November 18, 2012

Collegetown Cooks: Go Ahead, Stuff Yourself

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Ahhh. The sweet sigh of satisfaction of carrying around a food baby after the paramount of all meals: Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving break right around the corner (curse those of you already at home on break), I have found myself craving my favorite part of the feast: Stuffing.

I don’t know what it is about stuffing. It doesn’t even have to be around Thanksgiving; it just always tastes good. The perfect blend of delicious butter and carbs and spices is just so satisfying. Its deliciousness always makes me feel slightly guilty for indulging because stuffing usually doesn’t have the best rap in terms of nutrition. You don’t have to be a dietitian to know that my Thanksgiving fav usually ranks pretty low in terms of nutritional content. However, this healthier alternative made with apples, walnuts, craisins, mushrooms, onion, celery and a whole-wheat baguette adds some nutritional value to this Thanksgiving favorite.

Mushrooms are high in Niacin, or Vitamin B3, which has been shown to increase HDL (also known as the “good cholesterol”) and help lower risk of heart attack. Although calorically dense, walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and antioxidants, making them a tasty and worthwhile crunchy addition to stuffing. Craisins, or dried cranberries, are recognized as a superfood by some health professionals because of their high vitamin C and antioxidant content. I feel as if I should not have to convince you on apples … nothing beats the sweetness of a baked honey crisp, and added to your stuffing they will contribute a sweet burst to every bite. In using whole-wheat bread, all three parts of the wheat kernel remain intact: The endosperm (mainly carbohydrates), the bran (high fiber content) and the germ (contributes protein). In white bread, nutrients are stripped in processing with the removal of the bran and the germ, thus removing nutrients along with it and leaving mainly starch. Hence the name whole-wheat: The whole of the wheat kernel is used to make bread and is why this type of bread is generally considered better for you. With ingredients like these, you won’t be afraid to stuff yourself (come on, you know I had to insert a corny pun in here somewhere).

Apple, Walnut, Craisin and Mushroom Stuffing

Ingredients:1 large chopped onion1 cup chopped celery1 ½ cup chopped mushroom1 stale whole-wheat baguette, cut into small cubes2 medium chopped apples¾ cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth¼ cup chopped walnuts¾ cup craisins¼ teaspoon saltIf you’re feeling fancy and not on a budget, add these spices:1 teaspoon fresh sage1 teaspoon fresh thyme1 teaspoon fresh rosemary2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Directions:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add the chopped celery, mushrooms and onion and sauté until soft, or about seven minutes. If you are adding spices, do so now. Add the chopped apple and the craisins. Reduce the heat to low and add the cubed whole-wheat baguette. Pour in the vegetable broth and mix in the chopped walnuts. Add salt and black pepper for seasoning. Allow cooking for ten minutes. Coat a medium sized pan (preferably 9” by 13”) with cooking spray and place the stuffing in the pan. Bake until the top is slightly crisp, or about 25 minutes.

Original Author: Casey Carr