Healthy Holiday Recipes: Pumpkin Faux-sotto, Fajita Beef Stew, Butternut Potato Casserole

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It's December, people, which means it's National Eat Foods That Warm You Up Month! OK, we made that last part up. But with temps dropping lower and lower, you're gonna want guilt-free dishes to keep you toasty in the cold months ahead. So read on!

Creamy Pumpkin Faux-sotto

PER SERVING (1/4th of recipe, about 1 1/4 cups): 222 calories, 2.75g fat, 464mg sodium, 41.5g carbs, 5.25g fiber, 6g sugars, 8g protein -- PointsPlus® value 6*

This is like the fiber-infused love child of cheesy risotto and a big orange pumpkin. And each serving is HUGE!

2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup diced onion
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup light plain soymilk
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or more to taste
2 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
4 tsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping


In a nonstick pot on the stove, combine all ingredients except cheese wedges and Parm-style topping. Stir until well mixed. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 35 minutes, until rice is cooked and veggies are tender.

Add cheese wedges and Parm-style topping, and stir until evenly distributed.

If you like, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Enjoy!


Fajita-rific Beef Stew

PER SERVING (1 1/3 cups): 151 calories, 3g fat, 493mg sodium, 18g carbs, 2.25g fiber, 4g sugars, 13.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 4*

It's like an underwater platter of steak 'n veggie fajitas! Except the water is actually a yummy seasoned beef broth, and you don't need to hold your breath to eat it...

12 oz. raw lean beef filet, thinly sliced into bite-sized strips
2 tbsp. (about half of a 1-oz. packet) dry fajita seasoning, divided
One 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies (not drained)
1 large russet potato (about 13 oz.), peeled and cubed
1 large onion, thinly sliced into bite-sized strips
2 bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced into bite-sized strips
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced into bite-sized strips
4 cups (32 oz.) reduced-sodium fat-free beef broth
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Optional topping: chopped fresh cilantro

Season beef with 1/2 tbsp. fajita seasoning and set aside.

Put remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. fajita seasoning and all other ingredients except beef and cornstarch in a slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Add beef and stir again.

Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or on low for 7 - 8 hours, until beef is cooked through and veggies are soft.

In a small dish, combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp. cold water and stir to dissolve. Turn off the slow cooker. Add mixture and stir well. Allow to thicken, uncovered, about 5 minutes.

If you like, top each serving with a bit of cilantro. Now eat!


Butternut-Potato Swirly Mashie Casserole

PER SERVING (1/6th of recipe, about 1 cup): 146 calories, 2g fat, 331mg sodium, 26g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g sugars, 6g protein -- PointsPlus® value 4*

This dish is as stunning as it is delicious. Garlicky mashed potatoes -- lightened up with cauliflower (shhh!) -- swirled with super-cheesy squash puree!?! Soooooooooo goooooooood...

4 cups cubed butternut squash
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 large potato (about 13 oz.), peeled and cubed
4 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. salt, divided, or more to taste
3 tbsp. fat-free half & half
1 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 dashes black pepper, or more to taste

Bring 2 large pots of water to a boil on the stove.

Add butternut squash to one pot; add cauliflower and potato to the other pot. Once water returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Allow to cook until all veggies are very tender, 15 - 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.

Carefully drain water from the pots. Transfer cauliflower and potato to a large bowl and set aside. Transfer squash to another large bowl.

Mash squash with a potato masher. Add cheese wedges, shredded cheese, and 1/8 tsp. salt, and stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.

To the bowl of cauliflower and potato, add half & half, butter, garlic, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and black pepper. Mash with a potato masher until completely mixed. If you like, season to taste with pepper and additional salt. Set aside.

Spray an 8" X 8" baking pan with nonstick spray. Spoon half of the squash mixture into one corner, and spoon the other half into the opposite corner. Evenly divide cauliflower-potato mixture between the two remaining corners.

Using a spoon, lightly swirl the mixtures together. (Don't over-mix!) Broil until top is crispy, about 8 - 10 minutes. Serve it up and enjoy!



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Today, December 2nd, is National Fritters Day. Drop the "s" and celebrate with HG's Sweet Cinnamon Fritter Fries. Yee-haa!

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® trademark.

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