Healthy(ish) Holiday Sides

Healthy(ish) Holiday Sides

Myles Apparel | Journal | Healthy(ish) Holiday Sides


Uh oh, you just found out your Holiday dinner is a potluck. Luckily our buddy, Chef Stuart O’Keeffe, has offered up a few easy recipes from his cookbook The Quick Six Fix that are sure to please even the pickiest eater in your family. His philosophy is to maximize simple ingredients while minimizing your time in the kitchen, which means these dishes are perfect for when you need to whip up something in a pinch. Take it away, Stu!





PREP: 3 minutes

COOK: 10 minutes

CLEAN: 3 minutes


This smooth, creamy, cheesy polenta is the definition of comfort. No wonder it’s a wintertime staple in the north of Italy.



2 cups water

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup polenta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, basil, or chives


Let’s Cook

1. In a large pot, bring water and stock to a simmer.

2. Add the polenta to the pot in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, whisking until it thickens.

3. Stir in extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and herbs and serve immediately.

Tip: If your polenta comes out too thick, add some water or stock little by little, until the desired consistency is achieved. (Be sure to follow the instructions on the polenta package carefully. It may take longer to cook some brands of polenta than others.)






PREP 3 minutes

COOK 20 minutes

CLEAN 3 minutes


Couscous is one of the easiest dishes in the world to make.
 It is also one of the most fun to dress up. This recipe is 
super simple, with some almonds, garlic, chili, and green onion adding flavor. You can tailor it to your own taste,
 too. Improvise by tossing in some cherry tomatoes, roasted zucchini, or sautéed eggplant, then fold in some dried raisins, cranberries, or currants for sweetness. The pairing possibilities are endless.



2 cups instant couscous

1 cup boiling water

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1⁄2 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 green onions, chopped into 1⁄4-inch slices


Let’s Cook!

1. Place couscous in a medium-size bowl, then pour boiling water and stock over. Cover and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender. (Always read the directions on the package, as different brands can vary.) Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the couscous.

3. In the same skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes along with the butter and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add garlic chili mixture to the couscous, stir, and season to taste.

5. Scoop onto plates or a platter and sprinkle with the chopped green onion.




Serves 4

PREP 3 minutes

COOK 10 minutes

CLEAN 3 minutes


Cornbread is something that I discovered in the United States. Now I associate it with all things American, especially that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving. Stuff a turkey with some cornbread and watch the faces light up around the table. Same goes for chicken. You can make your own cornbread for this recipe, or you can go the Quick Six route and make this extra easy by using store-bought cornbread muffins. Of course, quick and easy is the way I like to go.



1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

2 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed

3 cups crumbled cornbread (store-bought)

1⁄2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped chives


Let’s Cook

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes to soften up onion.

2. Add chili flakes and sausage and cook for 4 to 6 more minutes, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon to ensure it cooks all the way through.

3. Add the cornbread to the pan and stir to combine all ingredients. Add chicken stock and stir. Sprinkle with chives.



For more quick and healthy recipes from Chef Stuart O'Keeffe, pick up a copy of “The Quick Six Fix” here!