New, healthy twists on Thanksgiving classics

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I can already feel my jeans getting tighter. While I love the holiday, and it’s so important to give thanks and see family, it’s super easy to fall into the trap of eating unhealthy. However, there are a couple of delicious recipes, courtesy of Chef Cecily Gans, that you can substitute so that you still have the energy once Christmas rolls around.

Cranberry Citrus Marmalade

Satisfy your sweet tooth by marinating your turkey in cranberry citrus marmalade instead of bathing it in gravy.

-½ cup real maple syrup, plus additional to taste, I have used up to a cup

-1 tablespoon orange zest, about 1 orange, plus the segments

-1 teaspoon lemon zest, less than 1 lemon, plus the segments

-¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

-¼ teaspoon cinnamon

-Pinch ground nutmeg

-1 pound fresh cranberries

 1. To prepare the cranberry marmalade: In a saucepan, combine the syrup, zests, juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, add the cranberries, and simmer for 5 minutes, until the berries are softened. To prevent burning create a double boiler using another saucepan of equal size and about 1” of water.

3. Add the segments and continue simmering on the double boiler until all of the berries have burst and the marmalade texture is achieved, stirring occasionally. Season with additional syrup or sugar as desired.

Multigrain Autumn Pilaf

Instead of heaping stuffing on your plate, get your grains by substituting it with a multigrain autumn pilaf. Pilaf is a delicious dish made of rice and spices that’s a healthier replacement for all the other starchy sides.

-1 cup wild rice

-1 cup wheat berries

-2 cups chopped onion

-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-¼ cup olive oil

-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

-2 tbls. Fresh thyme leaves

-freshly cracked black pepper

-1 cup brown rice

-2 cups dried apples or other dried autumn fruit

-1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

1. Rinse wild rice and wheat berries under cold running water. Drain well. In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft.

2. Stir in the drained wild rice and wheat berries, chicken broth, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.

3. Stir the brown rice into wild rice mixture and return to boiling.

4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes, or until the grains are tender. (If excess liquid remains in saucepan after grains are tender, remove lid and simmer until liquid evaporates.)

5. Stir in the apples and toasted pecans and serve warm.

Sautéed Roasted Garlic Swiss Chard

If you’re thinking about having salad drowned in fatty dressings, switch things up with swiss chard. Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is popular in Mediterranean countries, and is rich in vitamins and potassium.

-¼ cup roasted garlic olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons of garlic ‘solids’

-1 bunch red, white or rainbow Swiss chard, washed, trimmed and torn into 2” pieces

-Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add the Swiss chard and sauté until soft, but still crisp, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic solids and sauté and additional two minutes

4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.