This year, try a Thanksgiving without packaged food; I’m going to. I don’t need the MSG, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers, or thickeners. Skip the canned cream of mushroom soup, canned chicken broth, box stuffing mix, pre-made pie crusts, imitation whipped cream, canned French-fried onions, canned green beans, canned cranberry sauce and canned gravy. I’m also going to deny myself eggnog this holiday season. Eggnog is a much-loved treat, but I’m ready to cut it out. Read the label and you’ll see why. (I probably will try making it at home, though, because it is SO yummy!)
Most years I’m not in charge of the whole meal, but this year I am, so I’m going to do it my way. I’m going to roast a turkey with the following sides –
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes (without sugar or marshmallows)
Green Beans (probably add a little bacon grease, yum)
Stuffing (I’m going to use my Crusty French Bread)
Rolls using half white and half wheat (I like my rolls really soft)
Apple Pie (all butter crust; no shortening which is trans fat!) with raw cream drizzled over it instead of store-bought ice cream; mmm, I’m getting hungry.
And don’t forget, when the turkey is picked clean you can boil up the bones for the best broth ever! Place them in a pan and cover with water. Let it come to a boil and simmer it all day. Drain the broth over a colander to catch the bones and either chill the broth or freeze it. When you’re ready to use it you can skim the fat off the top and discard. Don’t know what to do with the broth? Keep it in your freezer and I’ll let you know soon. This broth will keep in your fridge for 3 days. Bonus – if you add a bit of vinegar (like ¼ cup) to the water before boiling you will get a very mineral-rich broth, a great source of calcium.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Boil or steam your potatoes. Place a generous amount of butter in a bowl and press 1 or 2 garlic cloves in. Place the potatoes in the bowl and mash. Add cream and milk and mash some more until creamy. I usually use half cream and half milk.
This is from Cook’s Illustrated (Nov/Dec 1999)
¾ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
¼ tsp salt
1 12-ounce bag cranberries
2 Tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
Bring water, sugar, salt and orange zest to a boil in medium pan (non-reactive, like stainless steel) over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes. Off heat; stir in the orange liqueur. Transfer to non-reactive bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)