Gluten free Thanksgiving 2015 and decor ideas

Hey guys, 

So this was my Thanksgiving last year and I wanted to share it with you to give you ideas for this year’s Turkey day! 

So let’s talk decor first!  I wanted to keep it simple and clean so we could focus on the food! 

So I started with some butcher paper and laid it the length of the table and cut it.   

Then place your table settings how you want them.    I’m a poor college student, so I just used my everyday dishes but if you keep it simple,  it should still look acceptable.  

Once your table settings are laid out where you want them,  add your centerpiece.  Mineis my usual wicker basket filled with pinecone,  but I supplemented some fake guords from the dollar store for a more festive feel. I also threw some placements underneath it to draw attention to the centerpiece.   

Then I took a permanent marker and wrote out the ‘Give Thanks’  section.    I did this last to make sure I had enough room and that it was placed where I wanted it. 

Finish off your decor with a cute glass/vase with markers for people to write what they are thankful for in the blanks.  

We enjoyed doing this before we ate because it gave us a chance to appreciate to really be in the moment and enjoy our meal. 

And that’s it for decor!  Easy Peasy! 
Now to the good stuff… The food! 

Two things to note: I always have a completely gluten free meal and try to make it healthy to boot.    And I always cook for an army (because who doesn’t love leftovers?!) 

Now I’m not gonna share all the recipes because honestly,  I kinda wing it, but the goal is to give you some ideas on gluten free options! 
Turkey- most are gluten free,  just watch out for glazes.    We got ours from schnucks and it was good,  but other times I have gotten from honeybaked and it was good as well.

For dressing-there are many gluten free turkey gravies you can buy, but we use my grandma’s recipe which basically uses leftover turkey juices mixed with cornstarch, water, booked egg, onion, celery,  and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Ham- we got ours from schnucks,  but honestly,  honey baked hams have much better (and more pricey)  ones.   Be sure to double check glazes! 

Honey mustard- super simple honey mustard if you like dipping your ham in that. Just mix w parts mustard, 2 parts mayonnaise,  2 parts honey and mix it all together.    Taste test as you go to find the level of sweetness best for you. 

Green bean casserole-  alright so I love gb casseroles,  but it can be hard to get the yummy goodness of non gf versions with some of the watery versions of gluten free cream of mushroom soups.    But this year,  I tried a local brand that was much more thick in consistency so was able to achieve the same flavor. Top with gluten free crunchies.  You can find lots of options for these on Amazon.com.

If you wanna kick it up a health notch,  try my green beans with almonds and cranberries.    It is literally that simple… Throw it in a skillet with some olive oil and cook until soft.  Toss in some almonds and cranberries and cook for just another couple of minutes. Serve!  That simple. 

Gluten free stuffing… Well this one is definitely a cheat… I use the boxed one with store bought GF bread and honestly.. It’s really good so I don’t see a whole lot of reason to go out of my way on that one.   The one I most like is the schnucks brand,  but if you don’t have a schnucks,  a Amazon sells the glutino one which is pretty good too.   They also have gf bread crumbs you can buy,  but I usually just use actual gf bread. 

Creamed corn. So this is a slightly different take on corn because honestly I don’t like creamed corn,  but this one is really good and should probably be called more a cheesy corn.    Cook your corn,  whatever kind you are using and put kernels into a skillet.   Then add butter, maybe 1/3 cup of milk, and pepper jack cheese.   Let cheese and butter melt and stir frequently to get milk to absorb in there too.    Once it’s a nice cheesy mess,  sprinkle with parmesean as well. 

Yams.   So again,  not a big fan of marshmallows or candied yams,  so this is my yummy healthy alternative.    I literally just cook them in olive oil…. Ya I know,  crazy that it’s that simple,  but they come out a little sweet and very yummy.   You can bake them until tender (maybe 45 min at 275) or you can cut them up and toss them in a skillet and cook until tender.    

