Let the students in the University of Idaho’s dietetics program help you bring a healthier flair to your holiday table this week.
The students spent part of fall semester creating, testing and perfecting recipes for Thanksgiving as part of a project in Katie Miner’s 300-level dietetics course, where students learn about recipe development and nutrition.
“This gives them an opportunity to apply those skills and include a little bit of creativity,” Miner said.
The holiday recipe project began eight years ago, when the Donor Relations and Stewardship Office contacted Miner about having students create recipes for an annual holiday card sent by the Office of the President. The recipes were so well received it has become an annual tradition at the North Idaho university.
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Each year, the students are tasked with developing a recipe that has “Vandal spirit,” and often has to meet other criteria as well. This year, the students were asked to create healthy spins on holiday favorites. The students work in teams to develop their recipes and presented them to judges for tasting in October.
There are seldom any flops.
“Our students are really outstanding — they put together great projects with whatever they do,” Miner said. “Most of the recipes are really good. The majority of the time, the judge panel is saying, ‘How are we ever going to pick one to put on the card?’”
One recipe is featured on the holiday card. All of them are published online at www.uidaho.edu/thanksgivingrecipes. Archives of recipes back to 2009 are also available online.
This year’s winner is a recipe for Vandal Cranberry Kale and Cinnamon Sweet Stacks, created by Lauren Keeney and Wes Bauer. The side dish features baked cinnamon sweet potato fries served over cranberry kale.
Jennie Davis and Ellison Schultz created a healthy take on green bean casserole, which they dubbed Vandal Power! The dish features protein-packed quinoa, fresh green beans, roasted almonds and golden raisins. (The golden raisins are for that extra Vandal flair. For a more traditional Thanksgiving flair, Schultz suggested swapping in cranberries.)
“We tried to create a good side dish for someone who maybe doesn’t want to eat a lot of meat but still needs that protein,” Davis said. They also wanted to make a dish that featured fresh vegetables, something that’s often missing from Thanksgiving tables.
“We wanted it to have a nice texture,” Schultz said. “It turned out really, really good.”
Vandal Cranberry Kale and Cinnamon Sweet Stacks
Note: This dish is flavorful with a little bit of sweet and a little bit of spicy. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals. It’s healthy and delicious on its own or with a holiday meal. By Lauren Keeney and Wes Bauer. Yield: 12 servings of ¼ cup fries and 1/2 cup kale.
For the sweet potato fries:
1 large sweet potato, julienned
1 head fresh garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the cranberry kale:
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 bundles fresh kale, torn into large chunks (stems removed)
Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel and julienne sweet potato. Toss sweet potato and garlic cloves with oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Spread potatoes and cloves out evenly on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake on upper two-thirds of oven until brown and tender, turning once, about 20 minutes total.
Cranberry Kale: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, add cranberries, salt and pepper. Cook for about one minute, add kale and stir all ingredients together. Cook until the kale is wilted but still crisp. It won’t take long at all. Add remaining salt and pepper; add additional olive oil if needed. Stir and cook for another minute.
To combine: Serve warm under a bed of baked cinnamon sweet potato fries.
Nutrition facts: Calories 101; Fat 4g; Protein 3g; Carbohydrates 15g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 164mg.