CASSEROLES, INSPIRATIONAL POSTS, SIDE DISHES, VEGETARIAN

Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to make Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Casserole Healthier.

Photo_2017-11-15_10-41-05_AMLet’s face it, there’s no great recipe or miracle that will make that sweet syrupy goodness we call candied yams taste like mom’s or will make you go into a diabetic coma after eating it, but there is a way to make a great mashed sweet potato casserole that will still quench some of your sweet tooth, eliminate a lot of unwanted calories and still be healthy and flavorful.

If Thanksgiving breakfast is a tradition in your home, you can replace your hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes with a roasted sweet potato hash instead of using white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have greater nutrient benefits such as beta carotene rather than your regular potato.

Here are a few tidbits for making a yummy mashed sweet potato casserole and roasted sweet potato hash:

•Nix the butter, candied pecans, granulated white sugar, 2% milk, heavy cream, sweet condensed/evaporated milk, and marshmallows. All of these items are loaded with fat and/or sugar.

•Opt into using unsweetened almond milk or 1% milk if people in your family are allergic to nuts. Less calories, sugar and fat than regular milk, heavy cream or condensed/evaporated milk.

•I use unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, allspice (which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) kosher salt and a little brown sugar in my casserole. If you don’t have allspice, use cinnamon and nutmeg. No butter. Also, Stevia is a great sweetener substitute too for granulated white sugar. Honestly, this same concept can apply to when baking sweet potato pies. Less calories, fat and sugar but still sweet enough to make a great pie.

•If you want to lift your casserole with a little heat and try something different this Thanksgiving, add a little ground chipotle chile pepper to the above ingredients. A little sweet with a hint of spicy.

•If you like candied pecans as a topping, instead of tossing your raw pecans in melted butter, flour and sugar, toss them in olive oil cooking spray, a little kosher salt and allspice. Then, top your casserole with the pecans keeping the casserole covered until it’s time for it to brown.

•Instead of making your traditional hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes try making a roasted sweet potato hash.

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes.Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil cooking spray, kosher salt, allspice and a little brown sugar. If you don’t have allspice, use nutmeg and cinnamon.

Place the potatoes into a Pyrex dish or lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set your oven on 400 and cook them for about 20 minutes then tossing them halfway during the cooking process.

Meanwhile, cut up some onion, garlic and peppers. Saute them in a pan with olive oil cooking spray. Once the potatoes and veggies are done, toss them together and season to taste if necessary.

I’ve offered you a few healthier options with the same great taste for you to enjoy instead of your traditional candied yams, sweet potato and hashbrown casserole. It’s diabetic as well as vegan friendly. More Thanksgiving Tidbits to come.

 

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INSPIRATIONAL POSTS, SIDE DISHES

Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to Prepare Healthier yet still Flavorful Dressing.

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Dressing vs. Stuffing is another debate I’m really not going to get too deep in to, but I will tell you I’m a pro dressing girl lol.

Thanksgiving is about 1.5 weeks away and we all know no one is too concerned about their caloric intake on that day. It’s all about the buffet spread, football games and watching the parades on tv. Not only can you enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods on that day, some of it can be made a little healthier without losing it’s flavor with a few simple swaps.

Over the next couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving, I will share a few tidbits on how to make some of your Thanksgiving dishes a little bit healthier.

Here are a few quick and easy thanksgiving simple swaps on how to make your dressing/stuffing healthier yet flavorful:

•Choose cooking chicken stock vs cooking chicken broth. Stock has a richer and deeper flavor than broth due to the gelatin released by cooking mostly with bones. Broth is cooked mostly with meat and veggies.

•Choose Swanson or Kitchen Basics unsalted cooking stock vs regular chicken stock, chicken broth in a can, organic chicken broth, chicken bouillon cubes, or low sodium broth. You have to read your labels.

A. Unsalted chicken stock has 130mg of sodium per serving vs. Regular or Organic stock has 500mg+
B. Canned broth 860mg of sodium per serving
C. Canned lower sodium broth 570mg per serving
D. Chicken bouillon cubes have 700-1230mg of sodium either per 1 tsp or 1/2 cube

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•Choose Campbell’s healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken soup vs. regular, fat free or reduced sodium.

