Menu planner: Pecan apple dressing fits right in with your holiday meal

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

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Pecan apple dressing.

Pecan apple dressing.

American Pecan Council

Pecan apple dressing

Makes 18 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 50 minutes


1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 tablespoon olive oil or pecan oil

1 onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces herb-seasoned cubed stuffing

2 cups cored chopped tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 3 small apples)

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large skillet, brown Italian sausage, breaking it up into crumbles. Drain on paper towels. Discard excess grease. In the same pan, heat oil on medium. Cook onions, celery and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly softened and fragrant. In a large bowl, stir together cooked sausage, cooked onion mixture, stuffing cubes, apples and pecans. Add 1 cup of broth and stir to combine. If stuffing mixture is too dry, add additional 1/2 cup of broth or more if desired. (Be careful not to add too much liquid.) Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 210 calories, 6 grams protein, 12 grams fat (50% calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 505 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Southwest beef pot roast

Makes 4 to 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 2 to 2 1/2 hours


2 teaspoons canola oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) beef bottom round roast

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups chunky salsa

1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans

1 cup frozen corn

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium until hot. Press cumin into beef. Place in pan; brown evenly on all sides (about 5 minutes total). Pour off any drippings. Season beef with salt and pepper; add salsa. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover tightly. Simmer 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until roast is fork-tender. (Add water if it becomes too dry). Remove roast; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Stir in beans and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened. Carve beef into thin slices; serve with bean mixture.

Per serving: 411 calories, 43 grams protein, 12 grams fat (26% calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 99 milligrams cholesterol, 777 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Linguine in lemon cream sauce

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes, plus pasta


8 ounces linguine

4 ounces light cream cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toasted chopped walnuts for garnish

Cook linguine according to directions. Drain; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and return pasta to pot. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on low, heat the cheese, oil and lemon juice. Stir water into mixture along with lemon zest and parsley. Add to pasta; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with walnuts.

Per serving: 315 calories, 11 grams protein, 10 grams fat (30% calories from fat), 4.7 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 130 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count:3.

Pizza pita buffet

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Set out pita bread, pizza sauce, shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, sliced turkey pepperoni and sliced mushrooms. Stuff the pitas with everyone’s favorites; bake until hot and cheese melts.

Tex-Mex tacos

Dice and heat the beef; spoon into warm taco shells. Top with any shredded cheese, salsa, reduced-fat sour cream and diced avocado. Serve with reduced-sodium pinto beans.

Turkey bean salad

Mix 2 cups chopped turkey with a can of rinsed reduced-sodium black beans, halved sections from 1 fresh orange and 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions. Toss with a light vinaigrette. Serve with onion soup.

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