The Best Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese You'll Ever Have

 
cranberry grilled cheese
 

This recipe video was sponsored by Cape Cod Select Cranberries. I only work with brands that I truly like and would recommend. 

This recipe was part of the monthly #letsberealmeals recipe project, a project featuring simple, healthy recipes created by registered dietitians. Follow along here.


I'll be honest, I was pretty impressed with this grilled cheese. I even served it to a group of guys, who were equally as impressed. We tried it with both brie and white cheddar, both were good, but we all agreed the cheddar stood out over the brie. 

As you may know, I grew up spending summers on Cape Cod back in Massachusetts, so I was excited to connect with Cape Cod Select Cranberries, and equally impressed I found them all the way out in Montana. Maybe it's me, but these cranberries seem bigger, brighter, and even sweeter than the standard cranberries. Plus, the frozen version are super easy to cook with. Huge fan.

 
cheddar apple grilled cheese
 

I love a good cranberry sauce. And as much as I like sugar, many cranberry sauces have a bit much for me. I love the natural sweetness and slight tartness of cranberries and would rather not mask these natural flavors with a bunch of added sugar. This cranberry sauce I made is just the right amount of sweet and tart to compliment the cheddar and apples. If you prefer it sweeter, add more maple syrup.

As I'm writing this, I'm wondering how did cranberry sauce even become a Thanksgiving tradition? If you know please let me know!

Check out my latest recipe video below featuring this amazing cran apple grilled cheese and be sure to try it too! It could not be easier.

 

Ingredients:

Cranberry Sauce
1.5 cups Cape Cod Select Cranberries
1 ripe orange, juiced
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Grilled Cheese
1/2 a Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly*
2 oz white cheddar cheese* 
2 slices sourdough bread (I found cran orange sourdough in the bakery of my local store)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce*

*All ingredient measurements depend on the size of the bread you use. Use enough of each to cover the slice of bread in a single layer.

Directions:

1. Heat ingredients for cranberry sauce in a medium size pot over medium heat. As it begins to boil, mash the berries into a sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and it reaches your desired consistency.

2. Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.

3.  On the unbuttered side of one slice of bread - layer cranberry sauce, then apples, then cheese. Top with the other slice of bread - buttered side facing out.

4. Heat fry pan over medium heat. Fry the sandwich on each side for about 3 minutes each until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown. I recommend covering the fry pan with a lid to keep the heat in and help the cheese melt without the bread burning.

5. Slice in half and enjoy!

FNCE Finds - 10 new food products you should try

 
FNCE finds.jpg
 

I’m writing this on the plane as I fly back home after a crazy (but awesome) long weekend in Chicago at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I spent the past four days with 10,000 other dietitians in the windy city getting up to speed on the latest nutrition research, networking, visiting with friends, and tasting way too many new food products. The conference is always a blast and well worth it.

Each year the expo features 100s of food brands, offering samples, coupons, giveaways, and more. Listed below are a few of my favorites. Check them out and let me know what you think!


 

1.     YumButter

Not only do I love these nut butters but I love the company's mission. For each jar or pouch of yumbutter you purchase, they feed a hungry child in Guatemala. They have a variety of flavors and many are mixed with chia and hemp seeds for added nutrition (like omega-3s).

 

2.     Crazy Richard’s PB powder

Not only is their peanut butter amazing, but this is the first PB powder I’ve seen without added sugars that actually tastes good.

A lot of pb powder companies brand the product as low-fat. Low-fat does not necessarily equate to healthfulness. To me, the healthy fats are one of the huge benefits of peanut butter in the first place. I like PB powders not because they're low in fat, but because they're easy to add a little peanut butter taste to smoothies, banana ice cream, or even peanut sauces and stir-fries.  Plus, they're great for camping or backcountry adventures, without the extra weight to carry.

 

3.     La Colombe

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While some swear they need coffee to wake up in the morning, coffee usually makes me feel completely off. It usually upsets my stomach, gives me a headache, or makes me shake. For me, La Colombe is different. A few mornings this past weekend, I was feeling especially tired after late nights networking and early morning education sessions, so I thought I’d give it a try. I tried both the seasonal peppermint and the mocha and LOVED both! These draft lattes are super smooth and gave me the perfect amount of energy without making me shake or feel sick. Unfortunately, La Colombe is not in Montana yet, but I was happy to hear I can order them on Amazon.

 

4.     Kitchfix Granola

You have to try the Lemon Berry Chia! It's flavored with lemon oil, and is absolutely amazing. I typically recommend looking for granolas and bars with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, and Kitchfix products have just 6 grams. The granolas are all lightly sweetened with apple juice or maple syrup and have the perfect amount of sweetness without tons of added sugar. They also happen to be grain-free.

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5.     Bolthouse Farms Plant Protein Milk

Bolthouse farms is my favorite brand of salad dressings because of their ‘cleaner’ ingredients, amazing taste, and variety of options. I love their 1915 Organic Juices too and am just overall a big fan. I was excited to meet them at FNCE and try their new products. They were showcasing their new line of plant-based milks (now in stores!) which were very good. The milks are dairy free and are made with pea protein. Most milk alternatives (almond, soy, cashew milk, hemp milk, etc.) don't quite compare to cow's milk when it comes to protein, calcium, and vitamin D. But the Bolthouse farms products are the best I've seen yet! They have 10 grams of protein per serving (cow's milk has 8), and are also high in calcium and vitamin D. I would recommend the unsweetened or original versions, as the chocolate and vanilla are high in added sugars. Keep an eye out in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, these will be coming soon!

 

6.     Regular Girl

Yesterday, I posted a picture to my InstaStory of a handout I got from the Regular Girl booth. It showed the different types of poops and what each type means - dehydration, constipation, diarrhea, or normal. I was surprised by how many people saw this and commented back with questions! For constipation we may need to be drinking more water or incorporate more fiber into our diets. For diarrhea, we may need more soluble fiber to help bulk up our stool - oatmeal, beans, nuts, apples, blueberries.

Regular girl offers a prebiotic and probiotic fiber supplement you can easily add to a meal to boost the fiber content and keep you regular. We need about 25-30 grams of fiber each day and the majority of Americans do not meet these needs. I added some of the Regular Girl supplement powder to my smoothie this morning and could not even taste it. So many supplement powders alter the taste or texture of the meal, so I loved that I could not tell it was there.  Stay tuned- I just registered with them to be able to offer you coupons and samples! Let me know if you're interested and I'll hook you up!

7.     Daily Harvest

If you're trying to simplify meal prep you should also check out my Meal Prep Made Easy Workbook. It's loaded with recipes, tips, worksheets, meal plan charts, and more.

I'd heard of Daily Harvest through social media in the past, but had been a bit skeptical to try. I was happy to connect with them at FNCE and try a few of their flavors. Daily Harvest offers a smoothie subscription, delivery service. They send you containers of frozen smoothie ingredients and all you have to do is add liquid and blend. They're a great way to simplify meal prep and keep healthy go-tos on hand. I was super impressed with each one I tried. They tasted great and are healthy too!

 
smoothies delivered
 

8.     Califia Farms Pumpkin Creamer

I was really impressed with this product and it's good for you ingredients. I loved the seasonal pumpkin creamer because it's made with real pumpkin puree and spices - no artificial ingredients or taste. You can actually see the spice granules so you know it's the good stuff. Perfect for those with allergies - it also happens to be soy-free and dairy-free.

9.     Simple Mills Frosting

Simple Mills has quite the impressive line up of products. I've tried a few in the past, but their frosting was new to me. Each time a friend has a birthday, I struggle with what to use for frosting. It's hard to find a quality frosting without hydrogenated oils or mystery ingredients and I don't always have time to make it from scratch. But Simple Mills has done it! They have a chocolate and vanilla frosting made without hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and only 7 grams of sugar per serving and it seriously tastes amazing!

 

10.  Manitoba Flaxmeal

Flaxseeds have been trendy lately – but did you know our bodies can’t actually break down the outer shell to reap the benefits of the Omega-3s and other nutrients? In order to absorb the anti-inflammatory Omega-3s, the flax seeds must be ground into a meal before eating. This company makes a ground flax that is amazingly soft and tasty. I’ve tried other brands but nothing compares to the soft texture of this brand.

 


Recipes you'll love when you'd rather eat veggies and all your boyfriend wants is meat and potatoes (or vice versa)

 
vegetarian recipes
 

When I reached out to my RD friends to share their recipes for this post, I was surprised by how many said this describes themself and their boyfriend/husband/fiance to a T. I've been planning to write a post on this for months now because I'm frequently asked for good recipes for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike.

I'm not technically a vegetarian (I don't like labels or restrictions) but I do prefer to eat more veggie-centered meals. Too many meals heavy on meat just don't make me feel my best. 

Colin and I for the most part split the cooking pretty evenly. As much as I like to cook, there are nights I don't feel like it and am so grateful he likes to!

On the nights I cook, I make things like stuffed squash, tofu stir-fries, or soups while he prefers to make steaks, chili, lasagna, and roasted veggies. When the other person cooks, we politely eat what we're served (he's a good sport for some of my experiments). If we're cooking together, we always agree on seafood or pizza. Otherwise, I'll typically make a veg version and he'll make a meat version.

When cooking for two with different preferences, it can be challenging if you go into it thinking that you have to make two completely different meals or feeling like you're settling just to be agreeable but are actually super angry inside.


