Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

by Marjan

Why not give it a try? I know that cream, butter, excessive calories, and guilt are just as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie; but why not break tradition! Experiment a little with options to minimize calories as many ways as possible. Just think of how much less weight you will have to lose come January 1st?

Why not substitute coconut milk and oil instead of cream and butter? Instead of a big turkey that gives you the option of second or third serving and leftovers, why not consider making a small bird such as a Cornish hen? Leave room for your hunger to be satisfied with a second serving of green salad and vegetables? Instead of pumpkin pie with whip cream, make a caramelized squash using honey, coconut milk and cinnamon. I try to omit dairy and sugar as much as I can from my diet- but I will never omit taste!


In our past blogs, I have shared with you my recipes for fall/winter salad, roasted potatoes and cranberries. Now I want to share with you my recipe for a Mustard herb Cornish hen, baked spiced yam, and candied yellow squash. I will not be using any butter or cream for these recipes, but I guarantee you will not miss them! Count on finishing Thanksgiving dinner feeling satisfied and not sleepy and guilty. Now that is an incentive along with happy taste buds!


Mustard Herb Cornish Hen
(serves four)

2 Cornish hens-defrosted
½ cup Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of one large lemon (1/2 cup of juice)
1 tsp Paprika
½ tsp each garlic and onion powder
½ tsp finely chopped rosemary and oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp each ground sea salt and black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, whisk together all the above ingredients. Place marinade in a large plastic bag along with the hen. Shake bag around gently to cover hen with marinade. Seal bag and place in the fridge the night before thanksgiving. Occasionally, shake bag up to evenly marinade hens.
Place hens out of fridge one hour before baking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place rack on the second lowest level of the oven.
Using coconut oil, grease the bottom of your roasting pan. Place hen on top and roast for one hour.


Spiced Yam

1 large yam (approximately 2 lbs.) peeled and chopped into steak fries size pieces
½ cup coconut milk
½ tsp ground salt and black pepper
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl whisk milk, salt, pepper, thyme, cumin, and coriander. In a small baking dish, place yam and pour mixture on top. Using a spoon, move around the mix to cover all surfaces. Cover and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.


Candied Yellow Squash

1 large Yellow Squash- peeled and chopped into cubes or round pieces
½ cup each coconut oil and milk
1/3 cup honey
½ tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, honey, cinnamon and salt to completely incorporate honey. Add squash to cover all surfaces. On a large baking sheet, arrange squash so that they are not lying on top of one another. Pour remaining mix on top of squash and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees. Caramelized, sweet squash can be enjoyed as desert! Who needs pumpkin pie?

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