Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

 

 

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that’s lower in fat and calories but still thrills the crowd isn’t hard. All it takes is a few ingredient substitutions and some clever fat-busting techniques. Let’s take a look at how to make a delicious, healthier Thanksgiving meal.

The Turkey

If you’re hosting a small gathering, buy a turkey breast rather than the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

“This is simple and delicious, and certainly not rocket science,”  “No need to really add anything or change anything other than the cooking time — mine was done perfectly at 5-1/2 hours. The meat is tender, juicy, and delicately seasoned.”

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Photo by Lori

 

 

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. With a sharp knife, butterfly breasts open to lay flat. Place each breast between two sheets of waxed paper, and flatten with a mallet. Spread the prepared stuffing to within 1/4 inch of the edge of each breast. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans and dried cranberries, reserving some of the cranberries for garnish. Roll up tightly in a jellyroll style, starting with the long end. Tuck in ends, and tie in sections with string, about 4 sections around the middle and one running the length of the roll to secure the ends.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully brown rolls on all sides.
  4. Place skillet in oven, uncovered. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is at 170 degrees F (78 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Do not let these get overly dry.
  5. Allow rolls to set for 15 minutes before removing string, and slicing into 1/2 to 3/4 inch circles. Leave one roll whole, and slice the other for presentation. Stuffing will be spiraled into meat. Present on your prettiest platter on a bed of curly lettuce, and garnish by sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves and the reserved dried cranberries.

“This one is a keeper,” “I make it every thanksgiving instead of the whole turkey — it turns out beautifully every time! Very pretty presentation, too!”

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts
Photo by lutzflcat

 

If you do buy a whole turkey, avoid “self-basting” turkeys, as they often contain added fat. And, it goes without saying, stay away from the deep fryer this year, and roast or smoke the turkey. Stuff the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples, and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and/or rosemary. Rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, spray it with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.

Guilt-Free Gravy

Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table. Use vegetable oil rather than turkey drippings when making the gravy — it’s still fat, but vegetable oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free.

If you use turkey drippings to add flavor, use a gravy separator. Pour the gravy into a separator and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Some of the fat in the gravy will rise to the top of the glass where you can skim it off easily. Better yet, make a low-fat broth-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy instead.

Lightning Gravy

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a microwave safe dish heat water and bouillon on high, stirring occasionally until just boiling.
  2. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water and mix together; stir into the hot broth and cook on medium for about 1 minute, or until thick, stirring at 30 second intervals.

“This is awesome because it’s low fat, low cal, (for gravy!) and quick,” “I added a black pepper and a small pinch of ground sage.”

Lightning Gravy
Photo by Marianne

 

Slimmed-Down Sides

Instead of loading up your mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, add some of the starchy water you used to boil the potatoes. The starchy water will give your mashers a low-cal creamy texture and help cut back on fat.

You can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream to your mashed potatoes. For extra flavor, stir in roasted garlic and herbs. For added nutrition, add pureed cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips — or replace the potatoes entirely with Mashed Parsnips or Mashed Turnips.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine potatoes and chicken broth in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook potatoes on Low for 3 hours. Add cauliflower and continue cooking on Low another 3 hours.
  3. Stir milk, butter, sour cream, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt into the potato mixture. Mash with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
  4. Continue cooking until hot, about 10 minutes more.

 

“This was good and a great way of adding extra veggies into a meal,”  I had mine along side some corn and stuffing. It was the perfect accompaniment and easy to make.”

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Photo by bd.weld

Cndied sweet potato casseroles in favor of a low-fat, naturally-sweetened sweet potatoes. Try a cranberry relish or cut down on the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce by adding fruit juices or apple sauce.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool until potatoes can be handled, about 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, place olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Set shells aside. Place pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, ginger, and sugar to the blender; blend until smooth.
  5. Return potato mixture to a bowl; stir in shallots, Parmesan cheese, and sage. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

“These were absolutely fabulous,” says “We aren’t fond of sweet potato dishes that have a lot of added sugar, so this was really to our taste.”

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

y, where it absorbs fat from the turkey as it bakes. It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, so take a small serving if it’s your Thanksgiving favorite. If you can avoid recipes using too much sausage or bacon; wild rice and grains are more nutritious than bread stuffings.

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook and stir sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling coarsely, for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Empty pan of grease.
  2. Into the same pan melt the butter. Add the leeks or onions, apples, celery and poultry seasoning; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, dried cranberries and cooked sausage. Mix all with the dried bread cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Moisten with the chicken stock.
  3. Stuff turkey with about 5 cups for a 14 pound turkey. Add additional chicken stock to moisten stuffing if needed. Remaining stuffing can be baked in a covered buttered casserole at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to brown top.

