Green beans are a real crowd-pleasing vegetable. With a mild, sweet flavor and a completely portable and edible design, green beans make a great on-the-go snack for kids, and they can also add some real visual interest to a vegetable tray.
But there’s more to this slender green veggie than looks alone!
Green beans are an excellent source of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Green beans are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, potassium, manganese and fiber.
One of the ultimate ways to enjoy green beans for a special occasion like Thanksgiving Dinner, is with your classic green bean casserole. But the problem with most green bean casserole recipes is that they involve canned soup.
I can not stand canned soups in casseroles. I also can’t stand canned green beans. Yuck.
This Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll still enjoy green bean casserole, but in a new way—with a recipe I’ve perfected over the past few years.
Now, be forewarned. This is not an everyday vegetable dish and it is certainly not a 100% Paleo-friendly recipe. But, hey, Thanksgiving comes around once a year, and sometimes we have to bend the rules a bit in the name of tradition.
Yes, this recipe includes those canned fried onion rings because, in my opinion, you can’t have a proper green bean casserole without them!
Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Download my free Thanksgiving menu, complete with recipes, timeline, and turkey triage guide. Available in Classic, Paleo, and Keto!
It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?
Today’s focus is on: CRANBERRIES
Tis the season for cranberries! Around the holidays you can find fresh cranberries just about anywhere, so there’s no excuse for buying those nasty cans of jellied cranberry sauce!
Cranberries aren’t only beautiful, they’re also full of nutrition. Cranberries are full of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, iron, magnesium and folate. Cranberries contain antioxidants and phenols that can protect against urinary tract infections.
Now that Thanksgiving is here and fresh cranberries are so readily available, go ahead and make use of them as much as you possibly can!
Today your Trick, Tip and Recipe are going to give you some great ideas for incorporating cranberries into your Thanksgiving Dinner.
So without further adieu, here is your Trick:
Go raw with a healthy, sweet cranberry relish. If you have a food processor, toss in a cup or two of raw fresh cranberries (frozen won’t work out for you very well here) with the juice of one lemon and two or three pitted Medjool dates. Process until you get a relish-like consistency and serve alongside your turkey dinner.
Make your own cranberry sauce! It’s so easy to make this popular condiment yourself that you’ll never buy it again. Start with 16 ounces of good, clean fresh cranberries (frozen will work fine here, but you’ll need a bit more cooking time). Add them to a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-high heat, along with 3/4 cup of orange juice and a couple glugs of maple syrup or honey. (Alternatively you can use 3/4 cup of white sugar or coconut sugar.) Cover the works, stirring occasionally. Important tip: do not walk away while the pot is covered! These berries are going to explode and pop, releasing their pectin and breaking down into a jam-like consistency. So stay close! When the popping starts, turn the heat way down to medium-low, and let the mixture reduce for about 5-10 minutes. After the berries have cooked, go ahead and put your potato masher to work on them. Let the sauce cool before refrigerating.
And your Recipe:
Oh, how I adore Thanksgiving. Family and feasting and giving thanks-what could be better than that?
Here in the US, our Thanksgiving marks the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season, too, so it really is an exciting time.
Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, and you may be thinking about what is on the menu. If you’re eating Paleo, you might be wondering how you’ll survive this food-focused holiday without your non-Paleo favorites, but have no fear! It’s not as difficult as you might think to survive Thanksgiving as a Paleoista, and I’m going to prove that to you right now!
So, let’s take a look at some favorite traditional Thanksgiving standbys and I’ll give you some Paleo-friendly substitutes.
No need to take turkey off the menu, as you know! You’re free to add as much butter and bacon to that bird as you like! If you’re not sure about how to roast a Thanksgiving turkey, check out this page where I show you exactly how to cook your holiday turkey to perfection.
If you are avoiding gluten as part of a lifestyle choice, and not because of a celiac condition, you don’t have to offend anyone at dinner by skipping out on the famous dressing. By all means, have a bite or two if it won’t do you too much harm! But, if you’re preparing the meal, go ahead and experiment! Dressing doesn’t have to involve bread. Get creative in the kitchen and see what you can do with some pork sausage, diced sweet potatoes and apples, pecans, cranberries, mushrooms, celery, etcetera, etcetera.
White potatoes are one of those items that can cause debate between Paleoistas-some of us eat them, some of us don’t. A scoop of mashed potatoes isn’t going to send you to Paleo Prison, so if you feel so compelled, go ahead and enjoy a bite. If you’re preparing the meal, see if you can find some purple potatoes to boil and mash to serve on your Thanksgiving plate. Purple potatoes have more nutrition in them than their white counterparts, and they are so pretty on the plate! If you want to avoid spuds all together, whip up some faux-tay-toes by steaming cauliflower and whipping with butter, heavy cream and seasonings.
Sweet potato casserole.
By all means enjoy a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving this year! Just don’t add brown sugar and marshmallows to it. Peel and slice four or five sweet potatoes and toss into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and lemon pepper. Add about half of a thinly sliced red onion on top so it looks like there are pretty purple ribbons on top of your sweet potatoes. Drizzle again with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 35–45 minutes until everything is golden brown. Even non-sweet potato lovers love this. My own brother was tricked into thinking these were carrots at one Thanksgiving dinner!
Most homemade cranberry sauce is made from sugar with sugar added to sugar and more sugar. But what is Thanksgiving turkey without cranberry sauce? For a delicious Paleo-friendly cranberry sauce, add some fresh or frozen cranberries to a saucepan. Cover the berries with orange juice and add honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar to your taste. Add in lemon zest or orange zest for color and a bit of extra citrusy zing. Once you start making your own cranberry sauce, you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been whipping up this simple sweet dish!
