The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Muffins

Thanksgiving Muffins have cross-species appeal!

This is one our favorite meals!

It all started when we threw some leftovers together in a pan with some butter and broth. We liked it so much that we now cook it intentionally from scratch.

  • Mashed potatoes (made with butter, salt and milk)
  • Mashed butternut squash (mixed in with the potatoes)
  • Baked chicken (we prefer thighs (cooked with skin and bones). We bake them until the meat falls off the bone and is swimming in juices).
  • Sweet corn
  • Quinoa
  • Boxed stuffing (we prepare it in butter per the directions but use bone broth instead of water).
The only seasoning we add is Himalayan pink salt in addition to the seasonings that come with the stuffing and broth.

Pre-cook everything separately then assemble: Mash up the potatoes and squash first. Then add the quinoa. After that, it all goes in: chicken, corn and stuffing. Drizzle in some juices from the chicken pan. That's pretty much it!

For a crispy texture, fry it in a pan with some butter or bake it in buttered muffin tins.

Serve with a dollop of cranberry jelly!


Why make muffins?

You might ask why we would take the extra step to mix all these ingredients together instead of just enjoying them separately like a regular Thanksgiving-style meal.  Here's why:

1. It's great toddler food!  Our 18-month old can grab little chunks of muffin mush and handle them very well. She would not have quite the same luck with, say, a serving of cooked quinoa by itself or mashed potatoes. Also, she probably wouldn't eat some of these ingredients unless they were disguised:  For example, she generally refuses most meats but will eat them in this way.

2. It's portable. My wife gets looks of envy from her colleagues when she brings a couple of these muffins to work for lunch. Once they are made, they're easy grab-n-go food.


We have incorporated sweet potatoes and baked beans at various times and still loved it. You can pretty much experiment with whatever is in the fridge.

It's so tasty! Yes, it's a carb-heavy meal, but the stuffing adds some necessary texture so that it can be toddler finger food. It's an otherwise perfectly balanced meal with meat, veggies and starches. The boxed stuffing is the only thing with any processed ingredients, but everything else is just simple whole foods. We might look for less-processed options in the future for the stuffing portion.

The consistency is mushier than a typical muffin but firmer than a glob of mashed potatoes.

Bon App├ętit!