This year, I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to cook Thanksgiving for everyone at The Biggest Loser. The contestants are an exceptional bunch and they are the inspiration for this meal as I decided to makeover classic holiday dishes in the same way the show’s contestants have made over their lives. The menu below has various iconic Thanksgiving dishes, made over, and they’re also the dishes I’m cooking on tonight’s show.
Continue Reading: The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving Menu →
Some scoff at the idea of adding a salad to the Thanksgiving spread, but it’s an elegant way to start things off, and, if you’re watching your waistline, it’s an easy way to fill up on healthy calories before you dig into the rest of the meal. This seasonal salad works during the fall or winter, and brings a lot of festive color to the holiday spread with sliced pears, red onion, and tart pomegranate.
Continue Reading: Spinach Salad With Pears and Pomegranate →
My healthy-eating mantra is if you begin your meal off with a fiber-rich appetizer, you’ll fill up on healthy calories and eat better over the course of the night. So, I put that rule into effect when developing The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving menu and started things off with this Roasted Sweet Potato Dip and Toasted Sage Dip. It’s just a few ingredients yet packs tons of flavor and can accommodate almost any diet as it’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, lowfat, and low calorie.
While there are plenty of healthy store bought snacking options out there, making your own vegetable chips allows you to control how much fat and salt you’re putting in your food. For The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving menu, the meal starts off with a Roasted Sweet Potato and Toasted Sage Dip and these roasted vegetable chips are a perfect pairing. If you don’t have time to make your own, you can serve the dip with crisp raw vegetable, quick blanched vegetables or whole grain crackers instead.
Continue Reading: Roasted Vegetable Chips →
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the token Green Bean, Mushroom, and Crispy Onion casserole, but one look and you can tell it isn’t good for you. This recipe is a makeover of that Thanksgiving classic made with sauteed fresh mushrooms, Greek yogurt, and roasted onions instead of condensed soup and canned fried onions. The result is a dish that’s way better for you yet is such a dead-ringer for the real deal, guests won’t know what they’re missing.
Continue Reading: Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole →
Candied yams are a staple at Thanksgiving but they’re traditionally made with loads of sugar, butter, and marshmallows. To make this recipe worthy of The Biggest Loser, a fair amount of reworking was in order. In this renovated version, the yams get simmered instead of mashed with butter then topped with a yogurt and goat cheese combination instead of marshmallows. It may sound strange on paper, but it makes for a seriously satisfying substitute for the traditional dish.
Continue Reading: “Candied” Sweet Potatoes →
More often than not, the alternative eaters get left out of Thanksgiving and are given a paltry plate of sides instead of a real meal. While working with The Biggest Loser, I learned that trainer Bob Harper is vegan, so I focused on making the menu accessible for him as well. The result is this whole grain stuffing that, when served in a roasted squashed half, doubles as a main so the non-meat eaters still feel the holiday love. As is, this recipe is very low in fat and calories, but feel free to add more to it like, some roasted chestnuts, crumbled chorizo, or some crisp bacon if you’re feeling indulgent.
Continue Reading: Whole Grain Stuffing with Apples and Toasted Walnuts →
Mashed potatoes are the foundation of the Thanksgiving meal but they’re nutritionally lacking so, for my The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving menu, I decided to makeover mash. By using steamed cauliflower and white beans, I crafted a vegan take on mashed potatoes that has fewer calories, fat, and more fiber than the original. The key to the flavor here is the leeks and the chives so don’t skimp on either and know that the longer you cook the leeks, the deeper, more caramelized the flavor will be.
Continue Reading: Mashed White Beans and Cauliflower with Leeks →
When it comes to a big meal — like, say, Thanksgiving — balance is key to success is balance. I’m talking balance of flavors, timing, and healthiness, but, most of all, balance of the menu’s difficulty so there’s a mix of showy and simple recipes. This cranberry-sauce is the ultimate simplicity and flexibility because it can be made ahead or day of as needed, can be halved or doubled at will, and served hot, room temperature, or cold. So, go ahead and go big on the rest of the meal — the cran sauce will be waiting patiently for its humble cameo moment.
Continue Reading: Citrus-Cranberry Sauce →
From the moment I started working on this Thanksgiving menu, I kept thinking about the turkey. All the other recipes fell into place but the turkey was a bit of a puzzle. I wanted a recipe that would measure up to The Biggest Loser nutritional standards, but also be worthy of the Thanksgiving supper spotlight. And then, it came to me: craft a simple yet elegant turkey that used flavors from the rest of the menu to tie everything together.
While it’s no secret that the white meat on the bird is a lot better for you, it tends also dries out really easily so roasting it for the holiday can be a crapshoot. In this recipe, there are three major precautionary measures to ward off dry turkey. First, the turkey should be bone-on because that will help the bird cook more evenly and infuse it with more turkey flavor. Secondly, the turkey gets roasted in broth for the first half, which ensures it stays super moist despite the 90 minute cooking time. Third, the honey-orange baste brings another layer of flavor and moisture to the finished dish. Then, to further boost the flavor, the pears and onions in the roasting pan get blended up and used as the base of the gravy for a take on turkey that’s a fraction of the fat and calories.
Continue Reading: Herb-Orange Turkey with Pear Gravy →