Biggest Loser Club: Rocco revamps Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving on The Biggest Loser ranch wanted for nothing. There was chef Rocco DiSpirito's turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes and apple crumb dessert. Oh yeah, there was football, too. And we mean up close and personal football in the likes of former NFL quarterback Steve Young and his San Francisco 49ers teammate wide receiver Jerry Rice. The two showed up in person to run the contestants through a few drills-a great example of how far everyone on the ranch has come on the exercise front.

Watch the video and see it for yourself!

Even contestant Vicky Vilcan, who said before the drills began that she liked to watch football, not play it, surprised herself with her an improved performance at passing, running and high stepping it-- just like Rice himself.

All the recipes below were prepared by the contestants in the ranch kitchen, so no need to think you need Rocco at your side to whip up some healthy dishes for your Thanksgiving table.

In fact, we'd like to suggest that after you cook this year's healthy Thanksgiving dinner, which won't leave you cursing the waistband of your pants, postpone your date with the couch and head outside and throw around a football. Your scale will thank you!

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Rocco's Thanksgiving Turkey Breast
18 servings


  • 2 Jennie-O double turkey breasts (6 lbs total)

Poaching liquid:

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups white wine

  • 2 cups fat free low sodium chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot

  • 1/4 cup chopped celery

  • 4 minced garlic cloves, divided

For the rub:

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme chopped

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoon salt substitute

Place broth, wine, water, carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and ½ of the minced garlic in a large kettle. Bring to boil.

Combine rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

Press rub mixture into turkey breasts and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

Carefully place turkey breasts in hot poaching liquid. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hour or until tender and meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F. Turn turkey occasionally during poaching process.

Remove turkey from liquid; cool; slice. Reserve poaching liquid for gravy.

Note: Chicken stock can be substituted for white wine in poaching broth.

Nutrient analysis per serving:
Calories 190
Fat calories 10
Total fat g 1
Sat fat g 0
Chol mg 95
Sodium mg 75
Total carb g 2
Fiber g 0
Sugars g 0
Protein g 37

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Apple Raspberry Crumble
12 servings

For fruit filling:

  • 10 Granny Smith apples

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 oz unsweetened apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 4 cups fresh raspberries

  • Cooking oil spray

For crumble topping:

  • 3 cups low-fat granola

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1/2 cup egg whites, whipped to soft peaks


  • Fresh mint sprigs

  • Fat Free Greek-style vanilla yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly coat an 11-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray. Set aside.

In a nonstick sauté pan, cook apples, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and apple juice until apples are tender; about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add raspberries and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Carefully transfer cooked fruit mixture into prepared baking dish.

In a medium-mixing bowl, combine crumble ingredients.

Spoon crumble on top of fruit mixture. Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and mint sprig.

Nutrient analysis per serving:
Calories 120
Fat calories 25
Total fat g 3
Sat fat g 0
Chol mg 0
Sodium mg 0
Total carb g 24
Fiber g 6
Sugars g 16
Protein g 1

Turkey Onion Gravy
16 servings


  • 1 package Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey (1 ¼ pound)

  • 1 medium carrot, thickly sliced

  • 1 medium onion, thickly sliced

  • 1 medium celery rib, thickly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped

  • 2 cups pureed onions to thicken

  • 3 cups reserved poaching liquid (from turkey breast recipe above)

Brown ground turkey in a 3-quart saucepan.

Add sliced vegetables, herbs and poaching liquid. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Add enough onion puree to thicken gravy.

Nutrient analysis per serving:
Calories 50
Fat calories 5
Total fat g < 1 gram
Sat Fat g 0
Chol mg 15
Sodium mg 35
Total Carb g 4
Fiber g < 1 gram
Sugars g 2
Protein g 9

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
8 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp mace

  • 1/8 tsp cardamom

  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

  • 2 tsp sugar substitute

Position a rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Lightly coat a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

Scrub sweet potatoes well. Rinse and dry completely. Cut sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch dice.

Transfer sweet potatoes to prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with spices and sugar substitute. Toss well to coat and place baking sheet on lower rack of preheated oven. Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden on the outside and tender inside. Turn potatoes once during baking.

Nutrient analysis per serving:
Calories 110
Fat calories 25
Total fat g 2.5
Sat fat g 0
Chol mg 0
Sodium mg 10
Total carb g 20
Fiber g 3
Sugars g 14
Protein g 2

Turkey Sausage Stuffing with Figs
Servings: 18


  • 1 pound Jennie-O Turkey Italian sausage (remove from casings)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 3 cups celery, chopped

  • 3 cups onions, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons thyme

  • 2 teaspoons marjoram

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon sage

  • 3 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 lb. Ezekiel whole grain bread crumbs cubes for stuffing

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 8 ounces chopped dried figs

  • 16 ounces fat free low sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Brown sausage in non-stick sauté pan. Drain well and set aside.

Heat oil in clean non-stick sauté pan. Sauté celery and onions for several minutes or until softened. Add the browned sausage and the seasonings. Simmer three minutes. Cool slightly.

Place bread cubes in a large mixing. bowl. Add eggs, sautéed vegetables and figs.Stir just to combine. Add enough of the chicken broth to moisten.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake stuffing 25 minutes. Remove foil; turn oven up to 375 and bake stuffing until top begins to brown, about 10 minutes longer.

Nutrient analysis per serving:
Calories 170
Fat calories 35
Total fat g 4
Sat fat g 1
Chol mg 35
Sodium mg 650
Total carb g 26
Fiber g 5
Sugars g 8
Protein g 9

Braised Collard Greens
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped white onion

  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

  • 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 cups dry red wine

  • 2 large bunches collard greens, cleaned and chopped (about 12 cups)

  • Pinch of black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute; do not brown garlic.

Add the broth and wine and bring to boil. Begin adding the greens, one-third at a time, pressing them down as they begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the greens are soft, about 8 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve hot.

Note: Additional chicken stock can be substituted for red wine if desired.

Nutrient analysis per serving:

Calories 120
Fat calories 20
Total fat g 2.5
Sat fat g 0
Chol mg 0
Sodium mg 105
Total carb g 9
Fiber g 4
Sugars g 2
Protein g 3

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