Saturday, October 12, 2013

Last Minute Thanksgiving Meal Ideas (All Gluten Free)

So you left Thanksgiving planning to the last minute. Now what? Need some simple meal ideas? Have no fear, Thanksgiving dinner can be a success, even if you haven't been planning for it over the past month!

If this is your first gluten free Thanksgiving and you've been at a loss about how to create a gluten free meal, I promise it's actually very easy. Avoid pre-stuffed birds because the stuffing is rarely gluten free, and then think naturally gluten free for the side dishes.

Turkey is pretty much a tradition for most people, so the bird is probably the biggest concern. If you're not making a meal for 30 people, consider a turkey roast. Similar to a pork or beef roast, it's a deboned and tied up turkey with only white meat. I served it last year for 6 adults and two children, and it gave me two full platters of meat, with enough leftovers for the next few days. A turkey roast takes less time to cook, takes up less space in the oven, and is easy to carve without all the bones and bits that nobody wants. Since it's all white meat, I cook it in a little bit of vegetable or chicken broth to keep it moist and give it some added flavour.

What about gravy? I use Imagine Organics Turkey Gravy. It's gluten free, and has the flavour and consistency of homemade gravy. When cooking a turkey roast I often leave out stuffing, but if it's a family tradition, go ahead and make it. Turn your favourite stuffing recipe gluten free by substituting gluten free bread or croutons or whatever you use for the regular ones in your recipe, and adjust the liquid a bit for the extra dryness of the gluten free product.



On to side dishes. The simplest side dishes are often the most delicious. Add some carrots, parsnips, onion, or other fall root vegetables to the roasting pan for a gorgeous roast vegetable medley. Toss with some olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper once cooked and you'll have a fragrant and delicious side dish. Mashed potatoes are big at my house, and so simple to make. Peel and boil potatoes, and mash them right in the pot with some butter, milk (or dairy-free alternatives), nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mashed sweet potatoes or cubed sautéed squash are great alternatives. Alternatively, roasting some potatoes while the turkey roasts would be delicious as well.

If you're looking for something with all those fall flavours but is just a little bit different, how about a warm harvest vegetable and lentil salad? Click HERE for the recipe.

No turkey dinner would be complete without some condiments. For last minute planning, I would buy applesauce, but canned cranberry sauce just won't cut it. My cranberry sauce can be made in no time, and will make your meal taste as though you've been cooking for hours. Click HERE for the recipe. Add a salad and you've got a pretty good meal.

If you have some extra time, how about making some cornbread? Bob's Red Mill has a great cornbread mix that I sometimes make as a bread and sometimes make as muffins. It adds another homemade touch but is so easy to make. If you need appetizers, think simple: a veggie platter with hummus, make a platter with gluten free crackers, cheese, grapes, and some apple slices.

For dessert, pumpkin pie is great but if you can't find a gluten free one and don't have time to make it, gluten free cupcakes with a scoop of pumpkin puree mixed into the icing adds that pumpkin feel without all the work of making a pie. An apple crumble/crisp is easy to put together and can go in the oven while eating dinner. Click HERE for a simple recipe.  My pumpkin squares are little bite sized treats that kids love, and they're made from a box mix. Click HERE for the recipe.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Dinner:

Appetizers: Veggies & Hummus, Cheese Platter with GF Crackers, Grapes, & Apple Slices

Main Course: Turkey Roast with Gravy & Cranberry Sauce
2 Side Dishes: Potatoes (roast or mashed), Roasted Vegetables, Warm Roast Vegetable and Lentil Salad, Regular Salad

1 Dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Apple Crumble, Cupcakes, Chocolate Pumpkin Squares

Remember, the meal is only one part of Thanksgiving. Being with family and friends and being thankful for everything we have is the real reason to celebrate. A wonderful meal prepared with love and enjoyed with family is the real blessing.

Have a Wonderful and Safe Thanksgiving!

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