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From the AICR Test Kitchen:
Two Tasty Thanksgiving Veggies

Looking for that magic combination of easy, healthy and delicious? This Thanksgiving, you can have all three by using our tested and tasted holiday recipes from the AICR Test Kitchen.

You'll find a colorful cornucopia of phytochemical-rich side dishes that fit into a cancer-fighting diet. Every vegetable and fruit contains its own set of these cancer-fighting compounds, plus fiber—another cancer-fighting substance found in plant foods. We combine them into dishes that also offer plenty of vitamins and minerals.

AICR's recipes for plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans fill you up with fewer calories than foods with lots of added fat and sugar. They can keep you satisfied so you eat less of higher calorie items.

Try our popular recipe for Cider-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries, below. Sweet potatoes (orange color signifies their high beta-carotene content) are combined with spices, apple cider and dried cranberries to enhance their flavor with far less butter than traditional sweet potato recipes.

Then balance this orange vegetable with some super-healthy greens. Your family will really go for our Creamy Spinach, which is lower in fat than regular creamed spinach because we use reduced-fat sour cream. It includes garlic that is made sweet by roasting first with a little olive oil and then mixing it with the baby spinach.

Sweet PotatoesCider-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until halfway cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool. (This step can be done 1 day ahead if sweet potatoes are covered and refrigerated.)

In large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, combine cider, sugar, butter, nutmeg and allspice. Bring to boil, stirring often. Add potatoes and reduce heat so liquid is simmering. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cranberries and continue cooking until liquid is reduced to syrupy glaze and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. (If glaze becomes very thick before potatoes become tender, thin with small amount of cider.) When potatoes are tender, transfer to serving bowl with slotted spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour remaining glaze over sweet potatoes and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 190 calories, 4 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 16 mg sodium.

Sweet PotatoesCreamy Spinach

  • 1 small head garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off top of garlic head crosswise, exposing tips of cloves. Place garlic in center of square of foil. Drizzle on 1/2 teaspoon of oil and rub to coat garlic. Seal garlic in foil. Bake until garlic yields to gentle squeeze, about 45 minutes. Open foil and set garlic aside.

In skillet or pot large enough to hold spinach, add 1/2-inch of water and bring to boil. Add spinach, cover tightly, and steam over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted, still bright green and tender. Immediately drain in colander. Run cold water over spinach until cool. Squeeze out water from spinach by handfuls and make cigar-shaped rolls. On cutting board, cut spinach rolls crosswise into 3/4-inch slices. Rotate spinach 90 degrees and chop slices coarsely. There will be about 1½ cups of chopped spinach.

Squeeze out roasted garlic cloves onto cutting board. Sprinkle with salt. Chop and smear garlic with side of large knife to turn into paste, about 2 minutes.

In medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, warm remaining oil. Add spinach, using wooden spoon to break up clumps. Heat until warmed. Add garlic paste and mix to combine. Take skillet off heat and mix in sour cream. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 96 calories, 7 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 7 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 242 mg sodium.

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Ann Wrenshall Worley

Ann Wrenshall Worley

Assistant Director of Planned Giving

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