PPEP Thanksgiving Menu for 4 people


Prepare a roasted turkey or turkey breast according to your usual recipe.  To reduce the hectic preparations in the last hour or two before the meal, the following recipes can be made either the day or the morning before your big dinner.

Start the meal with an appetizer-sized salad.  Research shows that eating a salad before the main course curbs the appetite and reduces overall caloric intake.

Appetizing Green Salad

½ box salad greens

½ (125 mL) cup carrot, grated

¼ cup (60 mL) green onions, chopped finely

½ cup (125 mL) mushrooms, sliced

Directions:  Toss the ingredients in a large bowl.  (Refrigerate if making ahead.)  Divide all the ingredients on 4 salad plates.  Serve with 15 mL Sherry Maple Vinaigrette per serving.

About This Recipe:  Per serving: 22 kcal, 0.3 g fat, 4 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fibre, 1.6 g protein.  Canada’s Food Guide servings:  1 ½  Vegetables and Fruit.

Sherry Maple Vinaigrette (from Chef at Home by Michael Smith)

½ cup (125 mL) sherry vinegar

½ cup (125 mL) maple syrup

1 cup (250 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Pour all ingredients into a jar, shake and serve!  If you can’t find sherry vinegar, substitute apple cider vinegar instead.

About This Recipe:  Per serving:  79 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g carbohydrate.


Another dish that can be made ahead is the cranberry sauce.  Cathy makes this chutney recipe, modified from The Canadian Living Entertaining Cookbook.

Cranberry Chutney

1 cup (250 mL) cranberries, fresh or frozen

¼ cup (60 mL) white sugar

¼ cup (60 mL) water

1 Tbsp (15 mL) onion, finely chopped

2 tsp (10 mL) white vinegar

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) chili powder

1 cinnamon stick

Directions:  In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar and water.  Heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Continue cooking about 5 minutes, until berries pop.  Sitr in onion, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, chili powder and cinnamon stick (or use 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cinnamon).  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove cinnamon stick.  Store refrigerated.

About This Recipe:  Per 2 Tbsp (30 mL) serving:  21 calories, 5 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fibre.


For a make-ahead, delicious dessert, we recommend the Pumpkin Flan, which has all of the flavor but about 1/3 the calories of 1 slice of pumpkin pie.  This can be made up to 3 days in advance.  (Makes 8 flans.)

Pumpkin Flan  (PPEP page 144)

Canola oil cooking spray

3 eggs 

1 ¼ cup (300 mL) pumpkin puree

½ cup (125 mL) maple syrup

2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil

1 ½ tsp (7 mL)  pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground ginger

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cloves

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

1 ½ cup (375 mL) low-fat milk, heated until very hot but not boiling

1 quart (1 L) boiling water for water bath

ground nutmeg for garnish

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).  Adjust oven rack to centre position.  Coat eight 6-oz custard cups or ramekins with canola oil spray and set them in 13×9 inch (33×22 cm) baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly, add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, canola oil, vanilla, spices and salt.  Beat with mixer until blended thoroughly.  Stir in hot milk until blended.  There will be about 4 cups (1 L) of liquid.  Pour ½ cup (125 mL) flan mixture into each prepared ramekin.  Carefully pour boiling water into baking pan around ramekins.  Water should come up to the level of the custard inside the ramekins.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until set around the edges but still a little loose in the centre.  When the centre of the flan is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken.  Remove from oven and immediately remove ramekins from water bath.  Cool on wire rack until flan reaches room temperature.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Serve cold garnished with ground nutmeg just prior to serving.  For a special treat, serve with a 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dollop of whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

About This Recipe:  Per serving:  144 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 5 g protein.  Canada’s Food Guide servings:  ¼ Vegetables and Fruit, ¼ Meat and Alternatives, ¼ Milk and Alternatives, 1 Oils and Fats.


In the morning, prepare potatoes and vegetables for roasting.  If your turkey is roasting at 350 F (180 C), about 65-75 minutes before the turkey is done, pop the vegetables into the oven.  This is a great time to take a break and go for a 30 minute walk.

Roasted Vegetables with Herbs (PPEP page 123, adjusted to ¾ cup (175 mL) serving)

4 cups (1 L) mixed vegetables such as potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, yams, red onion, zucchini, parsnip, turnip – chopped into ¾ inch (2 cm) squares

5 cloves garlic

1 ½  Tbsp (22 mL) canola oil

1 ½  Tbsp (22 mL) balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 mL) mixed dried herbs, such as oregano, rosemary and thyme

Directions:  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Toss garlic with vegetables, canola oil, vinegar and herbs.  Place all vegetables in a single layer on the baking tray.  Roast, tossing every 15 minutes or so, for 65-75 minutes, or until golden and easy pierced with a fork.

About This Recipe:  Per serving:  127 kcal, 5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 2 g protein.  Canada’s Food Guide servings:  2 Vegetables and Fruit, 1 Oils and Fats.

Rhonda’s Brussels Sprouts

It should be said that Cathy is not a big fan of Brussels Sprouts but these ones, prepared by Rhonda, won her over.

0.5 lb (225 g) Brussels sprouts, cut in half

1 oz (30 g) Pancetta or bacon, diced

2 Tbsp (30 mL) Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp (15 mL) Butter or margarine

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Fry the pancetta in a small skillet until crisp.  Drain on paper towel and set aside.  Discard all but 1 Tbsp of pancetta fat.  Fry the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in the pancetta fat until brown.  Add water to cover and steam, uncovered, until the sprouts are tender and the water is boiled off.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Add balsamic vinegar to the skillet and simmer until reduced by half.  Stir in butter or margarine.  Add back reserved pancetta and Brussels sprouts, heat through, stirring to coat with vinegar sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

About This Recipe:  Per serving:  135 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre.  Canada’s Food Guide Servings:  1 ¼ Vegetables and Fruit.

For the main course, carve the turkey and skim the fat off the drippings to prepare gravy.  For a fancier presentation, serve the turkey on a large platter surrounded by the roasted vegetables.  Serve with whole-grain dinner rolls and a glass of wine (150 mL = 123 calories), if desired.

Turkey:  1 serving is 3 oz (75 g) roasted meat.

White meat, with skin White meat, without skin Dark meat, with skin Dark meat, without skin
Calories 129 119 158 147
Fat 3 g 2 g 7 g 6 g
Saturated Fat 1 g 0.6 g 2.5 g 2 g
Protein 23 g 24 g 21 g 22 g

Turkey Gravy (2 Tbsp (30 mL)):  31 calories, 1 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 3 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fibre, 1.6 g protein.

If you eat this meal as described here, with 1 serving of white turkey meat without skin, the Canada’s Food Guide Servings are 5 Vegetables and Fruit, 1 Grains, 1 ¼ Meat and Alternatives, ¼ Milk and Alternatives, 3 Oils and Fats.

Nutrition facts in total:  878 calories, 34 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 72 g carbohydrates, 10  fibre, 37 g protein.