Thanksgiving is a time of the year when families gather to give thanks, spend time together and enjoy favorite foods.
Many folks want to hang on to traditional foods but also look at ways to make their Thanksgiving plate healthier. It is an opportunity to add more vegetables and fruits to the plate to create a new and healthful tradition.
Combining different vegetables and roasting or stir frying them is a wonderful way to add more vegetables to the plate. One idea is to lightly season and roast a variety of root vegetables.
Another versatile way to prepare a Thanksgiving side dish is to saute a vegetable. You might try doing this with a vegetable that may not frequently appear on your plate such as Swiss chard. Trying a new vegetable every Thanksgiving is a great tradition. Get creative with other ways to add vegetables and fruits. Serve a big mixed raw vegetable and fruit salad with a low-fat dressing. Serve a vegetable soup as an appetizer instead of a high-fat appetizer. Add spinach or kale to rice dishes.
Look for new ways to add whole grains to the meal. Use brown rice in the stuffing for the turkey or in a casserole. Or serve a nice brown rice pilaf as a side dish.
The traditional Thanksgiving turkey is a great choice for a lean protein. White meat is lower in fat than dark meat. Avoid the skin to keep fat intake lower.
Sometimes people prefer not to cook an entire turkey but just the turkey breast. A real simple way to do this is in a slow cooker, which is easier to clean than a roasting pan.
Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!
Roasted Rosemary Root Vegetables
Makes 8 servings
2½ pound butternut squash
½ pound sweet potatoes
½ pound gold potatoes
½ pound carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 x 11 inch baking dish with aluminum foil and then spray with a nonstick cooking spray.
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and fibers to discard. Peel squash with a vegetable peeler. We will only use half of the squash to roast in this recipe.*
Cut all vegetables in uniform size pieces about 1 to 1 ½ inch chunks.
Combine oil, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add vegetable chunks to bowl and toss several times to coat all vegetables with the seasoned oil mixture.
Pour onto prepared baking dish.
Bake 30 minutes until vegetables are golden and tender when pierced with a fork.
Keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Arrange on a serving platter.
Nutrition information: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 102 calories and 4 grams fat.
*The other half of the squash can be used in other recipes such as butternut squash soup, couscous or stir-fried with other vegetables.
Sauteed Garlic Chard
16 ounces Swiss chard, washed but do not dry water off leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
Pour oil in skillet and heat to medium.
Add garlic and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes.
While garlic and pepper are cooking chop the chard in bite-sized pieces.
Add chard and continue cooking several minutes until tender.
Nutrition information: This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately 50 calories and 3.5 grams fat.
Festive Fruit Salad
Adding fruit as a salad or a dessert is another option. Here is a festive fruit salad recipe that is as beautiful as it is tasty.
½ cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 pineapple rings
2 cups mango chunks
1 cup mandarin orange segments
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
Combine yogurt, sugar and lime juice in a small bowl and stir to mix.
Spoon 2 tablespoons in the center of each of 4 salad plates. Spread the yogurt around the plate to create a base for placement of the fruit.
Place a pineapple slice in the center of each plate.
Arrange the mango, orange segments and kiwi slices attractively around the pineapple ring.
Chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition information: This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately 114 calories and a trace amount of fat.
Turkey in a Slow Cooker
3 to 4 pound skinned turkey breast, sliced in ½ to ¾ inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 medium onions, quartered
2 medium Fuji apples, quartered
2 cups fat free and reduced sodium chicken broth
Baste the turkey breast slices with olive oil and place in slow cooker.
Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley and mix well.
Sprinkle over turkey slices.
Arrange the apple and onion quarters on top and around the turkey breast slices.
Pour chicken broth over and around the turkey breast.
Place lid on slow cooker and turn on high.
Cook 5 to 6 hours. Do not remove lid while cooking.
A food thermometer should be inserted into the thickest slice of turkey breast and register a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.
Nutrition information: A 3-ounce portion has approximately 120 calories and 2 grams fat.
IF YOU GO
Becky will teach a cooking class featuring wilted Swiss chard salad, gingered fruit with walnuts, twice baked sweet potatoes and cinnamon glazed apples at noon Nov. 27 at the Buy For Less at 2500 N Pennsylvania Ave. She also will teach a class on making healthful Christmas gifts at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 4 at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell in Edmond, and noon Dec. 5 at Buy For Less, 10011 SE 15 in Midwest City. Call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.