Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Eatin'...whole grain dressing, sauteed kale with bits of turkey bacon, and cranberry sauce

I promised that I would get on with this Thanksgiving meal with something other than dessert,  so I decided to give 3 great side dishes that would compliment that great Turkey that we are all anticipating. We will start with whole grain dressing, which is made with homemade whole wheat bread (made with freshly ground whole wheat flour), homemade cornbread (made with freshly ground cornmeal), kale (my new best friend in the greens department) with turkey bacon bits and red pepper flakes, and a homemade cranberry sauce (made with fresh cranberries and sucanat with honey).

Whole Grain Dressing 

4-6 slices of whole wheat bread
1 pan of corn bread
1/2 cup of finely diced and sauteed onions and celery
4 cups of chicken broth
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble the breads into a small rectangular casserole dish. Beat the egg and mix in the chicken broth. I like to make our own chicken broth. It makes for a much tastier dressing.  Pour over bread. Sprinkle sage, salt, and pepper and mix it in the bread mixture very well. It will be a little soupy, but will hold together with the help of the egg once it is finished baking. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for atleast 45 minutes. It should look slightly golden on the top.

Simple gravy

4 tablespoons of real butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in saute pan on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir with a whisk. Let this cook for about a minute to get the "flour" taste to go away. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking all the while. It should be a good gravy consistency. You will know exactly how thick it is once it begins to bubble. I would add broth slowly and let it bubble a couple of times. You can always add more broth to make it thinner, but it is much harder to get it thicker if it has become too runny.

Kale with Turkey Bacon Bits

One bunch of fresh kale separated from middle stem and chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons or so of sauteed turkey bacon chopped into bits
salt and pepper to taste
butter and olive oil

In a large saute pan, melt about a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped kale and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Saute this for about 5-8 minutes, turning every minute or so. The last minute add in the turkey bacon bits (you will want to have already cooked these up in a pan until crispy. I like to use Applegate's turkey bacon that is uncured and has no preservatives) and toss.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sucanat with honey

Boil the water and sucanat with honey on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Once it begins to boil, add the cranberries and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat a little and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and pour into strainer with a bowl underneath. Using a spoon strain as much of the sauce out as possible. The only thing remaining should be a little pulp. Place in the refrigerator and it is ready to serve in an hour. It will keep for several days, so you could definitely make this ahead of time.

These are great dishes that are really pretty simple with few ingredients. The key to great taste is trying to do some of these ingredients yourself. It will be worth it!

Thankful that the great tastes of Thanksgiving can be enjoyed any day of the year. Even today.


1 comment:

  1. Nichole,it looks really good. I can almost taste it now! Save some for keeps well in the freezer... we will miss yall on thanksgiving day, but will see yall soon after. lots of love, Mama