An Almost Healthy Thanksgiving Menu

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love Thanksgiving … and I love the week leading up to Thanksgiving because I dream about all of the yummy food I’m going to stuff myself with! And the LEFTOVERS. My fridge usually looks like something out of a bachelor pad – empty save for a carton of eggs, some nearly expired and wilting veggies, wine, and strangely, many jars of salad dressing. But after Thanksgiving week, it will be filled with leftover goodies. Since we are hosting our annual Friendsgiving feast this year, I want to share some amazing Thanksgiving recipes on the menu, and because this is a health blog, these are (mostly) healthy recipes!

APPETIZERS

Salads are a guilt-free way to start off the meal, and this roasted carrot and red quinoa salad sounds delicious. Cumin, coriander, and cardamom give this a Middle Eastern flavor, and quinoa just makes everything taste better. I haven’t made this one yet but the recipe actually looks really complicated, so … good luck! I’m sure the hard work will pay off and your guests will be thanking you.

 

Creamy sweet potato soup is perfect now that the nights are getting chilly, even in California. This recipe doesn’t call for any heavy cream, since the sweet potatoes make the soup thick.

THE BIG MAIN COURSE – TURKEY

This is the one non-healthy item on this list because I’m sorry but this was so delicious last year I can’t not share. We aren’t huge on complicated recipes so Ina Garten’s “Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe” is one super easy turkey to make. The secret is a spread of butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme that you brush all over the turkey. Then you just STUFF that turkey with a whole bunch of thyme, lemon, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. You don’t even have to chop the veggies, halvesies are okay. Bake for two and a half hours at 350 degrees F, and enjoy!

SIDES

Roasted Butternut Squash from A Food Centric Life. The one time I tried to make a surprise Valentine’s Day meal with butternut squash I nearly chopped off all of my fingers putting my entire body’s weight onto the knife. This vegetable is ridiculously hard to chop. Pro tip: Microwave the squash for 3-5 minutes. This will soften the skin. Let it rest for a few minutes to cool and then you can peel the squash with a knife or peeler. Then cut it in half (the long way), scoop out the seeds, and proceed to dicin’ and slicin’. I like this roasted form because it is healthier than frying, and it gives the squash a nice crisp.

Who doesn’t love hummus? This is a low fat, vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, peanut and tree nut-free, egg-free recipe for hummus mashed potatoes. Great for the people with tons of allergies. The cool part is you can choose flavored hummus so instead of just having garlicky hummus mashed potatoes, you can make a smoky Chipotle flavored one instead.

I usually fry brussels sprouts with bacon which is yummy but not healthy, so I present you this recipe for a change: roasted brussels sprouts in a balsamic glaze tossed with cranberries. The balsamic glaze is reduced with a little sugar so it gives it that sweetness, and the cranberries add some tart flavor.

SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST – DESSERT

applepieThese are gorgeous apple tarts shaped like rosettes, and according to Lauren Conrad, they’re “easy” (speaking of which, I wonder, does she actually write her own blogposts?) The placement of the apples seems to be the key in pulling this off. If you are trying to make this healthier, swap olive oil for butter, use whole wheat flour instead of white to add fiber.

And because no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without something pumpkin, I present to you mini pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. These are “healthy” because they are super tiny, so there’s portion control 😛

pumpkincupcake

Here’s a great link for many many more healthy Thanksgiving recipes.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast! I will be on call in the hospital that day, but crossing my fingers that I can get out in time to have dinner with my family. Remember to take a moment to think about all that you have to be thankful for!

 

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