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15 Healthy and Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving Sides

So now that we’ve shared some of our favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipes, how about taking a look at some of our favorite side dishes? You need to make sure to complement the delicious turkey that takes so long to make. Try these healthy and yummy side dishes to complete your Thanksgiving meal!

  1. Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese “Farroto” – We love butternut squash and blue cheese! This recipe looks absolutely delicious!

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  1. Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad – Brussel Sprouts are so yummy and healthy and the Maple Vinaigrette really brings out the fall flavor in this dish!
  2. Salad with Oven Roasted Pumpkin & Feta Cheese – It’s pumpkin season and this salad looks delicious for a Thanksgiving side dish!
  3. Roasted Carrots With Gremolata – We always have carrots on Thanksgiving and this Roasted Carrots recipe looks incredible!

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  1. Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette – I love to have a good side salad with my Thanksgiving dinner! Check out this one!
  2. Sautéed Broccoli & Kale – Broccoli is another healthy must side dish on Thanksgiving. Try this recipe with added Kale and Toasted Garlic Butter for extra nutrients and lots of flavor!
  3. Maple-Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Try something a little different with your sweet potatoes with this great recipe for Maple-Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
  4. Carrot Puree with Hazelnut Tapenade – This Carrot Puree looks so delicious and nutritious!

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  1. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cider Drizzle – Acorn Squash is such a sweet treat and would make a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal! Check out this great recipe!
  2. Cinnamon Applesauce with Toasted Pecans – Cinnamon is a great Thanksgiving flavor. Make your own cinnamon applesauce this Thanksgiving with this great recipe!

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  1. Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce – It’s not Thanksgiving without Cranberry Sauce! Check out this yummy recipe!
  2. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries – This Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries looks so delicious!

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  1. Butternut Squash Gratin with Le Gruyère – This dish looks different and so delicious!
  2. Harvest Time Slaw – This Harvest Time Slaw is great for Thanksgiving and looks super flavorful!
  3. Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole – The kids will love this sweet Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole!

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We hope these dishes inspire you to make the best Thanksgiving dinner yet!

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What’s for dinner?

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So, even though at my house in North Carolina, we aren’t getting the amazing amount of snow that is falling in the Northeast tonight, it inspired a dinner of warm foods (and also perfect for a Meatless Monday):

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Artichoke and Potato soup
– this stuff is incredible.  A deluge of veggies, but smooth and delicious.  I let my kids eat this with toasted french garlic bread (or pita chips) instead of spoons! Also yummy with croutons in it.   I opted to leave the cream out, but I’m sure that would be great, too.

 

 

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Roasted Cauliflower – I stole this recipe from a friend (thanks, Suzanne!).  I think she might have invented it, but it is similar to the one found here.  I left out the Parmesan cheese, and no one complained.  They might have added it at the table 😉

 

 

 

cc-armendariz_roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-cinnamon-recipe-02_s4x3Aunt Pam’s yummy sweet potato casserole thing: I picked this because I accidentally ordered enough sweet potatoes from the grocery store to last us a month.  Diced sweet potatoes, diced apples, a few cranberries (fresh or dried), a bit of butter, brown sugar (optional) and cinnamon.  Bake at 375 until the sweet potatoes are done.

 

 

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Healthy BBQ Round Up

BBQ season is in full swing, which means it’s probably time to switch things up on the grill. We picked some of our favorite main dishes and sides to give you some inspiration for your next grilled meal! Check them out, and let us know what you like to do for a BBQ!

SIDES

Strawberry Mango Salsa {From PBS Food}

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This twist on traditional salsas mixes fruit and jalapeños for an unexpected (but delicious!) combo. If your children aren’t fans of spicy food, just omit the peppers.

Warm Red Potato Salad {From Saveur}

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Potato salad does not always have to be loaded with mayo, as demonstrated by this recipe. With red onions and oregano, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Sweet Potato Salad {From Two Peas and their Pod}

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Another twist on traditional potato salad, this one features sweet potatoes! Grill them first for maximum flavor.

Stuffed Bell Peppers {From Health Actually}

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These peppers are stuffed with quinoa and vegetables for maximum flavor!

 

MAIN DISHES

Chipotle Grilled Shrimp {Closet Cooking}

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Shrimp skewers paired with lime and chipotle are a perfect addition to any BBQ! Simple to prepare and easy to grill.

