SAVORY CORNBREAD STUFFING (adapted from NY Times Martha Rose Shulman)—serves 8

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, organic stone ground
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur’s whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T Baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain LF yogurt or buttermilk
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • 1T honey
  • 2T Smart Balance margarine
  • PAM cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the mixture with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt (or buttermilk), milk and honey. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture, just until blended.

3. Melt margarine and add to the batter.

4. Spray a heavy 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

5. Pour all of the batter into the pan, and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will be quite brown on the edges. Allow the bread to cool in the pan, or serve warm.

GUILTLESS GRAVY (adapted from the National Turkey Foundation)

  • 4 cups turkey stock and defatted pan juices
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1.  In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring stock and pan juices to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch and water until smooth.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling pan juices.  Continue to stir until thickened.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups low fat milk
  • ¼ c Smart Balance Margarine
  • 1-2 T canola oil


  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan of boiling water, and cook until tender but firm, about 15-20 minutes.


 Incredibly, this year, Thanksgiving Day and the first day of Chanukah fall out on Thursday, November 28th—the same day!  These holidays will not coincide on the same day again for another70,000 years.  That is a fact.  Therefore, it is time to perhaps cook as unique as this particular holiday time!  Of course, this column is going to have a healthy twist to it, so I begin with a few tips of keeping that “holiday balance”—hopefully not having to change into a larger pair of pants after the evening —and perhaps not having to make that New Year’s Resolution–again!


1.  Make your holiday grocery list with your heart health in mind (…and your family’s!).  Go through your holiday recipes, and replace ingredients with lower fat and lower sugar versions.  Send me an email if your guests notice the difference in taste (they won’t)!

  • King Arthur’s or 365 Whole Wheat Flour
  • Low fat cottage cheese and sour cream and mayonnaise
  • For sugar, use ½ sugar and ½ sugar substitute in your recipe
  • Use trans-fat-free margarines instead of butter
  • Use Lite Cool Whip instead of whipped cream
  • Low fat milk instead of whole milk

2.  Though it is already “holiday time”, do not give yourself permission to “start later” with your healthful eating habits—like January 1.  Don’t do it!  You can still maintain some good control through the temptations of the holidays. Pick out what you are willing to do.

3.  Give yourself some holiday confidence.  Do some pre-planning of your holiday meals: “I want to eat the sweet potatoes and the stuffing—so I will just have small scoops of each!”; “The desserts look incredible—so maybe I will skip tonight’s wine/cocktails and have dessert instead!”  Isn’t life made up of trade-offs?

BBQ Goodies You Can Eat!


As a nutritionist for more than 25 wonderful years, I had to re-teach myself healthful eating habits when I became a young adult, prior to practicing my profession. I didn’t grow up with great eating habits (don’t tell my Mother I said that). So, during my career years, I have felt a special “knack” in relating to my clients, their issues with habit changes, and being able to educate them for life.

One of the tools I have used over the years is: I have created a list of foods in my head that just aren’t worth eating—I don’t really care about them. Now, don’t get me wrong, French fries are not on that list, and I have certainly learned to enjoy them in absolute moderation. On the other hand, if I never ate another croissant, or a slice of chocolate cake, I could care less. So, I live by the rule that if the food is “worth it to me”, worth the calories, and worth what it might do to my body, then I will indulge on occasion. This summer, consider creating YOUR “worth it” list.

On my Not-Worth-It-Summer-Foods-BUT-good substitutes list…..the winners are:

* Ice cream: it’s 2013, and there are oodles of opportunities for healthier versions of ice cream, starting with Baskin Robbins, Breyers and Publix, as the “real thing”. They are the lower fat versions of Ben and Jerry’s, Haagen Dasz, etc. Otherwise, if you’re up for the better ideas, check out Klondike 100 calorie bars, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches or cones, Diana’s Dark Chocolate Frozen Bananas, Dole chocolate covered banana Dippers, Weight Watcher ice cream products and the like.

S’mores Cups

  • 7 whole graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 bars milk chocolate candy
  • 12 large marshmallows

You are going to be shocked how easy these are.
Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs using Baker’s Roller®;. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in Small Batter Bowl

Step 2:
Using Small Scoop, place scant scoop of crumb mixture in each cup of a Mini-Muffin Pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups with Mini-Tart Shaper. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling

Step 3:
While the crust is in the oven, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.

Step 4:
Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Remove from oven to a cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.

Step 5:
Break remaining candy bars and place in (1-cup/250 mL) Prep Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute-1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 minutes-1 hour or until set.

Yield: 24 cups
Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended. For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute dark chocolate candy bars for the milk chocolate.

Tantalizing Turkey Chili



  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey breast (or half lean ground beef and half lean ground turkey)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) tomatoes in puree
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 or 2 cans (15 ounces each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 envelopes commercial chili mix (for 2 pounds meat/turkey)
  • dash of cayenne pepper, optional
  • shredded low fat Monterey Jack cheese, or mild low fat Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Brown ground turkey. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or more.  Top with low fat grated cheese before serving.


Serves 8.


Pasta Fagioli Recipe for Lunch

Original recipe makes 4 servings

1 T olive oil                                                 2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped                                         3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsps dried parsley                                      ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth                      2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce                            ½ cup uncooked spinach

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, with some liquid



  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook celery, onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add spinach and cook 10 minutes, until all is tender.
  3. Add undrained beans and mix well. Heat through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.


 4 ripe plantains

Non-stick cooking spray

½ cup orange juice

Cinnamon to taste

2 tsp Splenda or Truvia



  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice each plantain into 4 pieces.
  3. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Place plantains flat on the baking sheet.
  4. Pour orange juice over plantains.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sweetener.
  6. Spray nonstick cooking spray atop plantains.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.

Borrowed from:

 The Everything Cooking for Kids Cookbook, by Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN