Judy E. Buss
The winter holidays are about celebration, not deprivation. By making a few simple changes to traditional recipes, we can enjoy celebratory cuisine without the negative consequences associated with the original food preparation drowning in fat, sugar, and calories.
Make stuffing from quality whole grain bread instead of its nutritionally-challenged cousin, white bread. Replace fatty, additive-laden sausage with delicious meaty mushrooms, herbs, nuts, olive oil, and low-fat milk or unsweetened soy milk. One modest portion of meat and one small helping of dessert are also part of a simple strategy of celebrating self-control and sharing good times with loved ones while minding our health. There’s no reason to stuff ourselves at Thanksgiving with enough food to feed the entire population of Kazakhstan!
Instead of butter, cream, sugar, and marshmallows (Please pass the Tums – thanks!), vegetable dishes can be prepared with wholesome ingredients that taste just as good without leading to weight gain and other health-sabotaging side effects. Consuming larger portions of veggies during a festive meal (rather than vast quantities of meat and dessert), is a better option. Steaming or cooking vegetables briefly rather than cooking them to death immersed in water, preserves their nutrients, flavor, color, and texture.
The following are some easy, quick, and great-tasting slimmed-down versions of traditional holiday fare. And remember: eating unhealthy food or overeating is optional – wink, wink. Happy and healthy holidays!
NOTE: The recipes presented here can be doubled, tripled, etc.
HERBED MASHED POTATOES
2 pounds red or white potatoes (4 large potatoes)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup water, or skim milk, or unsweetened soy milk
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes. With the tip of a small sharp knife, remove the “eyes” and blemishes. Rinse the potatoes, and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Place the potatoes and whole garlic cloves in the steamer and steam 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.
Transfer the cooked garlic and potatoes into a medium bowl or pot and add all the other ingredients. Using a hand masher, mash the potato mixture until smooth. Mix the mashed potatoes with a large spoon, as mashing does not evenly blend all the ingredients. If too dry, add 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or water.
Keep warm in a covered ovenproof dish in a 200F-degree preheated oven, if desired.
VARIATIONS: The sky is the limit. Try mashing other smooth, cooked veggies with the potatoes, such as carrots, turnip root etc. or using a different herb.
MASHED GINGERED SWEET POTATOES
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Scrub the potatoes clean under running water then dry with paper towels. With the sharp tip of a small knife, remove the “eyes” and blemishes. Peel and cut the potatoes into ¾-inch chunks. Steam them about 15 – 20 minutes, until fork-tender but not mushy. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or pot, mix all the dressing ingredients. Add the potatoes, and with a hand masher, mash the potatoes until smooth. Thoroughly mix with the dressing, using a large spoon. If not moist enough add 1/8 cup water or orange juice. Serve immediately.
To keep warm: Place in an ovenproof covered dish in a preheated 200F degree oven.
“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipe from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.
Excerpted from Judy E. Buss’ article, first published in the “Feeling Fit” Magazine, Sun Coast Media Group newspapers, Florida.
Stay tuned for more Judy E. Buss’ “Mission Nutrition” words of wisdom and recipes.