Healthy Side Dish Alternatives for Christmas

Christmas, Yet another holiday is among us and life is at its ultimate stress mode. There is so much to get done, so many things to decide and so little time to do it.
First of all I want to tell you the one secret, Breathe! No one is expecting you to perform the way you are expecting yourself to perform. You are your biggest judge, and Christmas is a time of Love, Forgiving and no Judging. So just breathe, it’s not like if you stress you are gonna get anything extra accomplished. It actually might just do the opposite.

I am one of those girls that like to occasionally spice up a Holiday Tradition; what I mean by this is sometimes I like to make roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes, or throw in a lasagna, or just make something different to add to the Turkey or Chicken and all the other standard side dishes that go along this festive late lunch/dinner.

Vegetables, yes I pretty much name this food group in every single one of my posts because I simply love them and can’t imagine my meals without them. So I have just a few simple and fast side dishes that will keep your dinner lighter but still delicious.

Lets start off with something I came up with that ended up being a success not to long ago when I had to bring something to a lunch. It can be served as an appetizer, finger food or main course if you’re going all vegetarian. Really simple.

Ricotta and Pesto Stuffed Artichoke Cap

Ricotta and Pesto Artichoke

Get your Artichoke cap*, scoop a 1/2 tbsp. of Pesto** and a dollop of Ricotta***, sprinkle some Pepper. Place in a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil and  bake in the oven at 320° for 20 minutes.

*For the Artichoke: I found some frozen artichoke caps, I boiled them for 10 minutes and let them cool. You could try to do with fresh artichoke just remember to clean correctly and boil for approx. 20 minutes. You could also substitute with mushrooms caps.
**For the Pesto: I used a fresh store-bought version. I think in the USA you could probably find the Barilla version, if it’s to thick? Take it out if the container, put in a bowl add some olive oil mix until a little more creamy.
***For the Ricotta: Put the ricotta in a small bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and 2 tbsp. of either Parmigiano or Pecorino. Incorporate all ingredients and that’s it.

Now for Side dishes I have a few delicious options:

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Put your clean and chopped Cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. It tastes so good you would’ve never thought that so little ingredients could make Cauliflower taste so darn good.

Roasted Cabbage with Pancetta

Roasted cabbage with Pancetta

Grab a head of cabbage and slice it in 4 or 8. Get out 4 or 8 big enough piece of aluminum foil to cover each piece of cabbage individually. Lay out 1 pc. of foil, place 1 slice of cabbage facing up, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, get about 1 tbsp. of diced pancetta and sprinkle on top. Cover the cabbage completely with the foil, to where no holes (like if you were to steam). Repeat the same steps with remaining cabbage. Place in the oven and bake at 380° for 25-30 minutes. Leave in foil so each person can open in their own plate.
Be careful when you open as steam may let out.

Artisanal Flat buns

You can also try out these Artisanal flat buns recipe here, so delicious and perfect to accompany your dinner, or for a sandwich with the leftover Turkey.

And last but not least I always prepare a salad, it’s fresh and perfect for accompanying a heavy meal. Here are some recipes:
My Light Grilled Corn and Mushroom Salad
Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
No-Carb Grilled Veggie Stack

Well, I hope that I gave you some yummy and healthy ideas for this Holiday feast or for any other day. Happy Holidays!

Ciao

 

Light summer Salad with Grilled Corn and Mushrooms

Salad, Salad, Salad. It seems to be something that I always crave. Whenever I go a day or so without a salad that is all I start to crave; not at all a bad thing might I add!
My husband and I love to have a nice big salad for dinner at least once or twice a week and we try to come up with different ways of making it, we always add something different, the possibilities are endless as to what you can add to a salad and also to the way you prep it.

I especially love to grill some of the ingredients and when it’s hot out and you just feel like using the grill it’s perfect. Grilled vegetables are amazing and add so much flavor to what might seem like a boring meal. In this recipe we had found some nice big mushrooms and corn and so we decided to add that to the salad, it married so well together I had to post the recipe so that you all could try it at home. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. You can serve it on the side or as a main dish (which is what we did..) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 bag mixed salad (I like Italian)

1 handful of arugula

1 handful of Baby Spinach

2 ears of corn, cleaned

4 big sized mushrooms, or 2 Portobello’s

6 grape Tomatoes, sliced in half

1 can quartered Artichokes, drained

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Lemon, squeezed

Salt and pepper, as needed

Preheat your grill. Wrap your corn in aluminium foil and place on the grill for about 20-30 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes.

In the mean time clean you mushroom caps and sprinkle salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin olive oil, set on the grill and allow to cook until golden brown, flipping once; about 10-15 minutes.

Place your salad, arugula, baby spinach, tomatoes and artichokes in a large salad bowl. By now your corn and mushrooms should be ready so turn your grill off and set aside. With a knife remove the corn from the cob or husk and add to your salad. Add the remaining olive oil, the vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper mix together well and serve. Once plated place the mushroom caps on top of the salad and eat. Yum!