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Get "Stuffed" the Healthy Way This Holiday Season

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Turkey is a must during the holiday season. Whether you cook your own roasted turkey or buy one precooked (please no Butterball!), there's always the issue of what type of stuffing to serve. The traditional white bread and sausage stuffing is delicious but already passé and nutritionally quite low. Let's get healthier this holiday season and try some unique stuffings using grains such as quinoa, wild and brown rice and whole wheat bread.

It's best not to stuff your turkey, but rather to serve the stuffing on the side in a baking dish. This is done to prevent bacteria from forming in the stuffing. A cooked turkey should reach about 165 F to avoid bacteria, and the stuffing may never reach that temperature when inside the cavity. Bake the stuffing uncovered for about 20 minutes at 350 F.

Wild and Brown Rice Stuffing with Dried Fruit and Pecans

Wild and brown rice have more nutrients than white rice and go well with poultry. This stuffing has great texture, flavour and appearance.

Serves 8

¾ cup wild rice
¾ cup brown rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
¹/³ cup chopped green onion
¹/³ cup dried cranberries
¹/³ cup dried chopped apricots
¹/³ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Dressing

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp raspberry or balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced fresh garlic

1. Combine the wild and brown rice with the stock in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or just until the rice is tender. Drain off the excess liquid. Place the rice in a large serving bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Stir the pecans, green onion, cranberries, apricots and cilantro into the cooled rice.

3. Whisk the olive oil, juice concentrate, lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture and toss to coat. Place in a baking dish and heat at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 258
Protein 6.4 g
Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Carbohydrates 33 g
Cholesterol 1.9 mg
Sodium 107 mg
Fiber 3.5 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Make Ahead:
Prepare up to a day in advance and refrigerate.

Source: The Complete Light Kitchen (Whitecap Books) By: Rose Reisman

Quinoa with Charred Corn Stuffing with Bell Pepper and Spinach

Quinoa is a super grain that is not only a complex carbohydrate but also a complete protein. It's gluten free and a low glycemic food.

Serves 6

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 ½ cups canned corn kernels, drained
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
½ cup diced red bell pepper
2 tsp crushed fresh garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp seeded minced jalapeño pepper (or 1 tsp hot chili sauce or paste)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 Tbsp water
¹/³ cup chopped green onion
¹/³ cup chopped cilantro or parsley
¹/³ cup crumbled light feta cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, just until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa tender. Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.

2. Spray a small non-stick skillet with cooking oil and place over medium heat. Sauté the corn for approximately 8 minutes, just until browned, stirring constantly. Set aside.

3. Spray a medium non-stick skillet with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin and jalapeño pepper and sauté until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and water. Cook until the spinach wilts, approximately 2 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat. Stir in the green onion, cilantro, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and sautéed corn. Add the mixture to the quinoa and mix well.

6. Add to serving dish and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 252
Protein 9 g
Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 1.6
Carbohydrates 35
Cholesterol 3 mg
Sodium 290
Fiber 5 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Make Ahead:
Prepare early in the day and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Source: The Complete Light Kitchen (Whitecap Books) By: Rose Reisman

Whole Wheat Bread, Vegetable and Dried Cranberry Stuffing

Whole wheat bread contains more fibre and vitamins and minerals than white bread. This is a classic stuffing with a twist.

Serves 6

2 tsp oil
1 cups diced onions
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tsp garlic
2 tsp chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
4 cup stale whole wheat bread cubed
1 egg
¾ cups chicken stock
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
Garnish
1/3 cup chopped parsley

1. Saute onions in oil for five minutes. Add bell peppers, garlic and seasoning and sauté for three minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except for parsley and mix until combined.

2. Place in baking dish cover and bake at 375 F 15 minutes, uncovered for another 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 220
Protein 8 g
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 36 g
Cholesterol 35 mg
Sodium 230 mg
Fiber 10 g

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