Ultimate Low Carb Turkey Dinner

Late fall in the United States.  People who are new to the low carb lifestyle despair of their turkey dinner, thinking they will just be noshing on turkey and looking forlornly at all the other goodies on the table. No so!  Plan a little ahead of time and you can be eating your bird smothered in gravy, rolls dripping in butter, sweet potato casseroles, mashed, um, veggies, and pumpkin pie!

Turkey

My husband and I found our perfect turkey recipe by splicing together two different Alton Brown recipes.  Or rather techniques.  We use a brining solution made of salt and brown sugar and combined with a bunch aromatics like herbs and oranges bring out your turkey’s full flavor.  Brining a turkey does increase its salt content slightly, so for my readers who are being conscious of their sodium intake you may want to find a different technique.  But neither the brown sugar nor the fruit should substantially add any sugars to the meat.

For the most delicious, moist turkey you’ve ever had, you are going to need:

  • ¾ pound (roughly ¾ of one of the round canisters) of Salt
  • 1 pound of brown sugar
  • 1 orange, cut into quarters
  • Dried Herbs – parsley, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • 1 32 oz container of chicken, turkey or vegetable stock

Find a container large enough for your turkey and some extra liquid.  We use a large Igloo Water Cooler that we set aside for our turkeys.  It usually fits a 13-15 pound bird quite nicely.  Pour some water in the bottom of the cooler or container, and pour in your salt, brown sugar, orange, herbs and stock.  Mix until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Put your bird into the water and then fill the rest of the container with water until the bird is just covered.  Do a little stir to make sure the brining solution covers the bird and then fill the container up the rest of the way with ice.  Cover and let sit in a cozy nook in  your kitchen for 12-15 hours.  We prep the bird in the afternoon of the day before we eat it.

Now comes the fun part.

The next day preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Don’t freak out.  It will only be for a short time.  Before your bird goes in the oven, get out some aluminum foil and make a triangle big enough to cover the breast side of your turkey, and mold it over the breast to get the right shape.  You do this step now so you don’t have to try and shape it when the bird is in a searing 500 degree oven.  You’re welcome.

Now you’ll need an apple and an orange, both cut into quarters and stuffed into the cavity of the bird.  Then spray or rub olive oil over the entire skin of the bird.  You can also re-herb the bird at this point if you want but DO NOT use more salt.  Now place the bird in the oven without the aluminum breastplate for 30 minutes.  Once the time is up, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cover the breast with the aluminum foil.  Cook per the turkey label’s instructions based on the poundage of the bird or until a meat thermometer pushed into the deep parts of the meat, like the breast and legs, measures at 165 degrees.

If you find that the bird is browning too quickly you can cover the rest with aluminum foil in the last hour of roasting.  Take the bird out of the oven and then let it sit for about a half an hour before diving in!

Gravy

You can find gravy that is, at minimum, gluten free at your local grocery store.  Its a little harder to find one that is both gluten free and low carb friendly.  This recipe from Healthy Little Peach is easy, delicious and low-carby gluten free.  A win-win in my book.

low carb gluten free homemade gravy
Low Carb Gluten Free Gravy via healthylittlepeach.com

For the perfect Thanksgiving turkey gravy, just replace the beef broth with drippings from the turkey pan, or my personal favorite, take the neck and organ meats that come with your turkey and boil them in about 4 cups of water until the water is reduced and the odds and ends have cooked through.  You can either eat the organs yourself, or find a lucky dog or cat.  Then follow the directions as stated in the recipe!

Cranberry Sauce

This little gem from Keto Connect is the answer to canned sauce that is pumped full of sugars and corn syrup, or homemade recipes calling for loads of sugar or fruit juices.  Cranberries, as a fruit, do have sugar in the form of fructose but it is lower on the GI scale and therefore won’t affect your blood sugar too drastically.

no sugar added cranberry low carb sauce
No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce via KetoConnect

Make this the day or two before Thanksgiving because it refrigerates well.  Also, don’t stress about finding fresh cranberries.  Frozen ones are usually available in your local grocery store this time of year and work just as well as fresh.

Sweet Potato Casserole

You don’t need mounds of brown sugar and marshmallows to make a sweet yet satisfying sweet potato casserole.  In this recipe from Very Well Fit, cinnamon and nutmeg are the keys to fool your mouth into thinking there’s more sugar than there really is!

sweet potato casserole thanksgiving low carb no added sugar
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole via Very Well Fit

This is a very large casserole.  Sometimes too much of a good thing is bad for your willpower.  You could very easily halve this recipe and only have a small amount so that you won’t be tempted to overindulge.

