With Thanksgiving around the corner, you’ve had your main dishes planned for weeks now. But what about all of those accompanying plates? I don’t know about you, but I get tired of the same old sides year after year. That’s why I’m here to inspire you with a last minute crash course in cooking up some creativity on Turkey Day.
Have a great idea that I’ve left out? Be sure to comment below and share the holiday cheer!
7 Ways to Use Squash
With its warm color, soft texture and sweet taste, squash is a perfect option for fall cooking. Squash is a versatile veggie that comes in a variety of sizes, tastes and textures and can be used in everything from soup to dessert. On top of being delicious, squash is a super healthy food packed with nutrients such as antioxidants, beta carotene, folate and vitamins C and B6.
Roast It. Seasoning and roasting slices or halves of squash is simple way to get the most flavor from your gourds. Drizzle squash halves with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F for a super easy recipe with chef-quality results. For a sweet and savory take on roasting, check out this Honey Glazed Acorn Squash recipe. Two halves won’t be enough! Try my Honey Acorn Squash recipe.
Get Baking. Muffins and cakes are a great way to incorporate squash into your diet. The sweet taste and creamy texture of butternut squash pairs perfectly with cinnamon and nutmeg for a flavorful winter morning muffin. Top muffins with pumpkin seeds or dairy-free cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Don’t Forget the Seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious snack that contains iron and as much protein as an equal serving of nuts. After gutting your pumpkin, clean your seeds and rinse with a colander to get off any bits of pumpkin meat. Spread the seeds out on a tray and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Put in the oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Dive into a Sweet Soup. Acorn and butternut squash can be roasted and pureed with vegetable or chicken stock, nutmeg and cinnamon for a sweet and creamy winter soup. This hearty soup can be topped off with a dollop of dairy-free cream cheese and sage and eaten alone or with gluten-free whole grain bread and a salad. If you make more than you can eat in a few days, store the leftovers in the freezer to reheat on a busy day.
Take a Dip. The creamy texture of cooked squash makes it easy to use in dips. Get creative with your flavors with a seasonal Pumpkin guacamole. This sweet take on a classic dip pairs well with roasted veggies such as potato or zucchini fries, and can serve as a flavorful replacement for mayo on your sandwich. Try this Roasted Corn Pumpkin Guacamole.
Use in Place of Pasta. Spaghetti squash is a lighter squash that takes the shape of spaghetti when prepared. Use spaghetti squash as a healthier replacement for pasta in classic dishes such as spaghetti & meatballs or as a side with chicken or seafood.
Top Off Your Salad. Slices of roasted squash are the perfect addition to a salad to give it a winter flare. Try butternut squash chunks with arugula, dried fruit, pecans and quinoa and a drizzle of olive oil for an irresistible and nutritionally dense salad.
6 Ways to Make Gluten Free Stuffing
Traditional bread-based stuffing is a popular holiday food that may seem off-limits when you’re eating gluten-free. But there’s no need to worry this Thanksgiving if you’re a gluten-intolerant stuffing lover— many brands offer a gluten-free stuffing product and there are tons of delicious ways to make gluten-free stuffing yourself using healthy favorites such as nuts, herbs, dried fruit, mushrooms and cooked veggies. Check out these six gluten-free stuffing recipes that will allow you to fully appreciate this year’s holiday feast without bothering your stomach.
The Classic. In general you can use your favorite traditional stuffing recipe and simply substitute the bread with a gluten-free variety. Make sure to cube and toast your bread first to keep it from falling apart or becoming too mushy when you add your liquid ingredients. Dress up your breadcrumbs with a gluten-free broth, sautéed celery & onions, parsley as well a sage for straight-forward classic stuffing. Put the mixture in a casserole dish and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Mushroom and Herb Stuffing. Use gluten-free multigrain bread for this flavorful take on stuffing. In addition to chicken or vegetable broth, onions and celery, add baby bella mushrooms, sage, and thyme to your breadcrumbs for a sophisticated yet simple stuffing. Add the herbs while you’re sautéing the veggies and mushrooms to enhance their flavor.
Wild Rice Stuffing. Replace the usual cubed bread with brown and wild rice for a stuffing with a new texture and taste . Give your wild rice stuffing a warm and nutty flavor with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, sausage, and thyme for seasoning.
Pear Walnut Stuffing. Give your stuffing a touch of fruity flare with this pear walnut recipe. Sauté sliced pear with onion and garlic and coat with a seasoning of salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Mix in the onion pear sauce with multigrain gluten-free bread cubes and finish off with chopped toasted walnuts.
Apple Pear Stuffing. Pear is a great stuffing ingredient for fruit lovers to enjoy. Try using fresh rosemary to complement sliced apples and a multigrain cubed bread base. For an extra kick, try using a spicy chili powder for flavor.
Quinoa Stuffing. Quinoa is another yummy bread alternative for this year’s stuffing. The rich color of red quinoa makes it a great option for fall. Add butternut squash, dried cranberries and pecans for a layer of sweet flavor. Another nutritious option is to add kale and mushrooms to your quinoa