Category Archives: Healthy Holiday Make-overs

Jack Daniels Southern Pecan Chocolate Pie

         Jack Daniels Southern Pecan Pie 

Gluten-Free & Vegeterian with Vegan Option

 Low Glycemic – No Processed Sugar                                                                                                     

This is a decadent, healthy spin on the best pecan pie I’ve very had! My twin brother’s.  If you are up to the task, it will quite literally knock your socks off!

1 cup date syrup (see recipe below or buy prepared)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup cocoa, unsweetened

¼ teaspoon instant coffee

1½ tablespoon arrowroot (or tapioca flour)

¼ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Whisky (or other quality bourbon) – Optional

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

½ cup pecan pieces

1 cup pecan halves

 For glaze:

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup agave syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except pecans) until very smooth. Use a processor if you prefer. Fold in pecan pieces.

Pour mixture into 9” pie crust (see below) and spread evenly. Arrange pecans halves on top. Bake for 30 minutes.

Whisk together glaze ingredients. Remove pie from oven and lightly brush pecan tops. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes or until pie is set. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Note: if pecans start getting too brown, tent pie with foil.

This recipe rivals the best pecan pie I’ve ever had – My twin brother’s.  It’s a healthu spin on his original recipe with NO processed sugar, or artificial ingredients. Top it off with delicious homemade coconut whipped cream or store bought So-Delicious CoCo Whip.

Oat Pecan Pie Crust

1¼ cup gluten free oat flour (sifted)

¼ cup pecan pieces

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup coconut palm sugar

¼ cup butter, cold (or Earth Balance for vegan version)

¼ cold water (more or less)

In food processor add flour, salt, sugar and pecan pieces. Pulse a few times to mix

 

Add butter and pulse until butter is roughly cut in (8-10 seconds). Note: This can be done by with a fork or your fingers).

Turn processor to on and add water slowly through feeder tube until dough begins to clump and cleans the edge of bowl. If too wet and sticking to sides add a little more flour (1 teaspoon at a time). If too dry add more water (1 teaspoon at a time). Dough should be very soft, but not sticky. Remove and pat into ball.

Roll out onto sifted oat floured surface. For ease, roll out on parchment paper, place a 9” pie plate upside down on top of dough and flip plate over. Peel off parchment and gently press dough into plate. Finish edges as you wish.

Bake at 425F degrees for 10 minutes. Move to cool spot while you make the filling.

Medjool Date Syrup: (makes 2 cups)

12 Medjool dates (chopped)

1¾ cups water

1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to low simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Pour syrup into processor and process until very smooth. Allow to cool before using. This can be stored in glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, so make plenty at one time for the holidays.

 

 

Southern Thanksgiving Made Gluten-Free, Vegetarian/Vegan & Delicious!

cornbread-in-large-skillet

Just made this huge iron skillet full of perfectly golden, “Gluten-Free” cornbread for the vegetarian version of my Dad’s “best ever” Southern Cornbread Dressing (vegan version below).  All you Southern vegans and vegetarians out there – You are all set to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving with all the fixins!  (see the “No-Giblet” Gravy and “Rosemary Apple Cranberry Relish” also below).

The Main Event! My Dad’s Famous Cornbread Dressing

You must first start with the best cornbread for the best cornbread dressing!  My Dad was not the cornbread guru.  It was my Grandma Ethel who made the most amazing cornbread in her old, trusty iron skillet.  It was buttery and golden with just the perfect rustic, satisfying texture.   She served it with beans, soup and chili.  Oftentimes her dinner was crumbled cornbread in a tall glass of buttermilk (I never got up the nerve to try that..lol).

She sometimes got “a hankerin” for dressing on just a regular ole day and would make it with roast chicken.   And of course, it was the start of the most delicious cornbread dressing ever made.  Grandma is making cornbread on the other side now and I know she would be proud of this version…

Classic Iron Skillet Cornbread*   (8 Servings)

(Gluten-Free, Vegetarian with Vegan Option)

1 cup stone ground organic cornmeal**

½ cup organic polenta (coarse ground grits)**

1/4 cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill is Certified Gluten Free)

1/4 cup tapioca or white rice flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 organic egg** (or 2 tablespoon flaxseed mixed with 4 tablespoon water.  Let stand for a few minutes until thickened)

