Friday, November 22, 2013

Turkey Dinner #1

It's likely you will be bored by this discussion of my low-fat turkey dinner recipes.  If so, try these more entertaining posts here or here instead. 

Sorry. I can’t help but record this major change in my life.

Here’s the good, the bad, the ugly, and the absent from my first 2013 turkey dinner last Sunday.  I made a lot of new recipes and severely revised some time-honored ones, in order to have a lower-fat dinner. 

Good:  turkey, gravy, green beans with onions, homemade cranberry sauce, bread from the grocery bakery, 'lower fat' pumpkin pie. 

Despite having NO butter in it, the bread stuffing was pretty good.  My research revealed that one main way to reduce the fat in your stuffing is to not cook it in the bird.

Bad:  quinoa stuffing, low-fat mashed potatoes.

Ugly (but tasted good):  honey-glazed yams.  Some of them turned black after baking.

Absent:  the much-loved green bean casserole.  Instead I made fresh green beans – par-cooked in the microwave, then thrown in the frying pan with some slightly caramelized onions, garlic, fresh ginger root slices, and soy sauce.  Next time I would add some hot peppers.

Quinoa stuffing: This could have been good, but it was pretending to be something it wasn’t.  It just can’t be bread stuffing, no matter how much it tries.  I’ve included the recipe below, with my suggested modifications, because I think this could be really good if it’s made right.  But I won’t be making it next Thursday, because the lower fat bread stuffing I made was quite good, and traditional stuffing is what people want on Thanksgiving.

Mashed potatoes:  There seems to be no point in making low-fat mashed potatoes.  My husband told me afterwards he just didn’t have any potatoes at all.  They weren’t appealing to the rest of the company.  Bring on the butter, lads!

Pumpkin Pie:  I made a low-cholesterol crust using canola oil.  The filling was non-fat.  My husband was quite pleased.

Recipe: Wild rice (or quinoa) stuffing

This stuffing recipe uses wild rice instead of bread. If you're feeling more adventurous, substitute quinoa for the rice. The nutrition information listed is for wild rice but would be similar for quinoa.

By Mayo Clinic staff                                                             Serves 12

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice (or equal amount of uncooked quinoa*)
2 1/2 cups water*
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped apple (including peel)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups diced celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning*
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth*
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Rinse wild rice two to three times — until water runs clear.

Place wild rice and water in a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring frequently. Do not burn. Cook wild rice for about 30 minutes. (If you're using quinoa, cook it for about 15 minutes.)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, apple, cranberries and celery. Stir and heat through until tender. Add the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Continue to stir and cook slowly until fragrant, about 10 minutes total.

Combine the rice, the fruit/vegetable mixture and chicken broth in a large bowl. Use to stuff turkey. Or bake in a dish coated with nonstick spray. Cover and keep warm in oven until serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

Nutritional analysis per serving                     Serving size: Approximately 1/2 cup
Calories     78                                Sodium      136 mg      Total fat    2 g             Total carbohydrate     13 g
Saturated fat Trace                      Dietary fiber 2 g         Monounsaturated fat  1.5 g          Protein       2 g

*I suggest the following revisions:
- If using quinoa, cook according to the quinoa package.  The Mayo Clinic’s recipe has too much water for the quinoa.  Mine was watery.
- I thought 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning would be way too much.  Instead, I put in ½ tsp ground thyme, and ½ tsp Herbes de Provence.  It still had far too much thyme.
- It didn’t really need any broth at all.
It would have been better if I had done what I usually do with quinoa – cook it plain, then sauté the other stuff (onion, apple, etc) and then mix it into the quinoa and serve.  Leave out the thyme/poultry seasoning altogether.


JJ said...

My husband would rather die than try any of these adventurous and healthful substitutions. And, come to think of it, that may just, unfortunantely, happen.

Cassi Renee said...

In general, since we only eat stuffing and mashed potatoes once or twice a year, I have never thought of trying to low-fat them. However, "Turkey Dinner #1" implies that there are many more to come, so I can understand your urge to remove some of the taste --er, I mean, fat. :-)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You are a GOOD wife to low-fat this meal.
I despise that nasty green bean casserole and would always eat a salad over that!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

We switched over to plain steamed green beans a few years ago because I was the only one who actually likes green bean casserole. Now we are all happier and healthier.
I started making savory sweet potatoes (chopped into 1-2" chunks and tossed with olive oil before roasting with seasonings on top) instead of the super-sweet casserole.
I'm impressed with your determination to make Thanksgiving heart-healthy.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

PS: Step away from the whipped cauliflower posing as mashed potatoes ("Surprise mashed potatoes"). It's poison, unless you love cooked cauliflower. Then maybe it's okay.

The Crislers said...

I think your fresh green beans sound amazing. And I second Karen's comment about cauliflower posing as potatoes; I have someone in my life who's determined to fool me by replacing normal ingredients with cauliflower (cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower broccoli cheese soup, etc), and it always tastes like cooked cauliflower. Blech.

smalltownme said...

I make my bread stuffing with olive oil instead of butter and it is fantastic.