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1, 2, 3 Menu’s for Holiday Dinner
This photo brings back great Thanksgiving memories of a few years ago with our friend Tim, a deep fried turkey freak. Even though I am comfortable in the kitchen, lowering a sopping wet turkey into a cauldron of boiling oil out on the pool deck scares me to death. So we have dueling turkeys, mine in the oven, and his incinerated in his fryer.
Unfortunately, Tim’s turkey was crunchy gnarled and dry… great for turkey skin eaters… but for everyone else, not so much. Over the years we have shared a lot of tequila, wine, and laughter standing around the turkey fryer on his pool deck in 85 degree heat watching turkeys boil in oil. I have nightmares of one day either jumping into the pool, throwing the fryer into the pool, or calling Fire Rescue – I am very wary of the whole technique but have to admit that it is an entertaining way to spend the day!
Plan for Variety
Look for balance when putting together a menu – give thought as to whether your dishes are sweet, what colors are on the plate, try not to have all creamy or starchy sides, consider if they are baked or made ‘on the stove’, and have some dishes that are made in advance instead of cooked and immediately served. Otherwise you will end up with situations that create problem for any cook – not enough space in your oven or burners on your stove – four dishes that all need to be mashed or cooked and served immediately – too many heavy dishes – or the biggest food turnoff of all, a whole table full of ugly beige food.
Avoid Carb Coma Overload
We have allowed Thanksgiving dinner to get out of control. To me there is nothing worse than the lineup of stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, canned mushroom soup green bean casserole, pale packaged dinner rolls, and canned cranberry sauce. Think lighter and fresher! Make food that is worth eating and focus on the people at the table. There will always be someone who complains that there are no mashed potatoes but many more will compliment you on your delicious meal.
WARNING: REGARDING DESSERTS! My Holiday Desserts are low in sugar or even sugar free but are not calorie free or low in calories. Sometimes, I want to take something spectacular to a party or serve for a special occasion and don’t want unsuspecting folks to explode with gas from sugar alcohols. I choose to use Truvia for Baking and also use whipped cream in a few dishes. I do not use fat free dairy products as they are full of starches and gums to make them feel creamy but they do not bake well. (I do compromise and use reduced fat) Just pay attention to portion size for yourself. I don’t make a super rich yet sugar free specialty dessert such as my Tiramisu on a random Wednesday evening.
My personal Thanksgiving Menu is always very simple and fresh. We are sharing the holiday at home with friends this year – for the past few years we traveled with family to a beautiful lake resort in Georgia, but things have changed and new memories will be made.
First Course: Thai Pumpkin Soup
Main Course: Upside Down Roasted Turkey
The Dessert: Sugar Free Cherry Cheesecake
I have also pulled some of my other favorite dishes for Holiday Celebrations. Choose the ones that tickle your taste buds!
Finger Foods – a little something to snack on while folks arrive and dinner is cooking
Seated First Course – set the stage for your meal with a simple make-ahead course
Choose your Turkey, Prime Rib, or Tuscan Pork Roast
Add sides and essentials
Holiday Dessert Table – ours selections are sugar free but everyone will love them.
For me Thanksgiving is all about the pie… I love Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie and make great sugar free versions!