Wild Rice Stuffing

A classic alternative to bread stuffing, this wild rice dish is a delicious  way to add whole grains to your holiday meal.

A classic alternative to bread stuffing, this wild rice dish is a delicious  way to add whole grains to your holiday meal.

Is your holiday menu planned? Does it include a whole grain? I asked because I’m encouraging a healthier holiday, and for me,  that means   more vegetables, less sugar, and more whole grains.

Let’s face it, most traditional turkey day fare is NOT inclusive of whole grains. With that in mind,  I’ve prepped the perfect side dish to add in! This year, I’m going to substitute bread stuffing with this wild rice stuffing.  Notice how it pops beautiful fall colors thanks to the mix of wild and brown rice, sauted celery, onion and carrots and the garnishes of  pecans and dried cranberries. It’s delicious, satisfying, and gluten free.

It’s still early, but if you’re like me, thoughts of the BIG meal prep are overwhelming.  My solution is to make Wild Rice Stuffing, and my Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole one day ahead of time.  On Thanksgiving, all I have to do is get the bird in the oven, pop my apples in the slow cooker, assemble a tossed salad  and steam the green beans. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Break up your cooking tasks and enjoy Thanksgiving  with friends and family.   Be sure to stay tuned for  my full Thanksgiving meal menu.
A classic alternative to bread stuffing, this rice stuffing adds a whole grain to your holiday menu!

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Wild Rice Stuffing

A classic alternative to bread stuffing, this rice stuffing adds a whole grain to your holiday menu!

A classic alternative to bread stuffing, this wild rice dish is a delicious  way to add whole grains to your holiday meal.

  • Author: Diane Boyd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons canola oil

• 1 1/2 cups vidalia onions, chopped

• 3 stalks celery, chopped

• 1 cup carrots,matchstick cut

• 1 cup uncooked wild rice

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon ground sage

• 1 teaspoon salt, divided

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper,divided

• 4 cups 33% less sodium chicken broth

• 1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice

• 1/2 cup dried sweeetend cranberries

• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and wild rice. Cook stirring occasionally  until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add butter, garlic, and sage. Look stirring constantly for one minute. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add brown rice; cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour.
  4. Remove from heat. Allow to stand 10 minutes. Stir in remaining salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon onto a serving platter and top with dried cranberries and pecans.

Notes

Make the day ahead. Follow directions through step 4. Refrigerate . The following day, reheat just before serving and top with nuts and dried cranberries.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2/3 cup
  • Calories: 260
  • Sugar: 11 grams
  • Sodium: 590mg
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 36 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

Your Thanksgiving guests will never know this  sweet potato casserole is made with less sugar than the traditional version and is made a day ahead. 

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole has the same great traditional taste with 5 teaspoons less sugar per serving.

Hello fall! I’ve I’ve never been more ready.  For the  past four weekends,  I’ve been busy cleaning up after Florence.  But not this past weekend; I took a well deserved break to embrace the season.  It was like a breath of fresh air sprucing up my hurricane beaten yard with some seasonal items including crotons in my window box, a bright cheerful mum on the back porch and a large pumpkin in front of the garage. Now that the outside of my home is welcoming fall, I’m ready to test drive some Thanksgiving sides!

So this past weekend,  I did a dry run of my holiday meal. I was mostly experimenting with side dishes, hoping to find two that are a bit healthier than the traditional fare without compromising taste, and are also a good fit for the category ‘make ahead’.  I don’t know about you, but thinking about pulling together the  bounteous Thanksgiving meal is daunting!   There are so many items that need at spot in the oven.  How will you schedule oven time? How about serving; do you have enough serving utensils?   Is there room for everyone around the table? What chair can be pulled up? And the list of concerns goes on…

Planning the menu well in advance,  and organizing everything right down to the serving dishes and utensils can reduce the stress you’re feeling leading up to the BIG day and guarantee an enjoyable feast for everyone, including you!

Today I’m sharing one of the  dishes  that has meet my two criterion and will certainly make the cut for my Thanksgiving spread, lower sugar sweet potato casserole. 

Criterion one: healthier. This casserole is low fat, low cholesterol,  and has 5 teaspoons less sugar than the traditional version. Why less sugar? I was born with a sweet tooth, and have found that the more sugar I use, the more I crave. Sadly, as I have aged, my calorie needs have declined, although my nutrient requirements remain relatively the same. Cutting back on sweets and learning how to reduce some of the sugar in my favorite foods allows me to eat what I love , with less calories. It’s one of the key ways I’ve be able  to maintain a healthy weight, along with daily exercie.  Note: I have realized that I don’t need foods to be overly sweet to be enjoyable; less sugar doesn’t mean less taste! Case in point,  this sweet potato casserole with 5 teaspoons less sugar than traditional version. It’s  just as delicious, and how beautiful are those fall colors?!!!

Criterion two: make ahead. If you are looking to reduce the stress associated with preparing the meal, you’ll especially like the convenience of this dish. It’s easy to refrigerate  overnight before adding the toppping and baking it off  on the next  day. If  you feel more comfortable prepping it fully the day before, you can simply pull it out of the refrigerator on Thansgiving and reheat in the microwave oven minutes before serving time.   I think you’ll be happy with it either way; do what works best for you . Give this Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole a try for a healthier holiday, both body and mind.

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Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

Less sugar than traditional versions, this sweet potato casserole can also be made ahed of time!

  • Author: Diane Boyd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12

Ingredients

• 3 pounds sweet potatoes

• 4 ounces skim evaporated milk

• 2 tablespoons margarine

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1.5 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 2 large eggs, separated

• cooking spray

• 3/4 cup chopped pecans

• 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Wrap potatoes individually in foil and roast in oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until very tender.
  2.  Set aside until cool. Peel potataoes , discarding skin. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash until smooth. Stir in milk, vanilla, salt, pepper, and egg yolks. Spread mixture evenly in a 2 quart glass ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Stir in pecans, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is toasted and edges are bubbling.

Notes

If you want to make ahead, prepare casserole through step two and refrigerate over night. Procede to step three to finish.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 210
  • Sugar: 11 grams
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 25 mg
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