Mashed potatoes,  well that’s pretty much a given.   We used real potatoes and cooked then with just a bit of milk and butter.    This year I will b probably do cauliflower ‘mashed  potatoes ‘ but it takes some prep work for that. 

This meal may seem like it has all the same things you usually eat for Thanksgiving,  and it does…. Minus a ton of the sugar and butter that can so laden so much of turkey day food.   This meal is a much healthier alternative while still helping you feel like you had all the staples! 

I hope that helps give you some ideas on what to make for your gluten  free Thanksgiving!  If you like this post  please like,  follow,  and share! 

Brown Sugar-Garlic Chicken with Chia-Flax-Garlic Potatoes and Lightly Buttered Veggies #yum #glutenfree

brownsugargarlic chicken

This recipe came about out of pure necessity. We had not gone to the grocery store so did not have many of my go-to ingredients, so I got creative.

 You will need:

Chicken breasts- boneless and skinless

hash brown potatoes- mine were frozen and had limited ingredients!

veggies- mine were frozen and I really only had carrots and corn.

onion

butter- I like the stick type for veggies, and usually use olive oil for cooking but was out so had to use butter in this recipe.

brown sugar

garlic

turmeric

flax seeds

chia seeds

salt

pepper

pam cooking spray- or olive oil or melted butter to grease pan

Tools: oven, stove, skillet, small pot with lid, baking dish/pan, cutting knife, cutting board

1) First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2) While that is heating, Spray down your baking dish with Pam, or use butter or oil spread on it to prevent sticking. Separate the chicken onto a baking dish.

3) Season the chicken with garlic, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Rub it into the chicken to thoroughly coat it.  Then add a thin slice of butter on top of the chicken. This will keep it moist and add some flavor.

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4) While the oven is still preheating. Wash your hands and your onion.  Place it on the cutting board and cut about half of it. Dice this to desired size.

5) Add 2-3 thin slices of butter to your skillet over low heat. I would usually use olive oil for this but didn’t have any.  Melt the butter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet.

6) Toss your onions into the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until yellow and translucent.

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7) Your oven should be ready now so throw in the chicken. Let it cook for about 30-35 minutes.  It is done when you can easily cut into it with a knife and the center is white.

8) Place your frozen veggies in the pot with 2-3 thin slices of butter and 1/4c water.  This will help thaw the veggies and keep them moist.  Let it sit.

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9) Add your potatoes to the skillet with the onions; cover the bottom. Mine were frozen so I also added about 1/4c water to help thaw them.  Add 3-4 slices of butter, a handful of chia seeds, a handful of flax seeds, salt, pepper, turmeric, and garlic. Toss together.

papas seeds papas, onions, butter

10) Because the rest of this will cook pretty quickly, I suggest waiting for about 20-25 minutes before proceeding. You want the chicken to be almost done so they all come out together.

11) At 20-25 minutes, check on your chicken. You can make a small slice in the center to determine how pink it is and how much cooking time it still needs. Also at this point, flip the chicken over to help it cook on both sides.

12) If your chicken only has about 10-15 minutes left, you can start the rest of your cooking.  Turn the veggie burner onto medium heat and cover with lid.

13) Turn the skillet heat up to medium and frequently stir the potatoes to keep the bottom from burning.

14) Veggies are done when they can easily be pierced with a fork. For my frozen veggies on medium-low heat, this took about 15 minutes.

cooked veggies

15) Potatoes are done when butter is melted and potatoes have turned a nice golden-golden brown color. They should also be easy to pierce with a fork.

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16) Remove both from heat when done. At this point, your chicken should be done or almost done as well. Remember to check that the inside is white. Remove from oven.

cooked chicken

And serve!

Brown Sugar- Garlic Chicken with Chia-Flax-Garlic potatoes, and veggies

 

Baked Honey Mustard Pork Chops! #yum #glutenfree

porkThese are very yummy and a slightly different take on the usual BBQ sauce pork chop.