½ cup organic applesauce (unsweetened)

1 1/4 cups more or less of milk (or unsweetened plant-based milk for vegan version)

1 teaspoon Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (omit if using buttermilk or kefir)

1 tablespoon organic grass-fed butter (use Earth Balance for vegan version)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place iron skillet* in hot oven while mixing together ingredients.
  2. In large mixing bowl mix together all dry ingredients.  Whisk together all wet ingredients in large measuring cup.  Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just blended.  Do not over mix or you will have flat bread.  Batter should be very thick but pourable.
  3. Melt butter in hot iron skillet*.  Tilt skillet to coat evenly the bottom and sides. Pour batter into hot skillet making sure it’s spread evenly. Place on center rack in oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from skillet. (DO NOT SLICE BREAD IN SKILLET).

*Note:  You can use a muffin tin, glass or metal pan for this recipe.  However; a good ole iron skillet is an excellent source of iron for a plant-based diet and when it is well seasoned, iron is virtually “non-stick” and a joy to cook with.  See tips below for cleaning and seasoning an iron skillet.

Tips: Add a chopped jalapeno, whole kernel corn and herbs for a different spin.  My favorite is fresh chopped sage and garlic.  Use your imagination with this versatile southern favorite.

**Corn, soy, canoli and sugar beets are the most genetically modified food crops on the planet.  Buy organic to avoid GMOs.  Unless you have access to local, farm fresh eggs from well cared for chickens, look for eggs that say on the carton “organic” and “pastured” – “NOT”pasteurized” .  The chicken and egg industry is a very cruel one.  Let’s vote with our wallet.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

15-20 Servings  (Gluten-Free & Vegetarian with Vegan Option)

1 large skillet of prepared cornbread, crumbled and dried overnight

1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (rice is good)

1 large onion, chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 large stalks of celery, chopped fine

1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine (I use red, but Daddy’s prefers green)

1 large apple, peeled and chopped fine (crisp, firm red apple)

2 tablespoons rubbed sage (1/4 cup fresh chopped) or to taste

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon cracked pepper (or to taste)

4 cups Imagine Brand “No-Chicken” Broth

1 cup more or less of milk (or unsweetened plant-based milk for vegan version)

3 boiled eggs, chopped fine (or 1/2 cup extra firm organic tofu** chopped to look like boiled eggs for vegan version)

2 tablespoon butter (or Earth Balance Butter for vegan version)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Pre-heat deep 12″ iron skillet or 9 x 13 glass pan.
  2.  Place all dry ingredients and spices into a very large mixing bowl and with clean hands mix well.
  3. Add broth and milk.  Mix until well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add a little more milk if needed.  Dressing should be very moist, but not runny.  Gently fold in eggs or tofu.
  4. Add butter to hot pan and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Pour dressing into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until turning crisp around the edges and starting to brown on top.  Do the shake test.  It’s done when it doesn’t jiggle.

Growing up, when everyone was focused on the bird, I had my sights on the cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce. In my family, the cornbread dressing IS the main attraction. Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without it!

After Grandma passed my Dad took over.   It doesn’t matter whose house we end up at for this celebration, as long as he brings the dressing.  A couple of years ago, the family got together for Thanksgiving at Daddy’s (the house my siblings and I grew up in) for the first time since we were kids.  I made my version and he made his. His comment, “Well Gail, this is just larapin!”.  The highest compliment coming from my Dad!  I hope you enjoy my version of this southern classic!

Rosemary Apple Cranberry Relish

(8-10 Servings – Diabetic Friendly)

I remember when I first discovered the recipes on a bag of fresh cranberries and I was like WHAT!?!  Why are we serving jellied, canned cranberry sauce at our holiday table when homemade is this simple?  If you have 10 minutes, a bag of cranberries, some sugar and water you have cranberry sauce.  Don’t like it chunky then puree it.  If you like the jelly stuff, put it in a mold.

From that “Ding Ding” moment on, everyone relies on me to bring the cranberry sauce. They think I went to a lot of trouble – NOT!

Over time, I’ve made many versions.  This delicious version is sugar-free.  Trust me when I say this combo is extraordinary!  After the celebration serve the left-overs on toast, nut butter sandwiches and my favorite – spread it on a hunk of dark chocolate….Yummmm!

