Ask A New England Chef: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

When it comes to eating healthy, Kashia Diaz-Cave is a teacher, an author, an activist and, perhaps above all, an award-winning chef. She is the founder of My City Kitchen, Inc., an organization which helps inner-city kids learn to not only eat healthy but also how to prepare healthy and tasty meals for themselves and for their families, and do it all on a budget. For her work with children and the community she was named Aetna 2016 Flavor of the Community featured chef, and hailed as one of the top “African Americans who inspire lives through food.”

Chef Diaz-Cave is also a frequent guest on regional cooking shows, a noted cook book author and a smart businesswoman. She is currently the executive chief at MCK Gourmet Cafe (MCK, of course, is short for “My City Kitchen.

Chef Kashia Diaz-Cave
MCK Gourmet Cafe
6 Research Drive
Shelton, CT 06484
(475) 269-2983

Chef Kashia Diaz-Cave knows how to make a traditional Thanksgiving feats, but for those who want something different, she offers up a lighter but no less scrumptious menu – and a healthier one. For starters, there is fresh shrimp ceviche – a nice, light, cool and easy to prepare dish that can be made ahead of time. After that, guests can sit down to their own individual bird – a Cornish Game Hen to be exact. No arguing over who gets the white meat and who gets the dark, for everyone has their own serving of both with this little fowl. Instead of mashed potatoes, Chef Kashia Diaz Cave suggests potato salad as the starch accompanying the main dish. For those who miss the cranberries that usually come with a Thanksgiving meal, she offers red cabbage slaw. Like cranberries, it is tart and adds color to the meal. As for dessert, well, this is where the host can experiment or fall back on something traditional, or have a guest or two bring one of their seasonal favorites.

Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili peppers. The greatest variety of ceviches are found in Peru; but other distinctly unique styles can also be found in coastal El SalvadorGuatemalathe United StatesMexicoPanama, the Caribbean, and several other nation around the world.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lime juice (juice from 4-6 limes)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Poblano pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cucumber, remove the seeds and diced with the skin on into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet mango, peeled, sliced, and cut into small diced
  • 1 1/2 cup diced papaya (peeled and seeds removed)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water, salted with 2 Tbsp salt. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 depending on size of shrimp. (Over-cooking the shrimp will turn it rubbery. Drain and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process
  2. Drain the shrimp from the ice bath. Cut each piece of shrimp in half, or into inch-long pieces. Place shrimp in a glass bowl. Mix in the lime and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour
  3. Mix in the chopped red onion and poblano chile. Refrigerate until ready for use
  4. Mix mango and papaya together, and refrigerate
  5. Right before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber to the shrimp mixture and season with salt and black pepperTake a Martini glass place 1-2 tbsp of the mango/papaya mixture on the bottom, add the spoonful of the shrimp mixture on the top and garnish with chive.

Serves 8 to 10.

Cornish Hens

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cornish hen (split in half) per person
  • 2-3 pieces each of fresh mixed herbs thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano (fine chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon Enotre extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Season with salt and pepper

Directions:

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a cutting board cut the chicken in half along the breast bone.
  3. Marinate chicken in a Ziploc bag with orange juice, salt, pepper fresh herbs and paprika. Let it marinate in the fridge for 30mins.
  4. Remove the chicken from the bag and place into a baking dish, pour the marinate over the chicken and bake in the oven for 45- 60mins or until golden brown and the internal temperature of the hen reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Red Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of thinly sliced red cabbage
  • ½ of yellow and orange bell pepper
  • 2 whole carrots shredded
  • 1 cup of broccoli

Directions:

  1. In a medium serving bowl, combine all the ingredients together , grizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt and cracked pepper

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 red potatoes, washed and diced with skin on
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 4 tablespoon mayonnaise (Substitute plain yogurt or sour cream)
  • ¼ cup red chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut potatoes in medium dice. Place cut potatoes in a pot with water and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl combine the dill, mayo, onions and parsley set aside until potatoes are done.
  2. Drain the potatoes, and add to a mixing bowl, mix well and chill for 1hr. Serve cold with slaw and Cornish hen.

Related: Football vs. Thanksgiving Meal

Content provided by Speakeasy
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