This year is special because we are celebrating our first holiday season as a married couple. My parents hosted Thanksgiving dinner and Tysson’s family joined. We all contributed to the feast, so of course I had to bring some healthy (and some indulgent) dishes to promote the Pretty Pretty Pineapple way! Throughout all of the cooking, I learned an important lesson. I am NOT a food blogger, I am a health blogger. So I’ll forgive myself for mixing up the tablespoons and teaspoons, and also for burning the pecans. Thank goodness for my patient husband (who hand-picked out the “good” pecans after I set them on fire). I promise these recipes are easier than they sound!
Creamy Cotija Corn Dip
1 bag yellow or white corn
2-4 tbsp butter, unsalted
2-4 tbsp. Greek yogurt, plain (in substitution of traditional mayo)
1 cup grated Cotija cheese (or more, to taste)
1 tsp chili powder (or more, to taste)
1 clove garlic
1 cup green onions
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker for 2-4 hours on low. To speed up the recipe, you can cook the corn on a stovetop according to the manufacturer’s directions. When done, top with grated cotija cheese and green onions for garnish. Enjoy as a side dish or appetizer (with chips).
Spiralized Yams and Maple Pecans
2-4 large uncooked yams or sweet potatoes, spiralized (using The Inspiralizer or a similar spiralizing tool)
4 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (candied optional)
1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
Peel and spiralize the uncooked yams, cutting them as you do so, to ensure that you don’t end up with one long noodle. Toss them in salt and 2 tbsp clarified butter (or regular, unsalted). You can cook these in a frying pan on the stove (7-10 min) or on a baking sheet in the oven on 400 (20-25 min). You’ll know they are done when the edges get crispy. When the yams are close to being done, heat the maple syrup with 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the syrup bubbles, stir and pour over the yams. Serve warm.
Stovetop Brussels Sprout Hash with Butternut Squash, Crispy Sage and Walnuts
1 lb brussels sprouts, shredded finely (we did this the night before)
1 large butternut squash, diced and roasted (we did this the night before, roasting on 400 for about 30 min; season with rosemary, garlic, and salt)
1 medium onion, diced (also done the night before)
1 large pear, diced (note that if you want a crispy non-vegan option, you can use 4 strips of bacon here)
1/4 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan preparation)
6 sage leaves, fresh
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Crumbled goat cheese for topping (no measurement here, however much you want!)
- Heat 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil in a small skillet with 6 sage leaves. Fry for 2 min on each side on medium heat. Be careful not to let the leaves brown; they will be done when they stop sizzling. Once cooked, set them aside to dry on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
- Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium low. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Cook about 3 min and remove from heat. Set the walnuts aside with the sage leaves.
- In a new large skillet, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions and pear. Sauté for about 10 min.
- Add the brussels sprouts and stir. Pour in vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn the heat up to medium high. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until the liquid evaporates and the hash begins to sizzle.
- Pour 2 tsp apple cider vinegar into the hash and stir.
- Mix in the roasted butternut squash. Top with walnuts, cranberries and crumbled sage leaves. I found that adding crumbled goat cheese was the perfect cool, creamy mixture with the warm dish.
Easy Apple Pie Shooters
Apple Pie, cooked
This one’s easy. Scoop the apple pie into the shot glasses, and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!
After a few hours in the kitchen and only 20 minutes actually eating (yeah, you know how that goes), we finished the day playing corn hole and watching football. It was the perfect Thanksgiving and a great example of how we can utilize the 80/20 method to eat 80% nutrient-dense foods and 20% whatever else we want! No one is perfect, but if we create healthy habits and focus on our progress, not perfection, then we can be proud of our efforts!