Monday, November 12, 2012

are you prepared?

When it comes to Thanksgiving Day, we find ourselves enjoying time with family and friends.  But before the big day, most of us are stressing about what we are in charge of, in terms of the FEAST!  Right?  Well it doesn't have to be the "feast" from the past, you can spice things up by making a healthier Thanksgiving meal for your family this year!  

The original version of Broccoli Rice Casserole calls for a ton of processed cheese, white rice, and very little broccoli.  At least that's the type that's usually around our Thanksgiving table!  This year, think of alternatives to those fattening sides, ones with less fat and calories that are sure to be crowd-pleasers on Turkey Day!  

Spinach and Brown Rice Casserole

teaspoons olive oil
3 medium carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
cup chopped celery
medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
clove garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4
cups water
can (10 3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
boxes (9 oz each) Green Giant® frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 1/2
cups uncooked instant brown rice
teaspoon Italian seasoning
teaspoon pepper
cup diced cooked ham
cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (3 oz)
cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray
  • In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water and soup; heat to boiling. Add spinach, rice, Italian seasoning and pepper; return to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in ham, 1/4 cup of the Cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Spread in baking dish. Cover with foil.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese.
    Or what about the dessert table?  We are Italian, so there's always too much bread and too many desserts at every family gathering, so if your family has a dessert table that's FAR too large, try adding some healthy alternatives to the mix so that you're able to enjoy some sweets too!
    Honey Pumpkin
    cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
    cup quick-cooking oats
    cup margarine, softened
    cup packed brown sugar
    cans (15 oz each) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    cup evaporated fat-free milk
    cup fat-free egg product
    cup honey
    cup packed brown sugar
    teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    teaspoon vanilla
    teaspoon salt
    cup frozen (thawed) fat-free whipped topping
    candy pumpkins
      • Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix crust ingredients with fork until crumbly. Press in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes
      • In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with wire whisk or electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Pour over partially baked crust
      • Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 40 minutes
      • Cut dessert into squares. Serve with whipped topping. Garnish each with candy pumpkin.
        *And after the meal, instead of watching football together as a family, PLAY games outdoors as a family!  Go on a family walk, anything to keep the family active TOGETHER!  Start a new tradition this year and make it one that the family can get excited about!  The kids are always ready to be active and have fun, so have them convince the adults!  When your nephew, niece or grandchild is begging for you to play with them, it's harder to say NO!  So use them to your advantage :)
        *Use smaller plates.  There's no reason that Thanksgiving has to mean serving our food on platters and piling it so high that you can barely carry it to your seat!  Right?  
        * Veggies first!  Fill your plate with the proteins and vegetable dishes FIRST!  This saves less room for the high fat, filler foods!  i.e mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls
        *Come prepared!Don't attend your family Thanksgiving meal on an empty stomach.  Make sure you eat a balanced breakfast, munch on protein-packed, low sugar foods before you arrive.  This way you are less likely to graze and eat everything in sight when it's time for the meal!  
        *If you're really ready to make an impact, have your family find a local Turkey Trot 5K run/walk that morning!  This way you've all burned calories and worked out together, as a family on the day of Giving Thanks for all that we have.  
        Have some helpful & healthy Thanksgiving tips you'd like to share?    


Anonymous said...

Love the smaller plate idea! I may just try that this year!! Hopefully you can motivate me to do more cardio and join a race with you (one that you don't mind coming in dead last)!!!!

jillconyers said...

I'm not quite prepared..yet. This will be my first vegan Thanksgiving! Planning a menu for me and my non-vegan family :)

The pumpkin squares look so yummy!

Ali Mc said...

OMG I love the looks of both of those but the pumpkin squares look divine. I am totally making this

Elle said...

In Canada we have Thanksgiving when you are having Columbus Day, in October. This year I did a turkey but didn't stuff it.. made a stove top quinoa dish that was gluten free and also thickened my gravy with a wee bit of cornstarch... again gluten free.

Your recipes look great!

fancy nancy said...

These are great tips and recipes!! I am going to bring some healthy dishes so they are there for me to eat! Me I always overdo it on the apps beforehand or the stuffing!

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