Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A “Simply” Delicious and Frugal Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

How to Quick Brine a Gluten Free Turkey
I am a big believer in simplicity and frugality. I want recipes that are easy to make with (relatively) easy to find, inexpensive everyday ingredients. Since going gluten-free, I will admit this can be a challenge, but it’s still a goal I think we can accomplish.

Often we can get so caught up in the details of an event or dinner that we end up not being able to enjoy the purpose of the event. This is especially true at holidays. So today, I am going to present you with my family’s Thanksgiving Dinner Menu – Gluten Free Style! It’s a simple, easy (no-stress), delicious, and relatively healthy menu! I hope it will help you to relax this Thanksgiving. Let’s not stress over a holiday centered on Being Thankful! Be thankful that you now know what was making you feel bad for so many years (that naughty gluten) and that you can live happily and deliciously without it!!

Since going gluten-free I have already made and/or tried most of the recipes that I will be including in this post. I will post links (with pictures) to the recipes that we’ve already made earlier this year, and I’ll give you recipes for the things that we haven’t made yet (but will be preparing next week)!

The goal today is to show you that a complete Thanksgiving meal can be wonderfully, deliciously, and easily gluten-free! It may take you a bit more time than you would normally spend in preparation, but with the tips I’ve included below, and the ready prepared shopping list, it can be an incredibly easy and enjoyable holiday. Not to mention… wonderful to your gluten-free tummy!

** Click here for a printable version of this post (includes all recipes and the shopping list.)**

Gluten Free Vegan Dressing/Stuffing
Our "Simply" Delicious
Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:

Main Course
Roasted Turkey
Gluten Free Gravy (*see recipe below)
Gluten Free Dressing (*see recipe below)

Side Dishes
Green Beans with Almonds and Pearl Onions (*see recipe below)
Sweet Corn Pudding
Sweet Potato Apple Casserole
Whole Cranberry Sauce -or- Cranberry Cobbler

Absolutely Delicious Apple Pecan Pie (*see recipe below)
Traditional Pumpkin Pie with GF pie crust

Thanksgiving Dinner Preparations:

  • 5 Days Prior to Thanksgiving:

Buy groceries (see grocery list here), begin to thaw turkey in refrigerator (especially if it’s a LARGE turkey!), Prepare GF bread for dressing:1) make a loaf in the bread machine (or buy a sliced loaf), 2) slice bread, 3) toast slices on a baking sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven (usually takes about 15-20 minutes, don’t overdo it!), then cut into very small 1 inch cubes. 4) Throw toasted diced cubes into a freezer safe bag and place in freezer.

  • 4 Days Prior to Thanksgiving:

Kick of your shoes, find a good book, take a warm tub bath, and make the hubby and kids a previously prepared and frozen Karen’s Pizza for dinner. No worries, mate! Your totally prepared!

  • 3 Days Prior to Thanksgiving:

Make a double batch of GF Pie Crust dough and place in refrigerator, you will be using these on Day 2 and Day 1 for your pies. Prepare and bake: Cranberry Cobbler and Sweet Potato-Apple Casserole. Let cobbler and casserole COOL completely; then place in freezer until the big day!

  • 2 Days Prior to Thanksgiving:

Wash, peel, and dice potatoes in preparation to be mashed on Thanksgiving. Place diced potatoes in a plastic sealable container. Add a few drops of lemon juice (to prevent browning) and toss around. Put sealed container of diced potatoes in refrigerator. Prepare and bake Traditional Pumpkin Pie. Let cool and place in freezer.

  • 1 Day Prior to Thanksgiving:

Prepare and bake Sweet Corn Pudding. Let cool and place in refrigerator. Prepare and bake Absolutely Delicious Apple Pecan Pie. Set aside on counter and let cool (Does not need to be refrigerated before Thanksgiving Day.) Prepare 3 batches of GF cream soup and place in refrigerator. You will need 2 batches for your gravy, and 1 batch for your Sweet Corn Pudding. If desired prepare whole berry cranberry sauce. Cool and refrigerate until serving time tomorrow.


