Monday, January 18, 2010

Straying from Standard Sides: Sautéed Green Beans & Mushrooms, and Glazed Carrots with Pecans

I took my Christmas tree down while it was still December, but I have yet to finish posting recipes from my Christmas dinner! I’ll finish it off tonight with two sides that I tried. I strayed a bit from traditional sides dishes (think green bean casserole and candied yams), and tried healthier replicas.

For the green beans, I sautéed them in olive oil (versus the traditional casserole recipe that calls for a can of creamy soup). I topped mine with almonds, although you could swap out the almonds and garnish with some French-fried onions, which would be more like the standard version. Instead of baking yams with spices and topping them with pecans and marshmallows, I cooked some carrots with similar spices, and they had the flavor of a pumpkin pie!

Both side dishes were enjoyed by all of us, and also didn’t require any time in the oven. (Oven time is something I’ve learned you have to carefully plan for when you’re turning out multiple dishes and you only have one oven!)

Sautéed Green Beans & Mushrooms
24 oz. frozen green beans, preferably thin French style beans (Kate used Trader Joe's Haricot Verts)
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and a mushrooms and stir until mushrooms begin to slightly brown. Add green beans, 2 tablespoons of water, and cover. Steam until tender. Season with salt and pepper, top with sliced almonds and serve.

Glazed Carrots with Pecans

(Adapted from Sunset, November, 2009)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups diagonally sliced (1/4 in.) peeled carrots
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups toasted pecan halves

Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook, stirring frequently, 6 minutes. Stir in spices and sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Add pecans and cook until carrots are tender when pierced and mixture is glazed in sugar, 5-10 minutes.

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