Thanksgiving - An Easy and Healthy Way (Recipe and Tips)

This Thanksgiving, I offer you a few meal planning tips and my one-pan turkey & stuffing recipe.  We all need to reduce calories, carbs and fats, without sacrificing too much, if anything, in the taste department.  Here are a few tips to assist in meal planning:

  1. Swap out your mashed potatoes for mashed turnips.  If your family enjoys mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and stuffing, that means there are lots of carbs on the table.  Mashed turnips are much lower in carbs, about 1/3, than mashed potatoes, have fewer calories, and offer a similar taste and consistency.  Since you may be covering them in gravy (below), you probably won't notice anyway!
  2. Extend your stuffing with mushrooms.  Try using half bread and half chopped  mushrooms as the base of your stuffing.  You'll lower the carbs and calories while adding more nutritional value, such as the potassium found in mushrooms.  And, use organic mushrooms if possible.  
  3. Separate your gravy.  Pour the pan drippings out and let the fat separate, then skim it off so you're left with just the juice.  Mix that with your roux, heat and serve.
  4. Swap for lower calorie appetizers.  Crudité with salsa instead of chips and dip, shrimp cocktail or crab claws with cocktail sauce  instead of fried appetizers.

Since many of us have the good fortune to be guests at Thanksgiving, we don't get the opportunity to fill our own kitchens with the heavenly aromas of this food holiday. If you want to create a smaller, time saving version, you can try my one-pan turkey and stuffing recipe. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 turkey breast (about 2.5 pounds)
  • 1 cup chopped celery, onions (can purchase already chopped from your produce section); 5-6 chopped organic white mushrooms
  • Spices: crushed garlic, paprika, herbs de provence, dried parsley, organic onion powder, sea salt (season to your taste preferences)
  • 1-2 links sweet Italian sausage (optional)
  • Turkey broth (24 - 30 oz.)
  • 1 - 10 oz. package organic savory herb stuffing mix
  • 1 egg
  • Parmesan cheese

Step 1 - Get the turkey breast cooking.  Set your over to 350.  Rinse the turkey breast and place it in a large glass or ceramic baking pan.  Pour about 6 ounces of turkey broth and add 2 tbsp. of crushed garlic into the pan.  Sprinkle spices on top of the turkey breast: paprika, onion powder, herbs, sea salt.  Cover with foil and let bake for about 20 minutes while preparing Step 2.

Seasoned Turkey

Unmixed stuffingStep 2 - Ready the stuffing mix.  In a large bowl, add the chopped celery, onions, mushrooms and carrots.  Squeeze the contents of 1-2 sausage links in (optional).  Discard the casing.  Add 1 egg, 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. dried parsley and the package of stuffing.  Add about 12 oz. turkey broth and mix it up.  Note - you can pre-cook the sausage and vegetables first, cool them and then add them to the mix.

Mixing the stuffing

Surround the turkey with stuffingStep 3 - Uncover the turkey.  Using a large spoon, surround the turkey with the stuffing mix.  Cover it again and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. 

Cook for 30 minutes, then pour 1 1/2 cups of turkey broth over the turkey and stuffing.  Cook for another 20 minutes, remove the foil and bring the heat back up to 350 degrees.  Cook for 10 minutes or until the top is browned.

The Delicious Result!

Enjoy!  If you like this article, share it with friends and family members on Twitter, Facebook or via email.  Or, print it and get started!