I don’t know about you, but every time I’m at Disneyland and see a stranger scarfing down one of those giant turkey legs, it is like a train wreck. I just cannot pull my horrified eyes off them.
However, tomorrow, Thanksgiving, is the one day of the year to give thanks to your family and friends, for watching you ravage a less over-priced, yet equally calorically-priced, deep fried turkey leg judgment-free.
This girl knows what’s up.
If there’s any advice I can give you this lovely holiday, it is to appreciate your time with your loved ones and be thankful for your life, love, and happiness. Today isn’t a day to count calories or torture yourself over replacing the pumpkin pie with brussel sprouts.
I am consistently amazed with the way that food brings people together, families in particular. So, this 5-day weekend of all weekends, cherish that. Cook together. Eat together. Spend quality time together. If you’re not with your family, cook with friends. If you’re not with friends, cook for a shelter. Do whatever you can today to use food bring you and the people around you together. It’s healthy.
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a complete disaster for your body. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have to cry to your personal trainer about it tomorrow. The intimidatingly toned girl on your gym schedule who is ALWAYS running a tiny bit faster next to you on the treadmill — seriously, it’s not a race, homie — doesn’t even have to look you up and down about it. It doesn’t even mean that you have to skip any meals this weekend. All you have to do is offer to cook a dish for the wonderful people that you are lucky enough to have in your life that want to eat a whole meal with you. Here are some of my favorite healthy recipes that you can fool your family into thinking are just as unhealthy as their honey glazed, double deep fried, mashed potato stuffed turkey. (Yep, that actually exists. No, I do not know the recipe.) However, these 5 recipes are shockingly healthy for how wonderful they taste! Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend of thanks and good eats with loved ones!
1. Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2. Wild Mushroom Stuffing
3. Green Bean Casserole
4. Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
5. Pumpkin Pie with Rum
PS – I would like to also say that I’m incredibly thankful for you reading this. I could have never imagined having this many people so interested in what I had to say, I am extremely blessed to have all of you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Firstly, I ‘d like to note that sweet potatoes are INCREDIBLE for you. Eat them. All the time. You will live a very long and healthy life.
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
- Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
- Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.
Per serving (makes about 12 servings):
96 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat , 0 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 118 mg sodium; 189 mg potassium.
Wild Mushroom Stuffing
- 10 cups day-old bread, crusts removed, cubed
- 3 cups low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 turkey liver or 2 chicken livers, diced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 shallots, finely diced
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 pounds chanterelle mushrooms or mixed wild mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place bread in a large bowl and toss with milk. Let stand, tossing or stirring occasionally, until saturated.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add liver and cook, stirring once or twice, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and butter to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushroom have softened and the liquid released has evaporated, 8 to 12 minutes. Add to the bowl with the liver.
- Drain and squeeze the bread and add to the bowl with the mushroom mixture (discard any remaining milk). Add parsley, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Stir in eggs. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish.
- Bake until heated through and golden on top, about 45 minutes.
Per serving (makes about 10 servings):
270 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat , 5 g mono); 80 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 3 g fiber; 569 mg sodium; 460 mg potassium.
Green Bean Casserole
- 3 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, (see Ingredient Note)
- 1 pound frozen French-cut green beans, (about 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder, (see Ingredient Note)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving (makes about 6 servings):
212 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat , 5 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 533 mg sodium; 259 mg potassium.
Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
- 30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
- To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
- Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
Per serving (makes about 10 servings):
230 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat , 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 179 mg sodium; 165 mg potassium.
Pumpkin Pie with Rum (you heard me)
Just a note, this can be made without rum, but I recommend the added fun of making a rum pie for grandma.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1-2 tablespoons ice water
- 2 large eggs
- 1 15- or 16-ounce can plain pumpkin puree
- 1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 3 tablespoons dark rum, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- To prepare crust: Stir all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a nutty brown, 30 seconds to 4 minutes, depending on your stove. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Stir in oil. Slowly stir the butter-oil mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Gradually stir in enough ice water so the dough holds together. Press the dough into a flattened disk.
- Place two overlapping lengths of plastic wrap on a work surface. Set the dough in the center and cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 13-inch circle. Remove the top sheets and invert the dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Remove the remaining wrap. Fold the edges under at the rim and crimp. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- To prepare filling & bake pie: Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, molasses and rum (or vanilla). Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Rub through a sieve into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake the pie until the filling has set and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes; cover the edges with foil if they are browning too quickly. Cool on a wire rack.
Per serving (makes about 8 servings):
278 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat , 4 g mono); 58 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 187 mg sodium; 397 mg potassium.