Healthy Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Tips n’ Recipes

Tired of the heavy sides and mundane main dishes at your Thanksgiving table? Well, I’ve got some fun, fresh n’ healthy tips to keep your dining experience as pleasureful and worry-free as possible…

What scares you most about enjoying Thanksgiving gluten-free? Is it the contamination? The stuffing? The lack of taste?

We’ve all got our ‘scaredy pants’ on during the holidays…worries there may be a trace of gluten or soy or dairy in a beverage, dessert, main dish, side or condiment…

No matter what worries you the most, be sure to always check the ingredients on the labels and stick to ‘fresh, clean’ foods made from Mother Earth…

Here are a few tips n’ swaps for you to test out on your Turkey table…

Enjoy!

Steer Clear of Canned Gravy

  • Instead use the drippings from your freshly roasted turkey.  I don’t like to take a chance on ‘processed’ foods, when you can simply get creative and combine your fresh drippings with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of oregano and black pepper.

Swap Out the Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • Who doesn’t love pure, organic canned pumpkin? I know I sure do…use pure pumpkin instead of the pie filling to nix the added sugars.. the real stuff is best when you use it with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice.  You won’t be sacrificing the flavor and you’ll reap the healthy vitamins from the pure pumpkin, too!

Jarred Cranberry Sauce

  • Create your very own chutney using fresh cranberries, apples, pears, stevia and ginger.  The taste will surely beat that of anything inside a jar…so, go ahead turn on that stove top and whip up your very own cranberry sauce or chutney to serve atop your turkey and roasted veggies.  You can even use this chutney to top your desserts, as well.

Heavy Whipped Topping

  • Instead, try whipping a mixture of Greek yogurt with gluten-free vanilla extract, stevia on medium-high speed with a mixer until stiff peeks form.  This will create a beautiful whipped topping without the additives or preservatives in bottles whipped toppings and processed heavy creams.

Boxed Mashed Potatoes

  • Break out the creativity at your farmer’s market or produce stand.  Try mashed beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips…I could go on forever…these natural root veggies add the perfect touch of sweetness without the starchy additives, sugars and preservatives.  Serve these mashed veggies with the above chutney and whipped topping for a special decadent treat.

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Here are a few Gluten-Free dishes you can easily serve up for your Turkey Table…

Chilled Cranberry Macadamia Crunch

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 large pears, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 12 dates, chopped
  • 3 large Honey crisp apples, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. freshly graded lime zest
  • Pinch of all-spice
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Topping: Greek plain yogurt
  • Topping: Ground flax seeds

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine cranberries, pears, dried cherries, dried apricots, basil, dates, apples and macadamia nuts; pulse until minced.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
  4. Serve chilled with a dollop of Greek plain yogurt and a sprinkle of ground flax seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Golden Stuffin’ Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, very finely mashed
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 12 pieces gluten-free bread, roughly chopped into 1/2 inch cube-like pieces
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup baby portabello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, cook avocado, sweet potatoes and vegetable broth; approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine gluten-free bread, raisins, mushrooms, rosemary, egg, vinegar, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper; gently toss to combine.  Add warm avocado mixture and mix well.
  5. Transfer mixture to prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven; set aside to cool before removing.
  7. Serve warm.
  8. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Cherry Chia Cornbread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, finely mashed
  • 2 cups grilled corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups rice milk
  • 1 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Optional Topping: Greek plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a food processor, pulse avocado and grilled corn for 15-20 seconds.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture into prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with fresh cranberry sauce and a dollop of Greek plain yogurt.
  7. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Juicy Agave n’ Basil Turkey Burgers

Just in time for Memorial Day, these juicy agave burgers are a sure crowd pleaser.  If you’re not a fan of ground turkey, feel free to substitute ground bison, chicken, tofu or beans for a unique twist on the classic American burger.  This recipe creates an incredibly tender burger from the agave nectar, which adds the perfect hint of sweetness pairs with fresh basil.  I always add vegetables to my burger to bulk up the patty and increase the fiber content, so toss in spinach as I did, or try chopped kale, collards or Swiss Chard, which taste amazing mixed into the burger, as well.

