Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easy Thanksgiving recipes starting with convenience products

Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be the kickoff to a month of holiday overeating, ending with a regretful New Year’s resolution and a January diet.

What is the ingredient that makes your Thanksgiving meal most enjoyable? The answer is easy: Less stress. Simplify your entertaining and enjoy the day more. You need the right blend of great food with family & friends, and above all - relaxed hosts.

I will demonstrate a number of recipes that uses convenience foods wisely to free up time, and allow you to be a relaxed host—not a frazzled cook.

While there are treasured, made from scratch favorites that are crucial to each family’s tradition, not everything has to be time-consuming, homemade and high caloric.

And by the way, the term “turkey stuffing” does not mean that you are supposed to stuff yourself until you are comatose.

The examples:
• Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce & Cream Cheese Appetizer
• Curried Mango Chutney Dip
• Stuffing with apple juice and raisins
• Rice Pilaf with raisins and cashews
• Rustic Apple Tart
• Canned cranberry sauce: For many families, it’s not Thanksgiving unless you have cranberry sauce with the can striations showing!

A little bit of savvy planning can make your Thanksgiving meal easy. These are simple recipes to knockout your guests with your hospitality, not your anxiety.

And here are tips to ensure you enjoy the closeness of family and having everyone together for a day of sharing.
Stress-free strategies
• Plan your menu, make a list and shop. No last minute dashes out to the store for high calorie expensive last minute items.
• Clean out your fridge to make room for all those prepared foods and make-ahead dishes. Set and dress your table before your guests arrive- like the day before.
• Pick up the living room, dining room and bathrooms. Plan to keep guests out of the rest of the house.
• Empty your dishwasher.
• Start cooking one or two days ahead.
• Stock up on disposable containers and food wrap so you can immediately put away leftovers, or send them home with your guests. You’ve taken care of food safety, and decrease your temptation to nibbling.
• For nutrient-rich and tasty recipes that already provide calorie and nutrient analysis information, go to

The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce & Cream Cheese Appetizer
Ingredients Recipe by Fischer & Wieser

1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese* 1/3 cup Fischer & Wieser The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce Fresh raspberries and mint for garnish, if desired *For an 8-oz. package of cream cheese, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sauce.

Place cream cheese on serving dish and pour Raspberry Chipotle Sauce over top, allowing it to drizzle down sides of cream cheese. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint. Serve with gingersnap cookies or assorted crackers.

Curried Mango Chutney Dip
Stir curry powder to taste into low-fat sour cream. Swirl in bottled spicy chutney sauce and handful of golden raisins. Serve with fresh snow or sugar snap peas. Sweet, spicy, crunchy and full of healthy nutrients, all in one dish.

Golden State Stuffing
Recipe from

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups California raisins
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh apple
1 package (7 ounces) herb seasoned crouton stuffing
1-1/2 cups chicken stock

Sauté celery and onion in butter until tender. Combine in large bowl with raisins, apple and stuffing. Add chicken stock, a little at a time to moisten as desired. Makes 10 cups.

Rice Pilaf with Raisins and cashews
Recipe from Real Simple

1 6- to 8-ounce box rice pilaf
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Cook the rice pilaf according to package directions.
Stir in the raisins, cashews, and cumin before serving.
4 servings

Rustic Apple Tart
Recipe from Real Simple

1/2 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrust (1 crust, not the pie-plate version)
2 10-ounce packages frozen cinnamon apples, partially thawed
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
Unfold the piecrust and place on sheet. Place the cinnamon apples in the center of the crust and mix in the lemon peel. Fold the edges over the filling, making pleats as you go.
Brush the edges with the egg; sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake 20 minutes or until the crust is golden. With a spatula, transfer from baking sheet to a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
6 servings

For more nutrient-rich holiday recipes go to