Lightened Up Holiday Side Dishes

With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself overindulging often this time of year. I always go into the holiday season with the intention of not stuffing  my face with a big holiday dinner, but as they say, best laid plans…

You can still put your “eatin’ pants” on this holiday season, just be mindful of what’s in these delicious dishes you are eating, or preparing. I love to do lower calorie sides to go with the traditional turkey or beef dinners for the holidays. I have found that you won’t miss the whipped cream or full fat butter in potatoes or desserts with the right recipe. A good balance of healthy, low calorie additions to your meal with help create a well-rounded holiday meal that won’t bust the button on your jeans. The following are a few of my favorites.

Lightened Up Pumpkin Pie

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)


¾ Cup packed brown sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin


½ (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
Cooking Spray

  1. Position rack to lowest position.
  2. Preheat oven to 425.
  3. To prepare filling, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin, and stir until smooth.
  4. To prepare crust, roll dough into an 11-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges over and flute.
  5. Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on lowest oven rack. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Prep Time: 30 min

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (8 –ounce) tub fat-free cream cheese
1 cup low-fat sour cream
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon stick margarine or butter, melted
½ teaspoon paprika

Cook Time: 30 min

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place potato in saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  3. Combine potato, cream cheese, and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Spoon into an 11×7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; drizzle margarine over potato mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

Green Beans Almandine

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
3 pounds green beans, trimmed
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans; saute 5 minutes. Add broth, pepper, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Combine cornstarch and water; add to skillet. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice. Sprinkle with almonds just before serving.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: ¾ cup)
Prep Time: 35-40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
¼ cup stick margarine or butter, melted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and halved (about 2 ½ pounds)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, brown sugar, pecans, margarine, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Place sweet potato halves in a large pot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Drain well; mash in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup flour mixture, granulated sugar, vanilla, egg white, and milk. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray; top with remaining flour mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

I hope you will give some of these recipes a try at your next holiday dinner!


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