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Thanksgiving Day: Eat without Guilt

Por MiDieta™ -

Thanksgiving Day originated at the beginning of the English colonization of the New World. In the year 1620, a group of Christian pioneers that were later known as the pilgrims travelled to America on a boat called the “Mayflower.” They arrived at the coast of Massachusetts in November and established the Plymouth colony.

The strong winter took them by surprise, and they didn’t have time to prepare themselves to face the adverse conditions of hardship and cold weather. Of the original group of around a hundred people, only half survived. Those who made it did so thanks to the help and food provided to them by the Wampanoag Indians, who were native to the area.

By autumn 1621, now established and after the first harvest was collected, the survivors decided to share their food with the Indians who had helped them before. The colony’s governor proclaimed “a day to thank the Lord, so we can enjoy the results of our work in a special way.” 

Since then, every November, we celebrate this event. Hispanics that live in this country have also adopted this holyday and have incorporated new delicious versions of the traditional turkey.

On its classic recipe, turkey is prepared with a corn bread and sage filling. It is then covered with a cranberry sauce and served with vegetables, such as green beans and sweet potatoes with a sweet turkey sauce—made with the turkey’s juices. When it comes to desserts, pumpkin pie is definitely the most popular, but some families also serve pecan butter or apple pies.

Hispanic tables have combined different flavors that give the Thanksgiving meal a “latin touch,” without breaking the tradition. For example, Puerto Ricans came up with the popular “pavochon” that is now being registered at the Patent Office in Washington, DC.The proposal is simple: marinate the turkey for three days, as if it were a suckling pig. The result: a tender delicacy as delicious as it can get.

Mexicans make the turkey’s filling with chorizo (pork sausage), potatoes, carrots, “adobo” sauce, and three kinds of chilli. This way, each Latin American table has given its personal touch to the popular turkey.

But there also tasty, healthy versions of turkey, so this day’s meal doesn’t interfere with your diet plan and the goals you’ve already reached. Here we show you a great way of preparing your turkey on this Thanksgiving Day, taking away the extra calories, but leaving the entire flavor.



  • 1 turkey, approximately 11 lbs, completely defrosted
  • 5 tablespoons mustard
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 big onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 apples, peeled and cut into quarters
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 5 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1 quart dry white wine
  • 5 cups turkey stock, fat removed
  • 1/4 cup Port wine
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour


Remove the packet of giblets from cavity. Make a stock with the turkey giblets without using the liver. Let cool and remove the visible fat from the surface.

The night before cooking the turkey, thoroughly rinse the turkey and pat dry with a paper cloth. Rub the turkey with mustard, minced garlic, lemon juice and red pepper. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 °F (200 °C). Rub turkey inside and outside with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with onions and apples and close the cavity with 1 or 2 skewers. Fold the wings under the back of the turkey and return legs under tucked position.

Spray a big roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the turkey breast side up. Soak a clean cheesecloth with melted margarine and cover the turkey. Roast turkey for 30 minutes and lower the temperature to 325 °F (160 °C). Mix the white wine with 4 cups turkey stock and pour half of the mixture over turkey. Continue roasting for 1 1/2 more hours and turn over the turkey, covering it again with the cloth. Pour the remainder of the wine-stock mixture over the turkey.

During the last 30 minutes remove cheesecloth and baste the turkey with pan juices. The cooking time for the turkey is 30 minutes for every 2 lb 4 oz of turkey.  Remove turkey from oven. [See note below.]

Remove the stuffing and strain the gravy. Let the gravy cool and remove the fat from the surface. Pour into a pan and add the reserved  cup of stock. Bring to a boil and add the Port wine. Cook for 5 more minutes. Dissolve flour in cold water and thicken the gravy with flour mixture until desired consistency.

Carve the turkey when cold and arrange on a serving platter or serve hot by carving it at the table. Accompany with hot gravy.

Makes 20 servings

Nutritional Values per Serving:

  • 336 calories
  • 46 grams protein
  • 6 grams carbohydrate
  • 9 grams fat

    MiDieta TM Culinary Tips:

    • Remove the skin before cooking the turkey.
    • Use a meat thermometer to test inner temperature (avoid touching bones with thermometer) to 175 degrees. After you remove the turkey from the oven it will continue cooking for several minutes, so test again with the thermometer and it is ready to serve at 180 degrees. Let rest about 20 minutes before carving, to keep juices in the meat.
    • Turkey is low in fat and calories; stuffings made with bread crumbs or cracker crumbs add unneeded calories so try this one made of fruit and vegetables. It adds wonderful flavor to the meal.


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