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Healthy Holiday Turkey Stuffings

Judy E. Buss

Holiday Turkey Stuffings are in a category all of their own. Other types are those prepared for mushrooms, cabbage, wraps, and a variety of small food items. Although referred to as Turkey Stuffing, most such holiday dishes are made separately from “The Bird,” which allows us to use a wider variety of ingredients.

Shop for your stuffing building blocks in the Healthy Aisle: make your stuffing base from whole grain bread, brown (or wild) rice, or corn meal. For texture contrast and flavor, add veggies, dried fruit, or nuts, herbs or spices. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t require us to eat unhealthy fare during the holidays or at any other time of the year… Try these easy, nutritious, and delicious recipes for your holiday meal or for any day of the year. Happy and healthy holidays to you!

BREAD STUFFING WITH APPLES, APRICOTS, AND NUTS
4 servings

1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
1 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Golden Delicious apples, (unpeeled), cored, thinly sliced, then chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 slices whole wheat or multi-grain bread
1-1/2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-1/4 tablespoons dried tarragon
1/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup water or low-fat milk, or unsweetened soy milk

1. TO ROAST THE NUTS: Heat a large, ungreased skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts single layered. Toss frequently to prevent them from burning. Roast (uncovered), until the nuts are fragrant and very slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a plate. Let cool. (You can roast the nuts the day before).

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the apricots with boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop the apricots into small pieces. Set aside. Do not chop the apricots before soaking.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, cover, reduce the heat, and cook slowly about 12 minutes, until the onion is translucent, stirring once or twice.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the apples in a medium bowl. Thoroughly mix with the lemon juice, using your fingers. This is to prevent the apples from turning brown.

5. In a (separate) large bowl, tear the bread into small pieces, and set aside.

6. When the onion is done, add the celery, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Cook 7 minutes. Add the water (or milk), apricots, raisins, and apples. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir the onion mixture into the bread. Mix well. If it is too dry, drizzle a bit more water (or milk). Gently mix in the nuts. Keep warm in an ovenproof covered dish at 180 F degree oven.

* Tip: Make this stuffing 1 – 2 hours in advance, or the day before using, to allow the flavors to blend and intensify.

BREAD STUFFING WITH MUSHROOMS
4 servings

1/3 cup coarsely chopped, roasted walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15 fresh white mushrooms
2-1/2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2-1/2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 slices whole wheat or multi-grain bread
2/3 cup water, or low fat milk, or unsweetened soy milk

* NOTE: Leftover can be reheated and will taste great!

1. TO ROAST THE NUTS: Heat a large, ungreased skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts single layered. Toss frequently to prevent them from burning. Roast until the nuts are fragrant and very slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a plate. Let cool. ( You can roast the nuts the day before).

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the garlic and onion. Reduce the heat, cover and cook about 12 minutes, until the onion is translucent, stirring once or twice.

3. Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse the mushrooms under gently running water, and promptly dry them with paper towels to prevent them from absorbing water and becoming soggy. Remove the mushroom stems and set aside. Cut each mushroom in half and slice crosswise. Slice the mushroom stems.

4. When the onion is done, add the celery and mushrooms (including the stems) to the onion mixture. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook slowly until the mushrooms are tender but not, well…mushy (pun intended), stirring twice.

5. In a large bowl, tear the bread slices into ½-inch pieces. When the mushrooms are done cooking, add the water (or milk) and stir the mushroom mixture into the bread. Mix well. If the stuffing is too dry, drizzle a bit more water or milk evenly over it and thoroughly blend.

6. Mix in the nuts, and keep the stuffing warm in an ovenproof covered dish at 200F-degree oven.

RICE STUFFING WITH CRANBERRIES AND NUTS
2 servings

1 cup uncooked brown rice, or 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice and 1/2
cup uncooked wild rice.
1/2 cup roasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice

1. Combine the 2 kinds of rice if using both. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Drain. Place in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly about 45 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the rice from the stove and let cool.

2. TO ROAST THE NUTS: Heat a large, ungreased skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts single layered. Toss frequently to prevent them from burning. Roast uncovered, until the nuts are fragrant and very slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a plate and let cool. (roasting the nuts can be done the day before).

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly about 12 minutes, until the onion is translucent, stirring once or twice. Add the cranberries and orange zest. Mix well. Cover and cook slowly 1 minute. Add the juice and stir the onion mixture and nuts into the rice. Serve hot or cold.

“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipes from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.

Stay tuned for more Judy E. Buss’ “Mission Nutrition” words of wisdom and recipes.

 

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