Thanksgiving Week: Healthy Meals & Recipes (cont.)

Easy Green Beans Almandine

1 24-ounce bag extra fine French green beans
1 1/2 tablespoons whipped butter
2 tablespoons Amaretto (or similar almond liqueur)
1/4 cup toasted flavored sliced almonds

  1. Briefly rinse frozen beans in hot water from the tap to lightly thaw. Start heating a large, nonstick frying pan, skillet, or wok over medium-high heat. Add the whipped butter and let it brown just slightly (about a minute), stirring constantly.
  2. Add the green beans and saute about 2 minutes, stirring often. Drizzle Amaretto liqueur over the top and continue to saute 2 to 3 minutes more or until beans are still a nice green and just tender.
  3. Spoon the green beans into a serving bowl and sprinkle the almond slices evenly over the top.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Nutritional Information: Per serving (if 8 per recipe): 73 calories, 2 g protein, 8.5 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fat (0.9 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 60 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%.

Just A Thought: Everyone wants to save their appetites for the big feast but it's good to have some quick, light appetizers that you can put out before the feast (if your family is having a Thanksgiving dinner) or after the feast, once people get hungry again (if your family is gathering for a Thanksgiving lunch.)

Some easy appetizers for light munching:

  • Fruit and cheese platter (buy pre-sliced and prepared fruit if you're short on time). Some fruits that complement cheese nicely are pears, apples, grapes, and melon.
  • Veggie platter (buy pre-sliced or diced vegetables if you are short on time). Good vegetables to use are celery sticks, baby carrots, zucchini and cucumber coins, broccoli and cauliflower florets, sugar snap peas, cherry or grape tomatoes, etc.
  • Soup can be light if it's broth- or tomato-based (and not creamy or cheesy). You can have homemade soup made and ready to warm up, or keep some store-bought favorites on hand.
  • A nice hot dip or spread, such as my Parmesan Artichoke Dip can be quite satisfying when served with high fiber bread or crackers.

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

4 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons mild, chopped, canned green chilies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise, and garlic to a small mixing bowl and beat on medium low until blended. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole or baking dish and bake until bubbly (about 30 minutes).

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional Information: Per serving (not including the bread): 164 calories, 6 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 13 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 352 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 55%.


Breakfast: The day after Thanksgiving calls for a high fiber breakfast chased down with plenty of no-calorie beverages (like water, tea, coffee) to help keep your intestinal tract moving along. Here are some options:

  • 2 regular sized whole grain muffins (around 300 calories total) such as Apple Oat Muffins.
  • Bowl of high fiber whole grain cereal like Raisin Bran topped with fresh fruit and skim milk.
  • Low fat yogurt topped with fresh fruit and some high fiber granola or grape nuts sprinkled over the top.

Apple Oat Muffins

1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unbleached flour
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons less-fat margarine (with 8 g fat per tablespoon)
2 to 3 tablespoons oats

2 tablespoons less-fat margarine
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar blend with Splenda® or Equal®)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk (or mix 2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half with 1/4 teaspoon vinegar and let stand)
2 apples, cored and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Add the brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, pinch of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon to a large mixing bowl and beat briefly to blend, with mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the 2 tablespoons margarine and beat on low until crumb mixture forms. Work the oats in with your hands. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Return mixing bowl to mixer and add the 2 tablespoons margarine, sugar (or sugar blend), and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine, scraping sides of bowl.
  4. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a 4-cup measure, and whisk to blend.
  5. Add the flour mixture all at once to the mixing bowl, along with the sour cream and buttermilk. Beat on low speed just until blended (scraping down the sides of bowl after 5 seconds). Stir in the apple chunks.
  6. Spoon a slightly heaping 1/8 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of each muffin. Bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and top springs back after being pushed.

Yield: 12 muffins (6 servings)

Nutritional Information: Per serving: 130 calories, 3 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g fiber, 192 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 17%.

LUNCH: Make your own "day after Thanksgiving" designer turkey sandwich. My favorite is turkey topped with light cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and alfalfa sprouts on whole wheat bread.

Dinner: Slow cooker Shepherd's Pie is made with leftover turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetables. You can assemble this in you slow cooker anytime in the early afternoon and let it get hot and stay hot until you are ready to serve it for dinner.

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