Cooking Healthy this Thanksgiving

By Tara Brooke | Tara's Kitchen

Oct 06

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is that we are able to sit down together at the dinner table and just enjoy each other’s company while munching on great food. However, typical dishes served during this holiday are laden with fat. This is why every year, with my little girl’s help, I try to whip up a healthy meal that my family will enjoy.

I was browsing the Readers Digest website a few days ago and I found some great recipes that not only looks delicious but are also tailored to be free from so much grease:

Apple Hazelnut Stuffing

This wholesome alternative to the traditional stuffing combines fresh flavors like hazelnuts, apples, parsley, and rosemary for a delectable treat while cutting back on the fat and calories.

The recipe calls for sautéing two chopped celery stalks, one chopped onion, in a tablespoon of olive oil for four minutes. Add a shredded carrot, three tablespoons of minced parsley, a tablespoon of minced rosemary and keep sautéing for four minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add two minced garlic cloves and cook for one more minute.

Combine the vegetable mixture with four cups of cubed day-old bread, 1 ½ cups of shredded peeled tart apples, ½ cup of toasted chopped hazelnuts, a lightly beaten egg, ¾ cup apple cider, ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Transfer this to an 8-inch square baking dish, cover, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover, and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 165°.

Low Calorie, Low Fat Gravy

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving will not be complete without the gravy but it has too many calories and too much fat that skipping it seems like a good idea. However, there is a way to enjoy gravy without the guilt.

For this recipe, sauté a chopped large onion, a chopped medium-sized carrot, and one stalk of celery in two teaspoons of canola oil until tender. Add half a cup of sherry or unsweetened apple juice and cook for one more minute. Add two and a half cups of water, ½ cup of parsley sprigs, and two bay leaves. Let simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

Strain and discard vegetables.

In a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup of unbleached all purpose flour, 1 ¾ cups chicken broth, 1 tablespoon turkey drippings, 1 teaspoon sage, salt, pepper, and the gravy base. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

Maple-Ginger Roasted Veggies

Seasonal vegetables laced with the crisp flavor of ginger and sweetened with maple syrup will definitely make your dinner table festive.

Simply combine five medium peeled and sliced parsnips, 5 small sliced carrots, 3 medium peeled and cubed turnips, 1 large peeled and cubed sweet potato, 1 small peeled and cubed rutabaga, 1 large wedged sweet onion, and one small wedged red onion in a re-sealable bag with 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Shake to coat the veggies and lay in two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.

Bake uncovered, at 425° for 25 minutes, stirring once. Drizzle with syrup and then bake until vegetables are tender.

I hope you have fun in the kitchen this Thanksgiving!

XO

Tara

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