What Meals I Made for the Week of Thanksgiving
After time off due to my masters taking over my life the last two months, I have decided to come back and show off sweet recipes that are amazing for prepping and making a ton of leftovers for the freezer (because who else has several Thanksgiving and Christmas parties that they have to make a meal for? No more loads of cooking with this awesomeness).
I still would love to hear about awesome vegan or vegetarian dishes that you would recommend for me in the upcoming weeks since I am officially making a come back! (Finally I have more time on my hands…for at least a couple of months ;))
I hope you enjoy these dishes. One is exotic but I promise delicious. Another…MAKES SO MUCH :D. I love cooking for the holidays because I devote my time to do everything homemade and from my Nanny or Mamaw’s recipes. I love home-cooked meals in remembrance of my favorite ladies in my life. I also love traditions. Breakfast with my Nanny on Thanksgiving is going strong for the second time. Also spending time with my family and my husband’s family. Doesn’t matter the meal, as long as we are together, right?
I had to make three different things since I don’t eat meat and everyone in my husband’s family are meat-eaters (at least from what I can tell). I had to improvise on a protein, dressing and gravy. Look for these recipes in the beginning! Then go through the week that I lead to eating a huge meal Thanksgiving day! Prep yourself for prepping amazing meals ahead that are also great for Christmas!! 😉
Also, please subscribe if you haven’t!! You only get updates on when I post! Usually it is weekly. Or bi-weekly depending on my weeks.
Now, what you’ve been waiting for: a look into the week!
Breakfast (M, W): homemade granola bars
Breakfast (Sun, T, Th): cereal with banana and raisins
Morning Snack (M, W): banana; no snack Sun, T, Th
Lunch (M, W, F): butternut squash-cauliflower mash buddha-style bowl with homemade naan
Afternoon Snack (everyday): apple and peanut butter
Dinner (M, W, F):slow cooker chicken or quinoa white chili with salsa, half an avocado and burrito-size tortilla made into chips
Protein: lentil loaf
Sides: Mamaw’s dressing with mushroom gravy
Now the recipes for these amazing food fixin’s!
The first meal was simply getting a bowl and milk to go with it….
Heritage Flakes with Banana and Raisins
I love Heritage Flakes. They have a sweetness that is simple and not overbearing. I am not a fan of sugar in my cereal unless it is from fruit (fresh or dried). My husband and I added cashews, pecans, walnuts and a little cinnamon to our cereal to add a boost to the usual boring cereal. It turned out awesome! I highly recommend it. Add some almond milk and you are good to go!
This next meal I made on Sunday to be ready Monday…
Homemade granola bars are much better than store-bought brand if you ask me! I love these granola bars. They are simple and I have made them so many times that I have created them as my own. They are easy to add things like seeds, different nut butters, dried fruit and spices depending on what you are feeling that day.
I added pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and dates to mine. They are out-of-this-world good. These are my go-to bars if I know I have a busy week ahead or I am just feeling lazy about prepping a lot of meals for the week.
Servings: 9 thick bars (in 8X8 dish) or if snack, 12-14 bars; Serving Size: one bar
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes then overnight for letting them set, depending on how long it takes to heat up the pan and chop the dates
Cook Time: 3 minutes
-3 cups of oats
-1 cup of coconut oil
-1 cup of almond butter or peanut butter (I use almond butter a lot for this recipe but have also used sunflower seed butter and have gotten great results!)
-12-14 dates, pitted and chopped
-1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
-1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
-1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon
- Heat the coconut oil, nut butter of choice, dates, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Once the coconut oil and nut butter are melted, turn the heat off.
- Add cinnamon and stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Add the oats and coat the oats to where they are covered.
- Grease a 8X8 baking dish with coconut oil (or you can use a 9X13).
- Pour the ingredients in the greased baking dish.
- Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight
They are best left in the refrigerator since they can melt into a gooey bar. They last over 2 weeks! So you can simply eat one everyday (which trust me, you will want to! ) They are also great for a pre-long run or afternoon snack!
This meal is simple and can be made the day before or an hour before you want to eat it…
Buddha Bowl–Butternut Squash style
I like creating new and different buddha bowls since they are easy to add whatever ingredients you want as well as easy to prep.
I simply decide what vegetables sound good to me to roast for the bowl and if I want cauliflower rice or brown rice.
I decided to make cauliflower rice because it is lower carb and since Thanksgiving was this week, its good to prep yourself healthily for a meal to come!
I processed the cauliflower (one head) in my food processor until rice-like. It usually takes less than 2 minutes to get it to be this texture. I simply put it in a saucepan with the lid on and heat it on low for about 10 minutes.
I roasted my veggies of choice, which one was butternut squash. I did not intend to have my butternut squash super soft. After I roasted the butternut squash, it ended up mashing with the cauliflower as I stirred it. Thus, a butternut squash and cauliflower mash was formed! It actually tasted awesome!
Here is the recipe for this butternut squash-cauliflower mash roasted veggie buddha bowl:
Servings: 8; Serving Size: About 1 1/2 cup of the mixture on top of one naan bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes
-One head of cauliflower
-One large butternut squash (mine ended up being about 2.5 lbs–it was the only one I could find at the grocery store at the time…you do not need to go this big)
-1/2-1 lb of brussel sprouts, halved
-1 large red bell pepper, roasted, skin peeled and chopped
-1/4 lb of carrots, chopped/sliced to size desired
-One bunch of kale
-Salt and pepper to taste
-One tablespoon of hummus for serving
- Peel the butternut squash, take out the seeds and chop into bite-sized pieces. Put in a large greased pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Chop the brussel sprouts into halve-sized pieces and slice the carrots and place on a separate greased pan. Add salt and pepper
- Half and de-seed the bell pepper and place on a smaller greased pan, skin side up.
