So we’ve found ourselves at that wonderful holiday, one of my favorites for sure. No gifts to worry about. Just run the oldest footrace in the country, cook with my family and eat, eat, eat, eat. Oh yes, and be thankful. Mother Earth will thank you kindly if you can incorporate some of these ideas in your Turkey Day this year….
1) Buy local
It’s the harvest festival, everyone! Enjoy the bounty before it’s gone!
2) Treat the Bird Kindly
Sadly, most turkeys are so over-bred that they can hardly walk because their breast meat is so large… Consider a non-commercially raised turkey. Here are some phrases on the package decoded:
- Free range- not confined to cages, access to the outside.
- Organic- fed with grains grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- Cage-free – not confined to cages, but do not necessarily have ready access to outside.
- Pastured – allowed to wander the pasture, eating grass, legumes, and insects.
- Day range pastured -free to range outside in a pasture during the day, and are housed inside at night.
3) Meatless dinner
This might seem like a crime against the holiday, but if you have willing dinner guests, consider a meatless meal. These two dishes pack a lot of protein, have seasonal produce in them, and are easy to make.
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili Who doesn’t love a good chili?
- Three Sisters Stew This is a traditional Native American dish!
4) Prepare for the Crowd
It’s hard to know just how much dark meat Uncle Pete will shovel down this year but you can make a good guesstimate of how much to prepare for with these per person portion suggestions:
- Turkey- 1 pound
- Stuffing- ¼ pound
- Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound
- Green beans- ¼ pound
- Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons
- Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie
5) Plan For Leftovers
Never ever throw food away!! If you’re serving guests, plan ahead and have an arsenal of “to go” containers ready to fill after dinner. Use empty containers from food you’ve bought (hummus, dips, cottage cheese, etc) so you won’t be sacrificing your “good tupperware” and guests won’t have to return the containers. A really well prepared host/hostess could send their guests home with some printed recipes for leftovers, like these:
- Curried Turkey Casserole Uses turkey, broccoli, stale rolls
- Turkey Croquettes Uses leftover turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce
- Leftover Shepard’s Pie Uses leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce and gravy
- Turkey and Stuffing Soup Uses leftover turkey, vegetables and stuffing
- Mashed Potato Cakes Uses leftover mashed potatoes and other flavors of your choosing! (cheese, herbs, sauces)
Happy Thanksgiving to All!!
Image credit: Treefort Creative