Thursday, November 20, 2008

Healthy Gravy for the Big Meal...

Yesterday I shared a recipe for mashed sweet potatoes. Today, we're making over your gravy. Believe me when I say that I like real foods, and not some imitation junk that "you have to get used to" -- if you have to get used to a flavor, why eat it?!

So this gravy doesn't skimp on flavor, just on calories and fat. Typically 1/2 cup gravy adds another 100 or so calories and 5ish grams of fat. This doesn't sound like a lot, but remember yesterday, when we talked about the 4000 calories or so Thanksgiving often delivers. And if you thought homemade gravy was healthy, don't forget about all those drippings (which are at least 50% fat) that are used for flavor…

I’m not about taking your favorite foods away…remember, this is an option if you want to prepare a bit more healthy-friendly Thanksgiving meal. I’ll be in South Carolina with Carolyn’s (my wife) parents…and with their southern influence upon cooking, I’ll be consuming most of the bad stuff for that day, which admittedly tastes so good!! But we always have options…

Here goes:

1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

Make the gravy: Skim off the fat from the drippings -- this is easiest if you're pour the drippings into a measuring cup, put into the freezer, where the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off. Add the drippings back into the roasting pan, with the apple cider, 1/2 cup chicken stock, vinegar and sage.

Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by 1/3. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes more. The gravy should not be thick, just slightly thicker than au jus. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Makes 1 1/2 cups gravy.

Double, triple, or quadruple the ingredients for larger parties.

This recipe has a great flavor, yet not as many calories or fat as "traditional" gravy (and it's a cinch to make)!

Another great way to get Thanksgiving started is to workout first thing in the morning. We have a group that is meeting to run or walk the Thanksgiving Day Race, a great way to create a calorie deficit before the big meal. If you would like to join in the fun and burn up some calories, send an email and we'll have Leigh organize a group walk/run that morning.

Click here to learn more about the 99th Annual Thanksgiving Day Race

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

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