You will need:pork1

Skillet

Large pan for oven

Olive oil

Pork Chops

Honey

Spicy or Regular Mustard

Salt

Pepper

Garlic

Drizzle, Sprinkle, and Smear!

pork2      pork3

Flip and repeat!

Preheat oven to 400.

Add oil to skillet and place skillet over medium high heat. When oil begins to glisten, add pork chops to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides and no blood is coming out of bones.  My chops were a little large so they took about 4-5 minutes per side.

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Add olive oil to pan that will go in oven. Smear it around. Then remove chops from skillet and add to pan

Put pan in oven for about 20 minutes.  Check at 15 so as not to overcook.  Chop should not be bleeding and should be brown not pink. To check for this cut a small cut into the  center of the chop and check color.

While it cooks, you can make a honey mustard sauce to add to it.

To do this, you will need:

Honey

Mustard

Mayonnaise

Mix equal parts honey and mustard and about half the amount of mayo.  Mix until it is a solid color. Add mustard or honey to taste.

When Chops are done, remove from oven and serve with sauce. Yum!

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Monterey Jack Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

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 So this is a very easy recipe but a little time consuming….but totally worth it! Very yummy!

You will need:

Raw chicken breasts

Monterey jack cheese (or whatever kind; I did a Colby one for my mom)

spinach or kale

salt

pepper

garlic

parsley

olive oil

a skillet with a lid

a flat pan for oven

foil

knife

1) If your chicken is frozen, be sure to thaw it out first.

2) Take a knife and slice a long slit down the middle of each breast, making sure it goes almost all the way through.

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3) Then season with salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley on both sides.

4) add olive oil to skillet and place chicken in

5) cook on medium-low heat and cover it with the lid.  Be sure to turn chicken over every few minutes so it doesn’t  burn.   More olive oil may be required.

6) Cook until there is no visible pink meat when you cut into it. *note that when you cook it this way, it will look very white for a while and that the outside cooks much faster than the inside, so keep flipping so it doesn’t burn*

7) Line the flat pan with foil and preheat oven at 375 degrees

8) Pull out cheese and cut into small slices.

9) Once the chicken is cooked (mine were very large pieces of chicken and took about 40 minutes to cook), remove from skillet and place on foil.

10) Let cool slightly to where you can handle it without burning your fingers.

11) Take a pinch of spinach or kale and nestle it in between pieces of cheese.  Keep it condensed because you are about to shove it into the slit you made earlier.

12) Once it is cool enough to touch, slide the cheese and greens into the slit.  If desired, add another slice of cheese to top it.

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13) pop it into the pre-heated oven and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes.  You want the cheese to be melted and the greens to be wilted.

14) remove from oven and serve!

chix2

I served mine with peas and carrots and garlic mashed potatoes.  It would go great with rice or pasta or a salad as well!

Yum!

My First GF Thanksgiving #healthyeating #glutenfree #

I have been gluten free for a couple of years now but this was the first time I had the opportunity to have a completely gluten free Thanksgiving.   And not only was it gluten free,  it was low carb as well!  I modified a lot of my parents recipes to healthier alternatives!
Plus,  apparently I was planning to feed an army (instead of 3) so made a plethora of food options.

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Turkey – local brand 12 lbs
-1 stick butter inside turkey
– about 4 apples diced and put inside turkey
-a few stalks of celery diced and put inside turkey
-garlic,  salt, and pepper inside and outside to taste
-melt quarter stick butter and rub on surface of Turkey
Bake overnight for about 8 hours at about 200 and then let stay in warm oven for another 3-4 hours.
Don’t worry about reheating turkey later because the gravy will be hot!

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Ham
*gluten free note*- check your glazes!!!
Cooked as instructions directed.
Then make a yummy homemade honey mustard sauce by mixing mayonnaise,  honey,  and mustard until u get desired consistency and desired flavor. It can chill in the fridge.

