Eye on Extension: Thanksgiving recipe ideas

VALLEY — Okay, so it’s the holidays and what do we eat? Everything! Unfortunately! I know it’s hard on all of us to cut back on food in general and sweets in particular. 

So I’m sharing these recipes for your dinner. The sweets are all reduced calorie – but still taste fabulous. These recipes are a must for the diabetic (who should not have sugar but want to eat goodies too!), as well as the rest of us who could probably stand to cut back on sugar without sacrificing taste. The recipes are; Light Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry-Pineapple Fluff, and Sweet Potato Puffs. Each recipe is delicious and you will be praised as a gourmet chef by your family and friends.

Light Pumpkin Pie substitutes sweetener for sugar and features a ground nut crust.

Light Pumpkin Pie


1 1/2 c. ground pecans or walnuts

1/8 c. sweetener (stevia or sucralose)

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract


16 oz. can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 c. sweetener (stevia or sucralose)

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)

3/4 c. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pecans, sweetener, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the melte4d butter, egg, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of pie pan. In another bowl, combine filling ingredients, stir well. Pour into pie pan gently and bake for 50 minutes. Place foil covering on edge of pie crust and continue baking for another 15 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and slice into 8 to 10 wedges.   

Cranberry-Pineapple Fluff

1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries

1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple packed in juice

1 3 oz. package of sugar-free raspberry or mixed berry gelatin

2 c. sugar-free vanilla yogurt

Orange slices or drained mandarin orange slices for garnish

Place cranberries in a medium saucepan. Drain pineapple and add juice to the cranberries. Cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the cranberries soften and begin to pop.  Stir in gelatin and remove from the heat. Fold in the yogurt and the drained pineapple.  Pour mixture into an 11 x 7 baking pan. Chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into 12 squares and garnish with orange slices. Serves 12

Sweet Potato Puffs

2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams

1/3 c. orange juice

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp. orange peel, grated

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 c. nuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonfat vegetable spray. Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cook till tender.  Drain, place in large bowl and mash until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except for nuts. Spoon mixture onto cookie sheet in 10 mounds, sprinkle with nuts. Bake 30 minutes.  Serves 10

Be sure to include several vegetable dishes on your menu. Here is one everyone will love!


Broccoli Salad

2 bunches fresh broccoli

10 strips bacon, fried crisp, broken into pieces

2/3 c. sunflower seeds

2/3 c. craisins or raisins

1 small red onion, chopped fine

1 c. mayonnaise

1/4 c. sugar or sweetener

2 Tbsp. vinegar

Cut broccoli into small pieces. Place in bowl with bacon, nuts, raisins and onion. Combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, and onion; mix until smooth. Stir dressing into broccoli. Refrigerate an hour or so before serving.

Hope you try these recipes. They are delicious! Take it from me, a diehard sweet potato casserole with marshmallow fan, the sweet potato puffs are to die for! No more marshmallows for me!  Call me if you have any questions – and have a great holiday!

For more information contact Mary Ellen Fleming at 852-7381, or visit the CSU Extension Office for the San Luis Valley Area at 1899 E. Hwy 160 in Monte Vista.  Please feel free to visit our website at:  http://sanluisvalley.colostate.edu for information about services provided.