This Thanksgiving, I am thankful…that I’m not hosting! I’ve basically been a lump on the couch the last two months (yay, First Trimester!), so my kitchen is barely up to the task of dinner-on-real-plates, let alone a big feast for tons of family.
Still, Udi’s has come through again with more products to make life (especially life with food intolerance) simple. In spite of the allure of the couch, we actually had our own mini Thanksgiving dinner here over the weekend just to give everything a try and let you guys know what to go for if you’re grabbing anything last-minute.
Easy Pre-Holiday Meals
First things first. If you are looking at this for ideas for this week (HOW is it this week already?!), you’ll want your Wednesday or Thursday morning meal plans to be crazy simple. I’ve got your back, and so does Udi’s.
Tomorrow, we’ll be getting ready to go out of town, and I’ve got a ton to do. Breakfast can’t be time consuming. But I love for holidays to feel special. So, we’re taking Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin bread and making this baked french toast recipe. Whatcha think? I’m pretty excited. It goes in the fridge tonight, pops in the oven in the morning (even my oldest kiddo could do that), and that’s all I’ve gotta do.
Also appearing on our menu this week was a taco casserole bake with Udi’s cheese crisps. The dairy-free boys couldn’t have them, but I just made their half of the skillet without it. Here’s how it went:
Fry up ground turkey (yay, more turkey) in a cast iron skillet.
Add 2 cans (or 4c) black beans, plus chopped bell peppers, onions, etc. Whatever looks good.
When veggies are getting soft, crush and stir-in chips.
Dump cheese on top, however much you’d like, and set in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so, to let the cheese melt.
All done! Now, on to the holiday…
Turkey Brine and Seasoning
We’ve never brined a turkey, so we were both kind of looking at this Urban Accents brining kit sideways. Seems like a lot of work. Our normal routine is to rub butter inside a paper bag, drop the turkey in, and cook s-l-o-w-l-y. Yum. But, admittedly, we draw straws on who will butter the bag. Maybe this brine thing isn’t so bad…
It came with one baggie of brine mixture to boil then cool, then add to the brining bag with the turkey overnight. After that, put it in the pan and rub with olive oil and the baggie of seasonings, then cook to the instructions on the box. Easy peasy! We had some issues with the thighs not cooking all the way, but I’m wondering if it was not thawed or something. Not sure. Anyway, it came out amazing. I’m not a white meat kind of person, but even the white meat on this was super juicy and amazing. My favorite part on a turkey? The skin, hands down. (So shoot me.) And this stuff was awesome.
The verdict is still out, but we may be brining converts after all.
Gluten Free Stuffing/Dressing
Despite having never stuffed an actual turkey with stuffing, I’ve always called it that. I suppose technically it’s dressing, but whatever. Here’s the thing: I grew up on Stove-Top. It was never really my favorite, and since setting out on my own, I’ve always left it to someone else to make the stressing. The duffing. Whatever.
I’d heard of using Udi’s bread for dressing before, but I had an image in my head of it being terribly complicated. So, I didn’t. The gluten-free little would just have to skip it (or, more likely, being the foodie she is, eat it anyway and get nice and congested). There’s nothing like a review item being dropped on your doorstep for motivation, though, so I took to the internet for recipes. I found this one, and I was pleasantly surprised at how ridiculously easy it was to make. Here’s how I modified (cos I never can follow a recipe):
Saute celery and an onion.
Chop up 4c of Udi’s bread into chunks (er, almost a whole loaf, and I left it semi-frozen, so no crumblies).
Stir up 2 eggs, then drop the bread and veggies into the egg bowl.
Dump juice from the turkey pan into the egg-and-bread-and-veggies bowl.
Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt until it smells dressing-y.
Stir it all up, dump in a baking dish, and bake at 350 til it looks brownish. I think it took about 45 minutes.
And that was it! It got “Mm”s and eyes-rolling-back-into-their-head from everyone. And the GF-foodie-child could dig in without reaction.
You can’t be without pie. But I’ve got kids who are dairy-less and a kid who is gluten free, so pie is hard to come by without someone cheating and risking reaction. Not everyone can even take that risk, so what’s the alternative? No pie? Expensive flours and time? Remember, I’m just now venturing off the couch. There will be no dough made from scratch here. Got it?
Enter the Maple-Pecan Chocolate Chip cookies that everyone is scowling at me for not letting them open. I haven’t done it yet, because I want this to be for actual Thanksgiving, but here’s the plan:
Smash cookies to bottom of pie pan.
Dump in a dairy free pumpkin pie filling, like this one.
Seems like a solid plan! I’m pretty excited about it.
Amidst all of the busyness, the excitement that nausea is waning, the naps (erm, mine) and bleary mornings, the kids have enjoyed pilfering bagels and Harvest muffins for the breakfasts-I-couldn’t-cook, and I have done my share of pilfering with the brownie-bites-I-refuse-to-share.
I can’t even tell you how big a deal these goodies were this month. I’m adding another item to my thankful list: convenience food that my whole family can enjoy. Thanks, Udi’s!
I was sent a box of items from Udi’s to review, plus some lovely gifts like a serving tray, hot pad, and wooden utensils…oh, and a little Udi’s football! However, all of the recipes and opinions and couch days are my own. Check them out here or in your local grocery store!