2 granny smith apples (peeled, cored and diced very small)

1-12 ounce bag of cranberries (washed)

½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

½ cup water

½” sprig of fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)

1/2 teaspoon NOW Better Than Stevia organic liquid or more to taste* (I also use organic coconut palm sugar for a low-glycemic version)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of sea salt

Add all ingredients into large saucepan.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until apples and cranberries are soft.  Remove rosemary sprig.  Place in covered dish and chill.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

*Note:  I’ve come to realize much of the stevia on our store’s shelves is chemically processed and genetically modified.  This is one brand I trust.

“NO Giblet” Holiday Gravy

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian with Vegan Option

1/4 cupTurkey Gravy butter (or Earth Balance for vegan version)

1/4 cup white rice flour

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary

2 cups more or less of Imagine NO Chicken broth

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 teaspoon white miso (dissolved into a little warm broth)

1 boiled egg grated

(or about 2 tablespoons grated organic firm tofu for vegan version)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste (very important ingredients)

In medium sauce pan or skillet melt butter over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour and poultry seasoning stirring constantly until blended and smooth.   Slowly whisk in broth a little at a time as you stir constantly. Note:  do not pour in broth all at once.  You can always add more if the gravy gets too thick.  If it’s too thin, a little more difficult to fix).

Bring to simmer and cook until gravy is thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in dissolved miso.

Cover and keep warm until serving.  Re-heat gently if needed and add a little more broth if too thick.

This gravy is an amazing knockoff of the original! Put it to the blind taste test. And, it’s simple enough to serve all year over biscuits, on mashed potatoes or try it in a vegetable pot pie.

For pot pie, do not let it thicken.  It will thicken as it bakes.

 

Tender loving Care For Your Iron Skillet:

I use my old iron skillets for everything from sautéing to baking.  A well-seasoned iron skillet never sticks.  Just a few tips from my Dad on how to keep your skillet rust free and non-stick – FOREVER!

To season a skillet, make sure it is completely rust free* and dry.  Coat skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  Turn upside down in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  You may need to repeat this process a few times, (depending on the condition of the skillet), until a paper towel rubbed on surface comes away clean.  If you follow the next 3 tips, you will never have to do this again!

  1. Avoid using soap in your iron skillet unless absolutely necessary.  Scour (with plastic – not metal) and rinse with hot water.  If you do end up burning food in your skillet do not scrape it!  Fill pan with water and heat to simmer for a few minutes.  The food will come right off.
  2. To dry skillet thoroughly, place it over low heat or in a warm oven for a few minutes.  Store in oven when dry to prevent any moisture from coming in contact with pan.  Never put oil on a damp skillet – It will lock in the moisture and cause it to rust – overnight!  Oil is only necessary for long-term storage to protect it from rusting when humid.
  3. Never cut your skillet with a knife. It will damage the seasoning and cause it to stick in that spot.  You will have to re-season it.

* Use lemon juice and coarse ground salt to scour a rusty skillet.  Repeat if needed until no more rust remains.

May Gratitude, Peace and Love bless you this season and always!

Intuitive Chef Gail Blair

 

 

 

Lucky New Year’s Pie (Gluten-Free with Vegan/Vegetarian Option)

This is my all-time favorite savory pie!    It is designed for leftovers, so feel free to use whatever is in the fridge or frozen vegetables.

New Year PieThe mushroom, leek and shallot sauce will be good with just about anything or add more milk for the best cream of mushroom soup ever!

The oat crust has a delicious flavor and rustic quality that is perfect for this savory pie.  However, if you’re in a hurry, buy ready-made crust or just pour the filling into a casserole and top with cheese and bake….yummy!

Oat Pie Crust

 

1 ¼ cup of oat flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

6 tablespoon butter (cold)

½ teaspoon sea salt

4 – 6 tablespoon cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In large bowl, sift all dry ingredients together.

Chop butter in to cubes and cut into flour with fork until mixture is crumbly. Or use processor, pulsing a few times until butter is roughly incorporated.  Mixture should resemble large crumbles.

Make well in center of flour mix and 4 tablespoons of water.  Mix well with until dough holds together when squeezed. Add more water if needed 1 tablespoon at a time.  If using a processor, dough is perfect when it starts to clean the sides of the bowl.  Knead dough a few times and cut  in half.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate while making filling.