 

LivinOurLuvSong. “I left out the sausage and used veggie broth. I baked it in a pan and it was perfect.”

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Photo by alexandra5

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Most of the fat in a pie comes from the crust. Try a crust-free pumpkin pie recipe or a reduced-fat graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs with white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour over baked crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, until set. Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

“This is a great recipe,” raves LAURA J JOHNSON. “It makes homemade pumpkin pie much easier and it tastes great.”

Pumpkin Pie Squares
Photo by CC
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Foods, Uncategorized

Italian Turkey Sausage

 

 

italianturkeysausage.jpg

Italian Turkey Sausage

 

Ingredients

 

 

1 pound ground turkey

2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like things spicy!)

 

Directions

 

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Using your hands, mix well. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate overnight before using.

 

Use as patties, in meatballs, pizza toppings, or any other of your favorite recipes!

 

Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 2 ounces | Calories: 90 | Total Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 137mg | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Protein: 11g | SmartPoints: 2

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

chickenpotpie

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

 

Total Time 50 min

Prep 30 min, Cook 20 min

Yield 7 servings

I recently heard that pot pie made with biscuits on the top is “Vermont style,”

That’s why this pot pie is made with my low-carb drop biscuits on the top.

 

Ingredients

3 cups of cut-up chicken or turkey meat (fully cooked)

1/4 cup of butter (half a stick) or oil

1/2 cup of minced onion

1/2 cup of chopped green or red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Flour and/or low carb thickener (see note below)

2/3 cup of unsweetened soy milk or other unsweetened milk

1/3 cup of heavy cream

1 cup (or so) of chicken broth, or use chicken soup base

1 16 ounce bag of frozen green beans

Salt (to taste)

Note: This recipe incorporates biscuit dough, which requires additional ingredients and prep (recipe included below.)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 F.

 

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

Cook onion in butter until it begins to soften.

Add chopped pepper and black pepper, and let it cook for a minute.

Add the flour here if you are going to use it; let it cook a minute.

 

Add the milk, cream, and broth. If you are using guar or xanthan gum, or other specialty product, use these here. For the broth, I use Better than Bouillion soup base and make it about double the concentration the package calls for, then use no salt, for a more chickeny flavor.

 

Add the chicken or turkey and then green beans. Some water will come out of the beans during cooking, so the sauce should be a little on the thick side. While that heats back up, make the biscuits.

 

When the biscuit dough is made and the pot pie mixture is bubbling hot, dump the contents of the saucepan into a 2 quart casserole dish.

 

Spoon the biscuit dough on the top, leaving room for expansion. (You can drop extra biscuit dough on a piece of foil to cook alongside the pot pie.)

 

Bake about 10 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Nutritional Information (not including biscuits): Each of about 7 servings has 5 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 3 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and 247 calories. This includes using 1 tablespoon of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of Carb Counters ThickItUp. Using all flour would add an extra gram of carb per serving and eliminate one gram of fiber.

 

Tips on Thickeners: The thickener in this dish is really up to you.

You can use about 2 tablespoons of flour, or you can go for more specialty products. I usually use half bean flour or rice flour and half of a specialty product, like guar gum or Carb Counters ThickItUp. For more information, see How to Thicken a Low Carb Sauce.

 

Tip on the Liquid: Whether you use milk, cream, or unsweetened soy or almond milk is really up to you and the specific diet you are on.

 

For the fewest carbs, I like the balance of unsweetened soy (or almond) milk plus cream for richness.

 

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Foods

Turkey Sloppy Joe

sloppyjoe

Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joe

Ingredients

1 pound (454 grams) ground turkey breast (raw)

1 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp yellow mustard

1/4 cup natural ketchup

1 15 oz can no-salt added tomato sauce

1 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1-2 packets Stevia (optional, if you want to make it on the sweeter side)

Directions

Mist a skillet with oil and brown raw turkey, onions and green pepper over medium heat. (You could skip this step, but you will get a better flavor.)

Place turkey meat, onions & green pepper in the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours. If you don’t brown the meat first, then cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Serve with a whole grain bun, toasted. Pictured is an Ezekiel hamburger bun . For gluten free, my favorite is Udi’s gluten free whole grain hamburger buns .

Yields: 4-6 Servings | Serving size: 1 Cup (bun not included) | Previous Points: 3 | Points Plus: 4 | Calories: 167 | Fat: 4 g | Carbohydrates: 14 g | Sugars: 8 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sodium: 387 mg | Protein: 23 gSchema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

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