Slimmed Down Green Bean Casserole
3-4 medium shallots, in their skins
1 1/2 tsps Kosher salt
1 lb. fresh green beans, stemmed & halved crosswise
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. (4 cups) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsps unsalted butter
3 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth
3 tsps fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the shallots (in their skins) on a small baking dish, roast until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, skin and coarsely chop the shallots. Set aside.
- Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add kosher salt, to taste. Add the green beans, and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.
- In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the beans.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine evenly.
- Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme to bread crumbs and scatter over the vegetables.
- Bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the crumbs brown, about 20 minutes.
Tips: When sautéing mushrooms, salt them right away – they will release moisture and you can use less oil; 1 cup fresh bread crumbs has less calories than 1 cup dried; Roasting whole shallots is an excellent way to cook them using absolutely no fat.
Oven Baked Latkes
1 lb. Russet potatoes
1 large egg white
1/4 cup scallions. finely chopped
1/2 cup applesauce, no sugar added
1/4 cup sour cream, reduced fat
Ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Mist a baking sheet with the cooking spray.
- Peel the potatoes and then grate on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible into a bowl. Let the liquid settle for about 10 minutes, and then pour off the watery liquid, reserving the potato starch.
- Beat the egg white in a large bowl until it holds a soft peak. Gently fold in the potatoes, scallions, reserved potato starch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Drop the mixture by tablespoons on the prepared baking sheet, spacing the latkes about 2 inches apart. Gently spread and flatten into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Roast until the bottoms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Flip and roast until the potatoes are cooked through and the bottoms are spotted brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Serve with the applesauce and sour cream.
Tip: Mix reduced-fat shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, etc.) into the latke mix to make them a cheesy delight! If applesauce and sour cream don’t whet your appetite, make sure to use low or reduced fat toppings of your choice.
Winter Fruit Salad
1/2 cup sugar
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
5 large navel or blood oranges
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 firm bananas, peeled and diced
5 kiwis, peeled and diced
12 kumquats, very thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
1 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)
- Combine the sugar, 2 cups water, the ginger and vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan. Use a vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of zest from the lemon and 1 orange, add to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Refrigerate until cold.
- Meanwhile, peel the remaining oranges with a paring knife, cutting along the natural curve of the fruit. Hold an orange over a large bowl and cut along both sides of each membrane to free the segments, letting them fall into the bowl. Squeeze each empty membrane to release the juices. Repeat with the remaining oranges. Add the mangoes, bananas, kiwis, kumquats and pomegranate seeds and gently toss. Pour the syrup over the fruit and chill overnight.
- Before serving, remove the citrus zest, ginger and vanilla pod. Spoon the fruit and syrup into bowls.