The holiday season is in full swing. Here come the parades, the big family meals and…uh-oh…that tight-pants feeling that makes you want to secretly unbutton your waistband.
While most Thanksgiving foods are fatty and/or sugary and high in calories, there are some clever, simple ways that you can make them healthier but still very delicious, we learned from Jackie Newgent, RD, a classically trained chef and the author of the book 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes.
So for Turkey Day side dishes this year, here are Newgent’s yummy and healthy versions of the two classics—stuffing and cranberry sauce—from her new book. Your mouth will water when you see the ingredients…and you’ll feel relieved when you realize that you can indulge in them guilt-free.
HERB AND CRANBERRY STUFFING
This flavorful recipe uses apple juice and vegetable broth instead of extra butter to lower the fat content and whole grain bread instead of white bread to boost the fiber and nutrient content. Traditional stuffing typically weighs in at a hefty 310 calories per one-cup serving with 17 grams of total fat, but this recipe will set you back only 200 calories per one-cup serving and has merely 7 grams of fat.
12 ounces day-old crusty whole-grain bread, finely chopped. (The bread should be dry, not moist or gummy.)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and well rinsed
1 medium red onion, finely diced
¾ cup finely diced celery
½ cup coarsely grated carrot
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
½ cup 100% unsweetened apple juice
¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries or chopped prunes
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1½ Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried ground sage, or to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté until the leeks and onion are fully softened and the carrot is crisp-tender (meaning not too hard, but not too soft), about 10 minutes.
4. Increase heat to high, add the broth, apple juice, dried cranberries, parsley, fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, ground sage, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
5. Stir the broth mixture into the bread until well combined. Stir in the beaten egg.
6. Arrange the bread mixture evenly in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 18 minutes. Uncover and bake until desired doneness and crispness on top, about 18 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, and let stand for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process.
SEASONAL CRANBERRY SAUCE
Like traditional cranberry sauce, this trimmer version of the holiday classic has zero fat, but it has only 40 calories per two-tablespoon serving rather than 60. Plus, this recipe contains rosemary, an herb that adds wonderful flavor…and extra antioxidants.
¾ cup turbinado sugar (Turbinado is a less processed form of sugar. Since it has more flavor than refined sugar, you can add less of it to foods you prepare. You can find it on your grocer’s shelf.)
1 Tablespoon unsulfured molasses (look for the word “unsulfured” on the label)
1 12-ounce package fresh whole cranberries
¾ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1. Add the sugar, molasses and ¾ cup of water to a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, about two minutes.
2. Add the cranberries, reduce heat to medium, and simmer while stirring occasionally until the berries burst open, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the rosemary, mustard, orange zest and salt. Adjust the seasoning and chill. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.