Portobello Mushroom Balsamic Burgers {From Food Network}

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These mushroom burgers are coated in a tangy balsamic sauce for maximum flavor, and then grilled to perfection.

Turkey Spinach Sliders {From Bon Appetit}

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Spice up your traditional turkey burger by adding spinach. Feel free to skip the mayo and other additions.

Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers {From Running on Real Food}

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These burgers are not only delicious, but are also vegan and gluten free!

Grilled Peanut Ginger Chicken {From Renee’s Kitchen Adventures}

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Try a new twist on chicken by marinating some pieces in this peanut sauce. Delicious and different!

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Graham Cracker Crusted Chicken Fingers

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Despite the plethora of articles regarding the chemicals in chicken nuggets and chicken fingers, kids LOVE them.  It’s a shame we even call it “chicken” when studies of various brands have shown that they are less than 50% actual chicken, the rest is made up of not so appetizing things like blood vessels, nerves, fat and muscle mixed with msg, salt and artificial flavors. Hungry yet?  Me neither.  I have made various kinds of chicken fingers at home with various types of breading/coatings, but this week my husband suggested that we crush some graham crackers and mix them with bread crumbs to get a crispy crust (since the sugar in the graham will caramelize much better than regular bread).  We tried it and it was a HUGE HUGE hit.  So much so, that we didn’t have anything left over.  Not. One.Piece. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist inside and the hint of sweetness was just perfect.  Even if you have award winning picky eaters at home, you have to try this simple recipe.

Graham Cracker Crusted Chicken Fingers

3-4 Chicken Breast

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup plain bread crumbs (white or whole wheat)

3-4 Graham Crackers

2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Salt to taste

Cut chicken cutlets into 1/2″ strips (I use a heavy duty scissor).  Season with salt.  In a bowl, beat eggs and add milk.  Place graham cracker in a zip lock bag a crush with a rollin pin or wooden spoon.  Mix graham cracker and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat (I use coconut).  Dip chicken in egg mixture then roll in crumb mixture and add to pan.  Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side, or until desired crispness.

ENJOY!

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Five Soups Your Kids Will Love

Soups

 

Soup has been the lunch du jour at our house since the polar vortex made a guest appearance in NJ.  There are so many reasons to love soup, especially when feeding little ones. You can make huge quantities and freeze easily; you can “hide” all kinds of healthy things like lentils and kale, and puree it into a smooth, creamy consistency; it takes 5 minutes to warm up and serve…you get the picture.  I make nearly every weekend and serve it at least 2-3 times a week for lunch. I have tried many, many recipes, some were huge successes, some not so huge… here are my kids absolute favorites.

1. Creamy Butternut Squash & Apple Soup – This one of my family’s favorites! The combination of apples, sweet butternut squash and creamy coconut milk is a real treat. I have made this recipe with roasted butternut squash when I have time to roast it and with fresh peeled, and both are awesome. I don’t use ginger because my kids are not fans, but I do add cumin.

2. Broccoli Cheese Soup – Broccoli is my children’s favorite vegetable, so this soup is is slam dunk for us, but because it mild and creamy, and you can add shredded cheese to it, even kids who refuse broccoli may just give a shot.

3. Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale – This a great recipe to follow as you can substitute just about any group of veggies as long as you use sweet potato as a base, and you can use any liquid combo, either water and a “milk”, ie rice, almond, coconut etc, or just a broth.  This soup is a great way to get 2-3 servings of veggies in at one meal and it purees so well that you can offer in a cup with a straw to make it more fun!

4. Creamy Tomato Soup – Another easy to make soup that kids love, especially with a grilled cheese sandwich! I love this Ina Garten recipe, but I do leave out the basil because I don’t always have it and I don’t want to mess with a good thing.  I also cut out the last step of passing through a food mill and just puree it.  This freezes really well for school lunches too!

5. Portuguese Chicken Soup – This is the chicken soup that I grew up on and still love.  It’s made with rice and has lemon and mint flavors, exactly what you need when fighting off a cold.  It’s also filling enough to be a meal.  Here’s is Emeril’s version of it, which exactly like mine except I add chopped carrots for extra nutrition.