Start your day by setting aside a few minutes to write down all that you are thankful for. Think about all the blessings in your life! Be thankful that you are completely prepared for this wonderful holiday!
Remove casserole, cobbler, bread cubes, and pie from the freezer. Let defrost on the counter. Put your completely defrosted turkey in the oven and bake as you normally would, WITH THE EXCEPTION that if you use a turkey bag, USE RICE FLOUR in the place of regular flour. Don’t forget this! You don’t want to get “glutened” by your turkey folks!! Pull turkey out of oven when done. Pour turkey juices into a separate container to use later for gravy. Cover turkey with foil and set aside until ready to slice and serve.
Prepare and Bake Sweet Corn Pudding. Prepare and bake GF dressing. In additional to corn pudding, place defrosted Sweet Potato-Apple Casserole, Cranberry Cobbler, and Traditional Pumpkin Pie in oven for 25-35 minutes to reheat for serving. On your stovetop, prepare green bean recipe, and boil pre-diced potatoes for mashing. Make your mashed potatoes and keep warm. 10 minutes before serving: On stovetop, make GF Turkey Gravy and slice turkey. Don’t forget to pull prepared whole berry cranberry sauce out of refrigerator when serving dinner.
SERVE THANKSGIVING DINNER!! BE THANKFUL, RELAX, and ENJOY the rest of your day! Have the in-laws or the kids do the dishes!

Hot Cranberry Cobbler, fresh out of the oven!

Simple and Delicious Gluten-Free
Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes:

Gluten-Free Gravy
1 batch GF cream soup
½ cup turkey juices and giblets (if desired)

In a saucepan, prepare batch of cream soup. Add ½ cup of turkey juices and giblets. Simmer for 10 minutes until desired thickness is reached. Add water to thin gravy, or add 1-2 Tbsp. of cornstarch to thicken gravy. Add salt/pepper to taste. Serve in a gravy bowl.

Delicious Gluten-Free Dressing
6-8 cups toasted, cubed gluten free bread (homemade or store bought)
1-2 TBSP. poultry seasoning
1 cup celery, sliced and finely diced
1 cup onion, finely diced
1-2 cups GF chicken broth (or water with GF chicken bouillon added)
¼ - ½ cup butter
1-2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. pepper

Place toasted, cubed GF bread in a LARGE bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a large pan on the stovetop. When warm and sizzling, add onions and celery. Saute until onions are translucent. Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Combine with onions and celery. Pour onion and butter mixture over bread cubes in bowl. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add 1 cup of chicken broth to bread cubes. If you like a more moist dressing add additional chicken broth until desired consistency. Pour dressing into an oven safe casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Green Beans with Pearl Onions and Almonds
2 (12-14 oz.) cans whole green beans
1 (6 oz.) jar of pearl onions, drained (found on canned vegetable aisle)
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Pour green beans (with liquid) into a 2 qt. sauce pan. Add 1 can of additional water. Add drained pearl onions, slivered almonds, and olive oil. Simmer ten minutes until heated through. Add salt/pepper to taste. Cool slightly before serving.

Gluten-Free Sweet Corn Pudding
1 batch GF cream soup (made WITHOUT chicken bouillon added!)
1 (12 or 14 oz.) can sweet white corn (reserving ¼ cup liquid)
¼ cup sugar or honey
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 Tbsp. melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt

In a saucepan, prepare cream soup mix as directed, without chicken bouillon. Remove from stovetop and let cream soup cool slightly. Add sweet white corn and ¼ cup liquid. Mix thoroughly. Add sugar, beaten eggs, vanilla, melted butter, and salt. Mix thoroughly and pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until casserole is set.

Absolutely Delicious Apple Pecan Pie
1 batch prepared GF pie crusts, rolled out ready for use
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. rice flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, and margarine or butter. Set aside. Line a 9” pie tin with one GF pie crust. (Remember this doesn’t have to be perfect folks! GF pie crusts aren’t always the most beautiful! No sweat!) Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, rice flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix lightly. Spoon into GF crust lined pan. Sprinkle pecan/brown sugar mixture over top of apples. Top with remaining crust and seal edges (remember that note about perfection!) Flute crust edges if desired. Cut slits in top crust. Place foil or cookie sheet on lowest rack of oven for protection against spills while baking pie. Place pie in oven and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. (Cover edges of crust with foil after 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.) When pie is done, apples should be tender and crust will be golden brown. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla bean ice cream (if desired!)

A beautiful slice of Sweet Potato-Apple Casserole

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