Mashed “Potatoes”

Creamy and delicious, mashed potatoes have always been a staple at my Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner tables.  But potatoes are so starchy and they are relatively high on the GI scale.  Not to worry though.  Cauliflower is a great replacement.  A warning — if you’re a texture eater like I am, the mashed cauliflower is not the same texture as mashed potatoes.  It tastes wonderful but there’s nothing like potato to give you that soft, velvety texture.  Flavor wise, this recipe for mashed cauliflower from The Lazy Keto comes just about as close are you’re gonna get and she gives some easy and practical tips on how to make this the best non-potatoes ever.

low carb gluten free mashed cauliflower
Cauliflower Mash via The Lazy Keto

Dinner Rolls

I’m giving you two options depending on how you feel.  This first recipe uses a fathead type dough to give you a bread-like consistency, albeit very cheesy tasting still. The second would not be for those closely following the keto diet, but rather those looking for a gluten free option.

low carb gluten free easy rolls dinner
Easy Low Carb Dinner Rolls via Low Carb Maven

Low Carb Maven’s recipe, Easy Low Carb Dinner Rolls, is a great alternative if you just need something to dip in all that gravy goodness.  One suggestion when making anything that resembles fathead dough.  It does take a bit of kneading before the consistency is right.  The dough is notoriously sticky but I’ve found a way that makes the kneading, rolling and clean up a breeze.  Once you finish stirring it together, take a piece of Press & Seal or plastic wrap, spray it down with a little cooking spray and then fold the dough over and over using the ends of the wrap to fold them over with.  When its the right consistency, you can then use the same wrap to roll it out to make whatever shapes you want. This dough is very soft and won’t require a lot of pressure when rolling it out.

gluten free dinner rolls
Gluten Free Dinner Rolls via Hello Gluten Free

Hello Gluten Free’s Dinner Rolls is a pretty straightforward gluten free recipe.  If you don’t have the gluten free flour the recipe calls for, I’m sure any brand will do.  Keep in mind that the amount of xanthan gum is for a flour blend that already contains it.  Your best rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour.  With xanthan gum, a little goes a long way.

Green Bean Casserole

low carb green bean casserole
Low Carb Green Bean Casserole via NutButterLover

I was introduced to green bean casserole when I lived in Texas for a while.  Its a staple in the South and with good reason.  Its savory deliciousness, as you’ll see when you make NutButterLover’s Low Car Green Bean Casserole.  Now the ingredient that makes this dish not very low carb or gluten free is the cream soup that the recipe usually calls for.  You can handle this a few ways.  If you’re familiar with making a rue, you can always make the cream part of the recipe like I do in my recipe Creamy Chicken and Broccoli.  If you’re going for purely gluten free, they have gluten free cream soups.  I bought a couple of the Great Value brand at Walmart.  Then lastly, as the recipe calls for, making a cream sauce without thickener.  Any way you make it, you’ll be glad you did.

Pumpkin Pie

low carb gluten free pumpkin pie
Easy Low Carb Pumpkin Pie via Wholesome Yum

Last but definitely not least is pumpkin pie.  Now I have a confession to make.  I really don’t like pumpkin pie.  Ok, that’s not true either.  I hate pumpkin pie.  Its a texture thing, so I don’t like most other types of custard pies with the exception of cheesecake.  However, I know a huge majority of you, including my husband, love it and I’ve included a pretty great recipe for it.  Wholesome Yum’s Easy Keto Low Carb Pumpkin Pie is pretty much what it says it is.  Probably the hardest part will be the Almond Flour Pie Crust recipe you’ll need to make in advance.  Another way is to try it without crust at all.  Pour the pumpkin custard into a well greased brownie pan, either 8 x 8 in or 11 x 7 in and back until the middle jiggles just a little.

Here’s wishing you a fantastic start to the holiday season and here’s to healthy, flavorful eating!

 

 

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli

I get it.  Kids don’t  like to eat their vegetables.  Mine act like I’m asking them to eat dirt anytime dinner is served with a veg.  I find, however, that if the vegetables are covered in something yummy, say a cream sauce, then they are more likely to give it a try.  Its why this recipe for Creamy Chicken and Broccoli is so great.  The creamy sauce not only makes the chicken taste divine but it also gives the broccoli enough flavor your kids may actually eat it!

low carb paleo keto creamy chicken and broccoli on a plate

Another great thing about this recipe is the fact that you get all the creaminess that makes chicken taste so good but its fast and easy without having to use garbage ingredients that you find in most ‘cream of’ soups.  In fact, I’m willing to bet you won’t miss it at all because of how awesome this tastes.  You replace the canned soup with wholesome stuff like cream, butter, chicken broth and spices.  And don’t worry about messing up the sauce.  Its practically foolproof.  You throw it in, you let it simmer for a few minutes and wha-la!  Dinner is served.

