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For healthier turkey, dust off the slow-cooker

Becky Varner has tips and a recipe for a healthier turkey this Thanksgiving.
BY BECKY VARNER Published: November 6, 2013
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There is no doubt that the turkey is the culinary star of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The versions of turkey preparations are numerous and parties range from large to small. There are many reasons people choose to cook a smaller portion of turkey than a whole bird. The perfect solution is to cook a turkey breast.

A turkey breast is easier to handle than a whole turkey, it is a great option if everyone prefers white meat plus the white meat is lower in fat than dark meat. A great way to cook part or a whole turkey breast is in a slow cooker. People are busy today and this method requires minimal effort and preparation time.

Many folks want to hang on to traditional foods but also look at ways to make their Thanksgiving plate healthier. A very simple way to add more vegetables is to cook them with the turkey breast in the slow cooker. Serve fresh fruit as a side dish for an extra serving of fruit. Although we are featuring cooking a turkey breast in a slow cooker for Thanksgiving, this is also a great option year-round.

Today we feature Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage and Vegetables in a Slow Cooker. Sage is a wonderful and frequently used herb to season turkey. Sage should be used with discretion so as to not overwhelm a dish.

We also are using dried bay leaves with our turkey. They have a savory and delicate aromatic flavor. Bay leaves should be added at the beginning of the cooking to allow time to release their flavor. Remove whole bay leaves just before serving.


Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage, Vegetables in Slow-Cooker

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups onion, cut in 1 inch pieces

2 cups celery, cut in 1 inch pieces

2 cups carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup flour

4 cups reduced sodium fat free chicken broth

2 dried bay leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1½ pounds skinned turkey breast, sliced in ½ inch slices

• Heat olive oil to medium in large skillet.

• Add garlic and onion, celery, and carrot pieces. Saute 8 to 10 minutes until onion begins to soften.

• Stir in the flour and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

• Add broth, sage and bay leaves and stir.

• Place turkey slices in slow cooker and pour contents of skillet over the turkey.

• Cover and turn slow cooker on low. Cook 5 to 7 hours.

• An instant-read food thermometer should be inserted into the thickest slice of turkey breast and register a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

• Remove the sliced turkey and vegetables and place on a warm serving platter. If gravy is the desired consistency ladle it on top of vegetables. If thicker gravy is desired, cover the turkey and vegetables with aluminum foil to keep warm. Pour gravy into a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly until desired thickness and then spoon over turkey and vegetables.

Nutrition information: This recipe makes six servings. Each serving contains approximately 231 calories and 4 grams fat.

Learn with Lunch

Becky will teach healthy Learn with Lunch classes featuring Apple, Pear & Cranberry Compote, Turkey Soup with Fresh Kale and Toasted Almond Dessert Muffins at noon Tuesday at Buy For Less, 3501 Northwest Expressway; noon Nov. 13 at Buy For Less, 2500 N Pennsylvania Ave.; noon Nov 19 at Buy For Less, 10011 SE 15, Midwest City, and Learn with Brunch at 9:30 a.m. Nov 20 at Uptown Grocery, 1230 W Covell Road Edmond. Class size is limited, call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.

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