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 Salad, Baked Broccoli, Broccoli Salad, and Chili

After my first two nutritious meals, I was looking forward to capping off the day with a nutritious dinner (that and cooking/eating is much more fun than choirs). Here are my thoughts and recipes from Sunday evening, on my way to 31 healthy recipes during National Nutrition Month. Enjoy!

Fruit Salad with Citrus Dressing

Fruit Salad with Citrus DressingStrawberries just hit the stores and I was excited to have my first berries of the year, albeit they are coming from California. Thus, it was great timing for the fruit salad recipe! After substituting the blueberries for melon, I quickly prepared this recipe. The big tip in this recipe is the addition of honey, replacing the white sugar typically mixed into fruit salads. Sometimes it is the simple recipes that hit the spot!

Baked Broccoli

Baked BroccoliTwo great things about this recipe. First, by baking the broccoli, compared to boiling, you retain more nutrients. Second, broccoli is a super food, rich in many nutrients — It is easy to see why it won Kenny’s veggie bracket challenge.

Broccoli Salad

BroccoliSaladSince I was baking broccoli, I decided to buy extra for lunch for the next few days (to go with my tomato soup). No doubt, I will be getting my veggies this week!

Unlike most broccoli salads made with a dump truck full of mayonnaise, this broccoli salad uses a light amount of Greek yogurt, vinegar, and honey as the dressing. If you’re like me, this is the way to go! Not only is it healthier, but much more flavorful. And, with fantastic ingredients like feta, cranberries, and sunflower seeds, this is a great way to indulge in a super food (aka broccoli).

Chili Grilled Chili

ChillyGrilledChili-singleThis is the second time chili appears in this month’s blogs. So, I will confirm your suspicions, I am a chili fan! What’s not to like about the stuff, it is easy to make, stores well, and always provide me with the energy I need. What I like about this chili recipe is the grilled veggies. Although, it is a bit more work, it is worth the extra flavor you pull from each veggie. If you have the time, I highly recommend using this technique!

 


 

I have blogged on a total of 26 recipes! Just two more meals and I reach the finish line! Yesterday, I made Latin Quinoa Salad, fruit mango salsa, along with the simple salmon made previously. Tonight, I will finish with a healthy feast; roasted garlic chicken with linguine, spinach salad, and peaches with cream for dessert!

My Attempt at 31 Nutritious Recipes

This March, I decided to partake in the festivities of National Nutrition Month by broadening my healthy recipe arsenal. Throughout a normal month, I cook about ten different recipes, never dabbling with ingredients like quinoa, Greek yogurt, curry, kale, or even orzo pasta. As I can always use more nutrition in my diets, I have challenged myself to try thirty-one of our healthy recipes by the end of the month!

Along with adding more nutritious ingredients to my normal cooking, I hope to find a few new recipes that will push my go-to recipe list from ten to at least a dozen! Maybe, if I’m lucky, I will make it a baker’s dozen! Yes, that is audacious!

Summer Smoothie

Summer Berry SmoothieSo, it is now March 6, and how many recipes have I tried? Five! That’s me being on track! I started the week with the Summer Smoothie, providing myself an easy recipe to guarantee a first success! Typically, when I make a smoothie, it consists of an orange juice base and frozen fruit. By switching to cranberry juice and adding Greek yogurt, I upgraded my morning nutrition (addition of protein and calcium with less sugar)!

Though, my biggest recommendation is if you’re using a blender early in the morning, begin by closing the bedroom doors of those sleeping! While the smoothie was delicious, I didn’t need to be called a punk while sipping it down!

Easy Crockpot Chili

EasyCrockpotChili-SingleNext up, easy crockpot chili. As you may have guessed, this recipe was easy as well as tasty! Chili is one of those recipes that is very difficult to screw up! I followed the instructions, only adding a bit of cayenne pepper for a little heat!  Now, I have multiple days of lunch prepared, and only need to grab an apple and carrots for an easy balanced lunch!

Chicken Basil Bowl with Basil Lemon Dressing

Basil Bowl_lemon dressingWhile the chili was simmering, I decided to go on my first adventure into broadening my food horizons. I made the chicken basil bowl with quinoa. I have had quinoa before, but it was always a cold salad purchased at a grocery deli.

Basil Bowl_lemon dressing2I boiled the quinoa as needed, but it was a bit bland without any seasonings. Thusly, I thought the basil bowl was just average. Also, if I make this recipe again, I will plate more greens and less quinoa. As for the dressing, it came out great (refreshing and easy to make), and I have plans to use the remainder on a salad.

5-Step Skewers

Of the five recipes made so far, this has been my favorite! Grilled mangos are another first for me, and I have been missing out! I marinated the pork for an hour before skewering it with the mangos and placing it on the grill. Eight minutes later I was plating the food, with Skewers_Singlesome brown rice (this time with seasonings). With the mangos and pork skewered together, I assumed the mangos would cook faster, and be overdone, but to my surprise the mangos and pork were both perfectly done! The most difficult part of the recipe is waiting the hour for the pork to marinate, which, in my opinion, is well worth the wait! Enjoy this one!

Twenty-six more recipes to try! I will keep you filled in on the journey! And, please send me your thoughts, improvements, and questions as you try these recipes for yourself, especially if you have tips for seasoning quinoa!

Take Care!