pepper to taste

While you microwave your brussel sprouts 5-6 minutes, cut up bacon into small strips and cook in small frying pan.  Once brussel sprouts are cooked and bright green, cut into halves and quarters (for the bigger pieces) and place in small glass dish.  Once bacon is crispy, pour bacon and grease over brussel sprouts and mix all up.  Salt and pepper to taste and put in oven at 325deg F for 10-15 minutes (since the stuffing uses this temp, and it was already in the oven, that's what I used!).

So… how did it turn out?  Without having you go back to the top and look at the spread again, here's my plate:
Clockwise from top:  Mashed cauliflower with gluten-free gravy, "cornbread" Traditional Stuffing, white meat turkey, cranberry relish, brown meat turkey, brussel sprouts and acorn squash in the middle.  
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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