I’ve been working on recipes that taste fantastic and are good for your health, something your family and friends will love and will nourish their heart, brain, and soul. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t, as many of the themes for Thanksgiving are naturals, such as Turkey, baked butternut squash stuffed with wild rice and quinoa, cranberry sauce, mushroom gravy, and mashed cauliflower and potatoes.
Check out the recipes below.
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!
BRINED AND ROASTED TURKEY DINNER
Serve your loved ones a succulent turkey with moist meat and fabulous flavor. Ideally, order a pasture raised, organically fed turkey in advance for your holiday. Brining a turkey adds time and an extra step, but really helps prevent the meat from drying out and provides a flavorful moist delight.
One 16-20-pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity
Brine Solution Ingredients:
1 quart water
2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 Tbsp peppercorns
1 onion, diced
7 quarts water
Bring 1 quart of water and salt to a simmer to dissolve salt. Then add to a large enough pot for the turkey, combine 2 wine, salt, herbs, peppercorns, onion, and remaining water. Add turkey, cover, and refrigerate for 12 to 36 hours.
Remove turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare basting sauce.
Smart Butter Basting Sauce:
1 stick unsalted organic butter, melted,
½ cup Virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine (Riesling, Chablis)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, discard it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more reliable. Fold wing tips under turkey. Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Rub turkey with 4 Tbsp of the smart butter basting sauce. Soak cheese cloth or a small clean kitchen towel in a bowl and moisten with stock, then squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the turkey. Place the turkey in the oven so breast is facing the front of the oven.
Cook for 30 minutes. Gently remove towel, warm basting sauce until melted, then using a pastry brush, baste exposed turkey with smart butter sauce. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
After a total of 3 hours of baking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. After a few tests, the temperature should reach at least 170-175 degrees (if you are using stuffing, the stuffing temperature should be between 145 degrees and 160 degrees, no less than 145) and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If turkey is below 170 degrees, baste turkey with pan juices with a pastry brush, and return turkey, legs first, to the oven. Cook and baste every 20 to 30 minutes, until temperature is 170-175.
When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 20-30 minutes, before carving. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off.
Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Blueberries
This is a colorful, flavorful, holiday sauce. Serve as a side dish, or over baked squash. Prepare a day in advance, refrigerate until ready to use.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Simmering Time: 10 minutes Serves: 10 (makes 3 cups)
Juice of 1 orange
12 ounces cranberries, frozen or fresh
1 medium orange, peeled, divided, and cut in ½ inch pieces
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Garnish: 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
Heat juice in a saucepan. When gently bubbling, add cranberries and orange, simmer 5 minutes. Add blueberries and simmer another 3-4 minutes until cranberries open and sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with mint leaves.
Butternut Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Pecans
Lovely side dish for a holiday.
Prep Time: 30 minutes Baking and cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 10-12
1 cup wild rice and 5 cups water
1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water
3 medium butter nut squashes
2 Tbsp Virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, diced (white part and the first inch of light green)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 cups of broccoli flowerets, sliced
½ cup pecans, chopped and roasted
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
Few parsley sprigs
2 Tbsp cranberries, dried
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Bring water to a boil for wild rice, add wild rice and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until rice kernals start to pop, but still al dente. Rinse and set aside. Bring water to a boil for quinoa. Rinse quinoa in a screen, then add to water, and simmer 15 minutes until tender but still firm. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp. Place in the oven, cut side down, on an oven pan with sides and bake for 30-40 minutes. (Squash should be tender but slightly under cooked). Scoop out a depression for the stuffing, leaving at least half the squash remaining, and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Add leek and mushrooms, sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add herbs, salt, pepper, and broccoli until broccoli is tender but still al dente. Remove from heat. Roast pecans in a pan for 1-2 minutes, don’t brown.
Combine half of the cooked wild rice and quinoa with half of the sautéed vegetable mixture, and add pecans, and tomatoes. Then spoon combined mixture into halved squash. Mix the remaining half of wild rice-quinoa and vegetable mixture and place into a serving bowl. Bake squash and rice-veggie mix for 10-15 minutes. To serve, place stuffed squash on a platter on a bed of remaining rice-quinoa and vegetable mix. Garnish with parsley and cranberries.
Prep time: 15 minutes Simmering Time: 20 minutes Serves: 10-14
2 Tbsp Virgin olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, diced
4 cups mushrooms, minced
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp tamari sauce
1 cup turkey stock (prepared from simmering turkey neck and giblets with ½ onion diced and 1 ½ cups of water, then strain to obtain stock while turkey is baking), or use vegetable or chicken stock)
1 cup from rack pan juices (pour pan juices into a container, let stand 10 minutes, then skim away grease that rises to the surface, use remaining 1 cup of juice for gravy. If you only have ½ cup of juice, then use 1 ½ cups of stock).
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil, then onions, mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Stir until onions are soft and golden, about 4-6 minutes. Reduce to medium heat, add red wine and tamari sauce, then stock and pan liquid, and simmer until it thickens. In a blender, puree mixture until smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat to serve later.
Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic
Cauliflower and roasted garlic makes a terrific addition to regular mashed potatoes.
Prep time: 45 Minutes Serves: 10-12 1 head of garlic
1 Tbsp virgin olive oil
2 pounds baby potatoes, cut in half (scrubbed and any dark areas peeled away, leaving half the skin)
2 medium heads of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Tbsp organic butter
¼ cup organic sour cream
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place in a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic. Wrap garlic with foil and place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel outside off of bulb of garlic, then gently squeeze each clove out.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add potatoes and gently boil for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and boil another 8-10 minutes until soft. Drain. Puree potatoes and cauliflower in a food processor until smooth, add roasted garlic, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and puree briefly. Serve.
Would you like to receive my Vegetarian Holiday Cookbook for FREE? Just cover shipping and handling and it is yours.
Here is the story behind this book:
Years ago I was in a cooking competition for an EarthSave event. I was asked to prepare a vegetarian dish, and I chose to prepare a Spicy Szechuan Eggplant and Tofu Stir Fry dish. The challenge was that the dish had to be delicious, easy to prepare, and healthy at the same time. To my surprise, I won first place. Shortly thereafter, the national EarthSave organization encouraged me to produce a Vegetarian Holiday Feast cookbook, which I accepted, even though I ate seafood and was not a vegetarian at the time. My wife, Nicole, and I created both a vegetarian and a vegan meal plans for a dozen holidays in the year.
I still love the recipes in this book, and even if you want to prepare a turkey, ham or roast beef for your family’s holiday meal, you still could and use the recipes in this book as wonderful side dishes too. And if you have a vegetarian eating with you for the holidays, take heart, now you have numerous great recipe choices.
As a special thanks to you for being in my tribe and following my information, I have a special holiday offer for you. I’ll send you my original Vegetarian Holiday Feasts cookbook to you, for free. Just cover shipping and handling, and the book is yours. You may use it as a gift, or keep it for your own family holiday meals.
There are less than 500 books still available, so order now before they are gone, this offer won’t last!
I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS