Thanksgiving Grain-free “Cornbread” Dressing

Thanksgiving Grain-free "Cornbread" Dressing

When I think of Thanksgiving, I go right to the dressing. Turkey is a side dish. All I want is a huge plate of my Granny’s dressing drenched in giblet gravy with some turkey sprinkled on top.

And yes, it’s called dressing. Not stuffing. Who actually stuffs their turkey anyway? It’s called dressing when you cook it in a pan. If you bake a stuffed turkey, you run the risk of bacteria developing since it takes longer for the stuffing to reach an appropriate temperature than the bird. Then you have an overcooked, very dry turkey.

My Granny’s dressing is famous in our family. She has to use her largest pan to meet the demand. But now that I try to limit grains in my diet, I challenged myself to recreate the recipe. I took the base of my Granny’s dressing and substituted the cornbread for cauliflower and parsnips.

This low carb alternative has an unbelievably similar consistency and it looks, tastes and smells exactly like dressing. Cauliflower absorbs whatever flavor you spice it with and parsnips add some crunch.

The nutrition is unmatched in comparison to the original recipe. The original is made with cornbread and white bread, which offer little nutritionally and cause a great spike in your insulin levels. Heavy carbs are to blame for the lethargic feeling and infamous post Thanksgiving meal nap. My new version adds an extra serving of veggies and I won’t feel guilty going back for that second helping.

Thanksgiving Grain-free "Cornbread" Dressing

Makes 6 servings.

3 cups – cauliflower – minced
1 cup parsnips – chopped
1 ½ cup celery – chopped
½ cup – onion – chopped
1 tsp garlic – minced
1 tbsp butter for roasting and sautéing
1 egg – whisked
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt

►Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut up cauliflower into small chunks and food process until it’s the consistency of rice. Butter a baking pan and spread onto the pan.
►Chop parsnips into small cubes and spread over a buttered baking sheet.
►Bake both the parsnips and cauliflower for 10 minutes.
►While those are baking, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in 1/2 tbsp butter for 3 minutes until onions are translucent.
►Combine cauliflower, parsnips and sautéed vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, stock, seasoning and salt and then mix well.
►Heat oven to 350 degrees.
►Spread into a 13”x9” baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
►Serve with turkey and generous amounts of gravy.

Meaty Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Meaty Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Now that fall is here, my weekends are getting shorter and I have less time to cook. Maybe it’s the shorter days or it could be my ambitious nature with a tendency to over commit myself. It’s definitely the later. I just want to squeeze all the energy out of a day and be as productive as possible. Every weekend I have an incredibly long, detailed list of projects to complete and events to attend. Last weekend I saw friends every night, went hiking and apple/pumpkin picking on Sunday, finished editing some photos and managed to do all the laundry in our house. Where do I fit in the cooking time?! These cabbage rolls are time consuming but they were manageable when I broke down the steps.

I had to make the rolls in three stages throughout the weekend. On Saturday morning I cooked the cabbage, then made the filling later in the day and finally rolled everything together on Sunday night. It was quite the process! You can use any kind of cabbage with this recipe. I chose purple simply because I love the gorgeous color.

Meaty Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Not only is this meal vibrantly colored, it is also packed with nourishment; proving that eating a variety of colors is always a win. Purple cabbage is rich in vitamin C, with just 1 cup containing 80 percent of our recommended daily value. Vegetables and meat are natural allies and they need each other for proper absorption in our bodies.

Beef and pork have significant amounts of iron. And since our world suffers from iron deficiency, we need all the help we can get. A decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption may be the reason we’re lacking in the iron department. Iron and vitamin C work synergistically. Vitamin C increases the intake of iron by capturing it’s most absorbable form. By combining cabbage and meat in this dish, you’re receiving much more iron then if you were to eat a steak on its own.

All the flavors blend beautifully in this dish. Making each individual roll takes some time though. This is not a quick dinner. You’re going to need an open Sunday afternoon and some patience. Turn on some tunes or better yet, grab some friends to help. A couple of Podcasts kept me entertained as I folded each roll.

Vitamins and Minerals: Working Together,

Meaty Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Makes 4 servings.

1 head purple cabbage
6 cups water
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb pork sausage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 medium onion
2 carrots
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp fresh dill – finely chopped
1 tsp coconut oil

►Remove the core from the center of the cabbage using a paring knife.
►Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a simmer. Put whole cabbage into pot and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. The leaves will begin to soften and loosen away from the head. Carefully pull off the outer leaves and put on a plate near the stove. Cover the pot again for a few minutes and repeat this process until all leaves are removed.
►Brown the beef and pork over medium high heat in a frying pan for 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove meat from pan and reserve the fat for sauteing the vegetables.
►Food process the garlic, onion and carrots until finely chopped. Add to the meat pan and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. Toss in the meat and squeeze lemon over everything. Stir in the fresh dill, cooking for 2 more minutes.
►Remove filling from burner and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
►Prepare the cabbage while you wait. Cut out the tough stems on each leaf.
►Now to stuff the leaves. Place a spoonful of filling into each cabbage leaf and roll as you would a burrito, closing both ends. You can stick a toothpick through if it does not stay.
►Lightly grease an 8.5″ x 11″ baking dish with coconut oil. Place all cabbage rolls in dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until thoroughly heated.
►Serve drizzled with lemon butter and fresh dill.

Flounder Filet Foil Packs

Flounder Filet Foil Pack

I am fortunate to live on the coast with access to super fresh seafood. My local Saturday farmers market has a diverse assortment and I like to mix it up each week. The booth is notorious for selling out by late morning. You have to be quick in Brooklyn! Especially when it comes to good food. The week I chose fresh flounder and also treated myself to a piece of smoked swordfish. Deliciousness!

Foil packs perfectly cook fish for an even flakiness. It’s so easy to just throw the fish and vegetables together. This would be a good party idea. Put out all your ingredients in cute separate bowls, pre-form the foil wrappers for your guests and let everyone create their own meals. Now I’m getting flash backs to childhood Taco Nights fighting over the last tortilla!

One suggestion to keep in mind,  if you like your vegetables more done than steamed, sauté them before adding to the packs. I just added everything at once and the onions would have been better with a nice caramelization.

Flounder Filet Foil Pack

Serves 3

1 pound Flounder Filets

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Pepper

1 tbsp melted Pork Lard

1 head of Broccoli Chopped

1 Yellow Onion Chopped

2 cloves Garlic Minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro Chopped

1 tsp Fresh Ginger Minced

6 pieces of Aluminum Foil

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

►Take three pieces of aluminum foil and fold up the edges all round. Creating three individual packs.

►Place two fish filets in each. Rub some of the melted lard on the fish with salt and pepper. I use my hands for this.

►Add in your vegetables, dividing them equally among each pack.

►Use the remaining foil to seal in each pack so that you make something resembling a pouch.

►Place your three packs in a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.

►When done, remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before opening. The fish will continue to cook a bit.

►Drizzle fresh lime juice over fish and vegetable before serving.

►For an easy sauce, make a quick cilantro pesto in your food processor. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp Cold Pressed Olive Oil, 1 garlic clove, 3 tbsp pine nuts. Pulse until it forms a paste. Easy on the garlic here. I added an extra clove and it about took my breath away!