Trimming down the fat, calories from Thanksgiving dishes
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Thursday, November 08, 2012
11/08/12 at 2:57 AM
"Everything's better with butter."
Many people attribute that quote to Paula Deen, but it's been batted about Southern kitchens for generations - or, if not actually uttered, it's definitely been understood.
Such is the case when it comes to many of the "fixings" at traditional holiday feasts. So people having a head start on those weight-loss resolutions for 2013 may be contemplating - clutch the pearls and apron strings - a low-fat menu for Thanksgiving, minus the green bean casserole and gravy and dressing.
Then there are folks, perhaps those who didn't stop reading after that last sentence, who might be more realistic and opt for cutting some fat and calories from certain foods without changing their tried-and-true menu. And it's easy to do, according to local dietitians.
Grandmothers' recipes for mashed potatoes may be prized, but they're often loaded with butter, whole milk and sour cream, pointed out Cassie Wrich, a Hillcrest registered dietitian.
The gravy on top compounds the fat problem, as do sauces for meats, not to mention (but we will anyway) rolls, biscuits, croissants or whatever bread your family plops on the table.
All those calories add up, and that's before the first slice of pecan pie has been cut.
It's all about self-control. After all, the food itself isn't the issue; overeating it is, said Lauren Pitts, a licensed and registered dietitian with Nutrition Consultants of Tulsa.
Help lessen the likelihood of your Hoover-ing by having something to drink with your meal, such as water or unsweetened iced tea, which will help fill you up faster so you aren't consuming 1,500 calories in one meal, Pitts said.
You can also stop halfway through your meal, she continued. Take a quick two-minute break to assess your hunger, which allows people the time to realize if they are overdoing it.
"It's OK to have leftovers," Pitts said. "Sometimes Thanksgiving food is better the second time around, so you don't have to eat everything on the table in one sitting."
But those who can't seem to practice such moderation may want to plot their Thanksgiving feast accordingly.
Before making turkey gravy, pour the turkey stock into a container and place in the refrigerator for a bit so that the fat rises to the top, some of which Wrich suggested scooping off.
For baking, substitute oil in cupcakes, brownies or cakes with apple sauce, she continued. If a recipe calls for one cup oil, use one cup applesauce. It's great for those Black Friday breakfasts, too, when making waffles and pancakes.
When a recipe calls for whole milk, like those mashed potatoes from earlier, use fat-free or 1 percent, Wrich said. Or trade out half the potatoes in the recipe for cauliflower. And instead of sour cream, use nonfat, plain Greek yogurt.
Here is a recipe from FoodNetwork.com for faux mashed potatoes - "faux" meaning cauliflower. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
MOCK GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
2. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower dry between several layers of paper towels.
3. In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base and pepper until almost smooth.
4. Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of butter.
Tip: Roast the garlic and add a little fresh rosemary for a whole new taste.
Nutrition: 149 calories, 11.5 grams fat (7 saturated), 5 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 170 milligrams sodiumServe those mock potatoes with this gravy from Cooking Light magazine's November 2006 issue.
Serves 12 ( 1/4 cup each)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, softened
5 cups Roasted Turkey Stock, divided (see recipe below)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine the flour and butter in a medium bowl.
2. Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add 2 cups stock; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Add the remaining 3 cups stock; bring to a boil.
3. Stir 1 cup stock into flour mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into saucepan; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage, salt and black pepper.
Nutrition: 29 calories, 2.4 grams fat (1.3 saturated), 0.4 gram protein, 1.6 grams carbohydrates, 0.1 gram fiber, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 63 milligrams sodium
ROASTED TURKEY STOCK
Serves 12 (2 cups each)
3 pounds turkey wings
1 gallon water, divided
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place wings in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 450 for 1 hour or until browned. Remove wings from pan. Place pan over medium-high heat; stir in 1 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat.
3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add turkey, pan liquid, remaining 15 cups water, peppercorns, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer; cook for 3 hours or until reduced to 12 cups. Strain through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Cover and chill overnight. Skim solidified fat from surface; discard.
Nutrition: 24 calories, 2.1 grams fat (0.3 saturated), 0.9 gram protein, 0.4 gram carbohydrate, 0.1 gram fiber, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 4 milligrams sodium
For some families, it's not a true Thanksgiving spread without green bean casserole. Here's a lighter version from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light magazine.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE WITH MADEIRA MUSHROOMS
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 (8-ounce) package presliced button mushrooms
1/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (about 2 ounces) canned fried onions (such as French's)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Place beans into a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 4 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water; drain well. Place beans in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme to pan; saute 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture to green beans; toss well.
4. Place green bean mixture in a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Combine fried onions and grated cheese in a small bowl. Top green bean mixture evenly with fried onion mixture. Bake at 425 for 17 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Nutrition: 173 calories, 8.5 grams fat (2.3 saturated), 6.6 grams protein, 18.7 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 249 milligrams sodium.Some grew up having stuffing for Thanksgiving, others have always called it dressing. People along the coasts may serve theirs with oysters, farther inland it's chicken, others use sausage - and they're all delicious.
Here's a recipe for a lighter-than-your-granny-made, Southern-style cornbread dressing from Light & Tasty's October/November 2007 issue.
Serves 12 ( 3/4 cup each)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped Diamond of California pecans
1/2 cup reduced-fat butter
6 cups cubed day-old bread ( 1/2-inch cubes)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Combine the egg, milk, oil and applesauce; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Transfer to a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
2. Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Place cubed bread on baking sheets; bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut corn bread into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside.
3. In a large skillet, saute the celery, onion and pecans in butter until vegetables are tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the corn bread, cubed bread, eggs, seasonings and enough broth to reach desired moistness (about 2 1/2 cups).
4. Transfer to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 8-10 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 160 and top is lightly browned.
Nutrition: 267 calories, 12 grams fat (4 saturated), 8 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 616 milligrams sodium
Making traditions healthy
Here are some smart substitutions for your favorite holiday meals, courtesy of the American Heart Association's "Holiday Healthy Eating Guide."
- Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored applesauce.
- Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
- Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk.
- Instead of using only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
- Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
- Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.
- Use vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of butter.
- Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt.
- Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white.
- Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
- Instead of whole milk or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free/skim milk.
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- Instead of alcohol in mixed drinks, use club soda.
- Instead of adding sugar to mixed drinks, mix 100 percent juice with water or use freshly squeezed juice, like lime.
- Instead of using heavy cream or whole milk in dairy-based drinks, use low-fat or skim milk.
- Instead of using sugar to sweeten cider, use spices and fruit, like cinnamon, cloves and cranberries.
Original Print Headline: Trimming the turkey (plus other Thanksgiving favorites)
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483
Tulsa World file
For a lighter, healthier substitution for mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. MATTHEW MEAD / Associated Press
Before making gravy, scoop out some fat from your turkey drippings to make it healthier. MATTHEW MEAD / Associated Press
Green bean casserole can be made lighter for Thanksgiving by using fresh mushrooms and skipping the cream of mushroom soup. MEL EVANS / Associated Press file