- Roast at 400 for 25 minutes. If the bell pepper doesn’t seem to blacken fast, take the other veggies out and put the oven on broil. Broil the bell pepper for 5 minutes.
- While the veggies are roasting, process the cauliflower into rice and put in a saucepan; steam with lid on for 10 minutes.
- Add the kale to the saucepan once the cauliflower is done and let it steam for about 3 minutes. Stir to combine.
- Add the butternut squash to the cauliflower and mash it into a mashed-potatoes consistency.
- Add the rest of the veggies and stir to combine.
- Top with a tablespoon of hummus.
I ate this as this recipe states or I made some naan bread to give it a little more carb.
The naan bread recipe is easy and takes about 20 minutes to make 6 servings if you can only prepare it one at a time like I had to.
All you need:
-2 cups of buckwheat flour
-2 cups of milk of choice (I used 2% reduced fat but you could use almond milk/soy milk or even water)
Mix the ingredients. The mixture will be sticky.
Pour about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the skillet that is heated with one tablespoon of butter (I used earth balance) or you can use olive oil/avocado oil.
Let it cook on one side for 5 minutes until the top bubbles like pancakes.
Flip the dough and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until brown on both sides.
It keeps in the fridge for the whole week!
If you don’t want the hassle of making naan bread, you can simply use pita bread.
This was a freezer meal for me but can be made the morning of the evening you want to have it…
White Quinoa Chili or White Chicken Chili
This ended up being a freezer meal for us because I made it about two weeks ago. It makes a ton and is simply dumped in crockpots and cooks until dinner time. So good.
I made the white chicken chili for my husband and the quinoa chili for me. However, the quinoa chili made a ton that I added about 3 spoonfuls of it to my husband’s chicken chili for a thicker consistency each serving.
We ate this chili with tortilla chips (either homemade by just putting a burrito sized tortilla in the oven
You can find the recipe for the white chicken chili here.
You can find the recipe for the white quinoa chili here.
We topped it with avocado and salsa.
For Thanksgiving (and Christmas or any occasion really…)
Mamaw’s Homemade Southern Dressing
My Mamaw was such a good cook and living in Arkansas, the southern-flare was always a treat in her dishes. I love how simple her meals were. I love making dishes in memory of her. This is a yearly dish that I love making for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner.
Instead of chicken and chicken broth, I used vegetable broth and omitted the chicken. It is delicious with the chicken as well.
Here is the recipe card I made with everything for this recipe:
I also made my Nanny’s homemade cornbread recipe instead of using boxes of Jiffy. I simply double my Nanny’s recipe and it made the perfect amount (you just want to use circle pans (medium-sized and two of them). Do not make the cornbread deep! You want it thin to cook faster.
You have to double the recipe below for the dressing:
Nanny’s Southern Fresh Cornbread
Makes about 8-10 servings
-¼ tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 cup Buttermilk (I use regular milk with one tablespoon of lemon; and almond milk works too if needing a dairy-free option)
-2 medium eggs (I also will sub eggs with my flax eggs*)
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup flour
-1 tablespoon sugar (I use about 1 tsp honey)
-1 1/3 cup cornmeal
-1 tsp salt
-3 tsp baking powder
(*flax egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2 ½ tablespoons of water.
Let sit for five minutes until thick like an egg).
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl. I add my honey in this option since it is a liquid.
- Grease a muffin pan or cast iron skillet with oil.
- Pour mixed ingredients into the muffin pan or hot skillet
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden.
You have to dry out six slices of bread and the cornbread overnight before prepping it. I usually break the cornbread into big pieces and leave the slices of bread whole. (I used Farrell Family whole-wheat bread–a local bakery in Tulsa). Below is a picture of the next morning when I tore the bread into bite-sized pieces.
I also boil the onion and celery in 4 cups of vegetable broth then pour into the bread mixture once the onion and celery are cooked through. I had to use about 10 cups of vegetable broth total.
If you don’t have a bag of sage (like I have) instead of the McCormick’s version, it is about 1/4 of a cup total used.
I also do salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s a before and after picture of the finished product:
This recipe makes a lot. I ended up freezing about 6 cups full in Glad-ware.
It’s the perfect amount since I can freeze it to be ready for Christmas!
The recipe I made came from here.
I doubled it because I wanted leftovers. It ended up making 10 servings! So definitely froze 9 of those servings since I only needed one for Thanksgiving.
It may look weird and almost like a fruit-cake look. But I flat-out promise you, you will love it! Top with gravy and even eat it with mashed potatoes. It was way better than I expected. I’m glad I made plenty to freeze and enjoy the month of December.
Here is a before and after picture of the lentil loaf:
This turned out awesome. Great flavor. I would recommend adding more liquid if you choose to do what I did and use a hand-blender to make it not a chunky gravy. I’m a texture-person and hate things with crazy amounts of texture. It also freezes better if you do this because mushrooms tend to get a rubbery texture after freezing and defrosting.
Get it here.
Well that was my holiday week! Sorry I have not been around for almost two months! Having a hectic life tends to do this to you. But I love sharing my recipes with y’all and would love input/recommendations for weeks to come!
Let me know your creations in the comments below!!
Happy Prepping and Cooking!