Thanksgiving cooking can be overwhelming, only if you lose sight of what’s truly important.
So here’s my best advice: relax. There will be enough food. And enough of it will taste good. Unless you’re a gourmet chef, no one expects you to be one for this one day of the year. And most of all, remember to be thankful for your blessings. That’s the point of it all, right?
Below are some tried and true (and easy!) recipes that are pretty foolproof–even if you’ve never made them before. Happy Turkey Day!
FESTIVE FALL SALAD
2 c mixed baby greens
1 cup torn kale
1 cup shaved Brussels sprouts
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 Bosc pear sliced thin
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
WILD RICE WITH CHESTNUTS
1 cup of wild rice
T olive oil or Earth Balance
For the chestnuts:
1 package of chestnuts, already peeled
T olive oil
freshly ground pepper
t chili pepper
t cocoa powder
Prepare the rice according to the package and mix in a T of olive oil or Earth Balance and salt and pepper when it’s done. Crush the chestnuts into smaller pieces. Mix the spices, olive oil and chestnuts together in a bowl. Roast at 350 for 20 minutes and stir them into the rice. (Note: You can use fresh chestnuts in the shell. They’ll taste better if you do it right, but it’s easy to overcook them. Here are instructions.)
ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES
Peel and dice any of the following root vegetables:
whole crushed garlic
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and any other herbs you like
Toss them all into a large pan and drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add some sprigs of rosemary too, if you like. Roast, stirring once or twice, at 375 for at least 45 minutes. (If you’re using rutabaga, start roasting that first, as it needs extra time to soften.)
Preheat the oven to 400. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the oil, milk, apple sauce and egg in another bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Bake in a greased 8×8 pan for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Stale cornbread and at least 1/2 a loaf of bread diced into 1-in.-square pieces
freshly ground pepper
a handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, or whatever you like)
3 cloves minced garlic
3 stalks celery
1 diced carrot
Preheat oven to 400. Soak the bread and cornbread in water for a few seconds and drain. Stir in the egg, oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the garlic and other vegetables and saute until soft.
Mix vegetables into the bread mixture. Pour mixture into a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until stuffing reaches desired crispiness.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1/2 a stalk of brussels sprouts
2T olive oil
1T real maple syrup OR balsamic vinegar
Turn oven onto 375 degrees. Cut the sprouts off the stalk and cut off the bottom. Cut them in half. Check them according to the instructions below. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Lay all the sprouts face down in the pan and let them sit, stirring occasionally, until the bottoms turn light brown (3-5 minutes). Transfer the sprouts to a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and drizzle maple syrup, if you’re using it. Roast sprouts in the oven until the outside gets crispy, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic, if you’re using it. Serve immediately.