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Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes

Guest Author - Emmy Lynn

Holidays are a time to gather with family, to share good food, good times, and good memories. Here are five side dishes common to many holiday tables. With the exception of some pecans in the last recipe, all of these sides are fat-free and sugar-free, and allow everyone to indulge guilt-free. Let's give thanks!

Skinny Mashed Potatoes

1 head of garlic

6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, quartered
A large handful of celery leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

To roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the top off the garlic. Wrap the garlic, cut side up, in aluminum foil. Place in the hot oven and roast for half an hour.

Place the prepared potatoes in a large pot with the onion, celery leaves and salt. Add just enough water to barely cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for half an hour, or until the potatoes are soft.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove the onion and celery leaves from the pot. Drain the potatoes and save the cooking liquid. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot and mash the potatoes using just enough of the cooking liquid to make a moist and fluffy mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Traditional Sage and Onion Stuffing

6 cups whole grain bread cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled leaf sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon each basil, oregano and salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Saute the chopped onions and celery in a small amount of vegetable broth over medium heat until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the whole grain bread cubes, the sauteed vegetables, and the herbs. Add one cup of the vegetable broth and stir well. Add more broth, if desired, for a moister stuffing. Depending on personal preference and whether you use a simple whole wheat loaf or a denser multi-grain bread, you may need more or less broth than the recipe indicates.

Pack the stuffing into the prepared casserole dish. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. For a crispy top, remove the lid or foil towards the end of the baking time. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

1 pkg fresh or frozen cranberries (approx. 3 cups)
1 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
Juice and grated rind of a small orange

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When most of the cranberries have popped, remove from heat. Let cool and then refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Sweet 'n Spicy Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 firm cooking apples, peeled and thickly sliced
2 firm pears, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Whisk the cinnamon and ginger into the apple juice and pour into a shallow casserole dish. Add the sweet potatoes slices and stir to coat with juice. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the apple and pear slices. Add a bit more apple juice, if needed. Cover, return to the oven, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until everything is soft. Remove the sweet potatoes and fruit to a warm serving dish and pour any remaining apple juice over top. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Two-Grain Pilaf with Pecans and Dried Cranberries

2 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon crumbled leaf sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the cracked wheat, long grain brown rice, cranberries, sage, and salt. Bring back to the boil, lower the heat, and cover with the lid. Simmer for 45 minutes. Do not lift the lid. Turn off the heat and let sit for a further 15 minutes. While the pilaf is sitting, lightly toast the pecans in a dry pan. Fluff the cooked grain with a fork and add the toasted pecans. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Emmy Lynn. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Emmy Lynn. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Megan Mignot for details.

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