Dish with Trish – Holiday Side Dishes


We are thrilled that Chef Trish Morrissey will be a featured guest author on this blog, sharing her kitchen insight, amazing recipes and talent, as well as her unique take on merging gourmet into everyday…and she has great perspective about herself, food, and being a woman who’s struggled with weight issues while making a living by being surrounded by food.

Holiday Side Dishes by Chef Trish Morrissey

Okay you may be thinking, who really cares about “light” side dishes during the holidays?   Can’t I just have what I really want during the holidays?  This is exactly what I was asked when I did a segment on the TV Food Network about healthy holiday side dishes.

How do you explain in a few seconds allotted for an answer what it’s really all about? In reality, it’s not about “light” or “low fat” or even the new “low carb” ideas – the way I learned to eat in a way that supported my long-term health and weight goals – all while literally surrounded by food – was to realize that “portion control” isn’t an externally determined amount.

It’s about giving ourselves a reasonable portion, which builds in a stopping point where we can step back and reasonably decide if we’re satisfied or want more. I focused on side dishes that were delicious, satisfying and portioned in unique and elegant way.  Enjoying holiday food and making it beautiful, isn’t this what we try to do every year anyway?

I also talked about balance.  For example along with your favorite mashed potatoes try sautéed swiss chard with a little walnut oil and orange juice.  The flavor in walnut oil goes a long way so you don’t need to use much and you have a truly delicious side dish that’s on the lighter side.  Who really needs the creamed green beans with the crispy onion things on top?  What are those things anyway?  They really give me the creeps and let’s be honest, how tired is that recipe?  Ladies and gents it’s time broaden our palates!

As long as we mentioned mashed potatoes here’s a couple portioning ideas.

  • Try using a 4 ounce ice cream scoop as your serving utensil instead of the biggest spoon in the drawer.
  • Remember the twice baked potato?  They are back and a “hot” food trend (no pun intended).  I suggest using Yukon gold potatoes instead of the standard baking potato; they have a natural buttery flavor and bake or boil like a charm.
  • I have included my twice baked sweet onion recipe that was featured on TV Food Network; it’s a favorite of my client’s and our family.

I shall touch on one more idea.  I was thumbing through a Gourmet magazine looking for holiday inspiration when a picture caught my eye.  It was swiss chard beggar purses stuffed with a wild rice and sausage filling.  Yes there’s that swiss chard again.  Here’s a quick idea, why not just use good old Stove Top stuffing instead to fill the purses? I’ve included instructions for this too.

Well, that’s all of my thoughts for now on holiday side dishes.  Having an enchanting holiday season and if anyone has the best sugar cookie recipe in the world I would really like to try it out so let me know!!!

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