My kids are not “holiday ready.” Disruptions to the routine + intense anticipation + heightened sensory stimulation + extra treats = disaster. And that’s Mommy. Throw some ADHD, ODD, and a soupcon of stress-triggered seizures into the mix and you get fireworks. Not the good kind.
To keep things manageable, we keep our holidays very low key. This year on Thanksgiving, my husband took the boys out in the morning so I could cook, we swapped at a neutral location and then took our typical Divide and Conquer approach: My husband took our oldest to a movie and I took the little guys to the beach. (Dear God, I really love living in California. It was a spectacular day! Thank you!)
We met at home for dinner. At the standard time. Even then, it was too much for my 8 year old and he coped by playing restaurant so he felt more in control of an unusual, i,e., holiday, situation. He wrote out a menu, took orders, filled water glasses, filled plates, and served. He didn’t even eat the meal until the next day. However, we also avoided a holiday meltdown! Win!
Here’s our delicious, gluten-free* holiday meal:
Easiest Roast Chicken Ever…with roasted balsamic veggies and gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Crust
GF Pumpkin Pie from Whole Foods (which wasn’t very good…they dumped Crave Bakery for some LA-based baker and the pies are…inedible)
* I used KerryGold unsalted butter, so it wasn’t a pure GFCF meal. You can substitute ghee, coconut oil, or palm shortening for a paleo-friendly substitute. EarthBalance spread also has a soy-free version that works.
Here’s how it prepped in my kitchen, with my extras and tips. Seriously, the whole meal took about an hour of prep time. AN HOUR! Over all, in terms of timing, I made stuffing the night before, started the chicken first, then made the side, finished with gravy. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
I made it the night before and used Udi’s Multi-Grain bread.
Break free from the tyranny of turkey. Brined chicken is delicious! There’s about 10-15 minutes of prep time, and the bird is done in 45 minutes. The only thing I did differently from the Nom Nom Paleo recipe is I made a parsley-sage-rosemary-and-thyme (sing it!) herbed butter to smear on the bird.
Tip from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom: Use King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour. Word. It makes fantastic gravy!
After moving the finished chicken to a serving platter, I simply dumped the entire contents of the foil lining into a small sauce pan, removed the veggies with a slotted spoon (put them in a separate bowl and splash a little balsamic vinegar on them as an additional side), added 2 Tbsp GF flour, a tiny bit of salt and pepper–the chicken was brined, so there’s already some salt in the drippings–whisked smooth, added 1 c. water, and heated on low heat until…gravy!
I boiled a bag of pre-prepped sweet potato cubes until tender, drained, added 2-3 Tbsp butter, and blended smooth with an immersion blender. Once in the pan, I mixed up a candy topping: 2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp GF flour (I used sweet potato flour), 2 Tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. If you can have nuts, pecans work well. Put under broiler until carmelized (watch it!!)
My 5 year old had 3 helpings of this. It’s really that good!
And that was it. It was plenty for 4 of us (one kid is just too rigid with his meals right now), with leftovers.