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We all know Thanksgiving is approaching soon.  Whether you are making the big meal at your house or not, you are probably responsible for a side or dessert of some sort.  The meat is usually the easy decision but we can sometimes get hung up on the side dishes.  Do I try something new or go with the tried and true recipes?

Some of you have probably already started planning the menu or will be soon.  I thought I would include 5 of my favorite healthier Thanksgiving side dishes in the next few days.  Then maybe a few desserts after that. 

I’m starting with two baked dishes; Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole and Roasted Apple, Sausage and Sage Dressing.  Two traditional recipes with a new twist (you can have both old favorites and new).  I eat the sweet potato recipe for dessert too, it’s so good!  Both can be made ahead and frozen.  Just pull out a day in advance to thaw and then bake.

SWEET POTATO CRUNCH CASSEROLE
gluten & dairy free options
serves 10

  • 3 lbs SWEET POTATOES (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup MILK, (or unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
  • 1 large ORANGE, zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp HONEY or 100% MAPLE SYRUP
  • 1/2 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 1 1/2 tsp CINNAMON, GROUND (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp NUTMEG, GROUND
  • 1/2 cup OATS, ROLLED*
  • 1/4 cup HONEY or 100% MAPLE SYRUP
  • 2 tbsp COCONUT or GRAPESEED OIL
  • 1/3 cup PECANS, CHOPPED
  • 1/4 cup CRANBERRIES, DRIED
  • 1 tsp COCONUT or GRAPESEED OIL

*Use gluten free oats if needed.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes or until fork is easily inserted. While potatoes are baking make the topping: combine oats, 1/2 t. cinnamon, pecans and 2 tbsp oil in a food processor; pulse until resembles coarse crumbles and stir in 1/4 c. honey. Set topping aside.

2. Once potatoes have cooked and cooled slightly. Remove skins and place peeled potatoes in a large mixing bowl (they peel off easily once baked).

Using an electric mixer, mash potatoes with milk, orange juice and zest, 1 t. cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and 1 tbsp honey until smooth.

3. Pour potato mixture into an oiled 2-quart baking dish; sprinkle with topping. Drizzle or spray top with 1 tsp oil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle top with dried cranberries and serve. Serving size about 2/3 cup with topping.

VARIATIONS: Use dried cherries, raisins or chopped dried apricots or omit dried fruit. Sub walnuts or almonds for pecans

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 230 calories, 6g fat, 5mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 43 carb, 6g fiber, 17g sugar, 4g protein

Round 2…….

ROASTED APPLE, SAUSAGE AND SAGE DRESSING
gluten & dairy free options
serves 12

  • 12 oz LEAN TURKEY or CHICKEN SAUSAGE*, ground or links
  • 2 1/2 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 12 oz MULTIGRAIN BREAD*, cut into cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 clove GARLIC, minced
  • 5 SAGE LEAVES, FRESH, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 medium ONION, chopped
  • 1 tsp THYME, DRIED
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1 cup CELERY STALKS WITH LEAVES, chopped
  • 2 medium GRANNY SMITH APPLES
  • 2 EGGS, large
  • 3/4 cup MILK (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups CHICKEN BROTH, LOW SODIUM*
  • 1 tbsp PARSLEY, DRIED

*Use gluten free ingredients.

1. Toast bread cubes if not using stale. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown sausage in a large skilled over medium heat with 1/2 T. olive oil. Remove from pan when cooked and set aside. Pour 2 T. olive oil in pan sausage was cooked; add onion and cook 5-6 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add celery, thyme, sage, parsley and apples; saute 5-6 more minutes. Reduce heat to low; add cooked sausage and chicken broth.

3. Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl. Add toasted bread, sausage/broth mixture, sea salt, pepper and mix to coat all ingredients well.  Pour stuffing into an oiled 9 x 13″ baking dish.

4. Bake stuffing covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-20 additional minutes until top is golden brown (add additional chicken stock if it starts to look dry while baking).  Serving size about 2/3 cup stuffing.

VARIATIONS: Add dried cranberries, pecans, pure maple syrup, walnuts or omit sausage for meatless stuffing.

 NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 210 calories, 7g fat, 55mg cholesterol, 25g carb, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 10g protein

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