Light Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 

 Originally Written: November 12, 2017

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on October 5, 2019 by Hanna Trafford

Yes- you can eat light this Thanksgiving – here is a simple menu that includes: Turkey Braised with Shiitake Mushrooms and Chestnuts, Potato and Celery Root Casserole and Squash and Turnip puree. I have added suggested servings along with calorie count. Give it some thought, read the recipes and try eating light this Thanksgiving:


Turkey Braised with Shiitake Mushrooms and Chestnuts


  • 12 – 16 dried whole shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups of turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups of peeled chestnuts
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. of boneless skinless turkey breast
  • 1 lb. of boneless skinless turkey thighs
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cloves or allspice
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1- fresh sage leaves or 3/4 teaspoon of crumbled dried sage
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine


  1. Soak mushrooms in 1-1;2 cups of water until tender – about 3- minutes.
  2. Reserving mushrooms, pour soaking liquid (without residue at the bottom) into large measuring cup and add enough stock to make 3 cups.
  3. Pour into a saucepan.
  4. Add chestnuts and bay leaf, bring into boil.Reduce heat and simmer until chestnuts are tender – about 20 minutes.
  5. Reserving cooking liquid and discarding bay leaf, drain and then transfer chestnut into Dutch oven.
  6. Remove stems form mushroom caps (save for stockpot) and set caps aside.
  7. Meanwhile, cut turkey breast and thighs into 1 inch chunks.
  8. In a bowl,. whisk together flour, half of the salt and pepper, cayenne and cloves
  9. Toss turkey pieces with flour mixture to coat with all the flour.
  10. Cut white and light gn parts of onions into 1 inch lengths and set aside
  11. Finely slice enough dark green parts to make about 1/4 cup and set aside.
  12. In skillet, heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of pan over medium heat
  13. In batches and adding oil as necessary, lightly brown turkey chunks and with slotted spoons, transfer to Dutch oven.
  14. Adding oil if necessary, saute mushrooms until lightly browned.,
  15. Add white and light green lengths of green onions, garlic, thyme and sage and saute for about 30 seconds
  16. Add wine and cook, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to to about 2 tablespoons.
  17. Add reserved chestnut cooking liquid and remaining salt
  18. Pour into the Dutch oven
  19. On medium heat, simmer for about 1-0 minutes, gently stirring occasionally without breaking chestnuts
  20. Add salt to taste and stir in finely chopped green onions.

Makes 8 servings – about 287 calories each


Potato and Celery Root Casserole


  • 3 lbs. of potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery root, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (white and green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cup of turkey, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (optional)


  1. In lightly greased 10 inch or similar oval baking dish, layer one third of potatoes, one half of celery root and one half of leeks, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper, repeat and then top with remaining potatoes.
  2. Pour in stock, drizzle with oil and if desired, dot with butter.
  3. Cover with greased foil and bake at 400F for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and continue baking until vegetables are tender – about 30 minutes
  5. Place under a broiler until top is crisp and golden brown – 2-5 minutes
  6. Makes 8-10 servings of about 126 calories each


Squash and Turnip Puree


  • 2-3 lb. orange-fleshed squash
  • 3 white turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • generous pinch of white pepper
  • generous pinch of nutmeg
  • salt


  1. Cut squash in half, scoop out and discard seeds
  2. Place, cut side down in a baking dish and add water to about 1/2 inch depth
  3. Bake at 400F until soft – 30 to 60 minutes
  4. Remove from pan and let cool
  5. Meanwhile, in just enough boiling salted water to cover, simmer turnips and onion until softened – about 20 minutes
  6. Reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain.
  7. Scoop flesh into food processor
  8. Add turnips and onion, puree, adding a little of the reserved liquid if mixture is too thick to puree.
  9. In a saucepan, heat butter and 1.4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid over medium heat until butter is melted.
  10. Stir in puree, pepper and nutmeg
  11. Heat through, stirring constantly and adding more of the reserved cooking liquid to thin to desired consistency, add salt to taste.

Makes 6-8 servings of about 86 calories each.


Hope you have enjoyed these recipes, please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated.

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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