Tag Archives: #thanksgivingfood

12 real-food Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes (some paleo, low carb)

12 low-carb paleo real-food Thanksgiving + Christmas recipes

Here are some of my go-to recipes and preparation tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of them lean toward whole foods; some of them are Paleo, or keto, or adaptable. (I’ve already added an extra, and this list will probably grow as I find new favorites.)

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The stars

green bean casserole

Crock-pot green bean casserole – This recipe, with all the ingredients of the original classic, has two helpful twists: It’s handy when you need to have one less thing in the oven (so, every holiday), and you can make it ahead. (Don’t want to use canned soup? There’s a link to a make-your-own recipe.)

Cream of pumpkin soup – Easy to make ahead; one of my favorites! Just as good with coconut milk as with the original cream.

Low-carb mashed “potatoes” – If you’ve tried mashed cauliflower before and been disappointed, maybe you just didn’t add enough fat! Try this recipe. (My picky husband says I nailed it!)

20 cranberry sauce recipes – Including several refined-sugar-free and a couple Paleo ones.

7 roasted sweet potato recipes – Not a marshmallow in sight!

Quinoa stuffing – I haven’t made this recipe yet, but I plan to soon. I’ve never been a fan of stuffing — too mushy. But combining the savory flavors of stuffing with quinoa? Genius — and gluten-free!

Timetable for roasted vegetables – If you haven’t tried roasting vegetables – or if you have, with disappointing results – check this out! This is one of our all-time favorite ways to eat vegetables, and I put together a list of which veggies need to cook how long. Roasting brings out so much sweetness, with zero added sugar, honey, or anything but olive oil, salt, and pepper.

This is my favorite pan for roasted vegetables, and anything else that can be made on a rimmed cookie sheet: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PAN!!! Bakes evenly, rinses off like brand-new teflon every time. Everyone in my house has been threatened to not even think of co-opting this for some craft or garage project!(Note: This link is through my Amazon affiliateship, but I truly do love this pan!)

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Sweets

sugar-free gingerbread prune cookies

No-bake sugar-free gingerbread bites – You could also make these with pumpkin pie spice.

One-ingredient gluten-free pie crust – Here’s the simple crust I use to make shot-glass desserts. Add some sugar-free pumpkin mousse or pumpkin cheesecake, and you’ve got a guilt-free substitute for pumpkin pie. (There’s a recipe for that in my Guilt-Free Treats cookbook.) Don’t forget to pile on the whipped cream!

Sugar-free dairy-free coffee ice cream – My husband declared this “better than Marble Slab coffee ice cream” – his favorite!

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs – Keto-friendly li’l bites of goodness.

Keto snickerdoodles – Enough said!

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Leftovers

turkey pot pie

Turkey pot pie – The traditional, much-anticipated, day-after-Thanksgiving meal in our house. Sub a mashed potato or cauliflower crust for a gluten-free or low-carb version.

Monte Cristo sandwich – If you eat bread or gluten-free bread, here’s my favorite way to use leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. (Much easier than the pot pie.)

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Tips

Thanksgiving and Christmas food prep FAQs – How long to cook turkey or ham?, how much food per person?, and other answers and handy resources.

 Do you have any favorite real-food, Paleo, keto, etc holiday recipes or tips? Comment below!
12 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb
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12 Healthy Christmas Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb

7 roasted sweet potato recipes

roasted sweet potato dish
I’ve never been a fan of the traditional sweet potato topped with marshmallow dish — even as a child. But sans all that sugar, they are quite healthy, and delicious to boot! I love to make simple, stove-top mashed sweet potatoes, with a little butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon added at the end. Try it along with a salty and/or spicy pork chop – yum!
So I’m looking for some oven-roasted sweet potato recipes that recreate that same flavor profile for Thanksgiving this year, and I thought I’d share my research. Here are a few.
(Note: Not all of these are Paleo, but most can be made so with minor tweaks. Check out the “***Easy 15-minute roasted sweet potatoes” below for an easy Whole30 breakfast idea.)
roasted sweet potato recipes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

By Tyler Florence, on Food Network. 5 stars, over 140 reviews.
roasted sweet potato recipes

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

By Ellie Krieger on Food Network; 5 stars, over 160 reviews. — I like that this one goes light on the honey.
roasted sweet potato recipes

Cider Roasted Root Vegetables

By Elise at Simply Recipes. I always consult this site when looking for a new recipe; I have never had a bad dish here! This version sounds delicious.
Branching out from straight-up roasting…
roasted sweet potato recipes

By Creekside Cook. The author says, “this post on my old blog was responsible for over 1 million hits.” And I can see why! It sounds amazing. “Spicy, sweet, crunchy outside.” But also a little time consuming. I probably won’t try to pull these off for Thanksgiving, but they may get a chance on a less hectic day.

