November 3, 2014

thanksgiving menu planning

By Coach Maria – Salus Nutritionist & Food Expert

Halloween came and went with a blink of an eye and now we begin to think of Thanksgiving and all it entails!

Don’t get stressed, it’s ok.  We all want to have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving without worrying too much about the stress that menu planning can create – we can help!

My next 4 installments will include Thanksgiving recipes that are either traditional or non-traditional.  The traditional recipes will include some tweaking to make them healthy for the body, but without sacrificing flavor.

Thanksgiving should be about gathering with family and friends and, yes, eating wonderfully delicious food.  That food, however, shouldn’t sit in your gut like a giant brick or cause digestive issues that might cause you to spend more time in the bathroom than with your guests!

Our first recipe, of course, is Turkey!  Most people have their favorite tried-and-true recipe and that’s great.  For the rest of you who will be hosting/preparing your first Thanksgiving meal, the turkey is really not as daunting as you might think.  This recipe produces a moist, rich-tasting turkey with a hint of spiciness from a great chai spice you make yourself!  The glaze comes from the use of real maple syrup, giving an authentic flavor that cannot be substituted.  The cavity is stuffed with apples, which will promote moistness in the turkey throughout the entire cooking process.

serves 15

1- 10 to 15 pound fresh turkey

Wet Rub:
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp chai spice*
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Cavity Stuffing:
3-4 large red apples, cut into quarters (I used Fuji)
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

To be added to the roasting pan:
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 cups all natural, unsweetened apple juice
2 whole star anise
2 whole cinnamon stick

*Chai spice:

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground five spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp vanilla powder

The previous day:
Combine the ingredients for the wet rub in a small mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon until well combined. 
Pat the bird dry and carefully loosen the skin from the breast by delicately sliding your fingers under it from the neck end until you reach the end of the breasts. Be careful not to break the skin. Rub half of the spice mixture between the flesh and skin. Rub the other half all over the bird’s skin, including breasts, thighs and wings.
Cover the turkey with plastic film and set it in the fridge to rest until the next day.  

Thanksgiving Day:
Preheat oven to 325F
Remove turkey from the fridge and place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
Stuff quartered apples as well as a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in the cavity. Tie legs neatly together.
Add maple syrup, apple juice, star anise and cinnamon stick to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle bird generously with salt and pepper. Tent loosely with foil and roast in a 325F oven for about 20 minutes per pound or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 180F .
Remove the foil for the last hour of roasting.
When turkey is done, take it out of the oven, place tent back over the bird and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Protein:   14g
Carbs:     11g
Fat:           4g
Sugars:    14g

Nutritional information are estimates and will vary

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