Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Thanksgiving Plate

So Thanksgiving is upon us and for many, that means lots of good food. It also means lots of extra fat, sugar and calories. In this blog, we will explore ways to trim the calories, fat and sugar from your Thanksgiving plate while keeping yummy goodness! Think it can not be done? Well, keep reading and let's see.
  1. Turkey is actually a lean protein when eaten in moderation, so keep the roasted, not fried, turkey.
  2. Dressing / Stuffing is not that healthy when made with white bread, corn bread, cream based soups, butter, etc. I have included a healthier option
  3. Green Bean Casserole is one of my favorite holiday dishes, but with all that fat and sodium in it, the value is lost to the bad stuff.
  4. Cranberry Sauce is something I can not do without! I love the sweetness, but there are healthier recipes to be found
  5. Pumpkin Pie is again, a favorite dish. Somethings just shouldn't be messed with, but I will give it a try.
Allison's Roast Turkey
  • 3 Cups warm water
  • 1 C Brown sugar
  • 1/2 C salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T Poultry seasoning (optional)
  • turkey, mostly thawed
  • Something to place turkey in for marinating: If you have a big fridge, then use a closeable tub OR if it is not, then a large zip top bag or trash bag and a cooler (you will need ice)
  • 1 large onion, wedged
  • 6 stalks celery, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic coves, peeled
  • 1 small bag baby carrots or carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces.
  • salt and pepper
24 hours prior to roasting, mix first 5 ingredients until dissolved. Place turkey in marinating holder. Poor brine over then add water to cover. Seal and place in fridge OR in cooler and cover with ice. Make sure to keep the ice refilled as needed.

When you are ready to roast, there are 2 methods to choose from. The first is the traditional method, breast side up. Cook as you normally would, but instead of a rack, place onion wedges, garlic, celery, and carrots in the bottom of the panto serve as the rack, adding about 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. Place a handful inside the turkey as well. Salt and Pepper the inside and outside of the Turkey. Or, if you do not need to present the turkey whole, then follow this method for a tender turkey. Again create a "rack" with the veggies. Place the turkey breast side DOWN and cook for 2/3 time. Carefully flip the turkey breast side up and cook until done. This allows the breast skin to brown and sometimes you get a presentable turkey. Cooking the turkey upside down allows the breast to stay moist. Use the veggies and dripping to make a gravy.

Mayo Clinic Recommended Stuffing
Serves 6
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 10 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup whole water chestnuts
  • 1 cup chopped apple


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the chicken broth over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, parsley, tarragon, paprika, nutmeg, cranberries, water chestnuts and chopped apples. Add the onion and celery mixture. Stir to mix evenly.
  4. Spoon stuffing into the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
Green Bean Casserole from Eating Well
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium sweet onion, (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, (can omit)
  • 1 pound frozen French-cut green beans, (about 4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder, (might give a sour taste, so you can omit)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and sherry and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and buttermilk powder. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  3. Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup flour, paprika, garlic powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Add sliced onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the onion topping over the casserole.
  4. Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Salsa from
I added this as I thought it look yummy. I have never tried it, so be brave. You can also google "healthy cranberry sauce" and find your own recipe.
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, picked over and stems removed
  • 2 finely diced large celery stalks
  • 1 finely diced small white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. Process the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer the cranberries to a medium bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir the mixture well to combine.
  2. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
* For spicier salsa, include the seeds and ribs from the jalapeƱo. Or use a serrano chile, which has more heat.

Hungry Girl Healthy Pumpkin Pie

For Crust
For Filling
  • One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
  • 3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Optional Topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip or Cool Whip Free
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine butter with 2 tbsp. water. Microwave until just melted, and set aside. In a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter mixture and crumbs with remaining ingredients for crust. Stir until mixed well.
  4. Spray an oven-safe 9-inch pie dish lightly with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute crust mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the dish. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the filling. Mix well. Pour mixture into pie crust. The filling may be taller than the crust.
  6. Bake pie in the oven for 45 minutes. Allow pie to cool slightly. Refrigerate for several hours, overnight if possible. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  7. Cut into 8 slices and, if you like, top with Reddi-wip or Cool Whip before serving!
Another favorite holiday recipe for me is from a previous blog, the roasted root veggies. This has been a huge hit at my family holiday meals. Another great idea is instead of traditional sweet potatoes, roast them.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato per 1.5 persons
1 T olive oil per potato (or just enough to coat)
salt and pepper

pre heat oven to 375 degrees (you can cook these at various temps, just might take longer. so if you have other things in the oven, these can be added, just watch). Cut potatoes, unpeeled, into 1/2 chunks. Toss with oil. Place in a dark roasting pan or on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spice you like. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring several times.

So that is all I have for now. Get on the internet and see what healthy recipe you can find to substitute those unhealthy options we often cook. And remember, to go for a long walk after the big meal.

Eat well and be healthy. Remember to check out for more information.

In the Spirit of Camp,


Join us for the Youth Empowerment / Ragger Retreat Dec 9-11, 2011

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