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Halfway Homemade: Easy Holiday Side Dishes

Creamy Sweet-Potato Custard

  • 3 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato (2 medium potatoes, steamed and cooled, or a little less than 2 15-ounce cans)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs plus 4 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk or almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Spritz a 9-inch, round glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into baking dish. Bake 55-60 minutes or until set. Cool for 1-2 hours. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 8

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 108

Fat: 1.3g

Carbs 18.7g

Protein 5.6g

Why you’ll love it. “The texture is so nice. It’s that creaminess we love during the holidays,” Lieberman says. Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch. They’re high in fiber and loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

Make it easier. Buy canned sweet potatoes. Drain and rinse before using.

Quinoa Risotto

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed with hot water in a mesh strainer
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 2 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup shiitake or white-button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (if frozen, thaw)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large, nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is still firm, but not hard. (10-12 minutes). Stir in arugula, mushrooms, and peas. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5-8 minutes. (Quinoa grains will become clear.) Stir in cheese; season with black pepper.

Serves 6

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 220

Fat: 7.49

Carbs 28g

Protein 12g

Why you’ll love it. Traditional risotto is made with rice, but quinoa adds a rich texture. It’s gluten-free, packed with protein, iron, and magnesium, and perfect for vegetarians.

Make it easier. Use pre-grated cheese or no cheese at all. Swap arugula for greens you have on hand, like spinach or kale.

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