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Cranberry Artichoke StuffingIt’s almost here – Thanksgiving! It is probably the most food-focused holiday there is, so it seems appropriate that this week we talk about a favorite side dish…stuffing! Who doesn’t love stuffing? All those mushy carbs soaked in fat. Yum! OK, yes, stuffing is delicious but it can also be very unhealthy. One website published this estimate of calories consumed on Turkey Day, stuffing comes in around 500.

We can do better, right? Change it up this year, and you’re looking at eliminating 340 calories! (That’s like and extra slice of pumpkin pie, one more dinner roll AND some additional cranberry sauce.) Try it out and let me know what you think. Will it become a regular staple on your Thanksgiving buffet?

  • 8 artichokes (medium size), prepared and cooked as directed for whole (OR buy canned, quartered artichokes – NOT marinated)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 5 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups cranberries, freshly chopped (for easier chopping, freeze cranberries and chop with food processor fitted with metal blade)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. crushed dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • pepper to taste

Remove outer petals from artichokes; save to enjoy as an appetizer or snack. Remove center petals and fuzzy centers of artichokes; trim out hearts. Chop hearts and place in a large bowl. Set aside. Steam carrots and onions for 8 to 10 minutes, or until carrots are nearly tender. Add steamed vegetables to artichokes; stir in bread crumbs, cranberries, thyme and allspice. Toss until well combined. Sprinkle orange juice over mixture to moisten stuffing as desired. Toss well; season with pepper. Bake in a lightly greased baking dish, covered, during the last 30 to 40 minutes of roasting.

Serves: 10.

Per serving: 160 calories, 1 g fat, 230 mg sodium, 35 g total carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 8 g protein




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Young child stares at dinnerI love food because, well, I am a dietitian and I think part of my job description says something like “Must love food.” On the other hand, I hate food because I struggle every day with what to make for dinner.

My husband seems to survive on meat and potatoes which doesn’t model well for our two-year-old who won’t eat vegetables. (The exception being peas, which he calls “tiny meatballs.”) Maybe it is BECAUSE I’m a dietitian, I feel my brain should just automatically create wonderful, healthy and tasty concoction my family will love each day, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

But, fret not – I have a solution! Drum roll, please… Meal Planning! What a novel idea, eh? Here’s how I make it work.

1)   Decide on 5 healthy meals we plan to eat throughout the week.
2)   Write down the ingredients needed for each recipe/meal so the grocery list ready.
3)   Each day, my husband, (since he’s the picky one) decides which of the five meals we will have for dinner that evening. This also helps because he feels like he’s having some say in the decision and therefore, will usually eat it.

This works so well for us because the ingredients are all on-hand so there are not “quick trips” to the store – which inevitably lead to unhealthy impulse purchases.

A couple of recommended websites where you can find nutritious recipes include:, and In fact, Clean Eating Magazine occasionally provides “Five meals for under $50” and includes the grocery list so the work is done for you!

Overall, meal planning has helped me lean more toward loving food. Now my challenge for you…How can I get my two-year-old to eat something besides tiny meatballs?


For recipe ideas from Lisa, subscribe to Fort HealthCare’s Health 365 eNews. The monthly eNewsletter contains a different tried and approved recipe from Lisa, along with nutritional content.

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