Magazine article Sunset

Thanksgiving Light & Easy

Magazine article Sunset

Thanksgiving Light & Easy

Article excerpt

A high-tech cook shares her low-tech secrets for a make-ahead meal that's bountiful and very low in fat

Low-fat Thanksgiving dinner for eight

Tomato-Caper Bruschetta*

Pumpkin Soup

Red and Green Salad with Cranberry Dressing

Rosemary Roast Turkey*

Turkey Gravy

Roasted Petite Yukon Gold Potatoes

Mushroom-Quinoa Dressing

Maple-Mustard Green Beans

Baby Leeks in Wine Sauce

Baked Cardamom Pears and Apricots*

*wine suggestions on page 161

"My background is in the computer industry," says Kristene Fortier of San Carlos, California, as she describes her career change four years ago from high-tech Silicon Valley manager to food writer and culinary teacher.

"I've always loved food; I just didn't think it would be a practical career. But when Michelle was a baby and my son, Casey, was 3, I left the industry and began teaching cooking classes that focused on healthy eating." Her classes included employees of high-tech companies, whose needs meshed with Fortier's interest in make-ahead foods that are light, wholesome, and quickly prepared.

Fortier's approach to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner follows in the same vein. Although a menu with 10 dishes takes longer than a typical supper, you can prepare everything but the turkey, roasted potatoes, and gravy ahead. Even if you're alone in the kitchen, this meal is easily managed.

The reward is a feast that looks and tastes lavish. And a full portion adds up to 1,388 calories, 12% (162 cal., just 18 grams) from fat. Slightly indulgent, perhaps, but easily balanced if you go light on breakfast and lunch.

Tomato-Caper Bruschetta

Prep and cook time: About 25 minutes

Notes: Up to 2 days ahead, make tomato mixture, cover, and chill; bring to room temperature before serving. Up to 1 day ahead, make toast and, when cool, seal airtight and hold at room temperature.

Makes: 24 pieces; 8 servings

1 cup (about 2 oz.) firmly packed dried tomato slices

1 baguette ('/2 lb.)

1 green onion (including green top), ends trimmed, and coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Salt

1. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes with 1 cup boiling water; let stand until soft and pliable, about 15 minutes. Drain tomatoes.

2. Meanwhile, cut baguette diagonally into 24 slices. Arrange on a 12- by 15inch baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until toasted on each side, about 2 minutes total.

3. In a food processor, finely mince tomatoes, onion, garlic, capers, and oregano with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. (Or with a knife, mince tomatoes, onion, garlic, capers, and oregano, then add lemon juice and vinegar.) Add salt to taste.

4. Spoon tomato mixture into a small bowl and accompany with toast. Spread tomato mixture onto toast to eat.

Per piece: 34 cal., 7.9% (2.7 cal.) from fat; 1.3 g protein; 0.3 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 6.6 g carbo (0.7 g fiber); 76 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Pumpkin Soup

Prep and cook time: About 25 minutes

Notes: If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day. Add sour cream after reheating.

Makes: 6 cups; 8 servings

1 onion (8 to 10 oz.), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

3 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup nonfat milk

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt

About 2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt

1. …

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