Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Brunch

Looking to host a holiday brunch this Christmas? These recipes are quick and festive and your friends won't even be able to tell that they're healthy as well. Even better, each recipe can be prepped a day ahead of time so that the morning of the event all you have to do is pop the food in the oven.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread

I thought of this recipe after I discovered the health benefits of pureed pumpkin. The end result is a moist, flavorful cornbread "cake" and the dried cranberry adds a nice burst of sweetness in every bite.

Serves 10

2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 15 oz. can 100% natural pumpkin puree
2 TB vegetable oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Zest of 1 orange

1. Spray a 13x9 baking pan or 2 9" cake pans with cooking spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vegetable oil.
3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients; mix until well blended, adding more buttermilk if needed. (Batter will be thick, but easy to stir by hand.)
4. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Mini Mushroom, Spinach and Sausage Quiches

This quiches are perfect for serving a crowd. They could also be served as an appetizer because they're small enough to hold in your hand.

Serves 10

8 oz turkey breakfast sausage, crumbled into pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 oz baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
5 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup 1% milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the spinach and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
3. Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the sausage mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups.
5. Bake until the tops are just beginning to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Caramelized and crispy when roasted, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. When topped with herbs and sea salt, it takes the flavor to a new level. This recipe is simple and quick, and makes a great side for chicken or beef as well.

Serves 10

3 large sweet potatoes
2 TB olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks.
3. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and coat with olive oil.
4. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt and toss to coat.

5. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

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