Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Diet: Thanksgiving dinner on 600 calories

Yummy calorie reduced Thanksgiving dinner
Yummy calorie reduced Thanksgiving dinner

Yes, you read that correctly — Thanksgiving dinner on 600 calories. That’s pretty amazing when a slice of pumpkin pie can weigh in at 320 calories.

First, there’s plenty of portion control going on, no second helpings of mashed potatoes, no drowning your turkey in the gravy boat, and no heaping servings but no skimping on flavor either. And yes, you can have sweet potatoes and stuffing and pumpkin pie too.

Thanks to Laurel Hudson, culinary instructor at Wellspring Academies for Weight Loss for providing Circle of Food with this luscious low calorie feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are the Thanksgiving recipes:

Turkey Gravy

By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 8 servings of 2 tbsp each (note the portion size)

1 cup Fat Free Chicken or Turkey Broth, low sodium if possible
1 package turkey gravy mix
1 tbsp fresh poultry blend herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, etc)
1 tsp Molly McButter granules
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Combine the gravy mix, broth, and herbs in a small pot, and whisk until dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 1 minute.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in butter granules and pepper to taste.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
13 calories/0.3g fat per serving

Sweet Potato Pie

 By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 8 servings

1 large sweet potato
3 cups cubed butternut squash (this keeps it low cal)
2/3 cup egg beaters
1/3 cup nonfat vanilla soymilk
1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup granulated Splenda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp butter extract
½ tsp molasses
½ tsp salt
1 cup mini marshmallows
Pam spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Wash and peel the sweet potato and the butternut squash.
3. Dice each into 1/4” cubes, and remove the seeds from the squash.
4. Microwave in a small bowl for 6-10 minutes, then let sit in microwave for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Place squash and sweet potato in a food processor and process until mostly smooth.
6. Add all remaining ingredients except marshmallows and Pam to the food processor and process again until combined.
7. Lightly spray a medium baking dish with Pam.
8. Pour mixture into pan and evenly spread out.
9. Bake for 30-50 minutes, or until very soft.
10. Sprinkle marshmallows on top, then bake 3-5 more minutes, or until marshmallows are beginning to brown.
11. Allow to cool slightly, and then serve!

Approximate Nutritional Information:
84 calories/0g fat per serving

Green Bean Casserole

By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 8 servings

1 can condensed healthy request cream of mushroom soup
½ cup skim milk
1 tsp light soy sauce
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
6 cups frozen French style green beans
1 medium onion, chopped into thin strips
1 tbsp dried minced onion
10 mini Sour Cream & Onion Quakes, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a casserole dish lightly with Pam.
3. Sauté onions until tender.
4. Stir In the green beans.
5. Add mushroom soup, milk, black pepper, and soy sauce to green beans.
6. Stir in to mix.
7. Pour into casserole dish.
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Top with crushed Quakes and dried minced onion, and spray top lightly with Pam.
10. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until topping is golden.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
67 calories/ 1.2g fat per serving

Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes

By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 6 servings

1 large potato
1 bag frozen cauliflower florets (or 4 cups fresh cauliflower florets)
¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp Molly McButter butter granules
1 tsp fresh minced rosemary, or to taste
1 pinch nutmeg
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp butter extract
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Butter spray (optional)

1. Wash and peel the potato.
2. Dice the potato, and place in the microwave in a small bowl.
3. Microwave for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
4. Steam the cauliflower as directed on the package.
5. Add the potato and cauliflower florets to a food processor.
6. Add in remaining ingredients except the butter spray.
7. Process until smooth.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and spray with butter spray if desired.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
54 calories/ 0.1g fat per serving

Cheesy Biscuits

 By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 4 dozen biscuits

2 scallions, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
8oz fat free shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 package cheese sauce mix
5 cups Reduced Fat All Purpose Baking Mix
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
¼ cup egg beaters
Butter spray
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray a large baking pan with Pam and line with parchment.
3. Add the shredded cheese, chopped scallions, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheese sauce mix, parmesan, and buttermilk, then stir until combined.
4. Gently stir in the baking mix, and drop by rounded tablespoon onto the sheet pan, making 4 dozen biscuits total.
5. Brush with egg beaters.
6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Spray each with butter spray, and serve warm.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
62 calories/ 0.9g fat per biscuit