A. Campbell’s Healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken has 410mg of sodium per serving or 1000mg of sodium per can vs the Regular creamed soups have 870mg per serving or 2200mg of sodium per can. Both contain a lot of sodium but you have to choose the lesser of 2 evils.

B. Fat Free or reduced sodium cream of mushroom or chicken soup has 650-750mg of sodium per serving or 1900mg of sodium per can. Most fat free foods are always higher in sodium because if you take the fat away you have to make up the flavor either in salt or sugar.

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•If you’re making your own stock, ditch the bouillon cubes, lawry’s seasoned or soul food salt. Opt for kosher salt, fresh herbs in a bouquet garni, bones and a few veggies.

•Use fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and sage if you can. If it’s not available in your area, try ground or dried.

•Opt for kosher or sea salt. Garlic and onion powders. Don’t use seasoned salt, iodized salt, garlic salt, onion salt or soul food salt.

•Start prepping and cutting your carrots, peppers, onions, garlic and celery now. Bag them and freeze them. Don’t have time, frozen mirepoix will work too. Fresh is always better though.

•When sauteeing your veggies, cook them with olive oil cooking spray vs butter or other types of oils. Cooking spray contains 0 calories and 0 fat.

•Don’t butter your cornbread once it’s out of the oven. Those are unnecessary calories you don’t need and the flavor won’t be missed.

•Don’t use raw white bread or toasted white bread in your dressing. The extra bread is unnecessary in making cornbread dressing. The stock and soups will keep it moist.

•For your regular bread stuffing, toast 1/2 whole wheat bread and 1/2 white bread or all whole wheat bread to make your bread cubes. Skip buying the premade stuff.

•Use ground turkey instead of pork or turkey sausage if you’re making a savory specialty stuffing. Store bought sausage is high in sodium. Opt into buying 85/15 ground turkey instead and add sage, fennel and kosher salt to give it the flavor of sausage on your own. Continue to season your stuffing like you normally would with the apples, cranberries and other seasonings.

I hope this will help you to create a healthier family favorite this Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward in sharing more simple swaps and tidbits with you as you become more creative and fit in your kitchen.

SIDE DISHES, SOUPS & SALADS, THE RECIPE REMIX

Healthy Simple Swaps : Chick Fil A vs Me

edited_Photo_2016-02-23_08-15-46_PMHealthy Simple Swaps: Chick Fil A vs. Me

Been in my kitchen more than usual lately beyond my weekly meal prep for my clients. Yesterday, for dinner I prepared pan seared scallops over Japanese whole wheat udon noodles with napa cabbage, julienne carrots, onions, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes.

Tonight, I prepared sun dried tomato, basil and garlic chicken with brown wild rice, sauteed mushrooms, and my healthier version of Chick Fil A’s Superfood side salad. I cut out most of the oils, fat, and sugar that they have in their salad by using simple swaps.

They used kale, broccolini, maple syrup, canola and soybean oil, apple, distilled, and balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, dried onions, dried cherries, salt, added preservatives, glazed walnuts, glazed pecans and roasted almonds whereas I used kale, broccolini, reduced sugar dried cranberies with no artificial sweetners, evoo, kosher salt, 2 packets of stevia sugar, a pinch of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and raw slivered almonds.

It tastes just as good as theirs, it’s healthier and a lot cheaper than their 2.49 for one very small container that’s the size of a cup. Don’t be afraid to try something new or recreate a favorite dish or meal by making it healthier using simple swaps. Eating healthy can be just as simple and delicious.

BREAKFAST, SIDE DISHES, THE RECIPE REMIX, VEGETARIAN

Sweet Potato Hash

sweet potato hash copy

Ingredients
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup of chopped  red, green and yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup of chopped red and yellow onions
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup of Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of Kroger garlic herb zesty blend seasoning
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Directions
Peel and chop sweet potato into evenly bite size pieces as possible (helps with even cooking) set aside
Spray a small saute pan with olive oil cooking spray and add your bell peppers, onions, cranberries, and garlic stirring occasionally until softened but not mushy. Cook on medium heat. (set aside)
Combine sweet potatoes and vegetable stock into a pan stirring occasionally until softened but not mushy. Cook on medium heat.
Add all of your seasonings and vegetable mix to the pan, stir well, spray with olive oil if need be.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste