Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Nearly Guilt Free - Nearly

Thanksgiving Day has finally arrived, and for that we are so thankful.  Judy and I have been preparing for tonight’s feast since Monday.  This year we are expecting about twelve family members and friends at our Thanksgiving table.  Generally we have over twenty-five guests.  Then, it’s like cooking for an army. And when it’s all done, we have left-over’s for weeks on end.  Eating Thanksgiving food for weeks is definitely NOT conducive to our new Weight Watchers Life-Style

The challenge this year was to offer our guests the same tasty food that we present every year, there would be loud protests if we didn’t, but to prepare the dishes in a healthier “low point value” way. 

Judy and I agreed to divide up the meal, each one preparing five to six separate dishes. 

Here it is, our 2010 Thanksgiving Feast. 

We hope you enjoy.

From Our Kitchen to Yours, Happy Thanksgiving

Butternut Squash Soup


Butternut Squash Soup
2 Tbsp Butter, Unsalted

1 cup Onion, chopped

2 ½ pounds Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cubed. About 6 cups. Available packaged pre-cut.

½ Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and diced

3 cups Chicken broth, fat-free, low sodium

1 ½ cups Apple Cider

¼ cup Apple Brandy. BevMo has it.

1 ½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped

¼ tsp Black Pepper, fresh, ground


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the Onions and Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the Squash and Apple and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

In small batches, carefully puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 days.

Yields 8 servings. PointsPlus value per 1 cup serving is 4. - Judy

Bar-B-Que'd Turkey 


Turkey on the Bar-B
19 pound Turkey

2 medium Onions

2 stalks Celery

2 Granny Smith Apples, cut into wedges

2 Tbsp Garlic Powder, divided

2 tsp Paprika

2 tsp Orange peel, dry

4oz Butter 


Cut the Onions, Celery and Apples into large pieces and fill the cavity of the Turkey.

Rub 1 Tbsp of the Garlic powder and Paprika all over the bird.

Sprinkle with Orange peel. 

Place butter and balance of Garlic powder in Roasting pan, with Turkey on a slightly raised rack.

If you’re using charcoal, build your fire on the sides of a round grille, or at one end of a rectangular grill.  If using gas, heat only the element at one end of the grill.

Place roasting pan on grill over indirect heat, rotating every 45 minutes until temp gauge in the bird pops up.

Baste with butter and garlic drippings every 15 minutes throughout the cooking period.

Take the time in between bastings to watch football. Isn’t Thanksgiving all about football and eating anyway?

When done, remove the bird to a cutting board. Remove Onions, Celery and Apples from cavity and cover the Turkey with a kitchen towel for at least 20 minutes before carving. 

As much as it pains me to mention this, Don’t eat the skin of the Turkey. It defeats the purpose. 

Turkey without skin, white or dark meat, is 2 points per slice – Barry

Barry’s Old Time Turkey Stuffing 


Old Time Turkey Stuffing
4 large Onions, yellow, coarsely chopped

1 full head of Celery, chopped, include leaves, discard bottom

6 medium Garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp Sage, fresh, chopped fine

½ tsp Garlic Powder

2 tsp Kosher Salt, or to taste

2 tsp Black pepper, fresh ground

2 Tbsp Orange peel, dry

4oz Butter, or use light butter and reduce the point value to 2 per 1 cup serving

½ cup Dried Apricots, coarsely chopped

½ cup Dried Cranberries, chopped

12 oz Cornbread stuffing mix

12oz Sourdough Stuffing mix, or any cubed mix

2 cups Chicken broth, fat-free, low sodium

Cooking spray


Melt Butter in a large pot.

Add Onion, Celery, Garlic, Sage, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper.  Sauté on medium-low heat until tender and translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add Cranberries, Apricots and Orange peel, continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Add both Stuffing mixes and Broth and mix well. May be set aside in refrigerator until ready to bake.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray, 1 spray.

Fill casserole dish with Stuffing mixture and bake in a 350°oven for 25 minutes, until heated through.

Yields 20 servings,  PointsPlus value per 1 cup serving is 6.  – Barry

Cranberry Orange Relish 


Cranberry and Orange Relish
12oz Cranberries, fresh

1 large Orange, Cut into large chunks, including peel

½ cup Brown Sugar

½ cup Honey

1 piece Ginger Root, about 1”, peeled and chopped

¼ tsp Cinnamon, ground

¼ tsp Cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp Orange peel, dry


Put Cranberries, Orange, Sugar, Honey, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cayenne Pepper in a food processor; Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape into a serving bowl (or plastic container, if preparing ahead). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields 16 servings.  PointsPlus value per 3 Tbsp serving is 2 – Barry

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones


Pumpkin Scone with Fat Free Yogurt
3 cups whole wheat Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp Pumpkin Spice

6 tbsp chilled butter salted

1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree

1/4 cup whole milk

½ cup Applesauce, unsweetened

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup ground walnuts


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut in butter and mix until batter looks like fine crumbs.

Add pumpkin, milk, beaten egg, applesauce and walnuts and blend.

On a floured surface knead until smooth.

Roll into a rectangle about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut 20 squares (each will be about 3 inches) then cut across each square diagonally making 40 triangles.

Place on ungreased tray about 1 inch apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes.

Remove to cooling rack.

