By REBECCA TURNER
Bring on Christmas
If there was ever a year that needed to celebrate a Savior born, it’s 2020! This year’s celebrations might look different, but the reason for the season remains the same.
This time of year, our family enjoys my grandmother’s vintage Christmas china set. It’s one tradition a pandemic can’t take away from us. We drink coffee and eat from dainty dishes adorned with holly and angels playing holiday horns.
Freshen up your Christmas cooking with a few fresh recipes, perfect for a small gathering looking for big flavor.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(No Sugar Added)
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1½ cups (6-ounce bag) chopped pecans
- Extra salt and cinnamon for topping (optional)
Bake or microwave sweet potatoes till done. Cut done sweet potatoes in half and let cool. Remove skins and set sweet potatoes aside.
Preheat (or reduce oven heat) to 375. Add applesauce and peeled sweet potatoes to the food processor and mix till smooth. Add melted butter, salt, and pumpkin spice seasoning, and blend well. Transfer potato mixture to a 9” baking dish and sprinkle the top with pecans and optional toppings. Spritz pecans with olive oil for a crunchier topping. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until it bubbles and the topping has browned. Let cool before serving.
Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- 3 cups butternut squash, cubed evenly
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa
- 1 medium pomegranate, de-seeded
- ½cup pecans, chopped
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 375. Place Brussels sprouts on one side of the pan and butternut squash on the other, or you can use two pans. Spritz vegetables with olive oil. Bake 25 minutes; remove Brussels sprouts and place into a large bowl. Return squash to oven if not yet tender; bake 10-15 more minutes. Add to the bowl with Brussels sprouts.
While vegetables are baking, cook quinoa according to directions. In the large bowl with the vegetables, add cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and pecans. Stir to combine. Serve warm.
Time-saver tip: Purchase pre-cut butternut squash, microwavable quinoa pouches, and pomegranate seeds.
Healthier Pecan Pie Bars
A healthier twist to the traditional pecan pie.
- 1 store-bought pie crust
- 1 stick butter
- ¼cup maple syrup
- ⅔ cup sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Bring refrigerated crust to room temperature. Roll out to line the bottom of an 8” x 11” baking dish. Bake crust 10–15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let the crust cool completely.
In a saucepan, heat butter, sugar (or sugar substitute), maple syrup, and vanilla until boiling (about 3–4 minutes), stirring constantly. Once boiling, continue to stir and let bubble 1 minute, then turn off heat. Stir in milk and pecans. Mix well. Pour pecan mixture over the cooled crust and bake in oven 15–20 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate several hours or overnight before cutting.
Rebecca Turner is a multimedia, faith-centered author, registered dietitian, and radio host. A lifelong Mississippian, she lives in Brandon and has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance. Her latest book, “Enjoy Good Health,” is a faith-based approach to personal wellness. Find her on social media @RebeccaTurnerNutrition and online at RebeccaTurnerNutrition.com.