Once these two are cooked get to work on those sides!
We had a bunch so I will just run through all of them for you,  in no particular order. Plus they are all simple and healthy! 🙂

Brown sugar maple carrots

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These were really easy and hands down my favorite side!  Slice about a dozen carrots (if you decided to feed an army like me) and drizzle with 1/4 c maple syrup and 1/4c olive oil.  Sprinkle about 1/4 c brown sugar over carrots. Salt,  pepper, garlic,  thyme, and rosemary to taste.  Toss in the oven at 400 until carrots are soft (about 15 min)  and serve.

Homemade mashed potatoes

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Boil potatoes until soft… We did about 5 lbs of potatoes and left the skins on.    Once soft,  drain and mash until you get desired consistency.  Do this while potatoes are still hot.   Add 2-3 cups of milk and 1 stick melted butter.    Stir until desired consistency.  If dry add more milk.   Salt, pepper,  garlic,  and rosemary to taste.

Maple cinnamon sweet potatoes

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This is a much healthier alternative to yams w marshmallows!  I diced about 5-6 sweet potatoes and tossed them with 1/4 c olive oil,  1/4 c maple syrup,  salt,  pepper,  and sprinkle with cinnamon.   Sprinkle with about 1/4 c brown sugar if you really want it sweet,  if not,  leave it out.
Throw it in the oven and bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Glutino  gf stuffing
This one really doesn’t look as good as it tastes but it is very good.    We were cooking so much that this was really the best alternative for us.

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Just follow the very simple instructions on the back.    Don’t forget to use the turkey juices in place of chicken broth and also the celery and apples from the turkey for extra yummyness!

Parmesean baked Potato,  squash and onion casserole

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So this isn’t really a casserole but I couldn’t think of a better name for it,  so I’m calling it a casserole haha.
This is just slices potatoes,  onions,  and squash that were laid out in a pan,  drizzled in olive oil, topped with Parmesean cheese, seasoned with salt,  pepper,  garlic, and rosemary and tossed in the oven. Bake at 400 for 30-45 min until all are tender (particularly the potatoes).
Toss some more Parmesean on top and serve.

Green bean casserole
Apparently I forgot to take a picture of this in my Thanksgiving zest but let me tell you how we made it gluten free.   We cut onions and made onion rings using a gluten free seasoning flour mix we found.   You coat the onion in egg then in the mix and put them on a cookie sheet.   When done crusting,  toss in the oven for about 15-20 min at about 325.  You want the onions to be fully cooked but not burnt.
Then we mixed a can of gluten free cream of mushroom into 2 bags if frozen green beans and salt and peppered to taste.   Then tossed I the oven for about 15 min at 350 degrees. In the meantime,  cut the onion rings into smaller pieces. Then remove dish from oven and top with the onion rings.  Put back in oven for another 5 min or so.  Then remove and serve.
*warning,  the onion rings on top should be kept separate because they will not keep well of they remain in casserole. *

I bought gluten free rolls from a local gluten free bakery.

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You know you’re from Texas when your Thanksgiving menu includes jalapeño poppers!!  But they were so yum!

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Slice jalapeño peppers into 4 pieces.  If you are a heat wimp,  discard seeds.   If you are a heat seeker,  add the seeds to your filling mix.   In a bowl,  mix equal parts cream cheese and sour cream and place into popper.   In another bowl break one or two eggs and a splash of milk and stir. And in a third bowl,  have your gf flour coating mix.   Coat the popper in the egg mix  and then in the flour mix.  Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 min.   Watch for browning.

The infamous Thanksgiving ‘soup’  as well call it.
Aka,  the gravy!