Yields 40 servings.  PointsPlus value per servings 2

Blueberry and Cranberry Pumpkin Bars


Blueberry and Cranberry Pumpkin Bars
1 cup Pumpkin Pura, canned

1 & 1/3 cup Whole Wheat, all purpose flour

1/3 cup reduced fat Buttermilk

1 ¼ cups uncooked old fashioned Oats

2/3 cup dried Cranberries

1 cup Blueberries, fresh

1 cup light brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Butter, Room Temperature

1 Egg, large

1 Egg white, large

1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 & 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350°f. Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with Butter flavored non-stick cooking spray, then dust lightly with a bit of flour.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer, beat in egg, egg white, pumpkin, vanilla and buttermilk.

In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir into pumpkin mixture just until moistened, then add blueberries and cranberries and gently mix.

Pour batter in pan, spread evenly and bake 20 – 25 minutes or until center springs back when gently pressed. 

Cool and cut into 16 Bars.

Yields 16 Bars. PointsPlus value per Bar is 4– Judy

Creamed Spinach – Lightened Up


Creamed Spinach - Lightened up
2 tsp Butter

½ cup shallots, minced

1 Garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp all purpose flour

1 ½ cups fat free milk

2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground pepper

Salt to taste

4.4oz Boursin Light 

(2) 16oz bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all moisture


In a large Sauté pan, melt butter. Add Shallots and /Garlic and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes.

Add flour to Shallots, mix well and cook another minute.

Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, whisking well.

Add Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.

Add Boursin Light and mix until smooth.

Add Spinach and combine well with sauce, cook 1 minute, until heated through.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 8 servings. PointsPlus value per 2/3 cup serving is 2

Cauliflower - Mock Mashed Potatoes 


Cauliflower - Mock Mashed Potatoes
2 large heads Cauliflower

4 small Onions

6 cloves Garlic

4 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Chicken Bullion, powdered

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Steam Cauliflower, Onions, and Garlic until soft, about 30 minutes

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Spray a glass baking dish with 1 spray of non-stick cooking spray

Pour the processed mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Yields 12 servings. PointsPlus value per ¾ cup serving is 3 – Judy

Roasted Green Beans with Fresh Tomatoes


Roasted String Beans with Tomatoes
3 sprays Olive oil cooking spray

4 cups green snap beans, trimmed

2 cups grape tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes, cut in half 
   (or quartered if large)

¼ cup Basil, fresh, chiffanade, set aside

2 tsp garlic, minced, more or less to taste

½ tsp salt. To taste

¼ tsp Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


 Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray

Place green beans in a single layer in a prepared pan and coat with cooking spray. Roast, stirring once or twice, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 Tbsp of basil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper; set aside.

When green beans are finished, remove from oven and spoon tomato mixture into pan; toss thoroughly. 

Serve hot, room temp or chilled as a salad topped with remaining 2 Tbsp of Basil.

Yields  4 servings PointsPlus value per 1 cup serving is 1- Judy

Pear and Sweet Potato Casserole


Pear and Sweet Potato Casserole
1 ½ large Sweet Potatoes

1 spray, cooking spray

1 ½ Tbsp Butter

1 ½ tsp Ginger root, fresh, minced

3 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp lemon Zest, freshly grated

½ tsp salt

2 medium pears, ripe, Anjou, peeled, halved, sliced crosswise, ¼ inch thick

1 Tbsp fresh Lemon juice, or more to taste.


Pierce Sweet Potatoes in a few places with the tip of a knife.

Place on a paper towel and microwave on high, turning potatoes over once, until tender, about 7 – 9 minutes. 

Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat; add ginger and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in Syrup, Lemon zest and Salt.

With your fingers or a small knife, peel the skin from the sweet potatoes. Slice potatoes into ½ inch thick rounds.

Arrange sweet potatoes in the bottom of a prepared plate and place pears on top; brush with about half of the syrup mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and brush with the remaining syrup mixture. Return to oven; bake until glazed and mixture is bubbly around the edges, about 15 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and drizzle lemon juice over the top. Make sure to spoon the juices from the bottom of the dish over each serving.

Yields about ½ cup per serving. PointsPlus value per serving is 4 – Judy

Classic Pumpkin Pecan Pie


Pumpkin Pecan Pie
3 eggs, divided

1 cup Pumpkin Pura, canned

1 cup sugar, divided

½ tsp ground Cinnamon

¼ tsp ground Ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Dash of salt

2/3 cup light or dark corn syrup

2 Tbsp Butter, melted

1 tsp Vanilla

1 cup Pecans, coarsely chopped

1 prepared deep dish pie crust. If using a frozen pie crust, do not thaw; preheat a baking sheet in the oven and place the pie on the cookie sheet to bake.


In a small bowl, combine one egg, pumpkin, 1/3 of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Spread into the pie crust.

In a medium bowl, beat the remaining two eggs slightly. Stir in corn syrup and remaining 2/3 of the sugar, the butter and vanilla; stir until well blended. Stir in the Pecans. Carefully spoon over the pumpkin mixture.

Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until filling is set around the edge. Cool the Pie completely on a wire cooling rack.

Yields 10 servings. PointsPlus value per serving is 10 – Judy

So there you have it, Judy and Barry’s 2010 Thanksgiving Feast.  If you eat just 1 serving of everything we served at our table, the point value total will be 25 points.  That is just a few points lower than my total daily allowance and just a few points higher than Judy’s.

However, under the Weight Watchers plan, we are allowed to “Bank” 5 points per day, if we stay at or below our average daily allowance.  This means that one may “Bank” up to 35 points a week and all of those points can all be used on one very special day, such as Thanksgiving.

Sit back, relax, watch some football and eat to your heart’s content. Guilt Free! Nearly.

Weight Watchers is a trademark of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Photos by Barry Baruh

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