Fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy, creamy green been casserole, turkey accompained by moist stuffing. Are you drooling yet? All of these dishes contribute to why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, along with the sense of warmth you get surrounded by your family/friends all day in a cozy, festive house.
So what do you do when you want to eat all of your favorite foods, but mostly focus on enjoying the company of your family/friends and not how much you regret your meal? You learn to beat the system.
Last year, our family's Thanksgiving theme was "choices." I love to cook as many of the Thanksgiving dishes as I can, and last year I wanted people to have a choice. If you aren't trying to lose or maintain your weight and want to nose dive into that gravy, you have every right. However, if you have a goal you're trying to attain or feel like trying something new, I wanted to give my family the option of choosing the healthy option. Along with the traditional green bean casserole (perfected by my Aunt), mashed potatoes, turkey stuffing, and all of the delicious pies (thanks to Grandma), I also made other healthier versions of the dishes that I would love to share with you.
Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Casserole
Very intimidating title, I know. But the parmesan and spices in this dish shine through and present squash and cauliflower at its best. I got many compliments on this, even from those non-healthy eaters!
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup cream
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large pot or vegetable steamer, steam squash, cauliflower and garlic cloves until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pot.
Drain vegetables very well in a colander, shaking to remove any excess water, and then transfer half to a food processor.
Puree until smooth and transfer to a large bowl, then repeat with remaining vegetables.
Stir half of the Parmesan, the cream salt, pepper and dried thyme.
Transfer pureed vegetables to a 3 to 4 quart glass or ceramic baking dish and spread out smoothly. Top with remaining Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn broiler on high and broil 5 minutes to brown topping. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Casserole
**forgot to take pic last year so here's a much prettier one than I would have taken
For the sweet potatoes:
3½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
⅓ cup sugar-free syrup
1 large egg
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. Kosher salt
For the topping:
⅓ cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. splenda
½ tsp. cinnamon
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot fitted with a large steamer basket. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover, and steam until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixer bowl and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
To the bowl with the potatoes, add the syrup, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Mix the splenda, pecans, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40-45 minutes. Check casserole after 30 minutes and cover with foil to prevent over-browning.
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 lb. lean pork, casings removed (I used 5 links of Applegate brand Chicken & Apple Chicken Sausage)
4 1/2 cups mushrooms
6 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp diced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large soup pot heat coconut oil over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent.
Add the sausage and brown
Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, chicken broth, sage, thyme, cranberries, almonds, garlic, salt and pepper.
Mix well, bring to a simmer, and cook 5-10 minutes or until vegetables begin to absorb the chicken broth
Transfer to 9 x 13 glass baking dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Enjoy!
**15 cals per 1/4 cup serving**
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 10-ounce box mushrooms, sliced
Vegetable broth, wine, or water
2 cups water
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon miso, low-sodium tamari, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)
Stir-fry onion in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, adding broth or water as necessary. Allow onion to brown a little, scrape the pan, add liquid, and let it brown more, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Add garlic and sliced mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft. Add vegetable broth, wine, or water as necessary to keep from burning.
Add 1 cup of water, stir, and continue cooking.
Mix whole-wheat flour and miso in the remaining cup of water, stir, then add the mushrooms and stir again. Add sherry (optional)
Continue cooking until gravy thickens. Add pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat until serving. Add extra miso or low-sodium tamari to taste, but keep in mind that using vegetable broth instead of water intensifies the flavor.
So there you have all of your Thanksgiving basics! I'm going to put all of the healthy desserts in a separate blog post so that this isn't obnoxiously long, so look out for that later!