Friday, November 17, 2017

Healthy Eating Around The Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas won't be far behind. The holiday season has officially arrived. With the holidays brings some very delicious holiday dishes. While some of these dishes can be very tasty, there could be healthier options available that are just as tasty. Our health clinics at the Lake of the Ozarks are here to give you a comparison of a couple of holiday recipes we have found.  

Sweet Potato Casserole vs. Green Bean


Sweet Potato Casserole

Total:45 min Prep: 15 min Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking dish
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (3 to 4 large potatoes; about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans


Special equipment: a 2-quart baking dish

For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking dish.

Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and the eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans and spread over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.


Green Bean Casserole - Slimmed

Total:1 hr 5 minPrep: 45 minCook: 20 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate


3 to 4 medium shallots, in their skins
Kosher salt, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 pound fresh green beans, stemmed, and halved crosswise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth (see Cook's Note)
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup fresh bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the shallots (in their skins) on a small baking dish, roast until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, skin and coarsely chop the shallots. Set aside.

Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add kosher salt, to taste. Add the green beans, and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.

In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the beans.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine evenly.

Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme to bread crumbs and scatter over the vegetables. Bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the crumbs brown, about 20 minutes.

Cook's Note

There has been an explosion of prepared broths on the market. We particularly like the mushroom broth in the aseptic packaging. However, for this recipe, make sure you don't use an Asian-style mushroom broth. If you can't find mushroom, a vegetable or chicken broth is a suitable substitute.

When sauteing mushrooms, salt them right away--they will release moisture and you can use less oil - 1 cup fresh bread crumbs has less calories than 1 cup dried - Roasting whole shallots is an excellent way to cook them using absolutely no fat.

The Comparison

Let's look at what's actually in these 2 recipes. While the sweet potato recipe sounds delicious, you're looking at a high calorie side dish. The pecan topping alone brings a ton of calories to this recipe, most likely over 500 just in the topping. According to the Food Network, the green bean casserole only holds 187 calories per serving and that's the entire dish. Who doesn't love a good green bean casserole?

We hope you enjoyed these two delicious recipes and the comparison. Central Ozarks Medical Center wishes everyone a very happy holiday season. Our health clinics in mid-Missouri operate with the goal to lead the way to healthier communities. That starts with just one healthy eater at a time. 

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