Last-minute Thanksgiving recipe: Rachael Ray’s Stuffin’ Muffins

Stuffing is a surefire crowd-pleaser, so if you want a quick and ‘delish’ side dish to round out the meal (or, if you’re anything like my family and there’s no such thing as too much stuffing on Thanksgiving), look no further.

Source: FitSugar

Source: FitSugar

These perfectly-portioned treats are the best of both worlds: crisp on the outside and steamy-soft inside.

A few tips: Use a whole wheat stuffing mix for more fiber, and if you’re having trouble getting the muffins to hold together, try some adding some Parmesan cheese or an egg to bind the ingredients, enhance flavor and add moisture.

Rachael Ray’s Apple and Onion Stuffin’ Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 apples, quartered and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 8 cups cubed stuffing mix
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil and 4 tablespoons butter to a large skillet. When butter melts, add bay leaf and vegetables. Sprinkle the vegetables and apples with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
  3. Cook 5-6 minutes or until vegetables and apples begin to soften, then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet.
  4. Butter 12 muffin cups liberally with remaining butter.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins. (Keep an eye out for the bay leaf, and remove it when you come upon it as you scoop the stuffing).
  6. Bake until set and crisp on top, 10-15 minutes. Remove stuffin’ muffins to a platter, and serve warm.

For more of Rachael’s recipes, visit FoodNetwork.com.

Spice up your Thanksgiving spread with sweet potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes; The Neelys

Source: Food Network

Can we set the record straight on the sweet potato once and for all?

Sure, it’s been pegged as marshmallows’ main partner in crime in that one sickeningly-sweet, gooey mess of a side dish — but cooked differently, the rustic root is low in calories, loaded with nutrients and can be quite an elegant addition to your Thanksgiving feast.

And it offers a host of health benefits: Not only is the sweet potato rich in beta-carotene, but it also provides a hearty dose of calcium, folate, fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.

It’s no wonder the versatile vegetable is rated as one of the most nutritious superfoods by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, so why not complement your Turkey Day meal with one of these recipes from popular Food Network personalities?

Alton Brown’s Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, from the pepper can

Directions:

  • Put sweet potatoes in a steamer basket, and place it a large pot of simmering water that is one inch from the bottom of the basket
  • Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender
  • Remove the steamer basket, pour the water out of the pot, and dump the sweet potatoes into the pot
  • Add the butter and salt, and mash with a potato masher, adding the chile and sauce while continuing to mash; serve immediately

Ellie Krieger’s Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mist an eight-inch square baking dish with cooking spray
  • Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place; steam until tender (about 20 to 25 minutes)
  • Transfer potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly; add honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth
  • Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish
  • Mix brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over potato mixture
  • Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, about 40 to 45 minutes

Paula Deen’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (depending on the moisture of the potatoes)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; in a separate, large bowl, mix sweet potatoes and butter
  • Add flour mixture to potato mixture, and mix to make a soft dough; add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in
  • Turn dough out onto a floured board, and toss lightly until outside of dough looks smooth
  • Roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut with a biscuit cutter
  • Place biscuits on a greased pan and coat tops with melted butter; bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown

The lighter side of spring meals: Popovers

At around 100 calories each, popovers are a great alternative to heavy biscuits in spring meals

At around 100 calories each, popovers are a great alternative to heavy biscuits in spring meals.
Photo credit: Sunset Magazine

Ditch heavy biscuits in favor of delightfully fluffy puffs this spring; you’ll not only save calories, but also impress holiday guests with this simple – yet elegant – recipe.

Not yet a popover pro? Here are a few tips for foolproof poufs, thanks to Sunset magazine:

  • Beat the batter just until smooth; over-beating can break up the egg’s protein structure
  • To allow for expansion, pour batter into every other cup if your muffin tins have less than one inch between cups
  • Fill cups 3/4 to almost full, so batter can pop up over the edges
  • Puncture popovers once they have puffed and the shell has set to release the steam before returning them to the oven to firm up
  • Oven temperature is critical – hot enough to allow puffs to expand quickly, but not so hot that they set before ballooning

Popovers (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Generously coat six large metal or glass muffin molds with cooking spray before heating them in the oven for two minutes
  3. In a large bowl, add the milk, flour, salt and egg whites; using an electric mixer, beat until smooth
  4. Fill the heated muffin molds 2/3 full, and bake in the top part of the oven until golden brown and puffy, about 30 minutes
  5. Serve immediately

Note: Popovers pair well with both savory and sweet fillings: For a breakfast treat, split them open and spoon in scrambled eggs; top with cheese and salsa. And for a decadent dessert, slit popover tops open and fill with a scoop of  low-fat ice cream; top with fresh fruit.

Damage:

Serving size: 1 popover

  • Calories 101
  • Cholesterol 1 mg
  • Protein 6 g
  • Sodium 152 mg
  • Carbohydrate 18 g
  • Fiber 0.5 g
  • Total fat trace
  • Potassium 98 mg
  • Saturated fat trace
  • Calcium 42 mg
  • Monounsaturated fat trace

For more nutritious takes on traditional recipes, go to the Mayo Clinic’s website here.