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Canned vegetables are a big help at the holidays

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When preparing those special dinners during the Christmas holidays, some cooks insist that if you open a can of vegetables, that's cheating in that you're not cooking from scratch! I disagree completely with this belief! Canned vegetables are a true lifesaver throughout the year, but especially during the Christmas season when you're most likely cooking and entertaining more than usual. According to the good folks at Allen's, marketers of canned vegetables, more than 80% of Americans use canned vegetables to help prepare meals around the holiday season. The average number of canned food items used each week is five. Just imagine how many are used to make a holiday meal. Eight in 10 Americans don’t go a week without cooking with canned vegetables. In an effort to help Americans eat better and healthier, the key is to keep a variety of new flavors alive in each dish prepared for your table.

The American consumer is ever changing, and eating healthy is at the top of their shopping list. Especially when a new diet plan is lingering in the minds of consumers fearful of gaining weight. As a result of the calorie-loaded dinner dishes and sugary desserts of the holiday season. It is assumed the average person gains between five and 10 pounds during the holidays. As a result, the modern consumer is beginning to look for products that are low in sodium, non-GMO, gluten-free, heart healthy and USA made. Brands like Allen's are leading the way to feeding the world through great-tasting, affordable and high-quality vegetable recipes like an Italian Green Bean Casserole that never leaves you with a guilty feeling, even after that second helping.

Americans continue to enjoy the endless benefits of canned goods packed at the peak of freshness. But around the holidays, staying true to family traditions is important, especially at the dinner table. Making Grandma’s homemade sweet potato pie can be made with healthy ingredients like canned vegetables packed with nutritious vitamins, minerals and fiber needed to promote good health, without substituting the tradition behind the recipes. Being a family-owned business, Allen's is committed to providing families with the freshest vegetables and staying true to family traditions for generations to come.

"Maintaining a sense of family, especially around the holidays, is an important asset for everyone at Allens," said David Brown, Vice President of Retail Sales for Allen's. “We all agree that food is one of the things that bring us together. That’s why we make it a priority to provide our consumers with the freshest, best quality vegetables possible.”

It is likely most Americans will keep true to their traditional holiday meals, but they are beginning to think bigger about nutrition and the ingredients they use. Allen's "Italian Green Bean Casserole" is a dish that makes an appearance on most holiday tables, with savory green beans in a creamy casserole that’s topped with crunchy French fried onions. And to satisfy the sweet cravings, Allen' s "Quick and Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes" provides the health benefits of sweet potatoes topped with gooey marshmallows and crispy pecans.

Allen's offers a wide variety of canned vegetables that are fresh and healthy for each consumer, making it possible for there to be something for everyone to enjoy. To learn more about or find holiday recipes for your table, like the ones below, visit Allens.com, Facebook.com/AllensVeggies or Pinterest.com/AllensVeggies.

Speaking of vegetables, about a month ago, I ran a recipe for 'Holiday Broccoli", which also brings vegetables to table in a festive way. If you missed this recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/broccoli-that-celebrates-the-holidays

So, NEVER feel guilty opening a can of vegetables during the holidays! If canned vegetables could talk, they'd may say that they'd enjoy being "dressed up" for the holidays, too. Let's do that with the following recipes:

QUICK AND EASY CANDIED SWEET POTATOES

  • 1 can (29 oz) Princella or Sugary Sam Cut Sweet Potatoes
  • 5 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows (optional)

Pour sweet potatoes with liquid into 2-qt. saucepan; cook until heated through. Drain liquid. While sweet potatoes are heating, combine butter or margarine and brown sugar in 1-qt. saucepan and cook until hot but not boiling. Add nuts to sauce, if desired, and pour over hot sweet potatoes. Stir just to coat. Serve immediately.

Variation: One cup miniature marshmallows may be added on top of dish just before serving and placed under the oven broiler until golden brown.

 A perfect side dish for your Christmas holiday dinners!

ITALIAN GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

  • 1 10.75 oz. can Condensed cream of mushroom soup (low fat or fat free can be used)
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Soy sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans Allen's Cut Italian Green Beans
  • 1 1/3 cups French fried onions, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 1 1/2-quart casserole, mix together soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, Italian green beans and 2/3 cup onions. Bake for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Stir, then sprinkle remaining onions on top. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, until onions are golden.



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