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AARP Rewards Healthy Twist to Turkey Day Dish Contest 2021

Hello and welcome to the AARP Rewards Healthy Twist to Turkey Day Dish Contest 2021.  To enter, reply to this post with a recipe that gives a healthy twist to the Thanksgiving dinner!  Share your favorite dishes served at Thanksgiving including how to make it a little healthier.  Our contest will be open for participation on Monday, November 15, 2021 through Sunday, November 28, 2021.


Sharing your recipe enters you in for a chance to win one of five $50 gift cards along with 50 AARP Rewards Points just for posting!  A panel of judges appointed by AARP will select the top recipes.


Periodic Contributor

We have a small family and it seems like so many holiday recipes make way too much food for our needs. This dessert fits the bill and can simmer away in the crockpot while the cook focuses on the rest of the meal! Eliminating heavy cream and replacing half the sugar with Splenda helps bring down the fat and calorie content.




1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 large egg white

1/4 cup lowfat milk + 1/2 cup half and half, mixed together

4 tablespoons pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons Splenda + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, mixed together

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Hot water


In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg white and beaten egg. Whisk well. Slowly pour in milk/half and half mixture, whisking continuously. Stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla, mixing to incorporate. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar/splenda mixture and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well, then stir the dry mixture into the liquid mixture.

Fill two shallow ramekins with mixture, then place on the bottom of the slow cooker. Carefully pour hot water around ramekins to just over halfway to their tops. Cover the pot and cook on low-heat setting for 2-3 hours until Brule is set.

Turn off the cooker and open the lid. Carefully remove ramekins from the pot and transfer to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature and serve.




For gluten-free, dairy-free mashed potatoes and gravy, use the potato water from the boiled potatoes.  Boil potatoes until soft, drain reserving the potato water.  Use potato water instead of milk or butter to moisten the potatoes for mashing.  To make gravy, add flour and seasonings to the potato water and blend well.  Add the mixture to hot drippings for gravy.



I've made this recipe every Thanksgiving since the early 1970's.  Family and friends love it and don't realize it's a lower calorie, healthier version.



-1 large (12oz) sugar free pkg cherry or strawberry jello

-1 large (8oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese or low fat cream cheese

-1 can dark sweet cherries (about 15 oz) drained but save juice

-1 small can well-drained crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice

-1 small can drained tangerine oranges no sugar added

-3/4 cup chopped pecans

-6oz diet coke


Boil saved cherry juice (about a cup) and 3/4 cup water together in a small saucepan. Pour hot liquid into a 2-quart casserole-type dish and dissolve jello in the liquid. Add 1/2 pkg of cream cheese and use fork to break up and  blend small pieces in liquid.

Add and mix in drained pineapple, mandarin oranges, and cherries. Add 1/2 cup pecans and coke. Blend well. Refrigerate until jelled. When ready to serve, spread the other half of cream cheese softened to room temp on top. Sprinkle remaining pecans on top of cream cheese.

Serve and enjoy!


Marilyn Carleton


I like to serve a relish tray with veggies like broccoli, carrots, celery, olives, sugar peas, boiled eggs and the like to help with the sugar and fat content in other foods.  This dish also looks colorful, is easy to make, and is filling.

Periodic Contributor

Whip cream only on the pecan pie, no ice cream. 😉


My mom used to served canned, Jellied  Cranberry  Sauce which I subsequently hated and would not eat.  I now make fresh cranberry relish which my family devours.


1 package of fresh cranberries

1 navel orange cut in eighths

1 apple, cored and cut in eighths

1 pear, cored and cut in eighths

sugar to taste


Whirl all fresh fruits in food processor until desired consistency and add sugar to taste. I usually make this the night before so all flavors can blend better.  Enjoy!


Grandma’s Sausage Stuffing


2 16oz packages of Savory Sage roll sausage

3 - eggs

1 large onion finely chopped

3 large apples pealed and cored and chopped into small pieces

2 bags of Herb seasoned cubed stuffing

2 pounds of thick cut bacon


24 oz Chicken broth

1 teaspoon powdered garlic

1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper seasoning

Brown the sausage in a large frying pan and put in large bowl. Sautee the onion until transparent and place in the bowl also. Cut 1 lb of bacon into small pieces and fry so they are crisp, drain and place in the bowl. Add the chopped apples to the same bowl. Add one bag of the cubed stuffing. Add the eggs and about half of the Chicken broth. Add the garlic powder and Lemon Pepper seasoning and begin to mix. The best way to combine all ingredients is with your hands. You can add more broth and cubed stuffing until you reach the desired consistency which should be similar to a meat loaf. Now add the Thyme and mix again. You will have added enough Thyme when after mixed completely you can smell it.

Place in a foil baking pan and add bacon strips to the top. Place foil on top of the pan and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Then broil for about 10 minutes or until bacon strips on top of stuffing are fully cooked.

 Submitted by Ed Kiesling

Periodic Contributor

Side dish: Brussels Sprouts


6 slices center-cut bacon, chopped

1/2 cup sliced shallot

1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper


How to make this recipe:

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and saute for 5 minutes or until bacon begins to brown. Remove pan from heat. Remove the bacon from pan with slotted spoon, reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings in pan and discard remaining dripping.


Return pan to medium-high heat, and stir in bacon, shallot, and Brussels sprouts; saute 4 minutes. Add garlic, and saute for 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the broth mostly evaporates and the sprouts are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.

Social Butterfly

Leave the bacon out of the stuffing!

0 Kudos

Replace high sugar ingredients with low or sugar free versions. 

Cranberry Salad


2 boxes of cranberry or raspberry sugarfree jello

1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce, well drained

1 can of juice only crushed pineapple, well drained

1 C chopped pecans

Periodic Contributor

Candied Yams (or sweet potatoes)
3 - 4 yams (about 5"- 6" long x 3" wide), Peeled and chopped into chunks.
1 stick of butter
½ cup brown sugar
12 oz bag of Cranberries (rinsed, sorted and coarsely chopped)
1 bag Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Walnuts, chopped (optional)

In lightly salted water, boil yams until tender and drain.
Mash yams with ½ stick of butter
Add brown sugar and cranberries and mix well
Add chopped walnuts, if desired
Transfer to a buttered 9 x 9 inch baking dish and smooth out
Dot with bits of the remaining butter
Evenly cover the top with the mini marshmallows

Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until the marshmallows are browned.


Green Bean Casserole...


Such easy, delicious swaps for everybody's favorite Thanksgiving side!


Old recipe:

  • 4 c. green beans
  • 1/2 cups milk           SWAP: 3/4 c. plain, fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce                            
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup    SWAP: 1 can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 1/3 french fried onion rings         SWAP:  Cut in half


Heat the oven to 350°F.  Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, beans and 1/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.


Bake for 25 minutes or until hot.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.


Bake for another 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.


Note* If you are watching salt, simply eliminate the soy sauce amd use salt-free or low-sodium soup. You'll never miss a thing!


Linda Packer


Periodic Contributor



Replace a traditional high calorie, high fat creamed corn or green bean salad with this beautiful brightly colored, healthy and flavorful side dish!! All of the flavors of fall and Thanksgiving with roasted corn, edamame, cranberries and sun dried tomatoes. Delicious served hot or cold and can be made with drained canned corn or frozen. Corn does not have to be roasted and you can substitute fresh tomatoes for sun dried.


Makes 6 servings




3 cups frozen corn

3 cups frozen edamame beans (out of shell)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons for roasting the corn kernels)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon white rice vinegar (can substitute any white vinegar)

2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon Onion Salt

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Paprika

finely ground black pepper to taste




Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Step 2 Place the corn kernals in a bowl and toss with 2 tsp olive oil. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast in the over for 25 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, turning them once at the halfway point.

Step 3 While the corn is roasting prepare the liquid mixture by wisking together in a small bowl the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and all the seasonings. Stir until well blended and set aside.

Step 4 Cook the endamame beans in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until soft and tender and then set aside until the corn is done. When the corn is out of the oven, thoroughly drain the beans and stir in the cranberries, sun dried tomatoes, and corn and then toss with the liquid mixture.





Periodic Contributor

I take my turkey before cooking I slather it with a mixture of curry powder garlic and melted butter two tablespoons mix it and put under skin all over it flavors it continuously while basting. I put chunks of onion and root veggies in pan instead of potatoes I use beets, turnips


You get your traditional turkey with an Indian cuisine flare.

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