Ask A Houston Chef: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

By Karen Ulvestad

The Foodie Chef offers Personal Chef services, cooking classes, and an amazing blog. Morgan Jankovic bases her business from her life-long love of cooking and eating good food. She uses the best local organic ingredients possible in all her dishes. Her food philosophy “I love to make scratch made food with a healthy flavorful twist and with room for a decadent dessert.”

Morgan Jankovic
The Foodie Chef
Houston, TX
(
281) 701-9030
www.thefoodiechef.com

Morgan is the Chef for Foodie Chef, a personal Chef service in the greater Houston area. She embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, and combined this gift with her love of food. She learned her cooking skills through formal education at HHC, working at various Houston restaurants, and managing a catering service. Her love of cooking lead her back to the kitchen, and her current business the Foodie Chef. Her favorite dish to cook and eat is spaghetti bolognese, because she loves layering each flavor after the next. She loves interacting with her customers by making healthy food they want to eat. She opened Foodie Chef in 2014.

Sriracha Caramel Brussel Sprouts

“This recipe was developed from one of my favorite restaurants in Houston, Uchi. They make the best Brussell sprouts and I had to figure out how to make them at home.”

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. While the oven is heating, wash and trim brussel srpout ends. If the sprouts are really large, cut them in half.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet lined with foil. Spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Toss sprouts with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.
  3. While the sprouts are cooking, place the sugar in a saucepan. Cook stirring with a high heat spatula until amber. Slowly pour in lemon juice, fish sauce, sriracha, garlic, and 1/2 cup hot water. The sugar syrup may clump, but keep cooking it until it melts and reduces. Add black pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Put sprouts in a serving dish and generously pour the sauce over them. Serve immediately.

Related: Best Places To Buy A Thanksgiving Turkey In Houston

Sour Cherry Deep Dish Pie

“Because who doesn’t like a good cherry pie? Perhaps a scoop of ice cream makes it even better!”

  • Pie dough (store bought or homemade) rolled out flat and chilled on a floured sheet pan
  • 2 pounds sweet cherries pitted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Coarse or granulated sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions:

  1. For the egg wash: whisk together egg and salt.
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Place the pitted cherries in a bowl. Stir in the vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, and sprinkle the mixture over the cherries.
  4. Toss the sugar and cornstarch mixture with the cherries until they are evenly coated then set aside.
  5. Roll the dough out so that it fits in a 9″ spring form pan. Reserve the second pie dough for the lattice top. Work fast as the dough is hard to work with when it warms up. If the dough doesn’t fit perfectly, you can piece it together by pressing the edges to meet. Make sure there aren’t any thin spots since the dough is very delicate. Once it’s in the pan, prick all around with a fork. This helps the steam exit causing fewer bubbles. Place an 8 ” cakepan inside to weight it down, but pie weights can be used instead. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  6. Pour the cherry mixture into the cooked crust. Cover the top of the pie with the chilled, rolled top crust, or cut into strips and make a lattice crust over the top. Crimp the edges and chill for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 F. After pie has chilled, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (optional). Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes at 425. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Ratatouille

“It’s a simple yet comforting dish.”

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash (if small use 2)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 28 ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

  1. Start off by making the tomato sauce before prepping the vegetables.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the onions become translucent, add the tomatoes that have been seeded and drained. Cook for a few minutes until the flavors combine. Add 2 tablespoon of Thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste, sugar, and the wine. Cover and let simmer for up to an hour. Let is simmer while preparing the vegetables.
  3. While the tomato sauce is simmering, cut the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and red bell pepper in 1/8th inch pieces. This is best achieved with a mandolin, but a sharp knife with consistent cuts works well too. Once this is done, add the cream to the tomato sauce and season with salt, if needed.
  4. Add the tomato sauce to the bottom of the baking dish (remove the bay leaf) and spread evenly. Start by layering the vegetables in this order: eggplant, squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, and repeat. Once it’s layered, press down to make sure it is tightly packed. To finish, season the vegetables with salt, pepper, thyme (1 tablespoon), and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil or parchment and bake for 40-55 minutes. It is ready when the tomato sauce is bubbly, and the vegetables have given off their liquid. Serve hot.

Related: Best Restaurants In Houston Open For Thanksgiving In 2012

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