These burgers are incredibly beautiful to the eye as they’re finished off with a leaf of Rainbow Swiss Chard, tomatoes, daikon radish, avocado and my homemade ketchup.  Heaven? Yes, I thought so…

Happy Memorial Day.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • Gluten-Free buns
  • Toppings: Rainbow Swiss chard, sliced tomatoes, shaved daikon radish, avocado
  • Condiments of choice: Mustard, hummus, salsa, guacamole

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Using hands, mix well to incorporate all ingredients.
  2. Mold turkey mixture into patties depending on your desired thickness.
  3. Place on a hot grill; cook until turkey is completely cooked on both sides.
  4. Remove from grill; transfer to a gluten-free bun topped with a leaf of rainbow Swiss Chard, tomato slices, daikon radish, a slice of avocado and a squirt of my homemade ketchup.
  5. Round out the meal with a side of my crunchy apple and parsnip  fries.
  6. Enjoy!

In The News This Week…

Many Restaurants Addidng Gluten-Free Options to Menu

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Meatless Mondays, A Movement That Has Legs

Add Veggies to Your Breakfast

Fermented Soy Product Enters U.S.

Nestle Launches Pod Concept for Tea

Target Eyes More Groceries, Smaller Locations

No Evidence Organic Foods Benefit Health: Study

Five Tasty ‘5’ Ingredient Meals

5 Recipes, 5 Ingredients…It doesn’t get much easier than this…

Here are five fabulous recipes that I have created for those nights when there’s merely 5 ingredients in your pantry or fridge and you simply just can’t decide what to whip up for a tasty meal.  Not to fret, my bloggie pals, read on for five easy, delicious and healthy recipes that will surely leave your taste buds happy and your wallet too!

Stuffed Pesto Peppers


Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 2 cups beans
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed and chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. basil pesto

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook quinoa to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, remove and discard the tops, seeds and membranes of bell peppers.  Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upwards.
  4. In a bowl, mix quinoa, beans, chopped broccoli and basil pesto; mix well.  Spoon mixture into hollowed peppers.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  6. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Turkey Ball Spinach Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 16 oz. jar organic marinara sauce
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole grain penne
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Using hands, form small ‘balls’ with lean turkey to create turkey balls.
  2. In large pot, combine turkey balls, marinara sauce, and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, stir in penne and spinach, and simmer for 10 minutes, until tortellini and meatballs are hot and tender.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Orange Agave Chicken


Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. applesauce
  • 1/3 cup all-natural orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preparation:

  1. Prepare and preheat grill.
  2. In small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken breasts and stir to combine.
  3. Prepare grill with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Brush orange mixture on chicken and place on grill. Cook 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing frequently with marmalade mixture, until chicken is no longer pink.

Balsamic Shrimp Kabobs


Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 8 oz. pkg. button mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Prepare and preheat grill.
  2. On each of 8 metal kabobs, thread shrimp, pepper chunks, and whole mushrooms, allowing a bit of space in between each ingredient.
  3. Prepare grill with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Brush kabobs with balsamic vinegar and grill for 5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked, turning once and brushing once with balsamic vinegar.

Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa


Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 mangos, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 swordfish steaks
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. chili powder

Preparation:

  1. In a small glass bowl, combine mangos, salsa, and lime juice and chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, prepare and heat grill.
  2. Spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle steaks with sea salt and chili powder; place fish on grill.
  3. Cover grill and cook for 10-12 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with fork, turning once.
  4. To serve, top steaks with salsa.

Gluten-Free Sherried Turkey Pretzel Balls

Last night, I picked up ground turkey from the gourmet market on my corner and I couldn’t resist creating a tasty dinner with it…I debated a turkey loaf, turkey mini loaves and turkey balls.  Well, the balls won out and they were amazing.

I crushed a handful of gluten-free pretzels for a unique texture to these balls…I also opted for a touch of sweetness by incorporating the sherry, agave nectar, stevia and dried cranberries.  These turkey balls were a perfect dinner served atop a bed of sauteed vegetables and Greek yogurt dipping sauce.  The best part?  I made just enough to bring the leftovers for my lunch tomorrow…

My philosophy: Cook once, eat twice…can’t beat it!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 Eggland’s Best egg white
  • 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free pretzel crumbs, mashed
  • 1/4 tsp. stevia
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Organic tomato sauce
  • Nutritional yeast

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients.  Mix well using hands.
  • Form into ball shapes and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake fin the oven or 30 minutes or until browned and completely cooked.
  • Serve with organic tomato sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
  • Enjoy!

And, don’t forget to check out my new StyleCaster article:

5 Ingredient Healthy Meals

and

My newest update on my Press Page:

Recipes for Rudi’s Organic

Superbowl Casserole

Ready for the big game on Sunday?

