Tag Archives: turkey

How much turkey do you REALLY need?

We’ve talked about food waste but have you thought about the waste of turkey on Thanksgiving because you bought too big a turkey? Keep in mind, a serving of meat is about 3-4 ounces (ha – it’s Thanksgiving – who does that?) So figure 4-8 oz or 1/2 to 1 cup of proteins. Most chefs recommend a pound of turkey per person to account for bone and skin. Some opt for 1 1/2 pounds per person so they will have plenty of leftovers.

To further keep your waste to a minimum, consider leaving some meat on the bones and making a soup. Just put all those bones in a big pot and cover with water. You can add some bouillon (we like Better than Bouillon) to make it more flavorful. After the bones have cooked about 1-1 1/2 hours, remove the bones and let them cool so you remove the meat. Add carrots, celery, the turkey you removed from the bones, onion if you like, and some spices like sage or poultry seasoning. You can also add other vegetables like spinach or fresh green beans. When it comes back to a light boil, add noodles or other small pasta.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Victor crew

Thanksgiving Calories

According to the Calorie Control Council, the average Thanksgiving dinner meal adds up to about 3,000 calories. Add to that the additional 1,500 added by nibbling on leftovers you can top 4,500 calories! This would also average 229 grams of fat (45% of the calories or the equal of 3 sticks of butter)! A pound equals 3400 calories so you are sure to put on about a pound … or maybe not.

Try these tips:
Eat lower-fat or reduced-calorie foods for a few days before and after the holiday meal.
Take lower fat white meat and skip the gravy.
Try to limit the meat to the size of a deck of cards.
Use boxed stuffing at 160 calories per half cup vs. 425 for sausage stuffing.
If you must use homemade stuffing try cutting it with fruits, veggies or whole grains, and use less butter and more broth.
Take smaller servings of pie especially if you want more than one kind.
Try making a one-crust pie.
Provide low-fat foods or bring a lower calorie dish.
Try a walk after you eat.

Steve Victor

The Turkey Tryptophan Myth

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is important for good health. You need tryptophan to build certain proteins. Your body also uses tryptophan in a multi-step process to make serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in your brain that regulates sleep. I asked Jody Victor to tell us all about it.

Jody Victor: Turkey has tryptophan, but all meats have tryptophan. Chicken and pork contain more tryptophan than turkey per gram. Even cheddar cheese has more tryptophan per gram.

What really triggers your Thanksgiving after-dinner sleepiness is not the turkey. It?s the carbohydrates-rich meal (not the protein-rich meal) that increases the level of tryptophan in your brain, which leads to serotonin synthesis. The carbs stimulate your pancreas to secrete insulin. When this happens, some of the amino acids that compete with tryptophan leave your bloodstream and enter your muscle cells. This causes an increase of tryptophan in your blood stream. You then synthesize the serotonin that makes you sleepy. A high fat meal also contributes to your sleepiness. Fats take a lot of energy to digest. Your body redirects blood to your digestive system to break down the fats. Your energy level declines. Overeating in general takes a lot of energy and more blood is directed away from your other organ systems to your full stomach to aid in digestion. Sleepiness ensues.

Nutritionists say that the tryptophan in your Thanksgiving turkey probably doesn?t trigger your body to produce more serotonin because tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. It?s not the turkey that makes you sleepy after your Thanksgiving feast because it has to compete with all the other amino acids in your body. The truth is that you could leave out the turkey in your Thanksgiving meal and still feel the sleepiness factor after dinner.

Thanks Jody

All the Best

Steve Victor

Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking: The Turkey

Its time to start planning your Thanksgiving Holiday Feast. There are some simple things you can do to make your traditional Thanksgiving dinner lower in fat and calories, starting with the turkey. I asked Jody Victor to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor: If you are cooking for a small gathering, buy a turkey breast (or two) instead of a whole bird. Breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat. If you buy a whole turkey, stay away from self-basting ones as they contain added fat. Roast or smoke your turkey instead of deep frying it. When eating the turkey, remove the skin (where most of the fat is contained).

Gravy has the highest calorie count of the Thanksgiving dishes. You can make low fat broth-based or vegetarian gravy instead of gravy from turkey drippings. If you do make your gravy from turkey drippings, use a gravy separator to skim off most of the fat before you thicken it.

