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Thanksgiving Ideas: Sides and Desserts

Every year we go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. They make the turkey and the rest of us divide up all the other dishes. I usually do veggies, desserts and rolls. I am going to change it up this year and bring a few new items to the table. I thought I would share a few ideas for sides and desserts, just in case you want something different, or you just do not know what to make.

Sides:

dsc_0041.jpgRoasted Brussel Sprouts, Cranberries and Butternut Squash

Sweet, tangy and hearty all in one place. This dish is so colorful and tasty.

DSC_0009 14Roasted Asparagus

You only need 8-10 minutes and these are perfect and ready.

DSC_0003 33Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Honey Drizzle

Everything is better with a drizzle of honey.

DSC_0006 12Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini

A little sweet and savory in one dish.

DSC_0013 2Parsnip and Cauliflower Puree

This is a play on mashed potatoes with less carbs.

DSC_0001 10Orange-Ginger Carrot Puree

This is one of my favorites. You get a hint of orange, ginger and a little sweetness. It is so good.

DSC_0001 3Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries

This was the first dish I made with brussel Sprouts. I did not like brussel sprouts before this dish. I am a converted brussel sprout fan now.

There are plenty more sides on my website. I hope this will give you inspiration for your Thanksgiving table.

Desserts:

Where to begin? Pumpkin probably.

DSC_0035 5Pumpkin Scones with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

These would be great for a continental breakfast.

DSC_0042Apple Cider Custard

Make this the day before and let it set in your refrigerator. The flavors will meld together and make this so luscious.

DSC_0007 5Fudgy Chocolate Cake

This cake is so good. Do not be misled by the title, it is not as dense as you would think.

 

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Chocolate Delights

This is one of the family favorites. It does take a little bit of time, but is totally worth it.

I started with Pumpkin and I will end with pumpkin. After all it is Thanksgiving.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a must have on our Thanksgiving table.

There are more ideas on my website. May your day be filled with love and gratitude. Remember to be thankful and enjoy your time with family and friends. It is Thanksgiving after all.

 

 

 

 

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Skillet Apple Pork Chops

This is such an easy, flavorful meal and it is cooked in one skillet. I love one pan/skillet meals. Most cooks I know love to cook, but hate the clean up. I fall into that category. So if I can make a meal with little cleanup I am all for it. What is so nice about this is that it has only 7 ingredients and most of them you probably have on hand. I thought I would take advantage of the last of the apples that are in season and make this delicious meal.

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  • 1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • 4 (6 oz.) pork chops
  • 1 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1/2 c chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly vertically sliced

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan.

Pat dry pork chops with paper towel. This helps the pork chops to get a good sear. Sprinkle pork chops evenly with half the seasoning. Add pork chops to pan; cook each side until golden brown. Remove from pan.

Combine broth and mustard; stir well.

Add remaining oil to pan. Add apples and onion to pan. Sprinkle remaining all-purpose seasoning onto apple mixture; stir. Cook apple mixture about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in broth mixture. Return pork chops to pan, cook until liquid is reduced by half.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

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The Three Letter “F” Word

The three letter “F” word? What is that? FAT. Yep, I said it, F. A. T. – Fat. That three letter little word can induce many emotions and responses. It can bring about a sated feeling or even a repulsive response. Depending on the context it can be a defeatist or a wonderful thing. The context here revolves around the culinary arena. Fat in the kitchen is not always good or bad, but it is essential.

Fat comes in many forms. Let us look at in the form of cooking oils. There are so many different types of cooking oils out on the market it can be overwhelming. I try to stay informed on most things related to my culinary pursuits. Many years ago, any type of oil or fat was bad. Everything was fat free. Then it went to the other extreme and all fat was good. It is like watching a good tennis match. Back and forth, back and forth. And now we are in the “right kind” of fats. I believe this is more of where I belong. Some fat is good if you choose wisely.

I use three main kinds of oils in my cooking and baking: Avocado, Olive and Coconut.  All three of these are vegan. I use mostly Avocado oil for anything that requires heat, especially in the oven. Avocado oil has a high smoke point. In another words it does not burn very easily. I find avocado oil work well for roasting vegetables in the oven. It also makes a great homemade mayonnaise. If you have not tried making your own mayonnaise give it a whirl, (sorry for the pun) it tastes so much better than the commercial fare.

The second oil I use is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I also make sure that it is cold pressed. I use this for most of my vinaigrettes. My favorite vinaigrette is so simple and delicious it should be harder to make. All you need is olive oil, a lemon and some sea salt and pepper (or all-purpose seasoning).

The third oil I use most often is coconut oil. I use the extra virgin coconut oil mostly for baking. I really like them for cookies and cakes, oh and my donuts, yum.

These are the three oils I use most often. Each one lends itself to a different purpose, and is essential to healthful tasty cooking.

 

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No Throw-aways

DSC_0001 49There are three recipes that I like to use when I want to clean out the refrigerator and not let anything go to waste. These recipes are the best way to use the spoonful of leftovers you might have. The first one that I have told you about is frittatas/egg bakes. My Sweet Potato and Zucchini Egg Bake is one of the most viewed posts to date. I have to admit it is very pretty, colorful and loaded with nutrients.

My second favorite way to use leftover veggies is making pasta. For instance, I almost always have an extra chicken breast cooked, spinach greens, peppers (red, yellow and orange are my favorites). Throw in some diced onion, minced garlic, zested/juiced lemon and chicken broth and you have dinner.

I always have gluten-free pasta in my pantry. This works in a pinch if I do not have time to make homemade pasta, which is still my favorite. What is nice about using up those bits of leftovers is that your dish is never exactly the same anytime. It is a culinary adventure.

The third thing I like to make with whatever is in my refrigerator is soup. Throw in some protein, veggies, onions, garlic, herbs and broth and you have a beginning of a meal. Pair your soup with a side salad and some Focaccia bread and you are ready to eat.

All three of these ideas can take 30 minutes or less. There is no reason you can not make a nutritious meal morning, noon or night. Plus, no more science experiments growing in the refrigerator.