Zach and I are sharing our very first married Thanksgiving this year! Since both of us love this time of year, and truly enjoy the season of Thanksgiving, we decided that we would have our own Thanksgiving dinner a week before the actual day to celebrate together!
And since I love cooking (especially Thanksgiving dishes), and Zach loves to eat Thanksgiving food, it was a win- win for us. And bonus, we got a killer deal on our turkey! Score!
Since we began eating healthy this year, I wanted to mix things up a bit with our Thanksgiving dinner and experiment with a few new recipes that were traditional Thanksgiving dishes “cleaned up” a bit. Of course we made the regular versions of some of our favorites, but added in a few news ones, and I must say, they turned out quite tasty!
Our Thanksgiving menu consisted of…
-Roast Turkey (seasoned with lots of yummy herbs and spices, with an onion and celery stalk into the cavity, then baked in an oven bag…seriously those things work GREAT to create a juicy bird!)
-Stuffing (or as the south calls it…dressing)
-Garlic Green Beans
-Cranberry sauce (made from fresh cranberries, not canned)
-Sweet potato casserole
As you can see, we had quite the spread! I ended up cooking for the majority of the morning, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cooking definitely is a stress reliever for me, and I absolutely adore cooking from scratch, which is what I did for all of these recipes!
The menu items that are in bold were recipes that I cleaned up a bit for our Thanksgiving dinner! Here’s a quick peak at what I did to each (full recipes to come later!)
-Stuffing (dressing, whatever you call it) Now this one I didn’t clean up completely, it’s still a carb heavy dish, but what can I say, the stuff is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal! Particularly how my mom cooked it, and how I cook it now. We always had a sausage dressing with onions and celery mixed in (so pork sausage, cubed stuffing, celery, onion, and chicken broth). For this recipe we switched out pork sausage for some fresh mild turkey sausage from our local farmers market. So good!
-Mashed Cauliflower – Because we were already having stuffing and sweet potatoes, I didn’t want to add another potato dish into the mix. Instead, I switched potatoes for cauliflower and made garlic mashed cauliflower. If you haven’t tried it, just wait for the recipe and make your own. SO good, and you get a serving of veggies!
-Garlic Green Beans – Traditionally I always had green bean casserole, which is very tasty indeed. But for our Thanksgiving meal I didn’t want to have to make and bake that, and it’s typically a heavier dish so I opted to cook fresh green beans with fresh sautéed garlic, seasoned with some spices. Very tasty!
-Sweet Potato Casserole – This dish isn’t something I had growing up, but Zach loves it! Usually it’s topped with corn flakes and marshmellows, but I wanted to lighten it up so I created my own topping with some “candied” nuts and coconut! Turned out pretty good, and was hubby approved!
As you can see, we did not go hungry on our Thanksgiving meal. We will be having leftovers for a while! But I don’t mind. That’s half the fun of Thanksgiving dinner, right?? My point is you can still enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. Pick the things you truly love and enjoy, and then find creative swaps for the rest!
Stay tuned for my mashed cauliflower and sweet potato casserole recipe later this week, and be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with recipes and tips!
My question for you is…what is YOUR favorite Thanksgiving dish?