Filling:

2 tablespoon Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil (make sure you are getting real deal)

1 tablespoon butter or Earth Balance Vegan butter

3 leeks, clean and chopped with a little of the green part

2 shallots, minced

1 cup button or baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary (or ½ tsp dried)

1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon (or ½ tsp dried)

3 tablespoon oat or rice flour

¼ cup dry white wine (chardonnay is good)

1 ½ cup vegetable stock (I love Better Than Bouillon concentrate in a jar)

¾ cup So Delicious coconut milk beverage, unsweetened (or organic milk for vegetarian)

2 dashes fresh grated nutmeg (or ground)

1 teaspoon sea salt and cracked pepper or to taste

1 cup wild rice, prepared (quinoa works well too)

1 bunch collard greens, chopped (boil or sauté until just tender and still bright green)

1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

2 cups cubed butternut squash, prepared

1 cup shredded gruyere or Swiss (optional for vegetarian version)

Preheat large skillet over medium high.  Add butter and oil and swirl to coat skillet.  Add  mushrooms, shallots and leeks to hot skillet with a dash of sea salt.  Sauté for about 3 minutes then add herbs.  Stir frequently until leeks are translucent and mushrooms have released their moisture (5-7 minutes total).

Add flour to mixture stirring for a minute until well blended.  Deglaze pan with wine and simmer for a minute.  Add broth and bring to high simmer.  Gradually add milk stirring constantly until sauce is thickening.  Stir in  nutmeg.  Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a very large bowl gently mix together, rice, collards, peas, squash and mushroom, leek mixture.

Remove dough from fridge roll out each half of dough on parchment or wax paper for a 9” pie crust or 10″ seasoned iron skillet  Invert one crust into pie plate or skillet and gently peel paper away.  Press dough evenly into place and finish edges as desired.  Reserve other half for top of pie.

Spread veggie mixture evenly on top of finished crust.  Spread cheese if desired on top of veggie mixture. Gently lay rolled out dough on top and pinch the top and bottom edges of dough together to create a tight seal.  Brush top with milk and pierce a few times with a sharp knife to vent the steam.  (Or you can do a tart with top open – freeze the other half of crust)

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until pie is golden and bubbly.   Let pie rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

Southern Jack Daniel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pie Filling Prchocolate pecan pieeparation

¼ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup cocoa, unsweetened

¼ teaspoon instant coffee

1½ tablespoon arrowroot

¼ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Whisky (or other quality bourbon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

½ cup pecan pieces

1 cup pecan halves

The glaze

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup agave syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except pecans) until very smooth. Use a processor if you prefer.  Fold in pecan pieces.

Pour mixture into pie crust and spread evenly.  Arrange pecans halves on top.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Whisk together glaze ingredients.  Remove pie from oven and lightly brush pecan tops.   Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes or until pie is set. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Inspired by my twin brother, this recipe rivals the best pecan pie I’ve ever had.  And, NO processed sugar, or artificial ingredients AND all plants!  Top it off with my delicious homemade coconut whipped cream.

Oat Pecan Crust

1¼ cup gluten free oat flour (sifted)

¼ cup pecan pieces

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup coconut palm sugar

¼ cup butter, cold (or Earth Balance for vegan version)

¼ cold water (more or less)

In food processor add flour, salt, sugar and pecan pieces.  Pulse a few times to mix

Add butter and pulse until butter is roughly cut in (8-10 seconds).  Note:  This can be done by with a fork or your fingers). Turn processor to on and add water slowly through feeder tube until dough begins to clump and cleans the edge of bowl.  If too wet and sticking to sides add a little more flour (1 teaspoon at a time).  If too dry add more water (1 teaspoon at a time).  Dough should be very soft, but not sticky.  Remove and pat into ball.

Roll out onto sifted oat floured surface.  For ease, roll out on parchment paper, place a 9” pie plate upside down on top of dough and flip plate over.  Peel off parchment and gently press dough into plate.  Finish edges as you wish.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Move to cool spot while you make the filling.

 Medjool Date Syrup  (makes 2 cups)

12 Medjool dates (chopped)

1¾ cups water

1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to low simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Pour syrup into processor and process until very smooth.  Allow to cool before using.  This can be stored in glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, so make plenty at one time for the holidays.

