Every year, millions of people sit back after hours of meal preparation and moan audibly, their bellies distended, eyes glassy from too much heavy food. Fatigue sets in, and a nap is the only thing on the afternoon agenda. If this is the way your Thanksgiving usually goes, it might be time for a change. You can still eat your heart out, but just eat more of the right things. Forgo the heavy casseroles in favor of easier, cleaner dishes with similar flavors.
Think about the dishes you can do without. For instance, do you really need 3 casseroles? Figure out which one you like the most and then alter the recipe. Below are some common Thanksgiving favorites, as well as what to eat in place of them. We've picked recipes that go together nicely, so you won't have to purchase a ton of different items and can have a lovely meal from start to finish in no time!
Instead of a TURKEY, try: TURKEY BREAST
Instead of SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE, try PUMPKIN MASHED POTATOES
Instead of STUFFING, try: ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS, CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
Instead of GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE, try: ARUGULA SALAD
Instead of PECAN PIE, try: HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE
1. TURKEY BREAST w/GRAVY
If you want a turkey with all the fixings, go for it. If you want something a little leaner but just as tasty, purchase only the turkey breast and spruce it up with the following ingredients:
2 parsnips, cut in half
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 white onion, cut in half
2 stalks celery or celery root, cut in half
1 bulb garlic, cut in half
low-sodium chicken stock (optional)
Place turkey breast in a roasting pan with a little chicken stock and olive oil, and place all the veggies around it. Cook turkey according to directions per pound. Once cooked, remove turkey from pan and reserve the veggies and turkey drippings. Blend all ingredients with a half-cup of milk until smooth. You might have to strain depending on how thick you like it. Place into a saucepan, add about 2 tbs. of flour and stir until incorporated to make a delicious, healthy gravy.
2. PUMPKIN MASHED POTATOES
See our recipe. For a slightly different twist, choose red potatoes, canned pumpkin, peppercorns, garlic and a little bit of milk! Once blended, add scallions or chives for a delicious side dish to your turkey!
3. BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss a few cups of brussels sprouts, cranberries and walnuts with 2 tbs. olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, and some fresh parsley. Turn the brussel sprouts (trimmed and halved) cut-side down and roast until golden brown and tender, around 20 minutes.
4. ARUGULA SALAD WITH RED ONIONS, GRAPE TOMATOES AND AVOCADO
Arugula is a bitter lettuce that goes well with Thanksgiving dishes. Cut some grape tomatoes, red onions and sliced avocado for a tasty, healthy side dish. Make a healthy vinaigrette by combining 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tbs. honey and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
5. HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE
See our recipe for a delicious end to your meal!