We began celebrating the holiday to commemorate the meals and lessons the Native Americans shared with our founding families, and to this day, many of us have family traditions of thankfulness and giving at this season, honoring and continuing that example of generosity. The Thanksgiving meal is one that so many of us look forward to all year, with decadent dinners of comfort foods and delicious leftovers for days afterwards!
With so many families trying to eat healthier year-round, why not make some small changes to make your Thanksgiving meal and leftovers healthier and heart-smart, too! Consider one of these great choices:
Switch from buttery, creamy mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes to roasted! Sliced or diced, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and herbs, then roasted on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven, the results are delicious, and SO much better for your heart and waistline than mashed with butter and cream!
Creamed spinach is delicious, but chock full of bad fats and cholesterol. Consider making braised kale instead: All of the nutrients of good greens, with no saturated fat or cholesterol!
Braised Kale serves 6
2 large bags of washed, torn kale leaves OR 4 bunches of kale (wash, cut off stems, and tear)
1 red or yellow onion, diced
2 T olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
- Heat olive oil in large non-stick frying pan (choose one with a lid, you’ll need it later)
- Saute onion until it begins to carmelize, 5-10 minutes
- Add kale to pan in batches, sauteing and turning with tongs until wilted, then adding a few more handfuls, until all the kale is in the pan
- When all the kale is at least slightly wilted, add garlic and stir/toss with tongs
- Drizzle with balsamic, no more than a couple of tablespoons, and stir/toss again
- Add a few shakes of salt and pepper, stir/toss
- Lower the heat to a simmer, and place lid on pan
- Allow to simmer/braise for another 5-10 minutes until the larger ribs are tender
Asparagus with Hollandaise is a popular side dish this time of year, but many of us are cutting down on egg yolks and butter. Going grilled instead is flavorful, easy, and a huge hit with adults and kids alike!
- Break or slice tough bottoms off each stalk of asparagus
- Toss in vinaigrette, using a bowl or resealable bag
- Heat grill or grill pan to searing hot
- Place asparagus on grill, running perpendicular to the grill bars
- Grill until browned on one side, then flip with tongs
- Serve as is, or with grated lemon zest sprinkled on top!
Leftovers are terrific when sliced and added to salads, omelets, or quiche!