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Boil some eggs in advance until they are hard boiled,  then peel and slice into small chunks.   Set aside.   Then take the giblets and neck and cut them up and boil them to get all the juices.   Add the turkey drippings and 1-2 c of corn starch into a skillet over low medium heat.   Continue to stir until begins to thicken.   Salt, pepper,  garlic to taste.  Let sit for a few minutes once nears desired thickness.    As it sits it will continue to thicken.    Then just before serving,  add the egg.   Do not stir after as it will cause the egg to fall apart.  Serve over mashed potatoes, Turkey, stuffing or as some people have been known to do,  eat it as a soup (I wouldn’t actually recommend this seeing as it is a gravy but to each his own).

Before I show you the finished product,  let’s talk drinks and desserts!

Cranberry spritzer

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So this is just 1 bottle of sparkling cider,  1 3-L sprite,  and 2 bottle of Cranberry juice.   Then for color and ice,  add a frozen bag of cranberries in.    Let me warn you on two counts… If you are like me and don’t have much of a sweet tooth,  you will only be able to drink one glass and I recommend having tea or water on hand as your actual beverage. However,  if you say the sweeter,  the better,  the new this drink won’t last long in your company as it is very good.

And now for desserts:

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we did the Apple a couple days before and froze it and the pumpkin the day of.
For the pumpkin,  just follow the directions on the can  but use a gluten free crust.   For the Apple,  we made a healthy alternative.    We got a bag of about 5 lbs of apples and ground 1/3 of them into an applesauce and diced another 1/3.   We then layered these into the gluten free crust.  Add about 1/4 c brown sugar to top.  Then slice the remaining 1/3 into pretty slices to layer on top.  You can freeze at this point. Just before you bake,  add a bit more brown sugar to the top of the apples and a pat of butter to keep them from browning too much. Bake for about 30 – 45 min or until it is warm throughout and the pie center is not real jiggly. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

The results of all our hard work :

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And there you have it!  A full blown,  healthy,  decadent and gluten free Thanksgiving dinner!!!

Chocolate dipped watermelon with salt #sogood #summer

This was a great idea I found on pinterest.  It is super yummy and healthy to boot!

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Chocolate watermelon with salt!

You will need :
Unsweetened bakers chocolate  (or chocolate chips so long as they are Unsweetened – the watermelon is sweet enough)
Watermelon
Salt
Lots of plates /napkins!

First cut your watermelon if it is not already cut.

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Then start melting your chocolate squares in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Stir often. Do this until completely melted.

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Pour some salt onto a plate for easier pinching.  I liked sea salt but others have said that regular salt was less salty so it’s up to you.

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Once done,  take a spoon and drizzle the chocolate over a slice of watermelon.  Then pinch a bit of salt and sprinkle over the top.   The sweeter the watermelon, the more salt you should use.

And enjoy!
Keep in mind that while this is a relatively healthy snack,  watermelon and chocolate do have a good amount of natural sugar and should be eaten in moderation. Also remember that the salt you apply to your food is only 10% of the sodium you ingest, so don’t panic too much about that.

Fun twist on a hot dog #gf

This is a fun gluten free twist on a hot dog for July 4th! It’s a hot dog in a corn tortilla but the best part is this hot dog allows you to add all the trimmings for fewer calories than the bread version.

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You will need:
Hot dogs
Olive oil
Corn tortillas (these are from a local restaurant but you can buy them at the grocery store)
And whatever trimmings…
I used:
Sharp cheddar cheese
Ketchup
Spinach
Baby tomatoes
Onion
Mayonnaise (go for a little hit of the real thing (remember processed food is worse) ,  choose the olive oil kind)

I pan fried mine.  It gives it great flavor. . Add a little bit of oil to the pan and cook at medium heat.  Add hot dogs and cook until they start contorting and bubbling some. . They should be a little blackened.
If the tortillas are cold,  throw them on the pan for a minute on each side until they are warmed through (just a few minutes). .
Add hot dog to tortilla and then add trimmings.
I used spinach,  cheese,  baby tomatoes,  onion,  ketchup,  and a tiny bit of Mayonnaise.  I cut it in half and had a delicious hot dog wrap!
Believe me,  you won’t miss the original bread version!