Thanksgiving Dinner and The Green Bean Casserole
You have a decision to make this holiday season, are you going to eat nutritionally, keeping those calories in check or throw caution to the wind and have an extra piece of pumpkin pie?
I considered titling this article… “Uncle Bill and The Second Piece of Pumpkin Pie”, but he swore he’d disown me if I did. Settling on the tamer choice “Thanksgiving Dinner and The Green Bean Casserole”, I began to wonder if one could have a satisfying (for everyone involved) Thanksgiving dinner, while also making the meal nutritious.
These views may seem diametrically opposed, but with a bit of planning, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Our plan is to prepare a meal that is both enjoyable to eat, and nutritional sound, something you are proud of, and your guests… well they’ll be asking for seconds.
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s no different on Thanksgiving. While turkey is the tradition, let’s build some variety into our meal. Not only will this provide your guests with a culinary delight, you’ll also be giving them a feast for their eyes. So what does that mean?
Well one of my favorites and standard Thanksgiving fare is the green bean casserole. The recipe is fairly standard; mushroom soup, 3 or 4 cups of green beans, a little pepper, milk and, to kick up the calories a notch, a brimming cup or more of French fried onions. Seasonings to taste could be garlic, onions, parsley, sprinkled with bread crumbs. Depending on how you personalize things, the calories per serving aren’t that bad, anywhere from 80 to 100. Seconds anyone?
While that sounds great (I’m getting hunger pangs) consider also a green bean salad. It fits with tradition, while giving your guests a choice of something different. Prep is a snap; green beans, boiling salt water (sea salt of course), a touch of vinegar, a little vegetable oil, onions (don’t let them catch you crying), some dill and a wee bit of sugar.
Having variety will encourage your guests to sample small portions (they simply have to taste those yams), instead of loading up on one high calorie yummy. Preparing your meal this way provides complex nutrients and scintillating flavors to please the discriminating palate.
Go slow. It always amuses me to listen as conversations go from animated to silence as the meal is served. Then pick up again as the plates are cleaned. Uncle Bill (name changed to protect my uncle’s ego) heads back for seconds, while the kids start eyeing the pumpkin pie and cool whip. Instead of rushing toward the second helping or desert, encourage some conversation, thus slowing things down. Why? It gives your brain time to catch up. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your brain to process the information that “you are full and satisfied”. If during those 15 minutes you have that second piece of pie, or heaping helping of dumplings, you’ll find yourself stuffed and uncomfortable.
While we’re all thankful for the food, take a moment to be thankful for your family and friends and the blessings we’ve received throughout the year. Family and friends are the true spice and variety of life.
When you have food, remember those who are hungry.