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 →
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.
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 →
This holiday season, I’m giving thanks for a very memorable experience: cooking Thanksgiving on The Biggest Loser! They asked me to craft a menu that (aside from being delicious) was up to The Biggest Loser smart-eating standards.
If you’ve ever watched the show, then you know how inspiring and motivated each contestant is. In that spirit, it seemed fitting to makeover classic Thanksgiving dishes so they’d be as fabulous as the contestants themselves. The result is this Thanksgiving menu that’s got a lot going for it in terms of flavor, but is lower in fat and calories.
I’ll be sharing my tips and recipes with the nation on next Wednesday’s Thanksgiving episode, but I’m sharing them with you starting right now. Over the next five days, I’ll be posting recipes from the menu below, so you’ll have plenty of time to incorporate them into your Thanksgiving spread.
It’s the countdown to the biggest cooking day of the year and, in the whirlwind of inviting, planning, shopping, and prepping, you just might forget to eat before you eat — know what I mean? While some like to starve before they dive into the Thanksgiving meal, I’m of a different camp: the one that eats a healthy, hearty salad. Here’s a kale salad that fits that bill and is pretty easy to make.
Speaking of which, Pretty. Easy. is also the name of a new series on the site where I’ll be sharing recipes that are seriously simple and easy on the eyes. But, back to the salad at hand: it’s quick enough to throw together whenever hunger strikes, yet festive enough to bring out for Thanksgiving, assuming you haven’t already eaten it all beforehand.
Continue Reading: Pretty. Easy. Kale Salad →
If you caught yesterday’s TasteMakers interview with Delilah Snell, then you’re likely as convinced of her awesomeness as I am. She’s a rare breed as she’s one of a handful of Master Food Preservers in the nation and spreads the good word about preserving via her numerous endeavors from her store and blog to her line of preserves. Needless to say, when we met, it was quite clear Delilah and I were equally food obsessed and we have quickly become friends.
A few weeks ago I attended one of her pickling classes, which was a whirlwind of a day in which we made everything from kimchi and sauerkraut to preserved limes and spicy green beans. Of them all, this recipe for Mexican-style pickled carrots was a crowd favorite so Delilah is sharing the recipe here.
Cocktail parties are my favorite. And, no, it’s not because of the cocktails. Okay, it’s partly because of the cocktails, but it’s mostly because, to me, a good party is made up of a range of small bites with a variey of tastes. With the holidays around the corner we’re heading into high-gear party season, so I thought I’d share one of my go-to cocktail party recipes: Mushroom Agrodolce Bites.
These little numbers have a lot going for them — they’re affordable, a cinch to make, and can be made ahead of time — but what I’m drawn to is the sweet-sour flavor. Agrodolce is a sweet-sour sauce hailing from Sicily and though it’s classically made with just onions, here it’s combined with roasted mushrooms for a recipe packed with a mix of sweet-sour and earthy flavors. If you aren’t entertaining anytime soon, serve the mushrooms (without the endive) as a side-dish as they a natural pairing with a variety of cold-weather fare from roasts to slow-cooked foods.
It’s been a crazy month, to say the least. While I’d hoped for crisp fall evenings that I’d spend making the first slow-cooked recipes of the season, it has instead been very busy with my “To Do” list seeming like it’ll never stop growing. It’s times like these that I go simple and quick in the kitchen, but never at the expense of flavor. Just because things are speedy doesn’t mean they should lack flavor, and I turn to high-heat cooking methods like stir frying, sautéing, broiling, and roasting to ensure that doesn’t happen. These sweet-savory quick-roasted grapes fit the bill perfectly.
Continue Reading: Sweet-Tart Quick-Roasted Grapes →