Self Magazine’s Diet-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Recipes for People Counting Calories!

Cherry-Cranberry Sauce (Serves Eight)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 piece ginger (about 1 inch), peeled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup amaretto
1 bag (15 oz) frozen or fresh cranberries
1 bag (10 oz) frozen cherries
1/4 cup sugar

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook ginger and cinnamon until ginger becomes fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add amaretto and cook until liquid thickens and reduces by half, about 1 minute. Add cranberries, cherries, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries break apart and sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Pear, Mushroom and Pomegranate Stuffing (Serves Eight)

1 tablespoon olive oil
10 oz. cremini mushrooms
2 large celery stalks, chopped
8 large sage leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 demi whole-wheat baguette (about 8 oz), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and cubed
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook mushrooms, celery, sage and thyme, stirring often, until mushrooms and celery soften, 6 to 8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl; add baguette cubes, pear, prunes, broth and juice. Mix well and let rest until bread absorbs liquid. Transfer to an 8″ x 8″ baking dish; cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes, remove foil and bake until stuffing puffs up, about 5 minutes.

Green Beans With Blackened Sage and Hazelnuts (Serves Eight)

1 tablespoon. unsalted butter
1 tablespoon. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lb green beans, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon. salt
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat butter and oil, then cook sage until it begins to blacken, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add beans and salt; toss to coat. Carefully add 1 cup water. Steam until beans are fork-tender and most of the water has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle hazelnuts on top and serve..

The skinny: 92 calories per serving, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 9 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein


Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips With Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese (Serves Eight)

1 tablespoon. olive oil
3 large white onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 baking potatoes (such as Yukon gold, about 2 lb), peeled and cubed
6 parsnips (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, heated
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat; reduce to medium. Cook onions with sugar and salt, stirring occasionally, until onions brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add a few tbsp water as you cook to keep onions from sticking or burning. Fill a medium stockpot 3/4 full with cold water. Add potatoes and parsnips; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and parsnips are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes, then drain. Beat 1/4 of potato-parsnip mixture and 3 oz broth in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Repeat, alternating between potato-parsnip mixture and broth, until you’ve incorporated all. Fold in onions, cheese and thyme, and serve..

The skinny: 209 calories per serving, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 41 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g protein.


Roasted Squash With Balsamic Sauce and Apples (Serves Eight)

2 large butternut squash (about 4 lb), halved, and seeds and membranes removed
1 piece ginger (about 1 inch) peeled and finely chopped
1 cup. balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 Gala or Golden Delicious apples, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

Heat oven to 400°. Slice a small piece off the skin side of each squash half, so halves sit flat. Microwave on high in a covered bowl until flesh begins to soften, 2 minutes. Gently simmer ginger, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until liquid decreases by 1/3, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place squash halves skin side down on baking sheets. Arrange apple slices in cavity of each half. Bake until apples soften, 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven, drizzle with balsamic sauce, return to oven and bake until apples brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Cut each squash half into quarters and transfer to a serving platter with any extra juices. Sprinkle with cherries and serve immediately..

The skinny: 166 calories per serving, 0 g fat, 42 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 3 g protein.


Sweet Potato Biscuits (Makes Eight)

1 medium sweet potato (about 5 oz)
1 1/4 cups. whole-wheat biscuit mix
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoons ground allspice

Wrap sweet potato in a paper towel. Microwave on high until soft, 4 minutes. Scoop flesh into a bowl and mash; set aside. Heat oven to 400°. Place biscuit mix and butter in a bowl; rub butter into mix with fingertips until large pea-sized crumbs form. Add sweet potato, buttermilk and allspice; mix until just combined. Transfer dough onto a cookie sheet and form into a 12″ x 4″ rectangle. Cut into 8 rectangles with a serrated knife and separate slightly. Bake until biscuits are firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days..

The skinny: 124 calories per biscuit, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t HAVE to destroy your diet or clobber your willpower.  Thanks to healthy recipes like the ones above, you can still look forward to a beautiful and delicious meal and not have to dread the scales the next day.

Well… not toooo much.

If you want to make the stuffing recipe above (or any dressing or stuffing recipe, for that matter) completely vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.  I do it every year for my daughter Brittany and her dressing is always outstanding.  Granted, you’ll want to get creative with the spices – sage, pepper, and onion powder compensate for the flavor you lose when you avoid chicken broth.

Thanks to Self Magazine for sharing these recipes and images with our readers!

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  1. [...] Low Calorie Thanksgiving Recipes — Food and Recipe Blog Carefully add amaretto and cook until liquid thickens and reduces by half, about 1 minute. Add cranberries, cherries, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries break apart and sauce thickens, 2 large butternut squash (about 4 lb), halved, and seeds and membranes removed 1 piece ginger (about 1 inch) peeled and finely chopped 1 cup. balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Vegetable oil cooking spray . [...]

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