Monday, November 24, 2008

How To Create Healthy, Fat Blasting Meals Using Your Thanksgiving or Christmas Turkey

It’s about that time of year again, when that big old bird will come out of the oven for Christmas (and just a few weeks ago - Thanksgiving). Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners get associated with excess and horrible holiday weight gain.

But really should turkey be blamed? Nope!

You can, if you want, to blame stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie for that, but leave the turkey out of it! After all, turkey is packed with lean protein that simultaneously elevates metabolism and promotes fat burning and lean muscle growth.

Regular protein intake is crucial in accelerating the repair that occurs in muscle due to high-intensity activities like strength training and cardio interval training. In addition, adequate protein intake every two to four hours is essential in maintaining your current levels of lean muscle mass. Very important because the more muscle you have, the larger your metabolic engine, thus the more calories (and fat) you burn on a daily basis since muscle tissue requires lot of energy to sustain itself.

When it comes to fat storage, protein is also the least likely macronutrient to be stored as body fat and the mere act of digesting the protein you eat requires more than double the energy to digest than carbohydrate and dietary fat. So, live it up this Christmas season and enjoy your turkey without guilt.

Another key benefit to eating turkey is that it is easy to prepare in bulk and thus will save you much needed time in meal planning and preparation during the busy holiday season. You can roast a big old turkey and then have tons of meal options for days. Just think of what you can do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers! To inspire your turkey consumption efforts I’ve put together some awesome better body recipes that you can create with turkey as your lean protein foundation. Enjoy!

1. Turkey Salad

Ingredients:

- 6-8 oz. Turkey Breast chopped into small cubes
- 1⁄4 red bell pepper
- 1⁄4 green bell pepper
- 1⁄4 red onion
- 2 Tbsp olive oil mayo

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy over a bed of greens.

Makes one male serving and two female servings.


2. Turkey Cranberry Cream Cheese Roll-up

Ingredients:

- 6-8 oz. Sliced Turkey
- 1 Tbsp Fat Free Cream Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Dried Cranberries 1⁄2 Clove of Roasted Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Whole Grain Tortillas

Directions:

Soak cranberries in water for 20 minutes or microwave until soft if you are short on time. Mash the 1⁄2 clove of garlic. Mix cranberries, garlic, and cream cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture into the inside of the tortilla(s). Add turkey breast. Fold up sides, roll up, and enjoy!

Makes one male serving and two female servings.


3. Turkey Medallions With Cranberry Glaze

Turkey Medallions:
- 6-8 oz. Turkey
- Turkey Seasoning

Cut Turkey Breasts into small medallions, sprinkle lightly with seasoning. Reheat in a pan of either butter, olive oil or coconut oil on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Drip Cranberry glaze (below) over the medallions.

Cranberry Glaze:
- 1 Cups Dry white wine
- Turkey or chicken stock, as needed
- 1 1⁄2 Cups Dried cranberries
- 1⁄4 Cup of Pine nuts, toasted
- Pinch of Salt

Add 1⁄2 cup of white wine and 1⁄2 cup of turkey stock to pan. Add other 1⁄2 cup of turkey stock, cranberries, pine nuts and pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until reduced in volume by half, about 4 cups.

Makes one male serving and two female servings.


4. Turkey Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:

- 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
- 3⁄4 cup turkey gravy
- 1 small can whole kernel corn
- drained 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cups steamed cauliflower
- 2 cups celery, chopped 2 carrots
- chopped 1 onion chopped 2 cloves garlic
- minced 1 bell pepper, any color
- chopped Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. First you must make the gravy. Take the garlic, 1 cup of celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, chicken stock, water, vegetables, salt and pepper to taste. Add to a pot, boil until vegetables are soft and blend in a blender or food processor.

Next, you will take the steamed cauliflower and mash it, or place it in a food processor until the consistency is like that of mashed potatoes.

Next, in a baking dish, layer the turkey, gravy, corn, remaining celery and mashed cauliflower. Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Makes one male servings and two female serving.


5. Turkey Florentine

Ingredients:

- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
- 2 tablespoons smart butter
- 1 cup cooked whole grain fettuccine
- 2 cups diced, cooked turkey
- 1 cup turkey or chicken stock 1
- (8 ounce) package fat free sour cream and onion dip
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion salt
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- olive oil for pan

Directions:

Cook spinach according to package directions; drain. Stir in smart butter. Place noodles in a baking dish with olive oil drizzled on dish; top with spinach. Combine turkey, stock, onion dip and onion salt and spoon over spinach. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until bubbly.


6. Turkey Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

- 1 bag of frozen green beans
- 6-8 oz. of cubed cooked turkey breast
- 1 can of organic cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cups Kraft all natural fat free cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients into a casserole dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until completely hot.

Makes one male serving and two female servings.
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