A Surprising Lower-calorie Thanksgiving Dinner

That annual Thanksgiving dinner can run as high as 4,000 calories, but there are some surprisingly simple ways to cut calories.

According to a recent LouAna Oil/Cajun Injector Marinade survey, 40 percent of adults say they consume more than 2,000 calories during their annual dinner and 8 percent say they consume more than 4,000 calories. Most of those surveyed say they plan to keep a closer watch on their calories this year.

To help, Pat Mould, chef/owner of Louisiana Culinary Enterprises and author of "Recipes From a Chef," has created a fried-turkey dinner that's just 1,805 calories*:

• Cajun-Fried Turkey: 220

• Cajun Injector Creole Butter Marinade: 0

• Butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seed: 190

• Pear, Gorgonzola, sweet and spicy pecan salad: 910

• Cane syrup herb vinaigrette dressing: 140

• Old-fashioned turkey stuffing: 140

• Cranberry and Apricot dressing: 130

• Low-fat Turkey gravy: 15

• Oven-roasted acorn squash: 60

*Calorie-count determined by San Antonio food technologist Karen Schroeder of Menu Doctor

What You'll Need to Make Fried Turkey

• 10- to 12-pound fresh or thawed turkey

• 16-oz. jar of Cajun Injector Creole Butter Marinade

• 3 gallons of LouAna Peanut Oil

• Cajun Injector Electric Fryer

Making the Fried Turkey

1. Pour peanut oil into the electric fryer up to the fill line.

2. Heat and maintain oil at 350 degrees F throughout the frying process to avoid greasy turkey.

3. After cleaning out the turkey, pat it dry inside and out.

4. Inject marinade into the breast, thighs and legs-1 ounce per pound of turkey.

5. Place the turkey in the fryer basket, breast side up. Using protective gloves, slowly lower it to avoid splattering.

6. The oil temperature will drop when you add the turkey, so be sure to bring it back up to 350 degrees F.

7. Allow to cook 4 minutes per pound. Turn off the fryer and carefully lift the basket out of the fryer.

8. Move the basket to a preparation area lined with paper towels. Insert a meat thermometer into the breast to make sure the cooked turkey is registering 170 degrees F.

9. Place the turkey on its back on a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any oil and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Serves: 8 to 10 people

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About The Author, Stacey Moore
Visit www.louana.com and www.brucefoods.com for more information on frying, safety and the other recipes in this lower-calorie meal.A fried turkey dinner can be delicious and lower in calories than you might imagine. You can use a tasty zero-calorie marinade.