Healthier Holiday Meals

The holiday’s are hear, and while I sometimes error on the side of eating too much (see our Hunger Meter), I do try to eat a balanced holiday meal. Here are a few tips and recipes on the traditional holiday favorites that will trim calories and boost nutrition.

Green Bean Casserole

The green beans are great, but the rest of the ingredients lead up to a high fat high calorie feast! Why not serve up fresh steamed green beans without all the extras? Steam beans to tender-crisp then sauté with diced shallots and toasted sliced almonds.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes don’t have to be loaded up with cream and butter to taste great. Take advantage of the natural creaminess of potatoes. You can also ramp up the flavor by adding fresh herbs, spices, and other flavor enhancers such as sweet roasted garlic. Here’s one recipe to trim up the calories in mashed potatoes:

Healthier Mashed Potatoes - mobile

Sweet Potato Casserole

Candied yam—another vegetable dish turned into a sugar-and fat-laden indulgence. For a new tradition, try this Meringue-topped Sweet Potato Casserole, reprinted with permission from Eating Well (EatingWell.com/recipes/sweet_ potato_meringue_casserole.html):

Sweet Potato Casserole_Mobile

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition in many homes. This year, create a new tradition by making a homemade cranberry apple sauce that is lower in added sugar and higher in fruit than the traditional and canned versions.

Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce - Mobile

31 Healthy Recipes – Fruit & Yogurt Parfait, Fruit Salad, Lemon Chicken, Black Eyed Peas & Tomato Salad, and Tomato Soup

I have some catching up on the blog after a great weekend of healthy cooking (I was a few recipes behind, and Sunday was the perfect day to do some cooking).  Here are the recipes from breakfast and lunch, on my way to 31 healthy recipes during National Nutrition Month. I will follow up with a post on my dinner! Enjoy!

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Fruit and Yogurt ParfaitThis recipe is an easy and quick way to get nutrition in the morning! Recipes are great when they are convenient at any time, but expecially in the morning!

Also, the parfait contained the protein, fruit, dairy, and grain to get me energized for a day full of choirs and cooking. Yup, I had a very exciting day ahead of me!

Lemon Chicken

Lemon ChickenThis was a very convenient meal! I took a break from doing my Sunday choirs to marinade the chicken. Then, a few hours later, I was hungry, and the chicken was ready to grill! For a light marinade, the chicken had tons of flavor, and pairing it with the black eyed peas, I had a great meal!

Black Eyed Peas and Tomato Salad

Black Eyes Peas and Tomato SaladYou can go wrong with tomatoes and basil! Though, I was surprised by the black eye peas. I thought the can of black eyes peas was going to ruin the freshness created by the tomatoes and basil, but with the aid of the rice vinegar, the dish turned out very fresh and light!

Wholesome Tomato Soup

Wholesome Tomato SoupThis was my first time making tomato soup. I have ate it all my life, but it has always come from a box or can. So, it was a great experience to make this recipe.

After baking the veggies, I added just the right amount of spices (pepper, salt, and lots of basil). The soup turned out fantastic! Rich, creamy, nutritious, and none of the additives that come in the canned variety! I will be making this recipe again, and the variations that I can try are limitless!

PS: This is a great recipe to make on Sunday and bring to work the next few days.

31 Healthy Recipes – Pork Tenderloin, Kale Chips, and Vegetable Slaw with Peanut Dressing

I am on a roll! Two evenings in a row I have stepped up and fixed myself a healthy, balanced meal! Mark off three more on my quest to make 31 healthy recipes during National Nutrition Month.

Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloin_SingleAt lunchtime, I asked my wife to begin marinating the pork. She gladly accepted the task, as she knew I would be cooking the remainder of the meal!

Once marinated, I placed the pork on the grill at 350 degrees. I know, I strayed from the directions, but this created less mess and removed the step of searing the tenderloin.

Once grilled up, the pork turned out great! As the tenderloin is a lean cut, it required the hour long cooking period to make it tender. As I mentioned in my post about pot roast, slow cooking is a great was to prepare a lean protein.

In addition to being a lean protein, pork tenderloin is a great source of B vitamins and zinc. Being tasty and nutritious, I will be cooking pork tenderloin much more often. And, with the many healthy marinades out there, I will be able to mix it up and try new flavors!

Kale Chips

Baked Kale ChipsI will admit, I was quite hungry while waiting for the pork to cook. And with a bunch of kale in the fridge waiting to be used in the vegetable slaw, I decided to make kale chips.

I removed the stems, seasoned the kale lightly with olive oil and salt, and placed them in the oven. While they were cooking, I began prepping the veggies for the slaw. I was cutting away, making great progress on the slaw, then remembered the kale chips. I immediately stopped cutting, and opened the oven. It was too late. The now brown kale chips lost all flavor, except for the salt. My first failure of the month. I would have tried again, but I was now committed to not screwing up the slaw.

Vegetable Slaw with Peanut Dressing

Vegetable Slaw with Peanut Dressing-singleLuck for me, the kale in this slaw does not need to be cooked. I cut the veggies, blended the dressing, and waited for the pork to finish.

After only a few minutes (I am a slow cutter), the pork was ready to go, and I was dressing the salad. Typically, when making a salad, I go to the fridge and pull out a bottle of pre-made dressing. Not this time! And, that is what makes this recipe amazing. The dressing perfectly flavors the fresh veggies, especially the jicama. The salad was light, fresh, nutritious, and a great pairing to the pork.

Although, I failed to bake kale chips, this was a successful meal. I was full, my wife was happy, and our compost enjoyed a good serving of burnt kale chips!

My big take away from this meal (excluding not burning the kale chips); making my own dressing! I will save money by not having to buy it, and will always have a fresh dressing, when I need it! How many of you make your own dressing?