A ThirdShiftFit Thanksgiving

Hey everyone!  Happy Thanksgiving!  A time of family, friends, giving thanks, and FOOD.  A lot of food.  Thanksgiving has become a very gluttonous holiday.  I wanted to post my tips and tricks for slimming down the calories (but not the taste) at your Thanksgiving feast.

For the bird,

Avoid deep frying your turkey! You do not need the extra saturated fats, save those for dessert! To keep your turkey moist without deep frying, try a brine.  Brining your turkey for 12-24 hours before baking it keeps at the natural moisture from the bird inside during the baking process. My favorite brine:

  • 12-16 lb turkey
  • 1 gallon or so (eyeball it) of water
  • 4 quarts of chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbs dried onion
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of sage
  • 6 sprigs italian parsley
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns

Put the turkey and all of the other ingredients into a garbage bag (or a brine bag)  Place your turkey into the refrigerator (or a large cooler filled with ice if no room in your fridge)  Let turkey brine for 12-24 hour.  Remove turkey from brine.  Dry off turkey with paper towels.  NOTE: This seems like a lot of salt, this does NOT make your turkey salty.  The salt just helps create that barrier for the moisture.

After you have your turkey dried off and brine discarded, you can begin prepare your bird for the big dinner!!

Inside the turkey:

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 apple, cut
  • 1 orange, cut
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

Under the Bird:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs of each sage, rosemary, and thyme (SAVE 1 sprig of each to put on top of the bird–finely chop these and set aside)
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 3 bay leaves

On the bird:

  • Light butter, sliced into pats –per liking
  • salt and pepper
  • herbs from above
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Heat oven to 300F, Remove any extra parts from inside cavity of bird. Salt and pepper the turkey. Fill the cavity of bird with ingredients from “Inside the bird”

In a large roasting pan spread vegetables from “underneath the bird” place turkey on top of the vegetables and herbs.  Put the light butter on turkey.  Place turkey in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pour half the chicken stock over the turkey.  Roast an additional 45 minutes. Pour remaining broth over turkey and roast for another 45 minutes.  Baste with pan juices and put the fresh cut herbs on top of the turkey.

Cover loosely with foil and roast for an additional 45  minutes, check with meat thermometer– roast until internal temperature reaches 165-175 F.  Once it has reached that temperature, remove from oven, but KEEP covered and REST for 20-30 minutes before carving.

Gravy

Use a food processor or blender and add the juices from the pan AND the vegetables and herbs from the pan.  For a thinner gravy, add more juices, to thicken the gravy, add more vegetables.  This gives your gravy an amazing herb roasted flavor, added vitamins from the veggies, and you don’t even need to mess around with any corn starch of flour roux !!

Side Dishes

Mashed potatoes are a staple! But let’s clean them up a bit. Make Mashed Cauliflower — you can either make a double batch of the mashed cauliflower itself ,  OR you can make 1/2 batch of mashed potatoes as you normally would and then fold in 1 batch of mashed cauliflower to your mashed potatoes!

Green beans.  Avoid the casseroles and cream sauces.  Make a heaping batch of oven roasted green beans —Roast for 10-12 minutes at 350F.  Top with slivered almonds, roast an additional 5 minutes.  Mix in dried cranberries (look for unsweetened) when out of the oven.

Sweet potatoes.  Again, let’s avoid the casserole.  No marshmallows.  No caramel.  Cube your sweet potatoes and oven roast them with a little bit of coconut oil and cinnamon for about 35-40 minutes at 375F.  You can serve with fresh chopped walnuts for added texture and crunch.

Dessert

Prepare my pumpkin protein cheesecake for your family for Thanksgiving.  They will not know it is a “healthy” cheesecake. Recipe for Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake Here If you have not tried this recipe yet, you are missing out! Your family will go goo-goo over this cheesecake!

 

Hopefully this helps you slim down your thanksgiving without losing any of the flavor you love!  Enjoy yourself and your family!

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