Happy November, ya’ll! I hope you’re successfully resisting all that Halloween candy your kids brought home the other night! I am proud to say that I didn’t have a single piece of the candy we gave out to trick-or-treaters, and I sent the leftovers to work with my husband the next morning (I know it’s mean of me to make his co-workers deal with the temptation, but I couldn’t exactly bring it to the alternative health care clinic where I work could I?).
Since it’s November, that means I can officially go all out with posts related to my most favorite holiday in all the world….THANKSGIVING! Thanksgiving is all about delicious food (and being thankful of course!), so I’m definitely planning to experiment with some healthy recipes this month.
The holiday season means parties, potlucks, family meals and lots of overeating! At Thanksgiving, it’s not the turkey where most people overdo it, but rather all the creamy and cheesy sides and decadent desserts. My biggest weaknesses are Mama Kay’s sweet potato casserole and the stuffing. So I went online looking for some healthier alternatives to these fattening dishes, and I stumbled across some intriguing recipes in this month’s Health Magazine.
Sweet Potato Gratin
To kick off my holiday recipe mania, I tried this Sweet Potato Gratin. What intrigued me about this dish is that it combines both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, eliminating the need for separate sweet potato and mashed potato sides. Also, I’ve never seen a gratin recipe that didn’t include a lot of heavy cheese and butter. Instead, this recipe calls for organic half and half, spices, garlic, bread crumbs and chopped pecans to hold it together and make it creamy and delish!
Nothing says Thanksgiving like sweet potatoes!
I’d say this recipe was a success. I’m not going to lie and say it was as over the top as Mama Kay’s sweet potato casserole, but it was very tasty, and it would be the perfect dish to bring to a holiday pot luck. It’s always nice when they’re are a couple of lighter options amidst all the heavy dishes!
I’m also working on making this recipe for Buttermilk and Herb Stuffing Muffins, also found in this month’s Health Magazine. My hubby brought home all the ingredients from the farmer’s market, but he was unable to find the packaged stuffing there. So I went to Kroger last night to see what I could find. There were three options for stuffing – Pepperidge Farm, Stove Top and Kroger brand, and they were all loaded with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated soy bean oil and MSG. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts on these ingredients, then you know I was appalled! So once I find a healthy stuffing mix I’m going to take a stab at these muffins and report back to you. Does anybody have any ideas? Should I try to make the stuffing from scratch? I’m going to try Whole Foods next.
Homemade Chicken/Turkey Noodle Soup
In last week’s Grocery Store Spotlight, I compared the popular canned soup brands and found many of them to be lacking in good nutrition. So last night I made a big ole batch of chicken noodle soup so I could share the recipe with you! You know I’m a sucker for hardy and EASY crock pot meals! You can switch out the chicken for turkey, which is a perfect way to get rid of all those leftovers after the big Thanksgiving meal.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a great big batch in the crock pot:
1 whole organic chicken ($10 at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and $13 at Trader Joe’s)
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small bag of baby carrots, sliced into halves
1 onion, sliced
Seasoning to taste (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried thyme and dried parsley.)
1 Package of Pasta (I recommend using whole grain or brown rice noodles, which are gluten-free.)
Place the whole chicken (Don’t forget to remove the little packet inside with the liver, etc.) in the crock pot and fill to the top with water. Add the carrots, celery, onion and spices. Set crock pot to low and let cook for 8 hours.
Here's what my soup looked like when I turned it on at 10 p.m. last night.
Remove chicken from crock pot (Be careful! It will be nice and tender and falling off the bone at this point!). While chicken is cooling, stir uncooked pasta into the crock pot so it can begin cooking. Prepare the chicken by removing the bones and skin and shredding the meat into small pieces. Add the desired amount of chicken to soup.
I only used about half of this meat and put the rest in the fridge to make another batch.
Let the soup simmer on low until the noodles are cooked and you’re ready to serve.
Tada! Here's the hearty, healthy soup I'll be enjoying over the next couple of days. No MSG in sight!
I hope you give these recipes a try. Let me know how it goes and if you decide to put your own spin on them. I’ve got lots more recipes coming your way this month!
If you have a healthy holiday recipe, please feel free to send it my way so I can share it with all my readers. I’ll be sure to give you a shout out!