Another way to cut calories is to make dressing, not stuffing. Stuffing absorbs fat from the turkey as it roasts. Bake your dressing instead in a casserole dish. Avoid dressing recipes that use sausage or bacon. If your recipe calls for eggs, substitute each whole egg with two egg whites to cut calories. Dressing made with wild rice and grains will give you more nutrition than plain bread dressing.

1 10-12 pound turkey
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (EX: thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram)
20 whole sprigs of herbs
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups onion, apple, and lemon or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups water (plus more if needed)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Remove giblets and wash turkey inside and out. Drain. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place onion, apple, and orange/lemon pieces and half the sprigs in turkey cavity. Tuck wing tips under the turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups of water to the pan and add remaining sprigs to water. Roast the turkey until it is golden brown (about 45 minutes). Remove turkey from oven and make a two-ply cover for the breasts. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. Check roasting pan occasionally. If it dries out, tilt pan to let turkey juices out of cavity and add 1 cup of water. Turkey is done when thermometer registers 165 degrees. Transfer turkey to a platter and cover completely with foil. Let turkey rest and re-absorb juices for 20 minutes before carving.

Thanks Jody

All the Best!

Steve Victor

Heartburn Friendly Cooking

Cooking for yourself or others who suffer from heartburn can be a challenge because the list of foods that trigger heartburn is long and varied. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us more about cooking to prevent heartburn.

Jody Victor®: Try to avoid the major trigger foods: tomatoes, peppers, citrus, chocolate, and mint. Look for recipes for no-tomato casseroles, lasagna, and pizza. If you like pasta dishes use pesto or olive oil with parsley and garlic for sauces. Fatty foods trigger heartburn because they take longer to digest and linger in your stomach. Bake or broil foods instead of frying them. Substitute low-fat yogurt in recipes that call for cream. Cut back on the meat portions of recipes and add more vegetables. Include whole grains such as brown rice in your recipes instead of refined grains. Serve fresh fruit for dessert instead of chocolate cake. Limit your portion sizes. The bigger the meal you eat the better the chances of acid reflux. Eat slowly. Put your fork or spoon down between bites. Chew, chew, chew. The more you chew your food, the more saliva you produce. The more saliva you produce, the better your digestion.



12 ounces super lean ground beef or ground turkey

1/2 cup basil pesto

1/2 cup beef or chicken broth

2 cups grated zucchini

1 1/2 cups skim ricotta cheese

2/3 cup chopped green onion (if tolerated)

12 ounces wide lasagna noodles

2 cups low-fat alfredo sauce

1 1/2 cups grated skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain well. While noodles are cooking, brown the ground beef in a nonstick frying pan sprayed with vegetable oil. Place browned beef in a large bowl and add pesto, broth, and zucchini. Toss together. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta with green onions (if using). Spread one cup of the alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add three strips of lasagna noodles. Spread half the beef mixture on top.  Spread half the ricotta on top of beef mixture. Lay three strips of noodles. Spread remaining beef mixture on top. Spread other half of ricotta on top of beef. Add three strips of noodles. Spread remaining cup of alfredo on top noodles. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.



4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 10.75 ounce cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup

2 1/2 cups low-fat or no-fat milk

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice

2 4.5 ounce cans sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together mushroom soup and milk in a mixing bowl. Stir until well blended. Take one cup of soup/milk mixture and set aside. Add rice and mushrooms to mixture and pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top of mixture. Pour the set-aside cup of mixture over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.



6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

Place chicken in a large bowl and add buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large zip-style plastic bag, place flour, cornmeal, and salt. Shake well to mix. Place chicken, one piece at a time, into the flour mixture. Shake well to coat. Place coated chicken in baking dish. Drizzle half the melted butter/margarine over chicken. Bake for 10 minutes, turn pieces over and drizzle with the rest of the butter/margarine. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Don’t overcook.



8 large pork chops or steaks

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or juice

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 bay leaves

1 cup low-fat chicken broth

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Place chops into a glass baking dish and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle apple cider/juice over chops. Sprinkle over with oregano. Place bay leaves between a couple of the chops. Cover dish with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Remove pork chops from marinade and brown quickly on both sides and place them back in baking dish with marinade. Pour in chicken broth. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 2 hours or until meat is very tender.

All the Best!

Steve Victor