Your mouth not watering yet?  How about some pizza instead?  My No Carb Dish Pizza is sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli
Serves 5
Creamy low carb dinner with chicken and broccoli.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs chicken breast
  2. 1 tsp minced garlic
  3. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  4. 4 tbsp. butter
  5. 1 c chicken stock
  6. 1/2 c heavy cream
  7. 1 tbsp dried parsley
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika
  9. 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  10. S&P to taste
Instructions
  1. In large skillet, melt butter then saute chicken, garlic and onion until chicken is cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Add broth, cream, xanthan gum, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil and simmer until just starting to thicken.
  3. Return chicken to skillet and add package of frozen broccoli. Stir until everything is well coated and then simmer until broccoli is warmed.
Adapted from Best Recipe Box
Adapted from Best Recipe Box
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet

Simple.  Easy.  Tasty.  Sound familiar?  It should since that’s practically the name of my blog.  It’s the whole reason I started it.  I wanted to follow a low carb lifestyle and I needed recipes that not only tasted good but were quick to make.  I belonged to an immensely supportive group on Facebook for people following the South Beach Diet as described in Dr. Agaston’s original books.  Pamela Bongers had a brilliant recipe that I loved.  The adaption of her one skillet dinner, Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet, follows all these principles.  It takes less than 30 minutes to make.  The ingredients are simple and easy to throw together.  And it tastes amazing!

lemon chicken zucchini

The secret ingredients to this dish’s amazingness are the lemon and the butter.  You sauté the zucchini, onions and garlic in the butter and it gives that sweet savory flavor you crave at dinnertime.  Then you throw in a little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest and it gives it a zippy fresh flavor that rounds out the meal.  Your family will wonder why you don’t make it more often.

zucchini and onions

Depending on the type of low carb lifestyle you follow, like paleo, keto or some of the others, some really good sides for this could be cooked brown rice or a simple garden salad.  I’ll tell you I thought I was in heaven when I added some Italian dressing to the salad.  It complimented this lemon dish so well!

low carb paleo keto lemon chicken zucchini skilletIn the mood for something a little more hands off?  Try my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup!  You chop everything up, throw it in the pot and let it simmer and you’re good to go.

 

Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet
Serves 4
A zesty savory chicken dish that is fast and easy!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  2. 2 small zucchini, cubed
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
  5. Juice of 1/2 small lemon
  6. Zest of 1/2 small lemon
  7. 1 tsp minced garlic
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook cubed chicken until done through. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in same skillet and then add zucchini, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until zucchini and onions have softened.
  3. Add chicken back into skillet. Squeeze lemon juice over the mix and then zest the lemon over and mix until warmed through and well coated. Serve!
Notes
  1. Feel free to use the entire lemon if you want a stronger lemon flavor.
Adapted from Pamela Bongers
Adapted from Pamela Bongers
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Chicken Vegetable Soup

What’s better wafting through the kitchen than the smell of a savory chicken vegetable soup? Probably nothing. Which is why I love this recipe. This is based on Weight Watchers old school version of the Zero Point Soup. But we’re low carb-er’s, right?  We don’t have to worry about point following.  Plus, you are adding in some low-fat protein with the addition of the chicken that helps you feel full and satisfied. 

 

low carb vegetable chicken soup
Bowl of Color

There is one other bonus to this recipe. The soup freezes wonderfully! I might even argue that it tastes better after being nuked in the microwave. But you can judge for yourself! So make a huge batch – double the recipe – and separate into freezer safe containers and you’ll always have that last minute lunch or dinner ready as soon as it gets out of the microwave.

 

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup
Serves 6
A easy, savory soup that is low in carbs but very filling! Freezes like a breeze!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs chicken breast, diced
  2. 1 box (32 oz) chicken stock
  3. 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  4. 1 tsp minced garlic
  5. 1/4 tsp basil
  6. 1/2 tsp oregano
  7. 2 c chopped cabbage
  8. 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  9. 1/2 c carrots, chopped
  10. 1/2 c green beans
  11. 1/2 c zucchini
  12. 1/2 c summer squash
  13. S&P
Instructions
  1. In soup pot, spray with non-stick cooking spray. Saute chicken and garlic until done through and garlic fragrent.
  2. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce to pot and mix until combined. Add the rest of the spices and vegetables and bring to boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Notes
  1. For South Beach/Atkins Phase 1 and Keto, omit the carrots.
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/