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Ask A Chicago Chef: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

By Michelle Guilbeau

Chef Carolina Diaz has been working in the Chicago restaurant arena for numerous years in a variety of capacities. Her energy and talent abounds in everything she does related to creating and cooking, she truly loves her career! Her caring personality and contagious smile makes her the total package in a Chicago Chef; Chef Carolina Diaz is one to look out for in exploding on the Chicago culinary scene.

Chef Carolina Diaz
Terzo Piano
159 E. Monroe St.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 443-8650

Chef Carolina Diaz started working under Chef Bill Kim for 4 years. Shortly after she worked under Chef Christian Fantoni, she fell in love with Italian food. What made her fall in love with Italian cuisine was the amount of love that is put into very simple dishes. There is a lot of history and tradition on each plate. Chef Diaz is currently the Chef Di Cuisine at Terzo Piano under Chef Tony Mantuano.

Roasted Turkey
To keep the turkey from drying out make sure that you rotate the turkey throughout its time in the oven. This also ensures that they turkey cooks evenly. Using olive oil instead of butter makes this turkey a healthier option for Thanksgiving. When figuring out portions count on 1 pound of turkey per person. This should be plenty to help feed all of your guests.


  • 1 large turkey
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch bay leaves
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 peeled and chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped apples


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity.
  2. After pulling out of the brine, dry the turkey with paper towels, then season inside and out with salt and pepper.
  3. Fill the cavity with rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, sage, chopped onions, carrots, apples .
  4. Place breast-side up in a roasting pan. Lightly brush with oil and tent with foil and roast for 2 hours (for a 10- to 12-pound turkey; add an extra 15 minutes per pound for larger birds).
  5. After 2 hours, remove the foil, very carefully, rub with oil again and turn up the oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Roast for another hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165 degrees F on the white meat.
  7. Let the turkey rest before carving

Serves 12.

Related: Best Places To Buy A Thanksgiving Turkey In Chicago

Thanksgiving Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Adding cauliflower to this dish lowers the amount of carbohydrates and makes this a figure friendly side. By adding cauliflower you can enjoy a lower calorie dish and save the calories for Pie! Great way to get veggies in without missing a decadent beat.


  • 4 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 4 cup vegetable stock
  • 8 Tablespoons plain, nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 minced cloves of garlic


  1. Cook the cauliflower with the vegetable stock in a saucepan over medium heat until tender.
  2. Transfer the cauliflower into a food processor or blender, reserving cooking liquid.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of reserved stock and blend until smooth, scraping down sides and adding more stock as necessary.
  4. Add option ingredients, if desired.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Turkey Gravy

Use cornstarch instead of regular flower to thicken gravy. Low-sodium broth is a healthier alternative to heavy salted and fattier broth.


  • 12 cup finely chopped onion
  • 12 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free beef broth or 2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch pepper


  • In a saucepan, saute onion, mushrooms and parsley in ¼ cup broth until vegetables are tender.
  • Combine cornstarch, pepper, and ½ cup of broth; stir until smooth.
  • Add to pan with the remaining broth.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; boil for 2 minutes.

Serves 4.

Related: Best Activities For Kids In Chicago Over Thanksgiving Weekend

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