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Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

menu spread

This year’s Thanksgiving festivities might look a bit different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and you’re probably trying to figure out what to make on Thanksgiving. Maybe instead of cooking in large meals for a packed house, you’re only with your immediate family or close friends that you’ve been cooped up with for the past few months. Well, it’s still a season for gratitude, and we can still enjoy some easy Thanksgiving recipes that bring some comfort and satisfy those appetites that we look forward to on this holiday. So here are some main dish options and side dishes for thanksgiving that you can whip up real quick and enjoy in the next couple of days.

Roasted Chicken with Green Bean Casserole

Instead of roasting the traditional turkey bird, you can still enjoy a juicy roasted chicken. The leftovers can also make for amazing chicken salad the days after. Chicken goes great with any side, but for this holiday, pair it with a Thanksgiving casserole like green beans. Green bean casserole is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish.

Chicken Fried Chicken With Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

We always think of comfort food recipes for Thanksgiving, so there’s no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving dinners than biting into a juicy, crispy piece of fried chicken. But if you’re worried about all the calories of a classic deep fat fried chicken, then try this lighter version of Chicken Pan-Fried Chicken. Pair it with traditional thanksgiving sides such as easy mashed potatoes and gravy.

One-Pot Chicken Spaghetti

Who loves a good bowl of spaghetti? I know I do! So here’s a twist on the classic spaghetti using chicken breasts instead of ground meat. And the good news is that you can make it all in one pot. So yay for fewer dishes! So if you’re looking for Thanksgiving dishes that are quick and hearty, try out this simple One-Pot Chicken Spaghetti.

Pan-Fried Eggplant with Meat Sauce

If you love lasagna but could do without the carbs since you’re probably already grazing through desserts and other carb-loaded sides for Thanksgiving, then this is a great alternative that still brings all the great marinara flavors and cheesy goodness that we all enjoy in lasagna.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Sausage

You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal if there aren’t sweet potatoes on the menu. This recipe is such a simple and easy to prep ahead meal. You’ve got the sweetness of the sweet potatoes combined with the savory and spiciness of the sausage. These are freezer friendly and great for making them in advance if you don’t want to spend all day cooking Thanksgiving meals.

Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

For those that don’t want to deal with cooking with raw meat, don’t forget about pre-cooked frozen meat options. They taste just as good if you cooked them yourselves and they will cut your cook time in half. Try Aidell’s Chicken sausage meatballs and roast them in the oven with balsamic Brussel sprouts. This will allow you to get a good roast on the veggies and heat through the frozen meat options. Serve with your choice of grains such as barley, rice pilaf, orzo pasta, or low carb options such as cauliflower rice.

Balsamic Steak with Roasted Delicata Squash 

Here’s a Healthy thanksgiving recipe for beef lovers. Enjoy an easy sheet pan steak meal marinated with the tangy and savory flavors of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Pair it with the seasonal delicata squash vegetable. 

Turkey and Vegetable Couscous

If you must have turkey on Thanksgiving, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking a large turkey, then use ground turkey. This easy skillet dish combines healthy and seasonal vegetables such as kale and butternut squash with yummy golden brown ground turkey.

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Keto Food List

chicken stuffed peppers

Starting the keto diet can be a little overwhelming, but no worries, we’ve put together some basic information about the Keto diet and listed out some keto-friendly ingredients to help you take out the guesswork of grocery shopping.

What foods to avoid on a Keto diet?

Since this is a high-fat diet that limits carbs, here are some foods that the Keto Diet Limits:

  • Grains and starches such as rice, pasta, and cereal
  • Most fruit: While fruit is healthy and offers many vitamins and minerals, the diet restricts most fruits due to the number of carbs. 
  • Beans and legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas
  • Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips
  • Sugary foods such as fruit juice, pastries, cakes, ice cream, and soda

So as you can see, this may require saying goodbye to some pantry friendly items that you’re used to having at your fingertips. But before we start with what you should add to your shopping list, let’s learn a little bit about the Keto Diet and how it works.

What is the Keto diet?

The ketogenic (keto) diet is primarily a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. It requires drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. If done correctly, the reduction in carbs will put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Instead of the body burning carbohydrates as the primary source of energy, it resorts to burning fat for energy. It results in the body releasing ketones into the bloodstream.

How many carbs can I eat on the Keto diet?

Most of our cells in the body prefer to use blood sugar, which comes primarily from carbohydrates, as the main source of energy. In the absence of blood sugar circulating from food, we start to break down the stored fat in the molecules. This shift from using blood glucose to stored fat as a source of energy typically starts occurring over two to four days if eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, it is important to note that everyone’s body has individualized metabolic processes and may impact ketosis. 

The two most studied Keto diet is the Standard Ketogenic Diet which typically contains 5% carbs (which is generally about 20-50 grams per day), 20% protein, and 75% fat. High-Protein Ketogenic diet is similar but includes more protein with 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 75% fat.

What are some of the health benefits of the Keto diet?

