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A Quick + Healthy Twist On Turkey

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If you want an alternative to roasting a whole turkey this Thanksgiving because: a) you end up throwing out the leftovers or leaving them in the freezer until next year b) there are too many vegetarians at the table; or c) it's too complicated, or takes too long to cook; then read on!

The good news is that you don't have to give up the bird entirely if you'll consider boneless turkey breasts! Whole and boneless breasts are easy to manage and cook in under an hour. For presentation, they can be butterflied, stuffed and rolled, making a beautiful centerpiece for the holiday feast.

Butterflying and stuffing a turkey breast is easy. However, you do need a sharp knife and kitchen twine. First, lay each breast down on the cutting board and cut horizontally through the middle - your knife should be parallel to the board - until you can open the breast like a book. Make sure not to cut the breast entirely in half. Then flatten the butterflied breast with a mallet. Layer on the stuffing, roll it, tie it and pop it in the oven!

Serve the stuffed breasts with traditional side dishes like sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and any other family favorites!

Layne's Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breasts, serves 6

Choose organic ingredients when available:
  • 2 turkey breasts, boneless (12 ounces per breast)
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 ounces roasted chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • Cooking twine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (or about 175 Celsius).
  2. With a sharp knife, butterfly each breast open to lay flat but do not cut through to separate the pieces.
  3. Place each butterflied breast between two sheets of waxed paper, and pound with a mallet to flatten and even out the thickness.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the pear, dried cranberries, pecans, mushrooms, chestnuts, rosemary and thyme; and set aside.
  5. Evenly spread the stuffing on top of each breast, leaving about 1/4-inch from the edge.
  6. Roll up each breast tightly and tie with cooking twine.
  7. Season the rolled breasts with salt and pepper on all sides.
  8. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet placed over medium-high heat.
  9. Brown each breast on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  10. Place the skillet in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes. Tent with foil if the breasts are browning too quickly.
  11. Allow the breasts to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Nutrition facts per serving (186 grams) = 283 calories, 13.7 grams fat, 19.6 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 21 grams protein.

With this light and healthy turkey recipe, you'll have plenty of room in your belly for all your favorite side dishes!

For more healthy recipes and the way to longevity, pick up a copy of Layne's award winning book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This book makes the perfect holiday gift!

Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian, educator and entrepreneur. She is author of the book Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and The Huffington Post.