What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Low Fat Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

How do you have a wonderful Thanksgiving that is delicious and guilt-free? Well, we don't know that if can promise that, but we have have figured out how to keep the fat low and with for the most part, most people don't even know it.

Why? For health reasons we had to figure out low fat menus and recipes more than 12 years ago. Unless clients ask for healthy low fat menus, we cook for the business in a more decadent way. Many people expect to eat less healthy when they go to parties; in fact, it is an excuse to cheat! At home, however, we try to stick to a healthy, low fat menu most of the time.

For Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is really pretty easy. You can cook turkey breasts instead of whole turkey if you really want to reduce the fat and they have the benefit of cooking a lot faster. We usually cook rice or mash potatoes, the latter with smart balance butter and fat free buttermilk. You can add roasted garlic or horseradish to it, but even plain, it is so yummy that NO ONE knows it is virtually fat free. Green beans can be seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. We usually have greens (collards, kale or turnips) lightly sauted and seasoned with salt, pepper and a dash of balsamic wine vinegar. Dressing is corn bread (made with fat free buttermilk) and day old wheat bread mixed with LOTS of cooked onions and celery with sage, rosemary and black pepper to taste, moistened with turkey stock and baked until crispy on top, but moist underneath. You can cook these in muffin tins if everyone likes the crispy part. We are not ones for stuffing the stuffing in the turkey (we like the crispy part and cooking the stuffing in the turkey adds fat). For bread, we grew up eating Parker House Rolls; you can manage the fat in these as well. Add a simple cranberry sauce: 1 package of cranberries, 1 cup each of water and sugar, or Diane's wonderful cranberry apple relish, which is not fat free, but we could figure out a reduced fat version, if you want. Send us a note if you are interested in either.

Other ideas: Mashed sweet potatoes are good, using the method with white potatoes above. Sometimes we cook white and sweet potato chunks and serve them together with melted butter (the healthy kind). All of the winter soups are great and easy to convert to low fat: we particularly like butternut squash with a red bell pepper puree. We don't generally eat soup on Thanksgiving day but on the days before and after, they are a great lunch or dinner course. If you MUST have pecan pie on Thanksgiving, one way to serve them is to make Pecan Tassies in little muffin tins. That way, one bite won't do that much damage.

What about dessert? They are ALL SO BAD (well, we know they are good to eat, but most of them are really high in the fat grams!) Well, we have a few suggestions: Baked apples are great without the fat. My mom does a great no-crust sweet potato or pumpkin pie that is light yet great tasting.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
It reminds me of a flan in a way. We also love sorbets as a light fat free alternative to fatty desserts and we do a cranberry citrus sorbet for the holidays that will knock your socks off.

So you can have a great tasting, low fat Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner that no one will know is actually good for them. Ideas for a table centerpiece: Diane has a gift for making beautiful tables. This is one for a dinner party for eight.
If you look close, you can see the apples with votive candles in the top and name tags on the sides.
Let us know what you think. Be thankful for your health, your family and friends and your good fortune to have found our blog! Have a great Thanksgiving. Eat healthy and well! We'll be back soon! If you need a recipe or more info, send us a note and check out our homepage: website

Love ya! pookah and di


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