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Healthy Chef: Make Ahead Dishes

Make ahead side dishes will make your Thanksgiving Day less stressful!
Jennifer Gieseke with Healthy Chef Meals has some tips to help your Thanksgiving Day be less stressful!
Here's your "To-Do" list:
1. Plan your menu: ours includes HolidayCranberry Sauce, Wondrous Carrots, Roasted Green Beans, Vegetarian Stuffing, Stuffed Bake Sweet Potatoes, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Savory Mushroom Gravy.

2. Go Grocery Shopping!

3. Then Follow these steps:


Monday

Bake Sweet Potatoes – cool in refrigerator

Peel and cut carrots for Wondrous Carrots  - store in ziplock bag

Make Cranberry Sauce, allow to cool.  Put in serving dish, cover with plastic and store in refrigerator


Tuesday
Make Mashed Potatoes

Make Gravy (dice an extra onion for the stuffing)

Wednesday
Roast Green Beans & finish recipe
Make Wondrous Carrots
Finish prep for Sweet Potatoes (scoop pulp, whip with seasonings & refill)

Thursday
60 minutes before dinner
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add apple to Stuffing, Drizzle with Veg Stock and mix

40 minutes before dinner
Put Mashed Potatoes in the oven
Put Stuffing in oven
Brush topes of Sweet Potatoes with margarine & put in oven

20 minutes before dinner
Warm Gravy on the stove over medium low, stirring often 
Remove Cranberry Sauce from refrigerator, place on dinner table
Check oven items for readiness

10 minutes before dinner
Reheat green beans and Carrots in microwave
Check remaining oven items for readiness

RECIPES:

Roasted Green Beans

6 cups green beans, fresh, cleaned & trimmed
1 each onions, large, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the green beans with the onion, garlic, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread combined ingredients onto a foil-lined shallow roasting pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. When done baking, toss with the balsamic vinegar. Cool.
Divide into two containers.
Reheating instructions: Heat in microwave at 50% power, stirring every 2 minutes, until hot throughout. Do not overcook.

Wondrous Carrots

2 cups sliced carrots
3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 1/2 tsp sugar, or to taste
2 Tbs cognac, or brandy, or more to taste
pinch salt, to taste
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Drop carrots into boiling water to barely cover. Simmer, uncovered, until just tender.  The carrots should not get too soft, but they should lose a measure of their crispness.
Drain the carrots.  Add butter, sugar and cognac.  Toss over low heat just a few seconds for the cognac to mellow.  Add very little salt, if any.
Reheating Instructions:  Thaw in refrigerator.  Heat in microwave 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until heated throughout.  Garnish with parsley

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
8 oz non dairy cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
Peel and quarter potatoes.  Place in saucepan and cover with water.  Cook until tender.  Drain well.  In large bowl combine potatoes, cream cheese, flaxseed, garlic powder & salt.  Mash well.  Spoon potatoes into greased casserole (1 recipe fits 3 quart casserole or 9x13 pan).  Drizzle with melted butter over potatoes. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Cooking instructions:  Bake at 375 fro 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden.

Savory Mushroom Gravy
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 Tbs olive oil
16 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay is great)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
In a small bowl, mix the flour with about 2 cups of vegetable broth until well dissolved. Once dissolved, add the remaining broth and mix. Set aside.
Preheat a 2 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and saute for about 5 more minutes.
Add wine and turn heat up to bring to a boil. Let wine reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the broth/flour mix and the nutritional yeast, if using. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.  Taste for salt and pepper.
Reheating instructions:  Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring often, until heated through

Vegetarian Stuffing
6 cups French bread, large dice
2 Tbs margarine
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbs raisins
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
pepper, to taste
1/2 to 3/4 of a red delicious apple, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on a baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread is well toasted.  Remove from oven & cool.
Meanwhile, warm the margarine in a saucepan and saute onion, celery and carrots over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Allow to cool.
Mix onion mixture, herbs, parsley, raisins, nuts and salt with bread. Mix well.
Reheating instructions: Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking.  Add apple, Carefully drizzle the stuffing with vegetable stock and toss gently.  Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Season with black pepper if desired.

Holiday Cranberry Sauce
4 cupsfresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups water or orange juice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
Place fresh cranberries and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add spices.  Cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 20 minutes.  For a thicker sauce, mash some of the berries against the side of the pan to release the natural pectin.
Stir in sugar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes
4 sweet potatoes, medium
1/2 cup apricot nectar
2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1 tsp orange rind, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup almond milk (or other non dairy milk), as needed
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 to 2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, melted
Scrub sweet potatoes, and pat dry.  Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for 1 hour or until tender.  Allow potatoes to cool to touch (or overnight in refrigerator). 
Cut a 1" lengthwise strip from top of each potato; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving shells with some potato intact.  If working with a cold sweet potato - warm pulp in microwave for about 2 minutes (makes the next step easier)
Combine potato pulp, apricot nectar and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy adding milk as needed.   Stir in pecans, saving some to sprinkle on top.  Spoon mixture evenly into potato shells.  Sprinkle with remaining pecans
Refrigerate stuffed potatoes in a tightly covered container up to 24 hours.  Freeze up to 2 weeks.
Reheating Instructions: Brush potatoes with 1-2 tablespoon melted margarine.  Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Can heat in lower temp oven - simply give it more time



 










 





 





 



 



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