Here’s an easier option…

roasted sweet potato recipes

***Easy 15 Minute Roasted Sweet Potatoes

By Layers of Happiness. This recipe uses the microwave — which I would totally do for an everyday meal! But I might try this same method in the oven for a special day.
Update: Now that we’re full-on Whole30, I use this microwave method for sweet potatoes – All. The. Time. Sans the dairy items, of course. To keep extras on hand, I just cook them most of the way in the microwave, dice them up, then keep them in the fridge for an easy paleo breakfast. Top them with scrambled eggs, bacon, and/or sausage. Yum!
roasted sweet potato recipes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Cream

by Chez Us — The description on this one won me over: “After I baked the potatoes, I scooped out their flesh and mixed it with some fried pancetta, sauteed green onions, a little butter and sour cream and a handful of freshly grated Gouda. After re-baking the stuffed potato skins until warm, I topped each one with a slight dollop of chipotle sour cream.”

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And here it is: this year’s winner of the annual “Most Beautiful Sweet Potato Dish Award”! (Okay, that’s not a thing, but when you see this, shouldn’t it be?)

roasted sweet potato recipes

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast by Smitten Kitchen

Here’s the author’s summary:

You thinly slice a whole lot of sweet potatoes [you can use a mandolin or food processor] and arrange them in a butter and olive oil-brushed dish, and brush them with even more. …slide slivers of shallots between… shower the whole thing with salt and black pepper… bake it covered long enough that the insides get tender, and uncovered long enough to get the tops brown and crispy.

This was posted six days ago, and as of today, it has 150 comments. Readers have been quick to share their own improvisations on the basic recipe. Here are some of the best (IMHO)…

Reader tips and variations:

Add fresh rosemary and a splash of pure maple syrup towards the end.

I sprinkled feta and toasted pine nuts on top, instead of the salsa verde. It was amazing!

I crumbled feta cheese in the gaps and added some chili and lemon juice to the salsa verde and the result was great.

Very delicious. Sprinkled za’atar on top and made a sauce of yogurt, tahini, lemon, and a bit of salt.

I’ll be making this – with the addition of crisp pancetta and fresh thyme!

I am going to [replace] the scallions with poblanos and make a little chimichurri sauce to drizzle on top.

I usually do my holiday sweet potatoes with maple, chipotle, ancho, smoked paprika — and fresh italian parsley on top after roasting.

The way I’ve been making them for years is in a gratin with a ton of garlic and salty butter and parmesan and breadcrumbs, the thinner the layer the better, b/c the top gets all crispy, crunchy with the parmesan and buttery breadcrumbs.

Have you ever tried chipotle chili powder with sweet potatoes? Life changing!

I made this tonight and topped with some leftover creme fraiche, it was great! The texture turned out perfectly. I used only 2 lbs of sweet potatoes and scaled everything down accordingly, but used all the same cooking times, 45 mins covered, 10 uncovered.

This was EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD! And reheated the next day in the toaster oven? Nom nom nom!

I made this tonight and it was GREAT. I added a bit of fresh thyme both underneath and on top! I halved the recipe and put it in a 1-quart oval dish. I also found that with really large potatoes I halved the slices and put the curved side up and they fit really well in the dish. At the end my oven didn’t brown it very well so I tossed it under the broiler and watched it like a hawk!

I made this with a mélange of sweet potatoes and russet, and added a teaspoon or so of dried sage, salt and pepper to the remaining butter/olive oil mixture… divine!

I topped it with thinned Mexican crema mixed with minced chipotle in adobo. It was a hit!

I have used a food processor to slice potatoes, and it works very well. You just have to buy potatoes whose diameter will fit in the tube, and then guide them / stabilise them with the pusher.

Also culled from the comments, a few extra tips from the author:

Cast iron does seem to give food a nice crisp… but I used a Pyrex baking dish last time I made this and it crisped up just fine.

In reply to reader’s questions: “Do you do everything and bake it completely and then just reheat day of? Or do you arrange everything and bake the day-of?” — Either way will work.

Re, thin slices — Yes, I use a mandoline…. Re, protecting your fingers, I have one rule: the last inch isn’t worth it! I just don’t use the slicer for the last inch of whatever I’m cutting. I’ll hand-chop it. All of my fingers are intact, so I’d say this system is working out for me. 🙂

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All images by the respective blog owners.

Crockpot Green Bean Casserole

campbell-s-classic-green-bean-casserole

Save your oven for other things, and save some day-of panic: Here’s the classic green bean casserole that everyone wants for Thanksgiving, tweaked to work in a crock pot / slow-cooker, and with optional make-ahead instructions.

Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Slow-Cooker Size: 4- to 6-quart       Makes 16 to 20 servings

30 oz. fresh or frozen green beans, cooked and well-drained
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
or make your own
1/4 to 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
2 (4.5-ounce) jars sliced mushrooms, drained  (optional)
1 T. dried minced onion (omit if using garlic-flavored soup)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 – 1.5 t. kosher salt (taste before adding)
1 (6-ounce) can French-fried onion rings (omit for gluten-free, or sub onion strings pan-fried in just oil)

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. (Beans thru pepper.)

Optional: Store covered in your fridge until ready to cook. Add an extra hour of bake time because it will be cold when it goes in the crockpot.

