The holiday season is fast approaching and that means many gatherings with family and friends. We all know that most get-togethers during this time of year are centred on delicious and extravagant home cooked meals. Whether a turkey dinner with all the fixings or a nice festive ham, the side dishes are typically the same across the board: mashed potatoes, squash, carrots, peas and maybe some stuffing. This year, I challenge you to try something different. Give your sides a makeover – vegetables can be the stars of your next holiday dinner party!
First up for a holiday makeover is carrots. Carrots are so easy to dress up! Slice them in about one-inch pieces, toss in olive oil and roast them in a 400F degree oven until tender. If you want to take it a step further, my favourite way to prepare carrots is to add chopped beets and onions when roasting them. Also, mixing the olive oil with some honey and fresh chopped rosemary will take your roasted vegetables to a whole new level of flavour. And of course, more vegetables on your plate means more nutrition.
The staple side dish for any holiday meal is mashed potatoes. In the spirit of making over your traditional sides, try roasting these in the oven as well. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are just as delicious as they are mashed (and you don’t need to add butter and cream, or top with gravy). If you want to make this side dish a little more special, try a combination of roasted white and sweet potato with a sprinkling of thyme and savory.
Lastly, you could try cooking up a completely new vegetable side this holiday. Brussels sprouts are all the rage these days so you can bet this recipe will be a hit. This colourful dish is made using frozen Brussels sprouts, which take just minutes to cook, and gets topped with crispy herbed bread crumbs for a hit of crunch. Best of all, it’s all cooked in one pan, which will help with the big clean-up after your holiday meal!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Sage Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp (15 mL) PC® Unsalted Country Churned Butter
1/3 cup (75 mL) panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
2 pkg (500 g each) frozen PC® Baby Brussels Sprouts
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) PC® Italian Diced Pancetta (about half 150 g pkg)
2 tsp (10 mL) sherry vinegar
1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and sage; cook, stirring occasionally, until bread crumbs are golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; set aside. Wipe out skillet.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add frozen Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil, shallots, garlic and pancetta; cook, stirring often, until shallots and Brussels sprouts are softened and pancetta is crispy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add vinegar; cook, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.
Per serving: 140 calories, fat 8 g (3 g of which is saturated), sodium 300 mg, carbohydrate 14 g, fibre 5 g, sugars 3 g, protein 7 g. Source of fibre. Good source of vitamin C.
Chef’s Tip: If you don’t have sherry vinegar, use red wine vinegar or cider vinegar instead.
Upcoming Event: Drop in to the New Glasgow Atlantic Superstore on Dec. 1, noon-2 p.m. to try a tasty holiday-themed food sample at the dietitian booth. Get some tips from me for healthy eating over the holidays!
Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at email@example.com.
Courtney Masey is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow.