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Healthy Twists on Classic Thanksgiving Dishes

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The Thanksgiving holiday is all about tradition, especially the tradition of food. Staple entrees, side dishes and desserts are just as much a central part of this day as the history behind the holiday itself. For many, turkey day just isn't complete without grandma's famous green bean casserole or those creamy mashed potatoes. These are favorites for a reason, but if you want to put a healthy spin on some of these classic dishes this year, there's an easy way to do so, especially with the help of your brand-new Crock-Pot® Swing and Serve™ Slow Cooker!

The innovative design of this slow cooker makes entertaining and serving easier than ever before. Now, when you're serving the main slow-cooked dish with an appetizer and dip, there's no need for clutter and extra serving dishes, warming trays or cords taking up unnecessary room on your countertop. With two 1.5-quart crocks on the top level, one larger 3.5-quart crock at the base, all with their own separate cook and keep warm settings, you'll make your entertaining space more efficient and fun for guests to serve themselves.

Mashed Parsnip and Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole is a classic favorite at Thanksgiving and though it's delicious, it can be made with healthier ingredients. By adding parsnips to the sweet potatoes, you gain the nutrients of two vegetables instead of just one. The big difference, however, comes with the topping: Forget the overly sweet marshmallows this year and opt for the nutty taste of pecans and whole-wheat flour to finish your casserole.

  • 2 pounds parsnips (peeled and chopped into 1 to 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (peel and chopped into 1 to 2-inch pieces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1/3 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans


  1. Add sweet potatoes and parsnips to the bottom of the 3.5 quart slow cooker.
  2. Whisk eggs and honey in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour over sweet potatoes and parsnips and mix well.
  4. Stir in water, milk, orange zest, vanilla and salt and pepper.
  5. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, vanilla extract, sage, butter and whole-wheat flour.
  6. Blend until crumbly and stir in pecans.
  7. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the sweet potato and parsnip mixture in your slow cooker.
  8. Cover and cook on high for 2 and 1/2 to 4 hours.
Add a cinnamon stick to the top of your casserole for a little extra flavor.Add a cinnamon stick to the top of your casserole for a little extra flavor.

Citrus Burst Cranberry Sauce
This year, if you're looking for a healthier spin on the cranberry sauce you serve, consider this recipe for naturally sweetened sauce that uses maple syrup or honey instead of plain sugar.


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice/lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Combine all ingredients in the upper level 1.5-quart crock of your slow cooker.
  • Mix well.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3.
  • Swing open for easy serving and enjoy!
Make Thanksgiving easier, by slow cooking.Make Thanksgiving easier, by slow cooking.

Cider Gravy
For a low-fat version of slow-cooked gravy, try out this recipe that also adds a seasonal flair with the addition of apple cider.


  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Use the second upper level 1.5-quart crock of your slow cooker.
  2. Combine chicken broth, apple cider and cider vinegar.
  3. Whisk in flour to break up clumps.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and heat on low for 5 to 8 hours or on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Due to the slow ramp up, and even heating of a slow cooker, recipes featured on this site can be cooked in a range of slow cooker sizes. Recipes can be increased or decreased by one quart size per the cooking instructions. For smaller sauces and dips that call for 3 quarts or less, it is not recommended to alter the unit size. Crock-Pot® is a registered trademark and should not be used generically when referring to a 'slow cooker' within the recipes.
Sunbeam Products, Inc. d/b/a Jarden Consumer Solutions has not tested these recipes and is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe. You may not achieve the results desired due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, cooking times, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. Please always use your best judgment when cooking with raw ingredients such as eggs, chicken or fish.


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