Lean & (mostly)Clean Thanksgiving Eats!

And so it begins: Holiday season…meaning lots of cooking and baking and creativity! Technically, I consider the beginning of the holidays to be Halloween, following my birthday, then Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas and New Years…but my kick for spending time in my sanctuary falls around Thanksgiving. And on a good year, I go non-stop through the holidays…making my place always smelling absolutely divine!

While the holidays call for incredible food, it generally also contributes to unflattering weight gain, which we like to hide beneath our sweaters;) BUT it does not have to be this way, so long as you make the healthy choices and substitutions. Last year, I cooked up several different guilt-free dishes; however, I wanted to get more creative this time around.
We just had our Thanksgiving potluck at work yesterday and I was able to compile a dinner dish as well as a dessert – both very healthy and easy on that waistline! They key is to keep it simple!!

For a main dish, I created a lean turkey casserole-type dish, which I cooked in a crock pot – making it not only healthy, but also low maintenance…oh and delicious!

Ingredients:
1.25lb Extra Lean ground turkey(I used Jenny O’s, 1 package)
1 Butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large yellow onion
Thyme
Rosemary

Directions:
First, I cut my butternut squash in half, scooped out the seeds, then I peeled off the skin and cut up small(approx. 1 in) cubes. Toss those in your crockpot first. Slice your onion into strands, or half rings to add in. Then separate the ground turkey as much as possible and mix it in evenly. Add in a few pinches of thyme and rosemary, and remix everything.  Allow this to cook on low heat for about 5 hours, checking in every so often to stir and mix everything up a little bit – also I found myself adding in a little more of the two herbs to help give it a more robust scent and flavor.
If you’re planning to serve it that day, go ahead and switch your setting to “keep warm” until serving, otherwise go ahead and package it up in the fridge and reheat when you’re ready to enjoy it!

Mmmmmm…after a few hours of slow cooking

That is essentially half of your thanksgiving dinner in one pot! Less work, and incredible flavor!

Not only can we make sure our main dishes are healthy, but also the desserts. An apple crumble can be an incredibly healthy alternative to the traditional apple pie…and they both taste equally amazing.

Ingredients:
5 Pink lady apples, thinly sliced (My hands-down favorites can be found from Island Farms)
Lemon juice
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP Allspice
1/2 TBSP Nutmeg
For the Crumble:
2 TBSP Veganaise Butter, melted
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C rolled oats
1/2 C Cinnamon graham cracker, crumbled/blended
1/4 C all purpose flour

Apples piled, alongside premixed crumble 🙂

Directions:
Mix all three spices together in a small dish to set aside. Create layers of thin apple slices in a container and periodically drizzle lemon juice and sprinkle spice mix. Place in refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees
Using a 9 in pie dish, pile and arrange spiced apple slices to fill the dish, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, place all dry ingredients and mix well. Add in apple sauce and melted butter, and mix everything together. Pick off little portions of the crumble mixture and sporadically place them all over the top of your apple pile. Once fully covered in crumble mix, place in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the top displays a slight golden brown color. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
If making ahead, place this bad boy back in the oven at 200-degrees for about 10-15 minutes to rewarm, and enjoy!

perfection.

There you have it: two VERY delicious and very healthy dishes to serve up this holiday season. There is no need to rack up those calories and saturated fat content. Keep it lean, healthy and delicious. Go ahead and overindulge, at least your food coma will be from a healthier consumption of food;)

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Anything unique?

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