Some studies claim that health benefits can include:

  • Weight loss without hunger
  • Reduction in blood sugar and Improved insulin sensitivity for those that are diabetic or prediabetic
  • Reduction in abdominal fat
  • Decrease in triglycerides

So now that you have learned what not to eat on a keto diet, here are some ingredients that you can stock up on when you’re following a keto diet.

chicken stir fry

What are foods you can eat on a Keto Diet?:

Protein:

  • red meat, pork, chicken, and turkey
  • Fatty fish: such as salmon, tuna, and halibut
  • Shellfish: crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels
  • Deli meat: ham, turkey, roast beef
  • Sausage, Turkey Bacon
  • Eggs

Dairy:

whole cheese, greek yogurt

Nuts and seeds:

almonds, walnuts, chia seeds

Healthy Oils:

olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil

Fruits:

Avocado, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries

Beverages:

Sweetened Coffee, tea, almond milk, coconut milk

Non-starchy vegetables:

  • most green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, all lettuce
  • cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower
  • tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, olives

Low carb pasta alternatives:

zucchini noodles, squash noodles, shirataki noodles

Alternative flours:

almond flour, coconut flour

Seasonings and herbs:

  • herbs such as cilantro, thyme, rosemary, spices such as garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon, and oregano
  • Condiments: such as lime and lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, buffalo sauce, sugar-free ketchup, ranch, pestos

Although the keto diet is focused on high fat, you’ll want to ensure that you incorporate healthy fats and a variety of vegetables that will provide maximum vitamins and minerals.

Here are some low carb/keto-friendly recipes:

What are the risks of the Keto Diet?

Although many claim that the Keto Diet has helped with weight loss and can provide other health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. There are also some side effects as somebody adapts to the diet. These symptoms can include:

  • Poor energy and mental function, sleep issues, nausea, and mood swings
  • It can also impact the water and mineral balance of the body
  • Some may lose muscle on the diet
  • Digestive disorders

This diet was also primarily used to manage seizures in children with epilepsy, but the research on its long-term effectiveness in treating obesity or diabetes is still limited. 

Although it could be an alternative to treating certain conditions and may result in a quick fix for weight loss and lowering blood sugars, it may not be the most sustainable diet for all.

Most diets like this is pretty much an all or nothing diet that can be restrictive and may omit a wide variety of other nutritious foods that can be beneficial for your overall health. In addition, if a person is not educated on heart-healthy sources of fat, they may consume an excessive amount of unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk for heart disease. 

There are also additional risks for those that are already taking diabetic medication that lowers sugars. They would need to work and consult with their medical practitioners to make adjustments to the medications. 

In addition, the diet is not recommended for those that have medical conditions involving the kidney, pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gall bladder as it could worsen their conditions. 

In general, the Keto Diet may have some benefits in weight loss and lowering blood sugar, however, it is always important to consult with nutritionists, doctors, and specialists to ensure that you are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet

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Cheap Dinner Ideas

quesadillas

Tasty dinners don’t need to be expensive to be delicious. Save money by choosing cheaper proteins like chicken, ground beef, tilapia and pair them with budget-friendly side dishes. All you need is the right cooking method with the right amount of seasonings, spices, and herbs to bring out the best flavors. Here are some cheap and easy dinner ideas that will save you time and money during your weeknight dinners.

1. We love anything stuffed in a tortilla. 

This easy baked salsa chicken only requires 3 ingredients. Chicken breast, salsa, and bell peppers. Place it in the oven to bake and let it do all the work. Shred the chicken and serve with your choice of tortillas. 

Quesadillas are pretty effortless. Add cheese, veggies, and protein in between two tortillas. Warm them on a griddle until the cheese is gooey and the tortilla is golden brown. Here is an easy shrimp quesadilla recipe that is relatively inexpensive and easy to make.

2. Casseroles are a great way to get the biggest bang for your buck with cheap ingredients. 

Use cheap protein such as ground beef and add ingredients such as beans and cheap veggies such as corn, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers to make them stretch. Serve them in a cornbread casserole dish or mix them in with the rice. 

3. There is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of pasta for dinner. 

This Chicken spaghetti and fajita beef pasta recipe are complete dinners in one pot using mostly pantry staple items perfect for a busy weeknight. 

4. Sheet pan dinners are famous for their convenience, but they are also good for how budget-friendly they can be. 

This cooking method also brings out great flavors through the roasting process. Using seafood as a protein option is a good option because it cooks fast. 

Take any kind of dressing and glaze your salmon and it will take on all the yummy tart and tangy flavors of the vinaigrette which is super easy and inexpensive. Pair it with roasted asparagus and fluffy couscous which are also low cost ingredients.

Use a similar approach and season tilapia with spices and load up with cheap veggies such as zucchini and squash.

5. Quick and Easy Stir fry is a great meal to use diced up cheaper cuts such as boneless chicken thighs and use leftover vegetables or any kind of veggies you have on hand. 

Chop up the veggies and protein in all the same bit size pieces. Start with a hot pan with oil and add your protein. Once the protein is golden brown, add your veggies at the very end just until they are slightly warm, then add your seasonings such as soy sauce, garlic powder, and sesame oil. Serve them over rice or noodles.

Serve them over rice just like in this pineapple chicken stir fry.

You can also serve them over noodles just like in this soba noodle chicken stir fry.

6. Soups always offer an easy and tasty way to stretch a meal budget. 

Any combination of ingredients with the right amount of seasonings can transform into a slurp worthy soup. Simply combine your choice of protein with aromatics such as garlic, onions, and carrots with broth and add your choice of pasta.

Although short ribs may be a bit pricey, the rest of the cheap ingredients offset the overall cost of the meal and make for a cheap and tasty dinner. All you need is lots of garlic, onions, all spice seasonings, and herbs such as cilantro and basil to flavor this dish up.

Convenient soup options such as ramen can also be turned into a higher quality, but still budget friendly soup by combining it with fresh vegetables such as bok choy and bell peppers.

7. Chicken and rice is incredibly simple but can be a feel-good meal. It is also versatile and can take on many twists. 

This baked chicken is flavored with Carribbean spices served with a golden turmeric rice pilaf.

This Cilantro Chicken is easy to prep, packed with flavor, and served with pantry friendly ingredients such as rice and beans.

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