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November 14, 2013

No-Fuss Holiday Recipes to Impress Your Guests

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

During the holidays, it's helpful to have on hand recipes for delicious dishes that involve little fuss. Sweet Potato Gratin showcases the flavors of the season while Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Bisque lets you bask in the warm glow of a summer that's still fresh in your memory. Hood Cream is the common bond between the two recipes, which are sure to impress your guests!

Sweet Potato Gratin
Makes 6 servings

2 lbs. sweet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
2 ½ Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cups Hood Heavy Cream
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. chili powder or chipotle pepper powder
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar or Gruyere cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 2-quart gratin dish with cooking spray. Spread potatoes evenly in the prepared dish. 

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour turns a golden sandy color, about 5 to 7  minutes.  Gradually whisk in cream, adding in small amounts.

Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to boil, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and season with ground black pepper and the chili or chipotle powder. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.  Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese on top of the potatoes and bake for 10 to 12 minutes longer or until the top is golden brown.

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Bisque
Makes 4 servings

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 ½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried rosemary
1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ cup tomato paste
14-oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth or stock
1 ½ cups Hood Light Cream
Fresh ground black pepper

Place sun-dried tomatoes in a shallow bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes or until soft.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and shallot and sauté until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add basil, rosemary, and oregano and sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes longer. 

Drain sun-dried tomatoes. Add to skillet along with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine.  Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add broth or stock to the skillet. Stir well. Transfer tomato mixture to food processor or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Return tomato mixture to skillet.

Add cream to tomato mixture and warm the soup over medium heat. Season with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.  Add more cream for a thinner soup. 


Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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