What’s Cooking? A Keto Friendly Thanksgiving



Whatcha gonna do?

Especially with split families, families traveling in, estrangement, miscommunication and arguments about food prep.  These are just some of the conflicts in What’s Cooking?, the November Food ‘n Flix feature film.  Heather (the FnF Founder) is hosting this month.  You can read her announcement post here.  

These were some of my problems as well (split family, special diets, travel—I won’t go into other issues).    For the past three or four years, we have made a holiday dinner to pack up and deliver to my dad a state away.

First, I watched What’s Cooking? to get motivated.  

Watching What’s Cooking? definitely did put me in the spirit and mood to cook up a Thanksgiving feast.  The film depicts four families in a diverse LA neighborhood during the Thanksgiving holidays.

There’s the Avila family cooking up a Latin inspired meal with tamales, enchiladas, elote, etc.   Mom (Mercedes Ruehl) has kicked out dad for extramarital activities (with her cousin) and has a new hot boy toy (A Martinez).   A well-meaning son has “accidentally” invited dad to the festivities.

The Nguyen family (who runs the local video store) has almost a Shakespearean plot moving through the film.  There’s lots of mistaken angst working in their story line along with a missing son.  And, mom has to basically cook two meals, a traditional  Thanksgiving meal plus a Vietnamese meal for the elders in the household.   What ends up on their table is truly a mix of Americanized food (albeit not McDonald’s) and traditional dishes.

Long lost daughter(s) return to the Seelig family.   Mom makes LOTS of food and there’s the most traditional recipes found in her kitchen—sweet potatoes with marshmallows and jello molds.   She is trying to hold it all together with food.

The Williams have a lot going on as well.  The funniest scene in the film is when Alfre Woodard’s character places the perfectly plated and beautiful turkey in the middle of the table, only to have it go crashing through the table leaf.  As she stands back and just vocalizes guttural sounds, the rest of the guests try hard to comfort her and make it right.  Even the critical mother-in-law tries to console her.  (There’s a wayward son in this story line as well.)

The dish that tied these four family meals together was the turkey and I was struck with all the conversations that occurred while cooking the bird in each of the different households.

Again, it’s the holidays.  You have family.   What are you going to do?

For me and mine,  I did some research on Keto friendly recipes and cooked up a meal that was healthy and delicious (and that my dad could and should eat).  We packed it up one Saturday morning before Thanksgiving and headed east.

Here’s what was on the menu.

Keto Pumpkin Pie:  Instead of mostly almond flour, I used a nut mixed flour of almond, pecan, coconut and walnuts for the crust.  I also substituted unsweetened vanilla almond milk for the cream.  I will make this again but I’ll decrease the amount of spices.  It was a but overly cloved for my taste.  Besides the crust being different from a traditional one, I really don’t know if I could have told the difference with the filling.   I whipped up some coconut milk into a topping, adding a bit of vanilla and maple syrup.  (Alas, I did not take any photos of this dish.)   This recipe will probably show up as a featured one here soon.

Cauliflower “Stuffing”:  This stuff was amazing.  Cauliflower, carrots, celery, baby bellas, parsley, sage and onions meld together into a fabulous Thanksgiving dish.   Really…I might prefer this to the bready version.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Thyme:  I have to have Brussels Sprouts on the holiday table.  Besides the pain of cleaning them, this recipe is super simple.

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots:    This is my go-to healthy sweet potato recipe.  I’ve made this dish the past three Thanksgivings.  This year, I added a bit of olive oil-butter blend to the mash.  For the crispy shallots, I just sauted them to caramelized perfection and splashed around a bit of maple syrup in the pan before I topped the potatoes.

The shallots got mixed in upon arrival, reheating, and plating.

I adapted a cranberry compote recipe and spiced it up a bit with jalapenos.

Cranberry-Apricot Spicy Compote

Based on Cranberry-Apricot Sauce


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. dried apricots, very chopped
  • 1/2 t. fine Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 lb. fresh  cranberries
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded, deveined and minced
  • 2 T. honey
  • zest of one orange


  1. Heat oil and shallots in a medium saucepan on medium-low. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large sauce pan, add apricots, Himalayan pink sea salt, and  water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, cover, and stir occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked shallots, cranberries, jalapeno and honey.  Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have broken down and mixture has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest.  Taste.  Add more honey if you want a sweeter dish.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 10 mins.

Cook time: 30 mins.

Total time: 40 mins.


  • Calories: 110 per serving

I recommend serving this dish warm.

I wanted a quick and easy turkey recipe so I adapted a rotisserie chicken recipe.  The turkey was definitely moist but my spice rub needed something.   ???  Maybe I will add some sage and a bit of hot paprika next time.

Instant Pot Seasoned Turkey

This turkey is perfectly tender.


  • 7 lb. turkey breast, thawed
  • 1 t. fine pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 t. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 t. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 c. low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 c. white wine


  1. Set turkey on a clean work surface. Dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, oregano, and onion and garlic powders. Rub turkey breast with spice mixture.
  3. Set Instant Pot to saute setting. Add oil. When oil is hot, brown turkey on all sides. When browned, remove from instant pot.
  4. Place metal trivet (or a foil ring) into the pot. Add chicken stock and wine. Gently place turkey on top. Cook on high pressure, sealed for for 35 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Check the temperature of the turkey with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center. If the turkey is not at least 165 F, lock the lid in place and continue to cook it for a few more minutes. Remove the turkey breast to a platter; tent with foil and keep warm.

Yield: 6-8

Prep Time: 30 mins.

Cook time: 40 mins.

Total time: 70 mins.

What’s Cooking? did inspire me.  It doesn’t matter what kind of background or culture one comes from…family issues tend to be the same.     There’s estranged family members, cranky and critical in-laws, the goofy and idiotic relation, marital strife, problem children, communication issues…these things only get exacerbated with holiday stress.

As the holidays near, let’s remember to give thanks for all our blessings and our family (even when it’s hard) and to remember the reason for the season.


Please plan on joining Food ‘n Flix in December.  It’s truly a potluck holiday offering.  Highlight any recipe(s) inspired by your favorite holiday (Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa) movie.  The December round will be hosted at Food ‘n Flix.  I can’t wait to see what movies are chosen.  I’m waffling between two at the moment.  Check out my past holiday FnF offerings if you need some ideas:

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!!!

5 comments to What’s Cooking? A Keto Friendly Thanksgiving