Many gravies involve cornstarch or white flour-neither of those items are Paleo-friendly. Sometimes I like making a simple au jus out of pan drippings, butter and a bit of chicken broth. But you can find dozens of Paleo gravy recipes online. You may was to start experimenting with recipes now, so you’ll have just the right one down pat for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Here’s something that will make you smile–it’s our BRAND NEW Paleo & Keto Thanksgiving Menus! The menu is yours for F*REE! Just go here and get it sent straight to your inbox.
When it comes to one of the biggest meals of the year, do you have one dish that you always seem to mess up? The dressing’s too dry or the gravy’s too lumpy? You know what I’m talking about!
Today, I’m going to save you from making some of the most common Thanksgiving dinner flubs this year and every year to come!
If your dressing isn’t as moist as you’d like it to be, I have an easy fix. Melt some butter with some chicken broth and toss the mixture in the dressing. Fluff the works with a fork and serve. Bye bye dry dressing!
If your gravy isn’t as thick as you’d like, you just need to add more flour. I always use a jar with a lid to minimize the lumps. Put three tablespoons of cold water in a jar with one tablespoon of flour. Secure the lid and shake the jar violently. Have your pan of boiling gravy ready on the stove and whisk in the roux. Whisk, whisk, whisk. As you whisk, the gravy will thicken for you.
If your gravy is always on the thick side, your roux isn’t smooth enough. If you have a lumpy mess of gravy on your hands, all you need to save the day is a blender. Put the gravy in your blender (only fill half way) and mix the heck out of it. Return the gravy to the pan, and now you have lump-free gravy!
If you have cranberry sauce that’s a little on the juicy side, it’s probably because you didn’t cook them for long enough (which helps to bring out the pectin and thicken the fruit). Rather than waste time trying to thicken the sauce, just pull out the strainer, drain off the juice and put the sauce in a serving dish.
Turkey not cooking.
Every time you open the oven door, you’re losing about 25 degrees. My suggestion is to not open the oven at all, but if you do, raise the temperature by 25 degrees for about an hour.
Using these tips, the only mess you should have to deal with this holiday are those post-meal dishes. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here’s something that will make you smile–it’s our Classic, Paleo, & Keto Thanksgiving Menus! They are yours for F*REE! Just click here to get the menus. The menu consists of 10 Thanksgiving recipes to make your holiday a success!
Here is a question I received that I believed warranted answering for everyone—
Hi- I LOVE “Saving Dinner”! My husband loves the food even more. Here is my question: how feasible is it to freeze any Thanksgiving side-dishes in advance (ie cranberry sauce, casseroles, even stuffing)? Thanks! I am busy with a new baby AND hosting this year!
From, Flybaby Barbara
Great question. You know how I’m all about doing things ahead for the holidays. And I’m all about the freezer, too. Can these two things be compatible and make for an even easier holiday? The answer is…yes and no. Some things just need to be done freshly and some things freeze beautifully, so let’s take these things one by one:
1—The Turkey. Yeah, it freezes, but the quality will not be the same. This is one place where I will say make it fresh the day of. I make it the easy, juiciest most delicious way if I do say so myself. And the best part? You don’t stuff it and you don’t baste it.
2—Cranberry sauce. Go ahead, knock yourself out! Again, I have a great recipe for it and it freezes beautifully. For the record, I’ve bought bags of fresh cranberries and frozen them in the bag I bought them in, used them about six months later and they were great too. Or you could save yourself some trouble and buy the canned variety.
3—Dressing. I can tell you from personal experience that dressing freezes fairly well. It can dry out a bit, but if you’ll thaw it overnight in the fridge, then drizzle a little melted butter and broth over the top, cover it with foil and heat thoroughly through, it will work fine and no one will be the wiser.
4—Gravy. Good gravy, yes! Gravy is a wonderful thing to behold and it freezes fabulously. Here’s a secret for you that I have in the Thanksgiving Menu-Mailer—extend your homemade gravy with some store-bought stuff. Oh yeah, that’s the best cheating secret out there. No one will know (your secret is safe with me!) and you too, will own the Endless Gravy Boat. This is important stuff when you’re worried that your father-in-law is going to hog all the gravy!
5—Pies. You can freeze your pies—or you can buy them frozen, LOL. This is one place where I would either have people bring them or buy frozen myself. Having had a Thanksgiving baby myself (my son was born on a November 21st), I remember doing Thanksgiving and having my mom bring the pies.
6—Mashed potatoes. In my book, they are a non-freezable, item—quality and texture suffer big time. I would make these fresh in the morning and put them in my crockpot on low all day. BUT, and this is the big BUT; TEST YOUR CROCKPOT FIRST with a pot full of taters (you can make cream of potato soup out of them later) to make SURE your crockpot won’t burn them. All crockpots are not created equal and it’s through trial and error that we learn our own crockpotty appliance’s nuances.
7—Veggies. You can freeze sweet potato casseroles and green bean casseroles too. Those are not my particular favorite Thanksgiving veggies, but if they are mainstays at your table, rest assured, they freeze fairly well. May get a little watery on top, but easily blot-able with a paper towel and a little finesse.
8—Rolls and Butter. By all means, freeze the both of them. They freeze well, thaw well and quality does not suffer.
That about covers it. Hope it helps!
Still planning your Thanksgiving feast? Grab my plan and recipes by clicking here. You’ll get to choose from classic, paleo, or keto versions, as well as receive my prep timeline and Turkey 101 & triage guide.