Holiday meals are about classic flavors, but they are also opportunities for you to get creative in the kitchen and prepare dishes that you have never served before. This year, don’t shy away from trying out some new Christmas recipes alongside your old faves. Each of these Christmas side dishes includes flavors that will go with just about any main course, so pick at least one starch and one vegetable to serve with your meal.
Roasting vegetables is the perfect way to bring out their sweetness with a caramelized exterior. Plus, it’s easy to toss a tray of vegetables into the oven with whatever else you are baking as part of your meal. If you can’t get your hands on all of the vegetables in the recipe or don’t like one of them, feel free to substitute other hearty winter vegetables.
What You Need
* 1/2 lb. whole button or crimini mushrooms
* 1/2 lb. baby carrots
* 1 onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
* 1 large yellow, green or red pepper, cut into 8 strips
* 1/3 cup zesty Italian dressing
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* HEAT oven to 450°F.
* LINE 15x10x1-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
* TOSS vegetables with dressing and 1/4 cup cheese; spread into prepared pan.
* BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring after 15 min. Top with remaining cheese.
Sweet and Savory Stuffing
If you didn’t imagine classic stuffing could get any better, think again. This recipe brings in sweet, crunchy, and tart flavors, not to mention the bright colors that will complement the rest of your holiday table. Plus, you can put it together in just 10 to 15 minutes, making it a perfect addition to your Christmas dinner menu so you have more time to spend with the people who matter most to you.
What You Need
* 1-1/2 cups apple juice
* 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
* 1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix for chicken
* 1 small apple, chopped
* 1/2 cup cranberries
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
* BRING juice and butter to boil in medium saucepan on high heat.
* ADD stuffing mix and fruit; mix lightly. Cover. Remove from heat.
* LET stand 5 min. Stir in nuts.
Cauliflower-Broccoli au Gratin
In the world of Christmas casseroles, this creamy, cheesy dish is a winner. It will have everyone loving their vegetables and scraping up every last bite of the decadent sauce. Don’t forget that you can use frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets in the recipe to cut on prep time and make this even easier to assemble.
What You Need
* 5 cups large broccoli florets
* 4 cups large cauliflower florets
* 1/2 cup water
* 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* 10 buttery crackers, crushed (about 1/3 cup)
* 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
* COMBINE vegetables in 2-qt. microwaveable casserole. Add water; cover with lid. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 min. or until vegetables are tender; drain.
* MICROWAVE cream cheese and milk in 2-cup microwaveable measuring cup or medium bowl 1 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended when stirred. Stir in sour cream; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheddar; microwave 2 min. or until melted.
* MIX cracker crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over vegetables.
Double-Baked, Double-Delicious Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes are classic Christmas side dishes, but this year, consider using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Their rich color and sweet flavor complement most meats, and guests will love the creamy texture. Choose sweet potatoes of approximately the same size and shape so they will cook evenly to ensure everyone gets a perfect portion of potato.
What You Need
* 2 large sweet potatoes (1-1/2 lb.)
* 2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) neufchatel cheese, cubed
* 2 Tbsp. fat-free milk
* 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
* HEAT oven to 425ºF.
* CUT potatoes lengthwise in half; place, cut-sides down, in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until tender.
* SCOOP out centers of potatoes into bowl, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Add neufchatel, milk, sugar and cinnamon to potato flesh; mash until well blended.
* FILL shells with potato mixture; top with nuts. Bake 8 min. or until potatoes are heated through