When tradition is everything Menu: Familiar does not have to be fatty. Here are directions for a healthful holiday meal.

November 20, 1996|By COOKING LIGHT

Of all the meals that you'll serve during the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners present the biggest challenges. People cherish traditions, so these dinners need to feature lots of familiar, comfortable fare, such as turkey with all the trimmings.

However, with the advent of healthy eating, a new dilemma has (( arisen: Can these dinners be plentiful yet still be light? Absolutely, as the menu here proves.

Southern corn bread dressing

Makes 10 servings

speckled corn bread

1 (12-ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

2 tablespoons rubbed sage

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon margarine

nonstick cooking spray

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

4 (10 1/2 -ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Crumble speckled corn bread; set aside. Bake biscuits according to package directions; let cool. Tear 8 of the biscuits into small pieces; reserve remaining 2 for another use. Combine crumbled corn bread, torn biscuits, sage, poultry seasoning and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt margarine over medium-high heat in a medium nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Saute celery and onion 8 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly. Add vegetable mixture to dressing mixture, and gently stir in broth and egg whites. Spoon mixture into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Per serving: 262 calories (25 percent from fat); 7.2 g fat (1.6 g sat, 3.2 g mono, 1.3 g poly); 8.8 g protein; 9.3 g carbohydrates; 1.3 g fiber; 1 mg cholesterol, 3.2 mg iron, 782 mg sodium, 150 mg calcium.

Speckled corn bread

Makes 12 wedges

1 teaspoon margarine

nonstick cooking spray

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 1/3 cups self-rising yellow

cornmeal mix

2/3 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 1/4 cups skim milk

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt margarine over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Saute corn and bell pepper 8 minutes or until corn is lightly browned and pepper is tender; stir frequently. Let cool.

Combine vegetable mixture, cornmeal mix, flour, sugar and ground red pepper in a large bowl; add milk and egg whites, stirring until moist. Pour batter into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; let cool on a wire rack.

Per serving (one wedge): 100 calories (9 percent from fat); 1 gram fat (sat 0.2 grams sat, 0.3 g mono, 0.4 g poly); 3.8 g protein, 19.8 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 1.3 mg iron, 381 mg sodium, 105 mg calcium.

Green beans with bacon-balsamic vinaigrette

Makes 8 servings

2 pounds green beans

2 bacon slices

1/4 cup minced shallots

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

Cook green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well; set aside.

Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet. Crumble; set aside. Add shallots to bacon fat in skillet; saute 1 minute. Add almonds; saute 1 minute. Remove and let cool. Add sugar and vinegar; stir until sugar dissolves. Add crumbled bacon.

Pour vinaigrette over beans, tossing gently to coat.

Per 3/4 -cup serving: 75 calories (31 percent from fat), 2.6 g fat (0.5 g sat, 1.4 g mono, 0.5 g poly), 3.4 g protein, 11.8 g carbohydrates, 2,8 g fiber, no cholesterol, 1.4 mg iron, 50 mg sodium, 54 mg calcium.

Roast turkey with apple cider glaze

Makes 12 servings

1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen whole turkey, thawed

1 medium Granny Smith apple, quartered

1 medium onion, quartered

1 (1-ounce) bunch parsley sprigs

2/3 cup apple butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 (10 1/2 -ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth

nonstick cooking spray

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup apple cider

1/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; pat dry. Tie ends of legs to tail with cord, or tuck flap of skin around tail. Lift wing tips up and over back, and tuck under bird. Stuff cavities of turkey with quartered apple, onion, and parsley sprigs. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Combine apple butter, sugar, mustard and nutmeg in a small bowl; stir well. Spread apple butter mixture under loosened skin and rub into the body cavity. Sprinkle bird with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and ground red pepper.

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