Monday, November 24, 2014

Heart and Pancreas Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

This will be my fifth year hosting Thanksgiving and also my fifth year preparing a totally low-fat, vegan meal, with the exception of the turkey. I started out making all the side dishes super low-fat because of my dad's heart disease. He's switched to the diet recommended by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and it has helped him stay healthy and stay off meds that have all kinds of side effects. Now I've been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and also have to avoid fatty foods, so I'm glad I've had plenty of practice cooking this way even for holidays. For anyone else out there trying to eat this way for whatever reasons, I thought I'd share my Thanksgiving recipes;

Marf's Thanksgiving Recipes (in addition to the turkey)

Cranberry Relish

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 (12-oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. For best results, refrigerate until chilled before eating.

Finely grate 2 teaspoons zest from orange. Cut away and discard peel and pith from orange, then cut sections free from membranes.

Pulse cranberries with zest, orange sections, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely chopped. Chill, covered, at least 2 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Green Bean Casserole

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, then steamed for 10 minutes.

10 ounces mushrooms, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, minced, sauteed in broth
generous pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 cup soy milk

Enough seasoned breadcrumbs to lightly cover the top

Assemble in a 9" x 13" pan and then Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Chop and boil 10 redskin potatoes (rinse well, but keep the skin on).

Mash the potatoes, adding rice milk (do not use soy milk!) until you get the desired consistency.

Season with salt, pepper. (I also add a half teaspoon of dillweed.)

Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 3 cups  veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch   
  • 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the mushrooms and onion together in a food processor.

Boil the simmer all the other ingredients stirring with a whisk, then stir in the mushroom-onion mixture.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Peel and chop 8-10 sweet potatoes and boil until soft.

Mash with: 
1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping: ½ cup pecans, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour

Bake 45 minutes at 350 F.

Apple Sausage Stuffing

1 package fresh, crumbled multigrain bread
About 8 oz sausage or fake sausage
2 green apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
½ cup walnuts
2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
3 cups veggie stock
1 onion, chopped
salt, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano

1.) Add all dry ingredients to the crumbled bread.
2.) Saute the onion and sausage in some of the broth
3.) add the rest of the ingredients to the crumbled bread.
4. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 1/2 cups soymilk
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 28 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. A deep dish is recommended because this pie will rise a lot during cooking but will fall back down as it cools.
  2. Put the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend well. Add the pumpkin, and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Pour into a pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn’t be uncooked.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spinach and Quinoa Bars

1.) Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa. (Simmer, covered in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes.) 

2.) Defrost 18 oz frozen spinach. 

3.) Mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons of warm water. 

3.) Mix the quinoa, spinach, and flaxseed mixture together with: 

  • 1.5 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Four drops of liquid smoke (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

4,) Spray a 9" x 12" pan with canola oil, pour it in, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries

Mix together: 

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 large, tart apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt

Bake in a 9" x 12" pan for 40 min at 400 degrees. 

Spinach Potato Balls

I found these healthy and delicious dinosaur-shaped, nugget-sized vegetable snacks in the frozen food aisle at Aldi. They were from Aldi's SimplyNature line of foods, called Spinach Bites and Broccoli Bites. Pop 'em in the oven for a few minutes, and a great side dish full of veggies and very low in fat that my kids loved. Alas, they were there one time, and I haven't been able to find them again, even after checking out three different Aldis and searching online. 

So I developed my own, similar treat. They aren't dinosaur-shaped, but little bite-sized balls of food are still pretty cute and particularly appealing to kids. 

16 oz frozen spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water 
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2.) Peel, chop, and boil the potatoes until soft, then strain and mash them. 

3.) Saute 16 oz of frozen spinach and 4 cloves of minced garlic in the soy sauce. 

4.) Mix together the potatoes, spinach, and other ingredients. 

5.) Form the mixture into 2-3" balls and bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.