thanksgiving wish – healthy side dish

I love the holiday but hate turkey, is that so bad? No matter how the bird has been cooked and prepped, I absolutely cannot stand eating more than a sliver just to keep the chef- for- the- day happy.

So, this year, I am actually involved in the prep work and since most of the participants are as conscious of eaters as I have become in the last 10 plus years, I am going to introduce side dishes which truly offer wholesome nutrition without having to watch the calories.

First up is Shaved Parsnip Salad, which I found here,  and which will be the first course.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 hearts of romaine, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 parsnips (about 8 ounces), peeled and shaved very thinly (on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler)
  • 4 medjool or 6 regular dates, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions

  1. Whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss parsnips, lettuce, and dates. Drizzle with dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

healthy thanksgiving recipes – pumpkin pie

I must admit, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I prefer more of a fruit based tart if I am forced to eat a pie like dessert. I say give me fresh fruit any day. But just for traditional sake, I always bake a pumpkin pie for my guests.

In light of trying to stay healthy and watching my family’s calorie intake, I, once again, have opted for the following recipe which I found here.

pumpkin coconut tart

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see Tip)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons cold reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)

FILLING

  • 1 1/2 cups canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup “lite” coconut milk

GARNISH

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 11-inch round or 8-by-12-inch rectangular removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare crust: Combine flour, almonds, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely ground. Add butter one piece at a time, and then cream cheese by the tablespoonful, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust.
  3. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. To prepare filling: Beat pumpkin, 3/4 cup sugar, rum, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in coconut milk. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.
  5. Bake the tart until the filling is just set (the center may still appear soft, but will become more solid as it cools), 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Serve room temperature or refrigerate until chilled. Remove the pan sides before slicing. Garnish with coconut, if desired.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the crust (Step 2), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Cover and refrigerate the cooled tart for up to 1 day. | Equipment: 11-inch round or 8-by-12-inch rectangular removable-bottom pan
  • Ingredient note: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
  • Tip: Place slivered almonds in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Ingredient note: Large thin flakes of dried coconut called coconut chips make attractive garnishes. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or at melissas.com.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 260 calories; 12 g fat (6 g sat, 3 g mono); 80 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 3g fiber; 168 mg sodium; 163 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (120% daily value), Iron (17% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 Carbohydrates (other), 2 fat


healthy thanksgiving recipes – stuffing

Not a shocker to anyone in the U.S. trying to make it through the holidays without over eating or avoiding eating things that are not good for you.

Although if you think about it, the Thanksgiving meal in itself is pretty healthy, based on today’s healthy eating standards.  But just in case you are thinking about how to add more to the healthy Turkey, Cranberry, sweet potato or green beans dishes, I have included a recipe for  stuffing which  I have found  here, that I plan to incorporate to my menu this year.

Pear, prosciutto and Hazelnut stuffing

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into ribbons
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups diced fennel bulb
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 8 cups stale baguette, preferably multi-grain (not sourdough), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel and shallot and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add sage, thyme and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer everything to a large bowl and gently stir in bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts and the prosciutto. Add broth; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish; cover with foil.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and bake until the top is beginning to crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Note: If you don’t have stale bread ready to use, spread the baguette cubes on a baking sheet and toast at 250°F until crisped and dry, about 15 minutes.
  • Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 176 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 8 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 6 g fiber; 489 mg sodium; 283 mg potassium.

1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat


thanksgiving table setting ideas

Most Americans take great pride in setting up the dinner table for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Why not? After all it is probably the most and sometimes the only time a woman has the chance to gather her family and friends around the table to eat at the same time.

I am one of those individuals who take pride in setting up my Thanksgiving dinner table and would consider a different theme each year just for the fun of it. Since Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated during the  Fall, I have no trouble incorporating nature throughout the table decor.

Just in case you are wondering what I am  going to do this year and even if you are not :), I am getting my table decor inspiration from the following photos and plan to include a bit of something from each suggestion to create an eclectic feel.  Let me know what you think?