Here are my tips for you: 

1. Choose a few go-to meals that both you and your S.O. approve of
mine are pizza and seafood

2. Plan the meal around the vegetable and add the protein as the accent
instead of having steak or burgers for dinner, you're having grilled or stir-fried vegetables with steak and tofu

3. Keep your pantry stocked with plenty of veggies and protein options for both parties


A few simple meal ideas to get you started:

Tacos - half lentils, half meat

Pizza - half meat, half veg

Stir-fries - cook meat in separate skillet, roast tofu in oven

Buddha Bowls - a mixed bowl of whole grains, protein, veggies, & sauce

Pasta - go heavy on veggies, add protein on the side

Burgers - both veggie and meat patties are simple to prepare

Vegetarian Chili or other soups and stews

Dinner on the Grill - veggies, meat, tofu, portobello mushrooms, and shrimp kebabs are all easy to grill at the same time

Sheetpan Dinner - throw veggies and protein on a sheet pan and cook all at once, meat and veg protein can be cooked separately


Below you'll find 30 recipes that are perfect when one of you loves meat and the other not so much. A few of them are easy to prep with part meat and part veg, and some are vegetarian (or vegan) options that even meat-lovers love.

Enjoy!


Whole Grains

Vegetable 'Fried' Rice with Almond-Teriyaki Sauce
Amy Gorin, RD of Amy Gorin Nutrition

Lentil Cranberry Saffron Rice
Roxana Begum, PhD, RD of The Delicious Crescent


chili

Better for you Chili

Better for you Chili

Better For You Chili
Elizabeth Ward, RD of Better is the new Perfect

You can leave the meat out of half of this recipe so both people can enjoy it.

Spicy 3 Bean Chili
Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN of Eat Real Live Well

 

 


Stuffed Vegetables

Zucchini Boats
Chef Catherine Brown, Organic Grower, Culinary Nutritionist

Cooked ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey could be added to a portion of this filling to make some with meat and some without. These can be made as a side dish and served with chicken or steak for one person and a salad for the other.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Tawnie Kroll, RD of Kroll's Korner

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash
Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RD of One Hungry Bunny

Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato
Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT of The Foodie Dietitian

Curried Lentil Stuffed Peppers
Jenna Gorham, RD of Jenna Gorham Nutrition

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash


Lasagna & other Italian faves

The Best Easy Vegan Lasagna
Alexis Joseph, RD of Hummusapien

Her boyfriend asks for this every week!

High-Protein Vegetarian Lasagna (in the Crockpot)
Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD of StaceyMattinson.com

Eggplant Meatballs

Eggplant Meatballs

30 Minute Spicy Lentil Bolognese
Chelsey Amer, RD of CitNutritionally


Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs
Kara Golis, RD of Byte Sized Nutrition

'I'm not vegetarian, but I rarely eat meat.. and meanwhile, my fiancé is the ultimate "meat and potatoes" kind of of guy. These vegetarian "meatballs" are a favorite of both of ours though.. he actually requests them over regular meatballs!' - Kara Golis, RD

Protein Punch Marinara Spaghetti Squash
Amy Gorin, RD of Amy Gorin Nutrition

'I like this recipe because of the egg, so you get plenty of protein.' - Amy Gorin, RD


Burgers

Curried Beet & Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Kara Golis, RD of Byte Sized Nutrition

Another favorite Kara and her fiance can agree on.

Edamame Ancient Grain Veggie Burgers
Sharon Palmer, RD of The Plant-Powered Dietitian

healthy burger, vegan

Lentil Taco Burgers
Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN of Eat Real Live Well

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers
Chelsey Amer, RD of CitNutritionally

Mushroom Black Bean Veggie Burger
Kara Lydon, RD, LN, RYT of The Foodie Dietitian


more from the grill

Tropical Tofu Kebabs with Mango and Avocado
Rachael Hartley, RD of Rachael Hartley Nutrition

Grilled Chicken and Peach Kebabs with Honey Mustard Glaze
Rachael Hartley, RD of Rachael Hartley Nutrition

grilled chicken and peach kebabs

Mexican Inspired

Burrito Bowls

Burrito Bowls

 

Epic Vegetarian Nachos
Rachel Hartley, RD of Rachel Hartley Nutrition

Easy Vegan Tacos Al Pastor
Jennifer Rodriguez, RD of Food is Vida, Bilingual Plant-Based Dietitian

Chipotle Inspired Vegan Burrito Bowl
Kara Lydon, RD, LN, RYT of The Foodie Dietitian

 

 

other

BBQ Jackfruit Pizzas

BBQ Jackfruit Pizzas

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas
Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RD of One Hungry Bunny

Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans
Liz Weiss, RD of Liz's Healthy Table

Marinated Tofu
Chef Catherine Brown, Organic Grower, Culinary Nutritionist

These marinated cubes of tofu can replace meat in just about any cold or hot dish: pasta or other whole grain, tacos, wraps, salads, etc.

Healthy Mushroom Croquette
Judith Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD and author of Lean Body, Smart Life

Persian Zucchini Kuku (like a frittata)
Roxana Begum, PhD, RD of The Delicious Crescent

Autumn Salad with Grilled Figs
Chef Catherine Brown, Organic Grower, Culinary Nutritionist

This gorgeous dinner salad can easily accommodate a meat-eater and a non-meat-eater by frying a few slices of bacon to replace the smoked tempeh in one of the salads or adding steak tips to one salad.