How to Make Quick and Easy Side Dishes That Are Healthy and Tasty

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Side dishes can make or break the meal. Even a quick meal needs good side dishes. Here are some recipes for sides that are quick, easy, and healthy. The Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms are stuffed with broccoli,carrot, onion and cheese. The recipe for Gourmet Artichokes and Spinach also has directions for preparing this dish to be used as an appetizer instead of a side dish.

VEGGIE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

20 large mushrooms (1 1/2 to 2-inches in diameter)
1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 cup seasoned salad croutons, finely crushed down to 1/2 cup
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each mushroom; discard. Remove mushroom stems and chop enough to make 1/4 cup. (Save remaining stems for soups, etc) Place mushroom caps, rounded side down, in a baking dish. Place chopped stems, broccoli, carrot, and onion in a small bowl. Add the crushed croutons, cheese and salt to the vegetables in the bowl. Add butter to the bowl and mix well. Spoon the vegetable mixture evenly into the mushroom caps. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Serve warm.

GOURMET ARTICHOKES AND SPINACH

1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp cheesy Italian dry salad dressing mix
2 pkg (10-oz each) frozen chopped spinach
1 jar (6 to 8-oz) marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

Combine the sour cream and the dry salad dressing mix; set aside.

Place frozen spinach in a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish, cover and microwave 6 minutes until thawed. Fold the undrained artichoke hearts into the spinach along with the sour cream mixture. Replace the cover. Continue to microwave another 8 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir the mixture. Top with 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes that have been halved. Cook another minute or two.

Note: To serve as an appetizer, omit the tomatoes. Cover the top with sharp cheddar cheese instead of the tomatoes. Serve with an assortment of whole-wheat crispy crackers or bread sticks.

Enjoy!