NO Giblet Holiday Gravy

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian with Vegan Option

1/4 cupTurkey Gravy butter (or Earth Balance for vegan version)

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 cups more or less of Imagine NO Chicken broth

1 teaspoon white miso (dissolved into a little warm broth)

1 boiled egg grated

(or about 2 tablespoons grated very firm organic tofu for vegan version – optional)

Sea Salt and cracked pepper to taste (very important ingredients)

In medium sauce pan or skillet melt butter over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour, nutritional yeast and poultry seasoning stirring constantly until blended and smooth.   Slowly whisk in broth a little at a time as you stir constantly. Note:  do not pour in broth all at once.  You can always add more if the gravy gets too thick – easy.  If it’s too thin a little more difficult to fix).

Bring to simmer and cook until gravy is just starting to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in dissolved miso.  If gravy still needs a little thickening  return to simmer for another minute.

Cover and keep warm until serving.  Re-heat gently if needed and add a little more broth if too thick.

This gravy is an amazing knockoff of the original! Put it to the blind taste test. And, it’s simple enough to serve all year over biscuits, on mash potatoes or try it in a vegetable pot pie.

For pot pie, do not let it thicken.  It will thicken as it bakes.

 

Rosemary Apple Cranberry Relish (No Sugar – No Chemicals)

I remember when I first discovered the recipes on a bag of fresh cranberries and I was like WHAT!?!  Why are we serving jellied, canned cranberry sauce at our holiday table when homemade is this simple?  If you have 10 minutes, a bag of cranberries, some sugar and water you  have cranberry sauce.  Don’t like it chunky then puree it.  If you like the jelly stuff, put it in a mold.

From that “Ding Ding” moment on, everyone relies on me to bring the cranberry sauce. They think I went to a lot of trouble – NOT!

Over time, I’ve made many versions.  This delicious version is sugar-free.  Trust me when I say this combo is extraordinary!  After the celebration serve the left-overs on toast, nut butter sandwiches and my favorite – spread it on a hunk of dark chocolate….Yummmm!   Happy Holidays!

Serves 8-10 Servings

2 granny smith apples (peeled, cored and diced very small)

1-12 ounce bag of cranberries (washed)

½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

½ cup water

½” sprig of fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)

½ cup stevia (or to taste)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of sea salt

Add all ingredients into large saucepan.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until apples and cranberries are soft.  Remove rosemary sprig.  Place in cover dish and chill.  Serve with a fresh sprig of rosemary garnish.

Beautiful gift!

Healthy Holiday Makeovers: The Main Event! My Dad’s Famous Cornbread Dressing

You must first start with the Best Cornbread for the best cornbread dressing!  My Dad was not the cornbread guru.  It was my Grandma Ethel who made the most amazing cornbread in her old, trusty iron skillet.  It was buttery and golden with just the perfect rustic, satisfying texture.   She served it with beans, soup and chili.  Oftentimes her dinner was crumbled cornbread in a tall glass of buttermilk (I never got up the nerve to try that..lol).

She sometimes got “a hankerin” for dressing on just a regular ole day and would make it with roast chicken.   And of course, it was the start of the most delicious cornbread dressing ever made.  Grandma is making cornbread on the other side now and I know she would be proud of this version…

Classic Iron Skillet Cornbread*   (8 Servings)

(Gluten-Free, Vegetarian with Vegan Option)

1 cup stone ground organic cornmeal**

½ cup organic polenta (coarse ground grits)**

1/4 cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill is Certified Gluten Free)

1/4 cup tapioca flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or powdered Stevia for non-sugar version)

1 organic egg** (or 2 tablespoon flaxseed mixed with 4 tablespoon water.  Let stand for a few minutes until thickened)

½ cup organic applesauce (unsweetened)

1 1/4 cups more or less of milk (or unsweetened plant-based milk for vegan version)

1 teaspoon Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon organic grass fed butter (use Earth Balance for vegan version)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place iron skillet* in hot oven while mixing together ingredients.
  2. In large mixing bowl mix together all dry ingredients.  Whisk together all wet ingredients in large measuring cup.  Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just blended.  Do not over mix or you will have flat bread.  Batter should be very thick but pourable.
  3. Melt butter in hot iron skillet*.  Tilt skillet to coat evenly the bottom and sides. Pour batter into hot skillet making sure it’s spread evenly. Place on center rack in oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from skillet. (DO NOT SLICE BREAD IN SKILLET).