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 10 servings

12oz bag whole fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup granulated Splenda
½ cup light cranberry juice
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of salt

— Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pan.
— Bring the contents to a boil over medium heat.
— Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes (just until cranberries burst; any longer and they will become bitter).
–Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
— Refrigerate the sauce for several hours, or until thickened and cooled.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
21 calories/0g fat per serving

Pumpkin Pie
By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 12 servings

2 cups Fiber One Original cereal
2 tbsp light butter spread (I like Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread)
¼ cup granulated Splenda
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

15oz can pure pumpkin
12oz can fat free evaporated milk
2/3 cup egg beaters
1 cup granulated Splenda
¼ cup sugar free maple syrup
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp butter extract
½ tsp molasses
Pam spray
Cool Whip Free for topping, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray a pie pan lightly with Pam.
3. In a food processor, grind up cereal until it looks like crumbs.
4. Add in the butter, applesauce, Splenda, and spices, and process until combined.
5. Press crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish with your hands.
6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, and then let cool in the freezer for 5 minutes.
7. Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl; the pumpkin, milk, egg beaters, Splenda, syrup, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt, molasses, vanilla and butter extract, and whisk until smooth.
8. Pour filling into crust, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the center is set.
9. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight if possible.
10. Keep refrigerated until serving, and then cut into twelve slices and top with thawed cool whip if desired.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
74 calories/1.3g fat per serving
By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 8 servings

6 slices whole grain light bread (about 45 calories per slice)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 cup shredded butternut squash
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups College Inn White Wine & Herb Culinary Broth (or any low-fat/fat-free flavorful broth)
½ cup egg beaters
1 tbsp Molly McButter granules
1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh minced poultry blend of herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, etc)
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Pam spray

1. Lightly toast bread to dry out, or leave out overnight to stale.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
3. Spray a medium sized baking dish with Pam, and set aside.
4. Cut bread into ¼ inch cubes, and add to a large mixing bowl.
5. Chop or shred (use a box grater) all the veggies into small pieces.
6. Get a large sauté pan, and spray lightly with pam.
7. Heat up sauté pan, and add all the veggies.
8. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until golden and beginning to soften.
9. Add the broth and herbs, and cook until veggies are almost soft, about 5 minutes.
10. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter granules.
11. Place the pan in the freezer to cool down slightly for 5 minutes.
12. Stir in egg substitute and vinegar and then pour everything in pan over bread cubes in mixing bowl.
13.  Gently fold the bread into the liquid vegetable mixture, and then scoop into baking dish.
14. Cover the dish with foil, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
15. Remove the foil, and fluff the stuffing with a fork, and bake the stuffing for 15 more minutes
16. Serve hot.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
75 calories/ 0.5g fat per serving

Herbed Turkey Breast
By Laurel Hudson

Yield: 4 servings- 4oz per person

1 pound fresh lean turkey breast; boneless and skinless
1 container poultry blend of fresh herbs- Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Basil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Freshly cracked pepper
Salt, to taste
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
Pam spray
8 sheets of parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray one side of each piece of parchment paper with Pam.
3. Lay a turkey breast on four of the sheets of parchment paper.
4. Sprinkle the garlic evenly over the turkey breasts.
5. Lay a few pieces of whole herbs on top of the turkey breasts.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp bouillon each, evenly.
8. Place the other piece of parchment paper, sprayed side down, on top of the turkey breast.
9. Fold all the sides into a square, and staple the corners and anywhere else that is loose.
10. Place the parchment packets on a baking sheet.
11. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 and the juices run clear.
12. To serve, gently cut into the top piece of paper and open, and then remove the herbs and each from the packet.

Approximate Nutritional Information:
105 calories/0.5g fat per serving
Leftover Thanksgiving Pocket Poppers
The above recipes have been graciously provided by Laurel Hudson, culinary instructor at Wellspring Academies which provides residential weight loss programs for overweight teens.

Actually, one portion of all the above is only 501 calories!

  1. Wow. This was great. I’ve already printed out your Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe and plan on making that. I’ve had it at a restaurant before and always wondered how to make it.

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