Here’s a quick and easy recipe that will have your Superbowl fans begging for more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup organic tomato sauce
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 cup SoyaKaas Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup SoyaKaas Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Jalapeno Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/6 tsp. ground sage
  • Dash of sea salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded chicken or turkey
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups organic corn or rice chips
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Toppings: Greek plain yogurt, guacamole, organic salsa

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine vegetable broth, tomato sauce, tomato slices, onions, scallions, olives, spices, agave nectar, sea salt and pepper to form a sauce.  Set aside.
  • Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Layer half of the chicken, then beans, then half of the sauce, Cheddar Cheese, Jalapeno Cheese and tortilla chips.
  • Repeat layers, ending with cheese on the top.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cooked.
  • Garnish with cilantro and top with a dollop of each: Greek plain yogurt, guacamole and salsa.
  • Enjoy the Game!

A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

With a little experimentation and creativity, you can effortlessly tweak your Thanksgiving menu into a gluten-free holiday spectacular.


Appetizers

Make your appetizers simple by offering a variety of cheese, spreads and rice crackers.  Quinoa stuffed mushrooms are a great alternative to wheat- stuffed mushrooms and taste just as delicious; your guests will never know the difference.  Arrange a platter of nuts, seeds and dried fruits for nibbling throughout the evening; your guests will take pleasure in snacking while savoring wine and socializing.

Side Dishes

Cranberry sauce is an easy way to create a fresh, seasonal fruit on your dinner table.  Furthermore, everyone loves mashed potatoes; make a large batch of mashed sweet potatoes; add fresh apples and freshly squeezed orange juice in place of half the butter.  Not a sweet potato fan? Opt for mashed yams and top with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Roasted carrots and parsnips are a great way to incorporate tender, root vegetables onto your turkey table; simply chop into fry-like shapes, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of nutmeg, sea salt and pepper; spread on a baking sheet to roast in the oven until crispy.  Roasted cauliflower is a tasty side dish alternative; toss chopped cauliflower florets in a mixture of turmeric, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and olive oil before baking.   Green vegetables such as broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, green beans and asparagus pair nicely sautéed with olive oil and slivered almonds.  If you and your guests are more inclined to dine on soup before your main meal, create a warm butternut squash or apple pumpkin soup with gluten-free croutons and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Main Meal

When selecting a bird, be sure to carefully check the label to ensure the turkey does not contain hormones, pesticides or additives.  Compliment your turkey with a unique twist to awe your guests and create a mouthwatering feast.  Gluten free stuffing is an easy alternative to bread stuffing using apple cider vinegar, brown rice, quinoa, dried cranberries, ground nuts and herbs.  Create a sweet herb rub by adding a touch of honey or agave nectar to fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper, creating a sweet and savory turkey topping.  Create gluten-free gravy combining cornstarch or arrowroot with water and chicken stock.

Desserts

Fear not, there are countless ways to prepare healthy, gluten-free desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth on a crisp autumn evening.  Create a fresh fruit crumble using your favorite harvest fruits and gluten-free flour along with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg; top it off with Greek yogurt and fresh mint. Pumpkin pie is a staple at the Thanksgiving table; create the crumbs for this holiday must-have with crumbled gluten-free crackers, cereal or puffed rice. Pumpkin muffins are always a hit; try using tapioca starch and canned pumpkin to create a moist consistency.  Zucchini quinoa cake is another unique dessert; top this tasty treat with unsweetened coconut and powdered sugar.  Each of these gluten-free treats can be topped off with fresh cranberries and figs, a sprig of fresh herbs, a dash of cinnamon and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

 

And take a looksy at the POM Wonderful homepage where I’m featured as the POM Wonderful Blogger with my tasty Thanksgiving POM Recipes.

Scrumptious Sage Stuffing

You simply cannot go wrong with a gluten-free bread stuffing, especially when its enlivened with fresh sage, white balsamic vinegar and dried cherries. Chunks of bread, golden and crisp on top, soak up turkey stock and buttery juices from the sautéed onions and celery.


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripened avocado, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups gluten-free bread, chopped into cubes
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • Sea salt and crushed white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Over medium heat, cook onion and celery in a large skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper; stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread cubes, dried cherries, white balsamic vinegar, mashed avocado, celery leaves, and sage.  Set aside to cool for five minutes.
  • Whisk together vegetable broth and egg in a large bowl.  Gently toss with bread mixture until absorbed.
  • Transfer to baking dish and bake, covered with foil for about 45 minutes.

In The News This Week…

Sodium Reduction- A Top Trend

Relaxation Snacks- A Trend for 2010

Whole Foods Endorses Healthy Lunches