November 19th, 2014

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A New Take on the Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

And so it begins, everyone’s favorite time of year.  As the holidays approach, we can all take that deep breath and simultaneously loosen our belt buckles one extra hole in preparation for the copious amounts of food we will inevitably be eating. Thanksgiving kicks off this eating extravaganza with a cornucopia of food—from juicy turkey legs, to stuffing and mashed potatoes dripping with gravy, to pumpkin and apples pies galore—the list goes on and on.

Always keeping our ATI Guests and Residents in mind, it is important to recognize the extra effort that goes into meal preparation before this feast can be fully enjoyed by all. Many of our Guests and Residents require modified diets, and meals must be pureed, ground, chopped, or cut in certain ways before consumption.

Below are suggested recipes for foods that can easily be ground or pureed. Not only will our Guests be feasting on these dishes, but also they will be participating in the preparation, as this time of year provides numerous, natural learning opportunities. Therapeutic skills include practice with cooking hygiene, pouring, measuring, opening packages, mixing, oven use, following recipes, and clean up.

This tasty selection of recipes is taken from a “Soft Cooked Foods” recipe book that was prepared by Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Northeast Region; Department of Occupational Therapy, and Department of Food and Nutritional Services and are for ALL to enjoy! These recipes have been tried and proven to be tasty.

Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 servings):

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ cup margarine

½ teaspoon curry powder

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 cups 1% milk

2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

ITEMS NEEDED: Food processor, Large saucepan, Measuring cups, Measuring spoons

PREPARATION: Place pumpkin, milk and salt in food processor until well mixed. Melt margarine in saucepan; add onion powder and curry powder. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add pumpkin mixture to saucepan and stir until mixed with onion powder and curry powder. Add chicken stock and cook until hot.


Turkey Patties

turkey patties

INGREDIENTS (makes 6 servings):

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

¼ cup fine bread crumbs

1 egg

2 tablespoons ground mushrooms

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

ITEMS NEEDED: Food processor, Bowl, Broiler pan, Measuring spoons

PREPARATION: Grind mushrooms in food processor, transfer to bowl. Add rest of ingredients, mix well. Shape into 6 patties. Broil in oven 4” from heat for 5 minutes on each side. Grind in food processor before serving. Serve with gravy.

Mash with fork before serving for chopped (1/8” or pea sized pieces) and ground diets (appleseed sized pieces); puree in food processor for puree diets


Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato


5 Sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced

½ cup reduced fat margarine

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 pinch ground cinnamon

ITEMS NEEDED: Large saucepan, Bowl, Electric mixer, Baking dish, Potato masher, Measuring spoons

PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes, slice into 1-inch pieces. Place sliced sweet potatoes in large saucepan with enough water to cover them. Boil and cook for about 15 minutes; drain and mash potatoes. Place mashed sweet potatoes, margarine, brown sugar, orange juice and cinnamon in large bowl and mix with electric mixer. Spread into a baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mash with fork before serving for chopped and ground diets; puree in food processor for puree diets


Baked Pumpkin Casserole

pumpkin casserole


2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup evaporated milk

½ cup white sugar

½ cup flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup applesauce

2 pinches ground cinnamon

ITEMS NEEDED: Bowl, Casserole dish, Mixer or mixing spoon

PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, applesauce and ground cinnamon to taste. Spoon into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Mash with fork before serving for chopped and ground diets; puree in food processor for puree diets

SKILLS ADDRESSED: Hand washing, pouring, measuring, opening packages, cleaning up, following a recipe, oven and timer use, opening containers, using electric mixer, spreading, draining, mashing, slicing/cutting, and dividing into even portions



One Response to “A New Take on the Traditional Thanksgiving Feast”

  1. Hiedi Keefer says:

    I know it’s a little late to be commenting on a post about Thanksgiving but I wanted to say that this was the first year I was able to attend the Thanksgiving Dinner at Highfields and I had a great time!! The dinner was delicious and it was great getting to socialize with everyone there. I am really looking forward to attending next Thanksgiving!

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