*Note:  You can use a muffin tin, glass or metal pan for this recipe.  However; a good ole iron skillet is an excellent source of iron for a plant-based diet and when it is well seasoned, iron is virtually “non-stick” and a joy to cook with.  See tips below for cleaning and seasoning an iron skillet.

Tips: Add a chopped jalapeno, whole kernel corn and herbs for a different spin.  My favorite is fresh chopped sage and garlic.  Use your imagination with this versatile southern favorite.

**Corn, Soy & Canoli are the most genetically modified food crops on the planet.  Buy organic to avoid GMOs.  Unless you have access to local, farm fresh eggs from well cared for chickens, look for eggs that say on the carton “organic” and “pastured” – NOT “pasteurized” .  The chicken and egg industry is a very cruel one.  Let’s vote with our wallet.

Southern Cornbread Dressing  (15-20 Servings)

(Gluten-Free & Vegetarian with Vegan Option)

1 skillet of prepared cornbread, crumbled and dried overnight

1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (rice is good)

1 large onion, chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 large stalks of celery, chopped fine

1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine (I use red, but Daddy’s prefers green)

1 large apple, peeled and chopped fine (crisp, firm red apple)

2 tablespoon rubbed sage (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon cracked pepper (or to taste)

4 cups Imagine Brand No-Chicken Broth

1 cup more or less of milk (or unsweetened plant-based milk for vegan version)

3 boiled eggs, chopped fine (or 1/2 cup extra firm organic tofu** chopped to look like boiled eggs for vegan version)

2 tablespoon butter (or Earth Balance Butter for vegan version)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Preheat deep 12″ iron skillet or 9 x 13 glass pan.
  2.  Place all dry ingredients and spices into a very large mixing bowl and with clean hands mix well.
  3. Add broth and milk.  Mix until well blended. Taste adjust seasonings.  Add a little more milk if needed.  Dressing should be very moist, but not runny.  Gently fold in eggs or tofu.
  4. Add butter to hot pan and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Pour dressing into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until turning crisp around the edges and starting to brown on top.  Do the shake test.  It’s done when it doesn’t jiggle.

Growing up, when everyone was focused on the bird, I had my sites on the cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce. In my family, the cornbread dressing IS the main attraction. Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without my Grandma’s dressing.

After Grandma passed my Dad took over.   It doesn’t matter whose house we end up at for this celebration, as long as he brings the dressing.  Last Thanksgiving my Dad and I cooked at his house (the house we grew up in).   I made my version and he made his. His comment, “Well Gail this is just larapin!  The highest compliment coming from my Dad!  I hope you enjoy my version of this southern classic!

Stay tuned for “No-Giblet Gravy” and “Cranberry, Apple & Rosemary Relish”.  You can’t have cornbread dressing without the gravy and cranberry sauce – Right?

Tender loving Care For Your Iron Skillet:

I use my old iron skillets for everything from sautéing to baking.  A well-seasoned iron skillet never sticks.  Just a few tips from my Dad on how to keep your skillet rust free and non-stick – FOREVER!

To season a skillet, make sure it is completely rust free* and dry.  Coat skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  Turn upside down in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  You may need to repeat this process a few times, (depending on the condition of the skillet), until a paper towel rubbed on surface comes away clean.  If you follow the next 3 tips, you will never have to do this again!

1. Avoid using soap in your iron skillet unless absolutely necessary.  Scour (with plastic – not metal) and rinse with hot water.  If you do end up burning food in your skillet do not scrape it!  Fill pan with water and heat to simmer for a few minutes.  The food will come right off.

2. To dry skillet thoroughly, place it over low heat or in a warm oven for a few minutes.  Store in oven when dry to prevent any moisture from coming in contact with pan.  Never put oil on a damp skillet – It will lock in the moisture and cause it to rust – overnight!  Oil is only necessary for long-term storage to protect it from rusting when humid.

3. Never cut your skillet with a knife. It will damage the seasoning and cause it to stick in that spot.  You will have to re-season it.

* Use lemon juice and coarse ground salt to scour a rusty skillet.  Repeat if needed until no more rust remains.