Spoon casserole mixture into a lightly greased slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW 2 hours. (3 hours if all ingredients are refrigerated.)

Taste and add salt as necessary. Sprinkle onion rings on top of casserole. Cover and cook on LOW 30 more minutes.

(I’ve lost the source for this recipe. If you recognize it, please comment.)

image: campbellskitchen.com

Thanksgiving and Christmas food prep FAQs

Holiday food prep tips and checklists; how long to cook turkey, ham, vegetables, and more.

Trying to plan a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal?

Here are some tips, calculators, and checklists.
roasted turkey; how long to cook, and other tips

Turkey

cave-tools-thermometerFor any meat, a meat thermometer is the essential gadget to make sure your meat comes out perfectly every time. 
Image from farmflavor.com

Ham

Image from campbellskitchen.com

Vegetables

  • Make-ahead crockpot green bean casserole. Save your oven for other things, and save some day-of panic: Here’s the classic green bean casserole that everyone wants for Thanksgiving, tweaked to work in a crock pot / slow-cooker, and with optional make-ahead instructions. Classic green bean casserole for crockpot.
  • Low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes. If you’ve tried mashed cauliflower and been disappointed, maybe you just didn’t add enough fat! Try this recipe.
  • Roasted vegetables timetable. The number one must-do side dish at our house — besides the turkey, of course. Oh, and pumpkin pie! Okay, the third-most popular dish: roasted vegetables. A slow roast works oven magic, turning onions, carrots and bell peppers into sugar-free candy-sweet goodness! Here’s a timetable for roasted vegetables: what goes into in the oven when, to make everything come out perfect.
This is my favorite pan for roasted vegetables, and anything else that can be made on a rimmed cookie sheet: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan.* LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PAN!!! Bakes evenly, rinses off like brand-new teflon every time. Everyone in my house has been threatened to not even think of co-opting this for some craft or garage project!
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All foods: How much per person?

  • Here’s a thorough chart from Good Housekeeping, showing per-person serving recommendations for 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 24 people, for 10 popular holiday foods. It includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and more. View the pdf.

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Holiday meal planning checklists and calculators

  • An Excel spreadsheet that you can plug your number of guests into (including how many are vegetarians!), and it tells you how much food to buy. The page where you download it is a little confusing; just scroll down until you see this:
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Would you rather have pictures?

Here’s a well-done info graphic from The Savory, showing turkey thawing time, brining time, brining recipe, roasting time, and more. This image is only one small part of it:
Image from The Savory
Pin it for later!
Here's all your holiday food prep and meal prep info: tips, checklists, recipe links, and more!
* Note: Product links in this post are to my Amazon store where I get a smidgen of the sales, but I truly use and fanatically love every product I link to.
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Tabletop photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash
Turkey photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash
Baking photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

20 Cranberry Sauce Recipes

roasted-cranberries-2

A variety of cranberry sauce recipes, for Thanksgiving or Christmas…

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: OurFamilyEats

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Roasted or Baked Cranberry Sauce

Simple Roasted Cranberries (Gluten Free, Grain Free, and Paleo) from OurFamilyEats. I love that this one really is simple, and that it uses maple syrup for the sweetener.

Bobby Flay’s Baked Cranberry Sauce, which calls for finishing it off with a quarter cup of bourbon. Some reviewers substituted other liquor or liquers (orange being a popular flavor). 41 reviews, and every one of them 4-star!

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Herbed Candied Walnuts, from Bon Appetit. Lots of sugar in this one!

Boozy and Baked Cranberry Sauce. Even though it has “boozy” in the name, its alcohol content is much less than Mr. Flay’s. Also looks easy: just four ingredients.
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Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: The Vintage Mixer
And another “sugar-free” cranberry sauce recipe, but it uses honey. You could sub maple syrup or your preferred sweetener. It also includes crushed pineapple; interesting!
And another. This one calls for Equal, but a couple commenters said they used Splenda and it worked well.
Paleo-friendly cranberry sauce; uses apple juice and maple syrup for sweetener. (Listed as

Paleo/GF/DF/EF/SF/NF)

Another Paleo cranberry sauce, from nomnompaleo, using sweet cherries and apple juice.

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Traditional Stove-Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: Simply Recipes
Every recipe I’ve ever tried from Elise at SimplyRecipes has been great. Here’s her traditional recipe. But she also suggest various add-ins. I might try blueberry!
(And her recipe is the same as the most popular cranberry sauce at AllRecipes; more than 1200 reviews, and still five stars!)
Another classic cranberry sauce recipe; this one from Pioneer Woman. Similar to the others, but uses maple syrup in place of sugar, and orange juice in place of white sugar.
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Unique Cranberry Sauce Recipes

This page at Fun & Food Cafe features five different cranberry sauce recipes, with unusual ingredients. I like the sound of the second one, which has raspberries and walnuts!
Ginger Cranberry Sauce, via RecipeLion.
Another from the same source: Cranberry Sauce with Apples (and Mandarin oranges, and pineapple).
How about Cranberry Sauce with Jalapenos? I think that would be a big hit with smoked turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving!