A Very Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 | click here to comment

It's Thanksgiving again and usually that's my cue to run around the house like a mad woman tidying up while simultaneously cooking a four course feast...but not this year!

We decided to stay home and make dinner for just the two of us. We threw on some peppy house music mashups and congratulated ourselves on our brilliance on shunning the world for a bit of peace and quiet. Our Thanksiving dinner really allowed us to actually sit down, give thanks and enjoy it because it was easy, quick and delicious (and gluten free ;) )!

The secret to our easy dinner was buying a pre-cooked boneless ham. All we had to do was warm it up and prepare a simple glaze to make it our own. No raw turkey splattering salmonella everywhere and no dirty hands. The ham pictured above was prepared with a Dijon Maple Glaze that took less than 2 minutes to make.

Dijon Maple Glaze

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (we used Pumpkin Pie Spice)

Whisk ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes and glaze pre-warmed ham. Put the ham back into the oven until the glaze is bubbling and viola!

After wandering around Whole Foods earlier this week trying to figure out what side dishes to make I noticed a huge, beautiful pile of Brussels sprouts that were being ignored by everyone in the produce aisle. I grabbed a bag of them and decided to pair them with lardons. I found a recipe on FoodNetwork.com, that I modified a bit, and was delighted with the outcome. You can't really go wrong when you're adding bacon to a dish. I did feel the dish was missing something after it was finished cooking so I drained the sprouts into a bowl and added 3 tablespoons of butter. You also can't go wrong with adding butter to a dish. ;)

Brussels Sprouts with Lardons

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 ounces Italian pancetta or bacon,1/4-inch dice

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (2 containers), trimmed and cut in 1/2

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

3/4 cup golden raisins (I used dried cherries)

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the baconto a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to the fat in the pan and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the raisins (or whatever dried fruit you are using) and chicken stock. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, add a little chicken stock or water. Return the bacon to the pan, heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Last, but not least were two dishes that are pretty basic staples in any Thanksgiving meal, sweet potatoes and stuffing. The sweet potatoes were super simple to make and tasted awesome. The stuffing was okay, but I didn't really have a recipe for it and it was kind of an afterthought. Whole Foods had containers of gluten free stuffing cubes, which are basically Whole Foods brand Gluten Free bread dried and cut into cubes.

Gluten Free Stuffing

1 package of dried gluten free bread

1small shallot, diced

7 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all ingredients together and add to shallow baking pan. Bake in oven set to 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until top of stuffing is golden brown.

Super Sweet Potatoes

6 sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, boiled and mashed

4 tablespoons butter (for potatoes)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter marshmallow fluff

Combine brown sugar and butter. Mash potatoes with maple syrup, butter and spices. Pour mashed sweet potatoes into baking dish and cover with brown sugar mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover potatoes with marshmallow fluff and put dish under broiler on low for 3 - 5 minutes and make sure to keep an eye on it! The brown sugar and the fluff really turn this dish into a decadent treat. I was planning on making a gluten free/dairy free cheesecake, but I was too stuffed and too lazy. Everything we prepared tonight was gluten free...I never said it was low in calories. ;)



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