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Easy, Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I’ve loved Chicken Pot Pie since we first met in my early 20’s and every time I encounter it on a menu, I order it.  That said, I’ve never been brave enough to make it myself.  Anything with a pie crust scares me, I’m a cook, not a baker (and yes, there is a HUGE difference).  But I recently tried Katie’s homemade Chicken Pot Pie (which is her mom’s recipe and it was amazing), so I was determined to try it.

I tweaked it a little, but it was just as delicious and my kids and husband all LOVED it.  Here it is…

Ready Made Pie Crust (I used this one)

2 tblspn Olive Oil

1 small onion (diced)

2 Large Carrots (diced)

3/4 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen)

1-1.5 cups of diced or shredded chicken (I used roasted chicken)

1 tbspn flour

8oz stock, chicken or veg

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 tsp tumeric (optional)

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Heat oven to 350.  Heat oil in large pan, add onions, garlic and carrot an cook for 5-7 minutes, until golden.

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Add chicken and corn, cook for 2-3 minutes.

IMG_1249Add flour, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

IMG_1253Add tumeric (if desired), season with salt and pepper.

IMG_1255Add chicken broth, reduce for 3-5 minutes.  Add milk and allow to thicken for 3 minutes.

Line pie dish with pie crust, add chicken/veg mix and cover with remaining pie crust.  Pinch the edges by hand or with a fork.  You can also brush the crust with a beaten egg for a shiny, golden crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and voila, deliciousness awaits you!IMG_1269

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Grilled Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Dressing

I don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen cooking dinner in the winter. There is nothing more inviting to me than the smell of something braising in the oven for hours on end. In the summer though, I’m totally about quick meals. Not only quick meals, but light meals.

These grilled chicken gyros with tzatziki dressing were a breeze to whip up – it only took me about 20 minutes to make the marinade and dressing, then I was back to playing soccer outside with my boys. A few hours later I quickly grilled the chicken and assembled the gyros for dinner.

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing authentic about these gyros, but they’re delicious! The chicken is so tender from the yogurt marinade, and while the tzatkizi dressing isn’t a traditional tzatziki sauce, I prefer the runnier consistency to drizzle over the gyros. It also makes for a great Greek salad dressing.

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Roasted Blueberry Quinoa Salad

What to do with a huge tub of blueberries sitting in my refrigerator? Last week I made a blueberry crisp, which was amazing. While it wasn’t full of too many unhealthy ingredients, I thought about trying to “healthify” it a little bit more. Then the healthy part of my brain nudged the unhealthy part of my brain and made me realize that I should just make something that is healthier than dessert to begin with. I wasn’t in a trial and error kind of mood anyway, and who knows how that healthy blueberry crisp would have turned out!

I’m a sucker for a grain salad. Greens and grains can work as a side dish or as a main dish. Throw in some roasted fruit? Even better. So I decided to roast those blueberries and use half of them to make a dressing for the salad. I threw the other half in the salad with a few extra fresh blueberries, some mixed greens, red onion, and feta cheese. Serve some toasted pita on the side and you have a filling, healthy summer meal.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Turkey Sliders

I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions that I love a good cheeseburger.  Well, any cheeseburger, really.  I’m also a huge fan of turkey burgers, but depending on what you put in them, they’re not any healthier than a regular burger.  I’ll often make turkey burgers using just lean ground turkey, curry powder, and red onion, which are always popular around my house.  I’ve been meaning to try another version though, so it was as if the stars aligned when I spotted a recipe for hummus turkey sliders the other day.  Adding hummus to turkey burgers?  Genius!

The hummus isn’t that noticeable in the burgers, but it does make them super moist.  While they were really good, I think they could also benefit from some additional herbs and/or spices.  Feel free to experiment – add some garlic, try a different flavor of hummus, or add some fresh dill.  The options are endless!

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Pineapple Pork Kebabs with Israeli Couscous

While watching the news the other night, I learned we are in the midst of our third heat wave of the summer. Since it’s only the middle of July, that pretty much means back-to-back heat waves. Actually, it’s more like one loooong heat wave. But it’s not like I needed the weatherman to tell me that. All I have to do is step outside and I instantly start to melt. But this is what we all crave in the middle of February, right?

I haven’t caught the obligatory “trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk” segment on the news yet, but I’m tempted to try it so that I don’t have to turn on my stove in the morning and create extra heat in my kitchen. Which is why I’ve been grilling a lot lately (although I still melt while I’m standing over the grill). At least I’m rewarded by the air conditioning and a great meal when I finally make it back inside.

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