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Thursday, May 16, 2024

CRL Recipes Series: 6 Ways to Crush Thanksgiving Dinner

Get a head start on your Thanksgiving Day cooking with these delicious recipes.

Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant or gluten-free, there is a dish for you.Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and while it’s comforting to be surrounded by loved ones and enjoy a great meal together, this can complicate the cook’s planned dishes.

Unfortunately, dietary restrictions can make it difficult for hosts to create something delicious for everyone, and have other guests feel satisfied with their dinner. Thanksgiving has always been a holiday that follows a preset menu. In most households, you can find the roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and stuffing on the table.

With slight variation in side dishes or spices, most Thanksgiving dinners follow a similar pattern of having the turkey as the star of the show. It may be time to switch it up! As a host you want to make sure that all of your guests will be able to enjoy something to eat that fits their needs. Even if only one of your guests is vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, mixing up the menu for this holiday dinner will be an exciting change that your guests will surely relish.

This Thanksgiving Day, try to incorporate more plant-based or gluten-free dishes with these wonderful recipes that even your families meat-lovers will appreciate.

Portobello mushroom stuffed with gorgonzola

6 large portobello mushrooms
¼ cup olive oil
4 Japanese eggplants
6 Tbls. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup dry red wine
6 ounce gorgonzola cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
• Preheat oven to 375˚F. Arrange mushrooms, rounded side down, on large baking sheet.
• Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat.
• Add eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Sauté until eggplant is soft, about 8 minutes.
• Stir in red wine and simmer until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
• Remove skillet from heat; stir in gorgonzola cheese and 1 tablespoon basil.
• Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into mushroom caps.
• Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
• Cover mushrooms with aluminum foil.
• Bake mushrooms for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese melts, filling bubbles and mushrooms are tender when pierced with sharp knife, about 10 minutes.
• Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve warm.
Makes 6 servings.
Permission granted to print from bigoven.com

Broccoli soup without cream

Broccoli head and stems
2 cloves garlic
Water from boiling reserved
Salt and pepper
Butter to add on top of each bowl or truffle oil
• Boil broccoli and garlic. Put aside one cup of water.
• Place broccoli in a food processor when cooled and process, thinning with the resevered water as needed.
• Add salt and pepper to taste. *This soup is amazingly thick and you would think there is cream in it.

Courtesy FreeFoodPhotos.com

Gravy for the vegetarian guests

1 medium onion
1 stalk celery
1 medium carrot
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 ounce dried mushrooms (any type will do)
1 Tbls. dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
4 Tbls. unsalted butter
6 fresh sage leaves
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

• Boil carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf and dried mushrooms for 45 minutes and an hour (more time, the stronger the flavor) on medium heat. Strain broth.
• Heat butter and oil together stir in thyme and sage leaves until starting to crisp then remove.
• Add broth a bit at a time alternating with the flour. Whisk after each addition until thick.
• Finish by sprinkling with parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Cheese crusted cauliflower

¼ cup kosher salt
3 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
8 cups water
1 head of cauliflower, leaves and thickest part of core removed, being careful to keep it intact.

For the sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
Pepper to taste
1+ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Parsley for garnish (optional)

• Bring kosher salt, juice, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add whole cauliflower, reduce heat and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
• Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
• Remove cauliflower from pot using 1 or 2 slotted spoons, drain and transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet. (I use a glass pie plate.)
• Mix mayonnaise and mustard together, spread on cooled, drained cauliflower.
• Apply grated cheese to mayonnaise base; use your hands to make it “stick.”
• Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
• Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve.
• To serve, slice into wedges.
Recipe from recipe winner Darlene Reischuck from Capital Region Living Magazine November 2016 who tells us “This has been a standard on our Holiday table since the kids were little. I can’t have dinner without it!”

Gluten-free | Thanksgiving recipes
(Recipes courtesy of Linda Mappes)

Gluten-free pumpkin pie

Cook time: 50 minutes
For the filling:
2 cups pumpkin puree
1⅓ cups half and half
2 large eggs
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbls. dark molasses
¼ teas. salt
1 to 2 Tbls. pumpkin pie spice according to taste
2 tbls. dark rum (optional)
For the crust
In a food processor or high speed blender, process gingersnaps to a crumb stage. With the processor going, pour 3 Tbls. melted butter and continue processing until crumbs hold together. Pat the mixture into a 9–inch pie plate, pushing crumbs up the side to form a crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
• Whisk all ingredients until mixture is smooth and pour into pie shell.
• Check for doneness after 40 minutes by shaking the pie slightly. Mixture should still be liquidy in the middle. Continue to bake. Pie is done when a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
• Top with whipped heavy cream and dust with cinnamon sugar.
NOTE: you can make a respectable pie crust using gluten-free flour, but the process is time consuming and the resulting dough can be hard to work with.

Gluten-free cornbread

Cook time: 15-20 minutes
¾ cup gluten-free flour
¾ cup ground corn meal
1 tbls. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
4 tbls. canola oil
2 tbls. honey
2 tbls. butter melted with 2 tbls. honey for topping
• Preheat oven to 400 deggrees and place the upper rack in the top third of the oven. Liberally grease a 9×9 square baking dish or a 10–inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven.
• Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with buttermilk, oil and honey. Stir wet into dry until mixture is fully blended. Do not over mix.
• When oven is hot, pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cornbread just pulls away from sides of pan.
• In a small saucepan melt butter with 2 Tbls. honey. Mix and spread on hot cornbread. Serve or cube and store to make corn bread dressing for your turkey.

Magdalena Grzebyk
Magdalena Grzebyk
Magdalena Grzebyk is a food and beverage writer for Capital Region Living.

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