Take Thanksgiving to the MAX
By: Priscilla McRae, THE MAX Challenge
Cooking for the holidays and trying to not pile on the pounds doesn’t have to be about dieting and starving ourselves. You can make some very smart choices in the ingredients you use, and make eating the turkey and all its trimmings guilt-free.
Here are some delicious recipes for all your Thanksgiving favorites made with nothing but whole, fresh ingredients, with no added sugar, coloring, preservatives, or pre-packaged products.
Appetizer: Turkey Stuffed Portobello
- 4–5 Portobello mushrooms
- 1lb turkey
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1/2 one red pepper chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- Worcester sauce
- Hot sauce
- Cut stems and gills from mushrooms. Set aside mushroom tops and chop up stems & gills. Mix seasoning, turkey, vegetables, & mushroom stems/gills for the stuffing.
- Spray baking sheet w olive oil.
- Coat mushroom tops lightly with Worcester sauce and place upside down on pan.
- Make balls out of stuffing and put on mushrooms.
- Coat with Worcester sauce and bake for 20–30 min at 400.
Main Course: Turkey off the bone, minus the skin.
Baked Sweet Potato
- 6 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Top with 1 tablespoon of butter and season with the salt and pepper. (Each potato would be approximately 1 carb and 1 fat)
- Thaw 2 bags of frozen cauliflower and put into the food processor and when smooth, mix in a little almond milk or organic butter (1.25 TBSP = 1 fat) [either one]
- Put in some garlic to taste, pepper any seasonings you like. Sauté onions and put that in the mix too Spray a corning ware/baking dish and put in the cauliflower mixture.
- Bake in oven @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or less, watch that it looks a little brown.
Turkey Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, trimmed 4 to 5 inches long tips
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- A few grinds black pepper
- 4 slices turkey back (I like Applegate because it is thick)
- Chopped chives or scallions, optional garnish
- Preheat oven, if using, to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly coat asparagus spears in extra-virgin olive oil. Season the asparagus with black pepper. Take a quick count of the spear tips. Divide the total number by four. Gather that number of spears and use a slice of bacon to wrap the bundle and secure the spears together. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- To grill, place bundles on hot grill and cover. Cook 10 to 12 minutes until bacon is crisp and asparagus bundles are tender.
- For oven preparation, place bundles on slotted broiler pan. Bake 12 minutes.
Quinoa Stuffing with Apple, Sweet Potato & Hazelnuts
- 1 cup (212 g) dry Quinoa, cook according to package directions (approximately = 1 carb)
- 2 (265 g) Sweet Potatoes, cut into small wedges (approximately = 2 carbs)
- 2 large Apples, cut into 1/2" pieces (I like Granny Smith) (2 fruits)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Fine Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (2 fats) a few pinches ground cinnamon a few pinches ground ginger 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup Hazelnuts, chopped (approximately = 2 fats)
- Fresh for garnish
- Rinse quinoa. Combine with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove from the heat.
- Preheat oven to 400 F with the rack in the middle. Be sure to coat apples with lemon juice so they don’t turn brown. Toss sweet potatoes & apples, coconut oil and a few pinches cinnamon, ginger and salt. Roast for about 35–40 minutes until tender and fragrant.
- Combine the quinoa with the roasted mixture in a large bowl. Fold in thyme and hazelnuts. Season to taste with more salt and spices.
Roasted Vegetables *customize with any veggies you choose
- 1 large head of broccoli, florets chopped off from the stalk
- 1 large zucchini, chopped into half moons
- 1 large yellow squash, chopped into half moons
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 10 oz. Portobello mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup of olive oil (3 fats)
- 2–3 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Divide the vegetables among two jelly roll pans.
- Roast vegetables for 35–40 minutes, removing the vegetables from the oven every 15 minutes to stir around.
Now that you have all the necessary trimmings, remember to turn off your cell phones and enjoy family time with conversations of family stories new and old. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at THE MAX Challenge!
Priscilla McRae, THE MAX Challenge
Priscilla is a mother to three teenagers, and 12 years ago her crazy journey began when she came to the United States from Australia so her daughter would be able to receive a heart transplant. Little did they know that America was about to become their new home.
After Priscilla’s daughters health became stabilized, Priscilla found comfort in THE MAX Challenge, helping her take charge of her life back with healthy eating, daily exercise and a positive outlook on life for her and her children.
After gaining almost 80 lbs from the stress of her family’s situation, she managed to lose close to 70lbs through the ten week program and found a new love for fitness. She worked to become a MAX Certified instructor in order to pay it forward to others in similar situations to hers.
Fast forward 5 years and now she is running the Instructor Training program, at THE MAX Challenge, helping to change thousands of people’s lives. With her background in corporate training in human resources, and her passion for giving back to the community, she strives to continue to make a difference to everyone that crosses her path.