Friday, November 28, 2008

Foodie Friday: A "Green" Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to attempt a "greener" event. I'd use more local and organic products. We also decided to scale back the dinner a bit. We'd have a turkey breast instead of a whole bird, two desserts instead of four, and each person chose one side to go with the bird.

Buzz, of course, selected cornbread dressing.
I wanted green beans.
Spark chose rolls.
Lily got macaroni (she loves noodles). (I added a generous amount of pureed carrots and sweet potatoes to the macaroni and cheese to make it a healthier dish for all of us, but also to add the traditional sweet potatoes to the menu!)

I also made some gravy from scratch, using the turkey drippings in the pan and a recipe from Real Simple as a guide.

I made a batch of brownies the night before, using The Sneaky Chef's quick fix for boxed brownies. Our other dessert was a pecan pie from Tootie.

So, here's the breakdown of our menu and how "green" or local it was:

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Free-Range Turkey Breast
Cornbread Dressing, made with almost 100% organic ingredients
Macaroni and Cheese, enhanced with locally grown sweet potatoes and carrots
Green Beans, packaged but prepared in our city
Yeast Rolls, made by a company in Alabama where Buzz and I are from
Brownies, enhanced with organic spinach and blueberries
Tootie Pecan Pie, a company that uses handpicked Texas pecans

At first, we were a bit nervous about changing the dressing, but Buzz said that yesterday's dressing is some of the best he's eaten, so here's the recipe:

Free-Range Dressing
1 whole chicken (preferably free-range), cut up
double batch of cornbread (made with as many organic, whole grain ingredients as possible)
1 medium organic onion, diced
organic dried sage (2-4 tablespoons, to taste)
sea salt
organic black pepper
milk (optional)

Put the chicken in a large pot. Cover with water. Boil the chicken until it's done.
When the chicken is done, remove the pieces with tongs.
Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the chicken broth into the bowl. The strainer will catch any little pieces of bone that might have boiled off the chicken.
Tear the chicken meat from the bones of all the pieces.

Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl.
Add the diced onion.
Add the pieces of chicken.
Pour in all of the chicken broth.
Add about 1-2 tablespoons of the dried sage. Add some salt and pepper.
Stir ingredients together. If the dressing seems a little dry, add milk until it's nice and moist. During baking, it will dry out some, so don't skimp too much.
Taste. Add more sage, salt, and/or pepper, if desired. Repeat until it tastes just like you like it.

This recipe makes enough for one 9x13 pan and one 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Fill both pans with dressing, cover with foil, and cook for about an hour.

Remove foil and cook for another 30-45 minutes or until top is golden.

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