Holiday Cooking   

Hosting a holiday dinner is work. No matter if you’re cooking and preparing for ten or thirty, the work is the same. Oh sure, there might be more potatoes to peel or places to set at the table, but in general, preparing a holiday sit down dinner is at least three days of full-time work that begins with planning the menu days in advance.

Walking into my Oklahoma kitchen I get a euphoric feeling when creative cooking is involved. Maybe it’s because for over 25 years my former kitchen was as big as a postage stamp. My creativity for cooking while living at the beach was practically nil. The minimal counter-top workspace was almost non-existent and there was no room for an island to plop bags of groceries on or act as a cooling station for items coming out of the oven. In fact, if there was another person in that very small, confined area, the space would feel crowded.

The neat thing about my Oklahoma country kitchen in our humble home is that there are loads of cabinets, yards of counter space and an island that gets lots of activity from food preparation to a great place to gather with friends and family around it. 

Entertaining these days begins with thoughtful consideration of providing nourishing foods that aren’t heart attack provoking but healthy and tasty.

Yes, for Thanksgiving, turkey is on the menu. For those of you who have shied away from cooking a turkey, using a cooking bag takes all the guess work out of the “star” of the dinner.

The rest of the menu can easily be calorie ladened but if you’re thinking that your waistline is not going to be inflated this year, here are a few suggestions to enjoy a tasty meal with less calories and sugar:

Concentrate on preparing or eating green veggies that are not smothered in creamy sauces. Green beans, collard greens and Brussels sprouts are delicious sides to turkey.

Sweet potatoes are mandatory. Skip the marshmallows. Use spices, a dash of brown sugar and vanilla.

Cranberries – fresh, cooked in a little water, brown sugar and maybe a splash of bourbon.

Tossed green salad with lemon vinegarette dressing using stevia rather than sugar or honey.

Mashed potatoes and gravy. I used to rely on others to make the gravy but now that I’ve learned the secret to easy, super tasty gravy, this rich concoction no longer intimidates me. Basically, melt butter in a medium saucepan, add flour, chicken broth, salt and pepper…gravy! Here’s a link for exact measurements:  5-Minute Easy Gravy Recipe – Good Cheap Eats

Desserts are prevalent at most Thanksgiving dinners. Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream? Or pound cake with berries on the side? Whatever your choice, enjoy!