1. Seriously tasty turkey
When you’re shopping, look for a bird labeled “pasture raised” and “organic,” because a turkey that’s been raised without hormones, steroids, or antibiotics—and hasn’t been injected with flavor-faking liquids—will taste better.
When you prep it, season it with simply salt and pepper, not a slathering of oil or butter. It’s important that the skin be completely dry when you put it in the oven.
4. Guaranteed guilt-free gravy
Let’s face it: The most delicious item on the table gets a bum rap. Gravy is essentially just meat stock thickened with roux—a mix of butter and flour—with the bits from the roasting pan dumped in.
Too often, though, it becomes a greasy, congealed mess from too much butter in the roux, and pan drippings that are 90% fat and only 10% meaty flavor.
Here’s your solution: Boost the stock’s flavor and cut out all the grossness by leaving the pan drippings out of it. Voilà: Gravy that won’t give you a heart attack.
5. Luscious leg of lamb
Who says you can’t bust out your grill for the holidays? Not only is your backyard smoker perfect for firing a hearty leg of lamb, it’ll also free up your oven for side dishes.
But to do it right, be sure to have the lamb butterflied, or cut in such a way that it “unfolds” to a uniform thickness. (Your butcher can do this easily for you.) And while most marinade recipes for lamb contain tons of olive oil, opt for ours, which cuts it out completely.
That makes for pure protein flavor and about 1,000 fewer calories. You’re welcome.
6. Better-than-Grandma’s green bean casserole
If you’re going with this odd but beloved dish, which involves fat- and sodium-filled canned soup and French-fried onions, swap the soup for a from-scratch sauce and the fried onions for caramelized ones (or baked Lay’s potato chips).
“Green beans are loaded with fiber and vitamin C,” says Miranda Hammer, “and should occupy a lot of the real estate on your plate.”
7. Whipped sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are already decadently sweet and silky, so that popular topping of mini marshmallows and brown sugar? Serious overkill.
We recommend going with bananas, to boost both the sweetness and the creaminess, and apples, whose natural acidity will brighten the sweet potatoes’ naturally deep flavor.
8. Spicy, healthy ham
As far as meats go, ham is among the healthiest and leanest. It’s the salty cure, layers of skin and fat, and, usually, sticky-sweet glaze that can often befall it. If you boil the ham rather than roast it, you’ll cut much of the salt and fat but keep it as moist and tasty as ever.
And instead of lathering on a sugary honey-baked glaze, we recommend this thin coat of spicy Sriracha—balanced with honey— which will deliver a delicious, more complex punch to the already-rich meat.
9. Mashed potato flower
One cup of regular mashed potatoes has 240 calories, 9g of fat, and 35g of carbs. Thankfully, when you’re pureeing the potatoes, you can cut it in half with cauliflower and no one will know the difference.
Plus, “cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and K,” Hammer says. It retains the richness of the potato while giving a lighter texture and more complex flavor. (For bonus flavor: Try it with a few carrots or turnips as well.)
This content was originally published here.