Whitesburg KY

Serving up a holiday dinner for every appetite



Every year, my sisters and I start planning our family holiday gatherings a few weeks ahead of time. In our immediate family of 25 adults and children, we have folks who can happily eat anything, diabetics, gluten-intolerant, no-sodium, vegetarians and vegans. We also have dinner guests who have chosen to eliminate large categories of food for a number of reasons, including health, religious rules, human rights, animal rights and concern about the environment.

Planning meals for so many people with so many different nutritional and dietary requirements can be a challenge. If possible, prepare dishes that everyone can eat as a main course or as a side dish or dessert, and simply adjust the ingredients as needed for those with special dietary needs. I’ve provided some tips, techniques and recipes suitable for those with dietary needs that everyone at your celebrations will enjoy!


No- or Low-Salt Diet: This recipe can be used for all savory dishes and provides an abundance of flavorful spices to compensate for the lack of salt. Using this allpurpose spice mix is a healthier way to cook for your guests. For those who want to add salt, simply place a saltshaker on the table.

1 cup (8-ounce jar) onion
1 cup (8-ounce jar) garlic powder 3 tablespoons poultry seasoning 3 tablespoons ground black
1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon sugar or stevia

Combine all ingredients in a
small jar with a shaker top and use
to season all savory dishes. Makes
about 2 3/4 cups.


Serve up this vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free au gratin as a main dish or side. The blend of cashews, nutritional yeast (which is healthy and tastes like cheese) and the broth from the cooked vegetables mimic the butter and cheese flavors in traditional au gratin dishes. Serves 8.

1 medium butternut
squash, peeled, seeds discarded, and cut into pieces
1 large parsnip or carrot,
cut in half
1 large sweet potato or
baking potato, whole, not
1 medium-large turnip
or rutabaga, whole, not
1 medium onion
8 ounces curly kale, ribs
discarded, leaves chopped
(5 packed cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons All-
Purpose No-Salt Spice Mix
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for at least
10 minutes
2 tablespoons rice flour
2 tablespoons nutritional

1. Place the butternut
squash, carrot or parsnip,
sweet or baking potato, and
turnip or rutabaga into a
large pot and cover with
water. Bring water to a boil
and cook for 30 minutes.
2. Strain the vegetables
from the water and reserve
2 cups of the liquid for later
use. Let the vegetables cool.
3. Slice the cooked vegetables and the onion into
medium-sized rounds of
even size and thickness.
Place the cooked vegetables, onion and kale into
a large bowl. Season with
1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2
tablespoons of the spice mix

and the lemon zest. Toss to
4. Heat oven to 350 F.
Lightly oil an 8-by-8-inch
baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Layer the
root vegetables in the dish
as desired until the vegetables are almost to the top
of the dish. Set dish aside
while you make the sauce.
5. Strain the water from
the cashews and place the
cashews in a blender along
with 2 cups of reserved
cooking water from the vegetables, remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon no-salt seasoning,
the rice flour and the nutritional yeast. Blend until
ingredients are combined
and no more cashew pieces
6. Pour the cashew mixture over the layered root
vegetables and bake for 35
minutes, until golden brown
and bubbling.


Here’s a diabetic-friendly, gluten-and-dairy free, four-ingredient brownie recipe that’s rich, delicious and sure to be a hit with your guests!

1 cup fresh or canned
pumpkin or sweet potato
1/2 cup soft almond butter 2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons stevia

1. Heat oven to 350 F.
Coat a 6-by-6-inch loaf pan
with cooking spray and set
aside. (A smaller pan yields
thicker brownies.)
2. Place all ingredients
into a high-speed blender, food processor or large
bowl, and mix until batter
is thick and fully combined.
3. Transfer brownie batter to loaf pan and bake for
12-15 minutes, rotating pan
after 6 or 7 minutes, until a
skewer comes out almost
clean. Allow the brownies to
cool in the pan completely
before slicing into bars.
Serves 6.
TIP: For those who want
a topping, a dollop of vegan
or dairy-free vanilla yogurt
is delicious!
Angela Shelf Medearis
is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of
seven cookbooks. Her new
cookbook is “The Kitchen
Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.”
Her website is www.divapro.

©2018 King Features Synd.
and Angela Shelf Medearis

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