Hi guys, it’s Christmas! I’ve shared with you some quick and simple Christmas vegetables last week to serve. For this week, we want cook the turkey, sides and make some homemade sauces. I’m not a chef, and I like to keep recipes simple yet maintaining the rich flavour from each ingredients used. If you are like me, then you can try these recipes because they are easy and quick - I want a hassle-free Christmas dinner, don’t you? So for this Christmas, let’s make some healthier choices and still keep the dinner traditional.
Let’s start with the turkey because it takes the longest to cook. Once it’s in the oven, we can get on and prep the rest. The ingredients you’ll need are:
1) Roast Turkey Crown with Lemon, Parsley & Garlic
INGREDIENTS (Serves 8):
- 1 Turkey Breast Crown, about 2.25kg (5lb) – 3442.5Cals
- 3 tbsp of Olive Oil (357Cals)
- ¼ tsp of freshly ground Black Pepper
- 10 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled, lightly crushed to break the skins + 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed (48Cals)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- A small handful chopped Fresh Parsley
- Roughly chopped Onions & Carrots
Total Cals: 3847.5 Cals (Per serving – 480Cals)
- The first step is to preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
- In a bowl, mix the olive oil, fresh parsley and lemon zest. Set it a side.
- Weigh the turkey crown breast and calculate the cooking time at 23 minutes per pound. My turkey is 5 pounds, so that will be 1 hour 55 minutes of roasting time.
- Now we want to prep the turkey. Trim off any fat from the turkey breast, and slowly lift the skin away from the flesh of the turkey crown until the skin is almost completely free, leaving only one edge of the flesh attached to the skin.
- Then place the turkey, skin side up, in a shallow roasting pan. If you don’t have a proper roasting pan like me, cut big chunks of onions, carrots and even celery and arrange them on the pan to make a rack. What you’ll get is also the sweetness and moist from the vegetables.
- Gently smear the olive oil mixture all over the flesh - you can do this with a brush or your fingers. And cover with the skin.
- Season with a little bit of salt and pepper, scatter the garlic cloves around the turkey and cover the turkey loosely with foil.
- Roast in the oven for the calculated cooking time – mine will be 1 hour 55 minutes. Try and avoid opening the oven door too often while cooking.
30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, uncover the turkey and allow the turkey to cook till the skin turns golden brown.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and check Test if fully cooked by piercing the thickest part with a long clean skewer. If the juices run clear, it is ready, if it’s a little pink then return to the oven and cook a little longer.
- Once cooked, transfer the turkey to a serving platter, cover with tinfoil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while keeping it warm. This will make the turkey easier to carve.
- Arrange the cooked onions and carrots around the turkey.
- Whilst the Turkey is in the oven cooking, let’s get on and make some homemade sugar-free cranberry sauce. The ingredients you will need are:
1) Homemade Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
INGREDIENTS: (Serves 8) – ¼ cup per serving size
- 250g of fresh / frozen cranberries, washed and rinsed – 115Cals
- ½ Cup of freshly squeezed Orange Juice – 47Cals
- ¼ cup of Water
- 2 tbsp of Honey – 128Cals
- 1 3-inch orange rind strip
**Option: 1 Cinnamon Stick
Total Cals – 290Cals
Per Serving – 36.25Cals
1) In a pot, place cranberries, orange juice and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2) Stir constantly for about 10-15 minutes until the cranberries start to explode.
3) Then reduce the heat to low. Add the honey and orange rind strip into the cranberry mixture.
4) Allow all the ingredients to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stir occasionally.
5) After 10 minutes, remove from heat and discard the orange rind strip.
Allow the sauce to cool down. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools down.
6) Chill the cranberry sauce in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
This one serving is about ¼ cup. The naturally sweetness comes from the orange and honey. It may no be as sweet as the supermarket version so if you want it to be sweeter, you can add more honey. And the great thing is, you can make this sauce way ahead of time and it can be kept in the fridge for 1 week.
So now we have about 1 hour and 15 minutes before the turkey is done, let’s get on and make the side. Instead of serving the turkey with mashed potatoes, let’s try butternut squash mash instead for a much healthier option. I think it taste better, it goes well with the turkey and you will be adding more fruits in your diet too. The ingredients you’ll need are:
1) Basic Butternut Squash Mash
Time: 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4):
- 1 Butternut Squash, about 2lbs or 900g, chopped into small chunks (408Cals)
- 1 tbsp of Olive Oil / Butter – 119Cals
- ½ teaspoon of coarse Salt
- 2 tbsp of Milk – 14Cals
- ½ tsp of garlic powder
- Season with Pepper
**Optional: Added paprika
Total Cals – 541Cals
Per Serving – 135.25Cals
1) The first step is to bring a pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Then place the chopped butternut squash and simmer for about 20 minutes until very tender and drain. You can test it with a fork.
2) Place the butternut squash into a large bowl and mash it up. You can hand mash it with a fork, potato masher or food processor.
3) Mashed until smooth and creamy, adding the olive oil, milk, garlic powder and season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a basic recipe for preparing Butternut Squash mash. So feel free to add nuts, raisins, parmesan cheese or whatever you and your family would enjoy! If you want to substitute the olive oil for butter, go ahead, hey it’s Christmas!
Now that it’s 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, uncover the turkey and allow the turkey to cook till the skin turns golden brown.
At the end of the cookng time, Remove the turkey from the oven and check Test if fully cooked by piercing the thickest part with a long clean skewer. If the juices run clear, it is ready, if it’s a little pink then return to the oven and cook a little longer.
Once cooked, transfer the turkey to a serving platter, arrange the cooked onions and carrots around the turkey, cover with tinfoil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while keeping it warm. This will make the turkey easier to carve.
While the turkey is resting, we have one final thing to make, the turkey gravy, the ingredients you’ll need are:
2) Turkey Gravy
INGREDIENTS (Serves 8)
- 1 ½ cup of Defatted pan juices – 62.5Cals
- Garlic cloves from the pan – 40Cals
- ½ cup of Chicken Stock – 17.5Cals
- 2 tbsp of Corn Starch – 60Cals
TOTAL CALS – 180Cals
Per Serving – 30Cals
To make the garlic turkey gravy, spoon off all the fat from the roasting tin, leaving the pan juices and pour it into a cooking pan over medium heat. With a spoon, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mix the garlic into the pan.
Stir in ¼ cup of chicken stock and heat until bubbling. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Finally mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch and stir until the gravy thickens.
Turkey dripping – 1/2cup is 209Cals
For this Christmas dinner, I have used a turkey crown breast instead of a whole turkey firstly it’s suitable for a small gathering, it’s easier to prep, takes much quicker to cook and you are getting the leanest cut of the turkey, which is extremely low in fat and high in protein.
By serving a portion of roast turkey without skin, you will make a fat and calorie saving of more than 50%.
To serve, remove the skin from the fresh, slice the turkey breast and serve it with the garlic gravy, cranberry sauce and a side of butternut squash mash.
This one plate has an estimate of 681.5Cals.
Turkey Breast – 480Cals
Turkey Gravy – 30Cals
Butternut Squash Mash – 135.25Cals
Cranberry Sauce – 36.25Cals
Together with the 3 vegetables from my recipes, 1 serving of dessert and 1 serving of wine (123Cals – 154Cals), your Christmas dinner will come to an estimate of 1500 – 1700Cals. That is high for a meal but it’s half of the amount of what a typical Christmas dinner will be.
Go light throughout the day, pack it with lots of vegetables, go easy on the booze and enjoy your Christmas dinner for your love ones. Merry Christmas!