Festive Family Favorites Get a Facelift

Every family differs when it comes to holiday dinner traditions. Some never stray from Grandma’s fruitcake recipe while other families, a bit more adventurous, explore cookbooks and magazines to uncover a new dish.

Chef Andrew Schloss believes a happy medium exists between the traditional and the not-so-customary holiday meal and offers three quick and convenient recipe twists for your festive classics.

First, start with a can of shrimp, a little garlic and some dried dill weed and transform your regular mashed potatoes into a delectable seafood side dish.

Next, substitute your traditional green-bean casserole with a quick Easy Cheesy Herbed Creamed Spinach dish. Combine a few cans of spinach with a little garlic-and-herb cheese and you’ve created a simple side, packed with flavor and nutrition.

Finally, finish the meal with a treat from the sugarplum fairy. Use a can of whole plums – which are an excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber – a can of peaches, some cinnamon and some sugar, and blend the sweet flavors together to create a Peach-Plum Crisp.

Don’t forget that the holidays are about spending time with family. While you want your meals to look and taste fantastic, you needn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Remember to stock your pantry with canned foods, like those in Schloss’ recipes, which are already cooked and will dramatically reduce your preparation time. In addition, a University of Massachusetts study found that recipes using canned ingredients are similar in nutritional value and taste value to those made with fresh or frozen ingredients.

SHRIMP MASHED

POTATOES

Courtesy of Andrew Schloss, “Almost From Scratch”

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 (8-ounce) can shrimp,

chopped

1/2 large fish-flavored

bouillon cube, crushed

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped

1 (16-ounce) package mashed potatoes, refrigerated

Black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shrimp, bouillon and garlic and cook until the shrimp are opaque, about 30 seconds. Stir in the dill and potatoes and heat through, stirring often. Add the pepper.