Thanksgiving Recipes

By Jessica Campbell, MS, FNTP

I LOVE Thanksgiving! I can't help it, I'm a foodie, I love family, I love expressing gratitude, and I love cooking in the fall.

The fall table is such a great excuse to get creative and pull out seasonal dishes that represent your local food or your traditional treasures. Decorate with persimmons, pumpkins, and beautiful fall leaves. Look to mother nature and find an organic landscape that shows respect to the fall bounty.

What better way to show gratitude to those you love than to make them the most nutrient-dense, delicious food, and sit down to a beautiful table for a slow relaxing celebration.

My kids and I start on Monday roasting and straining pumpkins, then we begin decorating and composing the timeline for our Thanksgiving meal. Planning and prepping is how my mom taught me to handle Thanksgiving dinners without the stress of chaos in the kitchen.

Each year we try a new recipe for fun, but usually offer to make the pumpkin pie. Definitely add REAL whipped cream, and make an extra one for breakfast. The kids will think it's a treat, but this pie is more nutritious than any box of cereal on the market.

Any of these pumpkins will make a lovely pie, we accept all races, shapes, and sizes in our home! Don't be afraid to improvise off my recipe, we once accidentally made a savory Indian dish, when my daughter added garam masala instead of cloves. It was delicious with Brussel sprouts like a sweet potato casserole.

Remember opening the disgusting can of red jello with what must have been cranberry umbilical cords stuck in it.  If you are still pouring cranberries out of a can or cooking a frozen bag of berries to death with a cup of refined sugar, you and I have to talk.

This year, surprise your guests by making a fresh dish. Simply cook fresh cranberries for a few minutes with orange juice, apple cider, maple syrup, or raw honey instead of grotesquely sweet sugar. And if you're really up for a shocker, you can serve your cranberries raw.

I learned this recipe from my Aunt Carey last year, and it was a big hit. Although my family likes the tartness, you may like to add a few extra spoonfuls of raw honey for a more traditional crowd.

I make my Fresh Cranberry Relish with a southwestern kick because we love chilies.  If you decide to go spicy, decorate your chutney with a jalapeño as a warning for your guests with tender palates.

Did I say Brussel sprouts earlier? I can't go very long without them, especially this time of year. Brussel sprouts are so incredibly healthy, and if you season them just right, most kids will devour them. We like to imitate garlic bread flavors with ours: olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and parmesan cheese; who can resist?

Other easy dishes I love to bring to a party are: a green bean salad with zesty Italian flavors, roasted carrots with aioli, or Delicata moons. Instead of mashed potatoes, I love to throw a few surprise root vegetables to bump up the flavor profile and add more nutrients. What's one rutabaga amongst 5 potato friends? And for dessert I love to bring my grandmother's cheesecake recipe right next to my pumpkin pie.

With gluten free, nutrient dense, nut flour crusts, you may have to save your piece of pie for breakfast. No really, the pie is more filling than the meal, so you may not be able to eat dessert, or what we call the food you eat after you eat your food.

Remember to keep your turkey carcass, to make bone broth. It should be free range, not fed GMO grains, antibiotics, nor hormones. If your bones are safe, boil them for a few hours to break them down into healthy minerals, calcium, choline, gelatin, and collagen. Then make soup, or my favorite childhood memory of mommy cooking... biscuits and gravy.

Leftover's rule! Don't make mom cook the next day! Please, just follow this quick easy recipe for gluten-free biscuits and gravy and you can delight her with breakfast in bed.

If you have a tasty leftover recipe, please share it in the comments below so we can all spread the wealth of our delicious Thanksgiving dinner recipes.

Enjoy your food, your friends, and your family!

Happy Thanksgiving