I need some help y'all. Thanksgiving dinner help. It needs to be amazing, but not day-of time intensive. Two vegetarians, two paleo, one diab
I'm running a half-marathon in the morning, and hosting Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon-to my boyfriend's parents, mine, my children, and some friends and neighbors. I am the only cook at my house, though everyone is bringing something. I need make-ahead ideas, what to tell people to bring, and whatever else you can think of to help me stop freaking out (already). Thank
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So day-of is almost NO cooking, just warming up mostly and setting out. I'll have all my serving dishes labeled, linens pressed and folded, dishes washed, and all that jazz well in advance too.
My paleo and veggie guests are cool to cheat since it's a holiday. Thank you all so much for your help!
I was talking with a sibling who is a superb cook and entertains often about this as a hosting issue. Just to add another solution, he reminded me that as kids, we were expert at camouflaging whatever we didn't like under the potato skins or mashed potatoes. :-)
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But the context here is people who are arriving at your own domicile with silly demands. What they eat or not eat at home I could hardly care less about. Am I being judgemental? Yes, in a way I am, but not based on religion or legitimate health issues. Those people are ALWAYS welcome in my house. But shoving a fad in my face is too much.
None of my restricted-diet (or restrictive, as the case may be) are all that strict, and the diabetic is one of the veggies. No one is self-righteous about their dietary choices, I just know these things about them and want to try to accommodate them in some small way.
I am not going to kill myself over pleasing everyone (I'm saving that for the race), but I do want my guests to feel welcome at my table, for them to know that my thoughts included them them when I planned our feast and that my heart went into making a family holiday away from their own families special for them.
My family farms, and I am a baker; we eat whole nutritious foods prepared deliciously. Our food, our fuel, should excite us, not just to want to eat more, but to want to eat more of what makes us feel good and strong.
So though I love cooking with bacon grease, I will use butter and olive oil instead for one day. And I will make a nut flour pie crust, even though it'll probably fall apart, and use my most beautiful pumpkin for the filling. I bet it will taste great. And if most goes according to plan, at the end of the day, everyone will feel full, well-fed, and glad they came.
- Vegan Pumpkin or squash soup. This can be made the day before or even several days and frozen. You can do a lovely soup that uses coconut milk instead of cream: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001525.html
- Sweet potatoes are also paleo and diabetic approved, so long as the recipe includes no sugar or dairy. There are lots of great vegan sweet potato recipes that use almond milk or coconut milk in place of dairy. (can be made the day before)
Add a big salad and one additional vegetable (even simple green beans with toasted almond slices) and your paleo-diabetics are all set. If I were you, I'd make the paleo folk bring their own dessert rather than going to the trouble to figure out how to accommodate them.
For the diabetic, dessert depends on how strict he or she is. My mother is a diabetic but will eat a small slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I find that if a recipe has lots of spices, I can cut the sugar by almost half with no complaints: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/spicekissed-pumpkin-pie-recipe.html
If that doesn't work, try looking for "low carb pumpkin flan"
After you figure out your paleo menu, you can add on a few grain dishes for the vegetarians and everyone else....maybe one pot kale and quinoa pilaf http://food52.com/recipes/2434-one-pot-kale-and-quinoa-pilaf,
and a rich, vegetarian stuffing: http://food52.com/recipes/1452-what-we-call-stuffing-challah-mushroom-and-celery
If I were you, I'd plan to make the turkey, the soup, the mashed sweet potatoes, maybe a pie or two because everything except the turkey can be prepared in advance. Then you can assign people to bring salads, vegetarian side dishes, and additional desserts according to whatever your tradition is.