A Fresh Approach to Thanksgiving
When you’re trying to eat healthy or following a special diet, it becomes difficult to celebrate holidays without worrying about what you’re eating. Thanksgiving is no exception. According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering from snacking to eating a traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings.
However, missing out on Thanksgiving or miss making memories with your loved ones because of your health and fitness goals is just not fair, right? Well, worry no more because we’ve got you covered. This year, instead of serving the old standbys try these lightened-up versions of the traditional highlights of the feast. Make this year your best Thanksgiving yet.
Turkey Roulade with Apple-Cider Gravy
No Thanksgiving guest is more important than the turkey, they say. So stuff your butterflied skinless turkey breast with a whole-wheat cranberry stuffing for a Thanksgiving main that’s just under 400 calories including the gravy.
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) skinless turkey breast, butterflied
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided 1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups),plus 1 cup sliced onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 slices day-old whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, cubed (about 2 1/2 cups) 1/3 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh crumbled sage or 3 teaspoons dried, divided
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
- Place the turkey breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a
meat mallet to an even thickness of about 3/4-inch. Set aside while stuffing is prepared.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the cranberries in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat, drain and reserve. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring, until onions are golden but not charred, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add bread, cranberries, pecans, 2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried sage and 1/2 to 3/4-cup chicken stock, depending upon consistency of stuffing; (you want the mixture to be moistened, but not too wet, since the turkey will release moisture when cooked). Cook over low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, remove from heat.
- Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the turkey breast. Spread the stuffing on
the turkey, leaving about 1 1/2 to 2-inches uncovered on all sides. Roll up and secure tightly with kitchen twine, trying to keep all stuffing intact.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large Dutch oven or medium-sized roasting pan until hot. Sear stuffed turkey breast on all sides until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add sliced onion and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, cover tightly and roast in the oven until turkey reaches 160 degrees F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into inner layer of meat, about 60 to 65 minutes. Remove the turkey breast from oven and transfer to a cutting board to rest.
- Make the gravy: Add apple cider, 1/2 cup chicken stock, vinegar and remaining sage to the onions, chicken stock and juices in the roasting pan, bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by 1/3. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes more. The gravy should not be thick, just slightly thicker than au jus. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Makes 1 1/2 cups gravy.
- Remove twine from turkey breast and slice into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces. Serve with gravy.
Gluten-free pumpkin pie with walnut crust
This delicious luscious pumpkin pie is all natural, contains no refined white sugar and is gluten free. The filling is a rich combo of pure pumpkin, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, mascarpone cheese, eggs and spices. No artificial anything. Just real food at its finest.
For the crust:
- All natural cooking spray
- 2 ¼ cups walnuts
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
For the pumpkin pie filling:
- 3 eggs
- 1 can pure pumpkin (preferably organic)
- ½ heaping cup mascarpone cheese (find in the cream cheese or specialty cheese section)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup pure (not imitation) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Big pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse nuts, coconut sugar and salt in a food processor until just ground (about 10 to 13 pulses) making sure not to over pulse. Or chop the nuts until they are almost ground and then stir in the coconut sugar and salt. Add egg and melted butter and pulse again a few times or just until the dough comes together.
- Generously spray the bottom, sides and top of pie plate with cooking spray. Gently press walnut crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate, making sure to press the dough so it’s evenly dispersed in all areas.
- To help prevent the edges of the pie from burning, make a pie shield. To make a foil shield, fold a 12-inch foil square into quarters. With scissors, cut out the center and round off edges to leave a 2-inch-wide ring. Unfold the ring and place over your pie. Wrap the edges of the tinfoil under the pie plate.
- Bake crust with pie shield for 20 minutes on the middle rack in the oven.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Beat eggs in a bowl. Add remaining pumpkin pie filling ingredients to the bowl and beat just until smooth. Note: You can add more or less cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg if you’d like.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven. Carefully remove the shield. Pour the filling into the crust and carefully replace the pie shield.
- Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until pie is set, making sure to remove the pie shield the last 15 minutes of cooking so the edges get golden. Let the pie rest for about 1 hour.
Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots
Skip the soup in a can in this quintessential Thanksgiving side dish and make a creamy sauce using low-fat milk instead which is an excellent source of protein and provides the benefits of milk while supplying less fat.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 medium shallots, sliced into rings (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 pounds thin fresh string beans or haricots verts, trimmed
- 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1/4 cup shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining shallots, cooking 1/4 cup at a time. Reserve the oil in the skillet.
- Place the green beans in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved shallot oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl. Whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the mixture to the skillet and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans, mushroom mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the green bean mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with the crispy shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Brussels Sprouts, Red Pepper, and Avocado Salad Recipe
If you are trying to improve your diet, cruciferous vegetables and fruits should be at the very top of your grocery list this Thanksgiving. This liver cleansing diet raw food recipe for a healthy liver is definitely worth a try.
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
- 1 c. navel orange juice
- ½ c. grapeseed oil
- ½ c. white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. agave syrup
- 2 small red onions
- ¼ c. Chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ jalapeño
- 1 avocado
- 2 roasted red peppers
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, remove outer leaves of Brussels sprouts and discard cores. Fill a bowl with ice water. Blanch leaves in boiling water until bright green, about 40 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, then plunge into ice water until cool, 15 to 30 seconds. Drain leaves on paper towels and blot dry.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together next 7 ingredients.
- Place leaves, avocado, and red peppers in a serving dish. Drizzle dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
A holiday staple in many households, creamed onions are usually bathed in a rich white sauce made with heavy cream. But for a luxuriously silky sauce with fewer calories and less fat, simply roast the onions for an added layer of flavor and lighten up the sauce with low-fat milk.
- 3 pounds fresh or frozen pearl onions or boiling onions
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ cup reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups low-fat milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- If using fresh onions, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add onions and cook 1 minute to loosen the skins. Drain. When cool enough to handle, trim both ends, leaving enough of the root end to keep the onions whole while roasting. Peel off the skins. Toss the prepared fresh onions (or frozen onions) with 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate all the onions in a single layer. (If you’re using fresh onions, a 9-by-13-inch pan is large enough; if using frozen, you may need a larger pan.) Roast the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown in spots, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes more.
- About 30 minutes after the onions start roasting, start the cream sauce. Melt butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and is free of lumps, about 30 seconds. Whisk in milk, then add bay leaf, thyme, pepper and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt; bring to a gentle boil, whisking often. Reduce heat to the barest simmer and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of thick gravy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
- Stir the roasted onions and any broth from the pan into the cream sauce. Stir in lemon juice. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.
Make Ahead Tip: Reheat in the microwave on High, covered, stirring frequently, or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.