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Michelle Warner

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Spice Up Your Thanksgiving

Posted on November 22nd, 2010

Monday Morsel

sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.


In light of Thanksgiving this week, I decided to rummage through my recipes and find a few healthy additions to the standard turkey meal. I have not tried all of these recipes but felt each was worth sharing. Here’s to a healthy Thanksgiving meal!


Butternut Sprouts
(I found this in a magazine a while ago but don’t remember which one.)


1 minced garlic clove
2 tablespoons oil
10-ounce package frozen pureed butternut squash
30 leaves from Brussels sprouts
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Slivered almonds
¼ teaspoon salt


Sauté garlic clove in oil.
Add butternut squash; cook until defrosted (or roast your own butternut squash).
Stir in Parmesan, sage, cider vinegar and salt.
Remove 30 leaves from Brussels sprouts, fill each evenly with mixture.
Garnish each with toasted slivered almonds and additional grated Parmesan.


Roasted Squash Seeds
(Recipe found on allrecipes. com.)
4 servings


1 cup winter squash seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
After removing the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place in a small bowl.
Stir the olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until seeds start to pop. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet before serving.


Spinach Salad with Bosc Pears, Cranberries, Red Onion, and Toasted Hazelnuts
(Recipe found on )
8 servings

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1/2  teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Dressing Directions:

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.
Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
8 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed if needed
2 firm but ripe, unpeeled Bosc pears, quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut into long, thin slices
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (You can substitute with unsalted cashews.)

Salad Directions:

Place the onions in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes. This crisps the onion and takes away the raw onion taste. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels.
In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of the dressing to soften them. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or until ready to serve the salad.

To toast, spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a preheated 375°F oven.
Toast for about 12 minutes until lightly browned.
If the nuts still have the skins on, transfer them while they’re hot to a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the skins.

To assemble the salad, place the spinach, onions, and pears in a large bowl.
Toss the salad to coat evenly. Scatter the cranberries and hazelnuts over the top.
Serve immediately.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette
(Recipe found in Real Simple, November 2009.)


3 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch think half moons
8 shallots, cut into wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper


Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the squash and shallots among 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
Toss the vegetables with a total of 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with a total of ½ teaspoon pepper.
Arrange in a single layer and roast, turning once, until golden brown and tender, 50 to 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, simmer the cider in a small saucepan until reduced to ¼ cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Transfer the squash and shallots to a serving dish and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

~Vegetable Side~

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(Recipe by Rachael Ray.)
8 servings


3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 stick butter (I plan to not use this much.)
1 banana, sliced (The reviews suggested ½ a banana.)
1 small orange, zested and juiced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper


Boil potatoes until tender, drain and reserve.
Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat.
Add butter and bananas to the pot.
Cook bananas 5 minutes and add the juice of 1 orange to the pot, reserve the zest.
Allow the juice to cook out, 1 minute.
Add potatoes to the pot and the stock and sugar.
Mash potatoes, banana, stock and sugar together until well combined.
Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest, to your taste.
Mash to combine spices and serve.

Cornbread Dressing
(Recipe written in Whole Food’s Whole Deal newsletter.)
10 servings


2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic milk
2 large organic eggs
½ cup oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 14 oz. cans chicken broth


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
Stir in milk, eggs, and oil.
Pour batter into a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan, and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Let cool in pan; finely crumble into a very large bowl.
Sauté onion and next two ingredients.
Cook over medium heat 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.
Add to cornbread in bowl, and stir well. Pour chicken broth over combined mixture, stir well. (Mixture will be wet.)
Spoon into a lightly greased roasting pan.
Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour until set and browned.


Easiest Ever Baked Stuffed Apples
(Recipe by Rachael Ray.)
4 servings

4 McIntosh apples
1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup whole-grain cereal with dried fruit (recommended: Mueslix)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Trim the tops and scoop out the center and the seeds of each apple and rub the edges of the trimmed fruit with the lemon.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cereal, sugar, and walnuts.
Fill the apples with the cereal mixture.
Set the apples upright in muffin tins and bake until tender and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to serving dishes, top with ice cream and serve hot.


Pumpkin Spice Latte
(Recipe recommended by a friend and found here.)
1-2 servings

2 cups organic milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots (¼ cup) espresso (or ½ cup of strong brewed coffee)


In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy.
If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.


If you do make these dishes, I’d love to hear your thoughts or how you improved them. Do you have any healthy fall recipes to share?

“Give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;  His love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34

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