December 1, 2013

A Dairy-Free Thanksgiving!

As I mentioned in my last post, Cole and I celebrated Thanksgiving with a dairy-free feast. I was a little nervous, but also very excited to try the recipes I spent a few hours looking for. I read in a magazine article that a majority of people serve their Thanksgiving meal family-style, around the table. I stopped and thought about it, and realized I've never done that in my life. I have a huge family and we've always served supper buffet-style. After I read the article I thought about serving our feast family-style, but then decided against it. I didn't want to take all the dishes to my table, just to turn around and bring them all back, that seemed silly. As I was preparing our food, I realized I had no choice but to serve family-style, my kitchen is so small, I have practically no counter space, so family-style it is! Even better, I served everything in a storage container; less dishes, and less clean up. This is a nice way to go every once in a while.

For the third year in a row, I have failed to take a picture of my turkey (before being carved). Why can I never remember?! Maybe I'll do a turkey for Christmas this year and put hundreds of sticky notes all over my kitchen to remind me to take a picture of my turkey. Anyway, my turkey is a combination of two recipes; I use the seasonings from a McCormick recipe I found a while back and bag my turkey (my dad's method) to keep it from drying out.

Thanksgiving Turkey:
2 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. Lawry's
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 whole turkey (the McCormick recipe calls for a 12-14 pound bird, I used the same amount for an 8 pound bird-I'm a wild one, I know!)
1 large onion, cut into wedges
6 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle roughly half of seasoning mixture inside turkey. Stuff with onion and bay leaves. Spread remaining seasoning over entire surface, and under skin of turkey. Place turkey inside oven bag, breast-side up. Add 1/2 cup of water, broth, or beer inside the bag and tie bag. Be sure to tuck the sides in. Roast until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. My 8 pound turkey took about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven and let stand 20 minutes before carving. Good luck carving, there's a reason Josh always does that part, I'm awful at it!

Mashed Potatoes:
For my mashed potatoes, I went about the process the same way I always do, but instead of milk, I used soy milk and instead of butter I used Earth Balance (it's a vegan butter). Simple and surprisingly tasty.

Green Bean Casserole:
I've only ever made green bean casserole using cream of mushroom soup, so I needed a recipe for homemade cream of mushroom soup and Naomi's recipe worked out great and included the recipe for the casserole as well. Cole loves green beans, but the french fried onions were probably his favorite part of this dish. It tasted just like a regular old green bean casserole, so we didn't feel like we were missing out on anything!

For the cream of mushroom soup:
8 oz. mushrooms, minced
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup stock
3/4 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste

For the casserole:
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cans green beans, drained
french fried onions

To make the soup, melt EB in skillet, and add mushrooms, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften, stirring often (5-6 minutes on medium heat). Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add stock, bring to simmer. Add soy milk, and simmer until sauce thickens (10-15 minutes).

Mix soup, pepper, green beans, and 2/3 cup french fried onions together and place in 8"x8" casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (I baked mine for 30 because I prepared it earlier in the morning). Remove from oven, sprinkle additional french fried onions on top and bake 5 more minutes.

Luckily, my turkey came with a gravy packet, so I didn't put much thought into it. I just followed the directions and it was some of the best gravy I have ever tasted!

Cranberry Sauce:
I've only ever done cranberry jelly (you know, from the can). This year, I wanted to try and make my own. Thanks again to McCormick for such a great and easy recipe. By far, this was Cole's favorite dish. This is a great one to make the night before, since it's served cold. It also creates such a wonderful aroma while it's cooking. Your house will thank you.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pkg fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix sugar and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Add cranberries, and cinnamon; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries burst and sauce begins to thicken; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Pie:
Okay, I won't lie, I didn't make a pumpkin pie. I never do. Josh and I attempted to make pumpkin pie one year and it went horribly wrong, so I stick with store-bought. The pie I bought wasn't dairy-free, but Cole didn't seem to show an interest in it anyway, so I didn't count it as part of the dairy-free aspect. Is that cheating? Well, it'll be our little secret.

That was my Thanksgiving feast. How do you serve your Thanksgiving supper?! Are you a buffet-style or family-style?

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