Happy Thursday, friends! I’m here today to share some recipes—recipes that I hope that you will want to add to your Thanksgiving menus this year. We’re just a week away, so let’s get cooking!

First things first—and I really hope that you’ll still want to be friends with me after I get a little real over here—I hate Thanksgiving. OK, I shouldn’t say I hate it, I love the family time, a few days to relax from all the hustle and bustle of work, school etc.. I just HATE the food. The turkey, I like! But with that gravy….yuck. Stuffing….gross. Sweet Potato’s—dare this dietitian say disgusting???

It’s just not my thing—never has been! My boys, they love it! So don’t get me wrong, I work in all the traditional stuff they can’t live without. But, over the years I’ve added some Janine Whiteson specialties to the menu. Things that I love to cook, love to eat, and that I can look forward to on Thanksgiving each year. Added bonus, they all seem to be big crowd pleasers, too!

If you’re new around here, you may not know that I wrote and published a book with Rodale Publishing in 2002 called, Get A Real Food Life. The principals of this book are everything and still all hold so true today. Basically, it teaches you the skills you need to regain control over your relationship with food. When you create a Real Food Life, you’re able to enjoy all of the food you eat, secure in the knowledge that it’s nourishing you– mind, body, and soul.

When I wrote the book, I included tons of my favorite recipes—recipes that just so happen to have found their way onto our Thanksgiving menu for the past fifteen plus years. Each of the recipes I’m sharing today is delicious, nourishing, and perfect for this time of year. I hope you give them all a whirl and report back! Without further ado….here we go.

My first recipe will warm your bones from the inside out. It’s savoy and filling without being too rich and literally just tastes like Fall and Thanksgiving in a bowl!

1 large acorn squash
3 large carrots
1 large Spanish (yellow) onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt or 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
8 cups of water
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides and set aside in a bowl
Meanwhile, peel the carrots and chop into 1” to 2” chunks. Set aside.
Peel the onion and garlic. Cut the onion into rough ½” to 1” pieces. Chop the garlic finely. Warm the oil in a 6 to 8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and cook, stirring often for about 15 minutes, or until the onion turns light brown. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary to prevent burning.
Add the carrots, bay leaf, salt or aminos, rosemary, sage, and water. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the carrots have softened. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the cooked squash.
Puree in a blender or food processer fitted with the chopping blade, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Blend or process until creamy and medium-thick. Return to the pot, add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes longer. Serve hot or warm. (Makes 8 servings, 65 calories per serving)

Next up is a little out of the “box” but it’s the perfect side for any Thanksgiving feast. It combines the traditional potato side, a healthy vegetable and the word pie! I don’t think it could be any more fitting.

4 medium Idaho potatoes
4 medium-large zucchini
2 large Spanish (yellow) onions
3 tablespoons fresh basil or 4 teaspoons dried
½ cup (2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cans (14 ounces each) evaporated fat-free milk
½ teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13”x 9” baking dish or roasting pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Slice the potatoes into ¼” pieces. Slice the zucchini into ¼” to ½” pieces. Peel the onions and cut into ¼” pieces. Set the vegetables aside. If using fresh basil, cut off the stem and roughly chop the leaves. Set aside.
Layer a third of the potatoes in an overlapping manner in the bottom of the pan. Layer a third of the zucchini on top of the potatoes. Then layer a third of the onions on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cheese, 2 tablespoons of the flour, and 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh basil or 2 teaspoons of dried. Finally, make a third layer with each of the remaining vegetables. Top the pie with the remaining cheese and pour the evaporated milk over all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste over the top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the foil and cook for 20 minutes longer, or until browned.
Cook for at least 20 minutes, then cut into portions and serve. If you don’t let the pie cool first, it is difficult to serve in slices. (Makes 8 servings. 217 calories per serving).

Next up is one of my personal favorites—Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. Savory and oh so simple!

4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon liquid aminos
Ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes well. Cut the potatoes into ½”to 1” squares (irregular chunks are fine, too, as long as they’re more or less the same size).
Coat a 9” pie plate or 8” x 8” baking pan with the oil. Add the potatoes and garlic. Sprinkle with the rosemary and salt or aminos. Toss well.
Bake for 20 minutes. Stir well and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until browned.
Add ground pepper to taste. (Makes 4 servings. 151 calories per serving).

Whatever food you choose to share with your loved ones this year, I hope this Thanksgiving finds you healthy, happy and safe. From my table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.