Holidays bring joy - and food anxiety. How to cook, how to serve, and, finally, how much? In an era when we all seem to be on a diet, do you give in and make everything Grandma did?
Today's goal is not to re-create a Norman Rockwell painting, but to make a festive meal you will be happy to serve on Thanksgiving Day.
Shoot for quality, not quantity. You don't need more food than your family and guests will eat or more leftovers than you can enjoy. As you plan the menu, ask what they'd miss if it weren’t there.
Let's Talk Turkey
The biggest change: If you don't need to present the whole turkey for carving at the table, cook a turkey breast instead. A 5-pound to 6-pound turkey breast roasted at 325°F will cook in about 2 hours and will supply about 3 pounds of solid white meat.
Instead of adding things to your vegetables, let them be themselves. Steam the beans and use fresh-cut veggies as an appetizer tray, maybe with a little low-fat dip. Plain sweet potatoes - hold the marshmallows, please - add color to your plate.
Brussels Sprouts with Mushroom Sauce
Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains 70 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 85 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, and 4 g protein.
1 pound Brussels sprouts or broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, or turnips
1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half. Steam until tender - about 6 to 10 minutes, or microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Bring the broth to a boil in a nonstick pot. Mix in the lemon juice, mustard, and thyme. Add the mushrooms. Boil until the broth is reduced by half, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts. Toss well to coat with the sauce.
Serves 6 (as a side dish). Each serving contains about 98 calories, 2 g protein, 2 g fat (18 % calories from fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, and 108 mg sodium.
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound white turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound winter squash, such as Hubbard or butternut, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 whole head of garlic, skin removed, broken into cloves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large, shallow roasting pan, combine carrots, turnips, squash, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper, then toss until vegetables are coated with oil.
Roast vegetables, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook, stirring once or twice with a metal spatula, until vegetables are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper before serving.
Fresh Cranberry Applesauce
Serves 6. Each serving (with sugar) contains about 42 calories, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, and 0 mg sodium.
- 1 pound apples (3 medium-sized)
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or 2 packets artificial sweetener
- 1/2 cup water
Peel and core apples. Chop apples and put into a microwave-safe dish with cranberries. Add water. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir in sugar (or sweetener) and mash with a fork to desired consistency. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Go for Dessert
This tasty pumpkin pie includes a sugar-free crust as well as a lightened pumpkin filling without sacrificing taste.
Serves 8. Each serving contains about 278 calories, 42 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 6 g fat, 91 mg sodium, and 3 g fiber.
- 1/3 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk
Put flour and shortening into a small bowl. With 2 knives, a fork, or a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour until thoroughly mixed. Work on the crust at this time, not after adding water.
Add water and use a fork to toss quickly. Handle as little as possible. It can be a bit crumbly when you put it onto plastic wrap. Form a ball as you wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When ready to make the crust, sprinkle a little flour on a large piece of plastic wrap. Put dough on the floured wrap. Turn once to get flour on both sides. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan.
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin with egg substitute, sugar, and spices. Add evaporated milk; stir thoroughly. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and keep baking for 30 minutes longer or until tester inserted in center of pie comes out clean. The center will get firmer as it cools.
Need more healthy Thanksgiving ideas? Check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration.
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