by Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T. in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 13, 2016
by Emily Lee in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 8, 2016
When I think of delicious Middle Eastern food, I think of the Israeli-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi captured my heart and taste buds years ago with that gorgeous photo of roasted eggplant with buttermilk and pomegranate on the cover of Plenty, and now my kitchen shelves are lined with his cookbooks. That eggplant dish was the first recipe of his I made, and it was the first time I’d ever used za’atar spice.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice made up of dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Deliciously nutty, it’s perfect sprinkled on roasted vegetables and meats or on yogurt or olive oil as a dip for pita.
Inspired by Ottolenghi and the upcoming holidays, I decided to make a Middle Eastern spiced quinoa salad, complete with eggplant, pomegranate and pistachios, topped with a lemony za’atar vinaigrette. This dish is vegan friendly and gluten-free to accommodate all your holiday guests. Looking for a creamy, salty component to round out the dish? Add some crumbled feta cheese on top for a vegetarian version.
Your family and friends will appreciate this flavorful, lightened-up holiday side dish. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like vitamin C, this salad is brimming with nutrition and flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make the day before to save you time and sanity on the actual holiday. Read more
by Emily Lee in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 1, 2016
These festive sweets are ideal for a holiday cookie swap, and they make great hostess gifts too. If you’re having trouble deciding on just one recipe, go ahead and make them all — it’s totally doable, since each recipe requires just 20 minutes of prep or less. Keep a few for yourself, then bundle the rest in gift bags for your friends and family to enjoy. Holiday “shopping” doesn’t get much easier than that. The fact that they’re all on the lighter side? Consider it a bonus.
No-Bake Chewy Truffle Cookies
Embrace the opportunity to give your oven a rest. These chewy, no-bake truffles are loaded with sweet dried dates bound together by cocoa powder, reduced-fat peanut butter, and a little bit of butter and honey (instead of the traditional combination of milk and sugar).
by Serena Ball in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 24, 2016
As much as we love baked Brie wrapped in phyllo dough, the best-executed holiday cocktail hours consist of light, refreshing bites that anticipate the meal ahead — without spoiling it completely. If there’s a creamy, bubbling-hot dip on the table, it should come as no surprise when your meticulously arranged crudite platter goes untouched and, worst of all, your guests are too stuffed to enjoy the main event. Small bites that are not only light but also quick and easy to make are best for everyone in attendance — especially the host — so choose recipes that require no more than 20 minutes of prep work (the less time, the better). Here are five finger foods you can count on to hit the mark at your upcoming soiree.
Vegetarian Spinach-Walnut Pate (pictured at top)
This creamy, spinach-packed appetizer spreads like pate, and the tart bursts of pomegranate seeds remind us of caviar. Set it out with an array of fresh vegetables and crackers, for dipping.
by Elizabeth Brownfield in Healthy Recipes, November 22, 2016
Layer after layer of warm cheesy potatoes — it’s pretty much a classic definition for comfort food. Here, buttery yellow-skinned potatoes and thickly sliced mushrooms are drenched in a 10-minute cream sauce and sprinkled with rich blue cheese.
In past decades, scalloped potatoes were on the dinner rotation with other casseroles. But these Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms have been updated for modern tastes, and they feature a few tricks that make them lighter than the cream-drenched “covered dishes” of the past. Here’s what I stirred up:
Yukon Gold Potatoes
These thin-skinned potatoes taste buttery even without the addition of any dairy. Leaving the skins on ups the flavor and nutrition.
Your grandma probably didn’t add blue cheese to her hot dish; using this umami-rich cheese packs intense flavor throughout the recipe, with the use of only a half-cup of cheese.
Baby Bella Mushrooms
Also known as “cremini,” these meaty mushrooms are sliced thick to give them solid structure, making the scalloped potatoes hearty enough to serve as a meatless meal. Also, mushrooms contain vitamin D, which may help improve your mood as daytime sunshine becomes sparse. Read more
by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 19, 2016
If you’re searching for a warm way to welcome your Thanksgiving guests on Thursday, look no further than an autumnal Pepper and Pie Cocktail from Watershed Distillery. On a recent culinary tour of Columbus, Ohio, I had the chance to sample the local spirit-maker’s small-batch bourbon, gin and vodka, as well as cocktails from Alex Chien, bar manager of the soon-to-open Watershed Kitchen & Bar. Everyone raved about Alex’s refreshing cocktail made with tomato water, grapefruit, tarragon and Watershed’s Four Peel Gin (which, in addition to the usual juniper, is made with four citrus peels: orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime).
I’ve been craving Chien’s creative craft cocktails ever since, so I asked him to share a drink recipe with Healthy Eats especially for Thanksgiving entertaining. His Pepper and Pie Cocktail harnesses fall’s best flavors — warming bourbon, apple cider, pumpkin puree, fresh apples and rosemary — in a single glass that drinks splendidly alongside holiday fare. It’s the perfect drink to greet guests with when they arrive for your Thanksgiving feast, or to make for yourself when you finally start the dishwasher and kick up your feet at the end of the night.
Pepper and Pie Cocktail
Yield: 1 serving
Recipe courtesy of Watershed Distillery Read more
by Silvana Nardone in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, November 18, 2016
You are amped up for holiday meals, but your little ones might not be so thrilled. The fun and excitement of the holidays doesn’t always transfer to the dinner table, unless it’s covered in chocolate. Here are some kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing recipes to include in those sometimes controversial holiday menus.
Instead of fried junk, opt for sippable soups and veggiecentric snacks. Add a little kick of spice for the grownups and dial down the heat in a smaller batch for little ones. Even picky eaters tend to love briny olives and other finger foods.
Recipes to try:
Simple Chicken Soup
Citrus Marinated Olives
Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce Read more
by Emily Lee in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 17, 2016
Truth: Thanksgiving can be stressful—if you let the multicourse holiday feast rule you. We’re convinced the day will be better if you actually have time to enjoy your guests and your showstopping meal, including dessert. This year, we’re cooking up dessert at least one day ahead of the big day. No reason to wait to make these healthy-but-no-one-will-ever-know-it, rich desserts that’ll deliver sweet success.
Pumpkin Tiramisu with Gingersnap Crunch
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chilled dairy-free coconut or almond creamer
4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
One 7-ounce package ladyfinger cookies
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed espresso, at room temperature
Gingersnaps, coarsely crushed, for sprinkling
In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the creamer until it holds soft peaks; gradually beat in the mascarpone and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped mascarpone cream until just combined.
Submerge each ladyfinger into the cooled espresso and line the bottom of a 9-inch square glass baking pan. Spread half of pumpkin filling on top; sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and pumpkin filling. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tiramisu up to 2 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over it.
Per serving: Calories 120.1; Fat 6.5 g (Saturated 2.9 g); Cholesterol 99.1 mg; Sodium 74.2 mg; Carbohydrate 13.8 g; Fiber 0.4 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 2.65 g Read more
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Recipes, November 11, 2016
Is there anything more necessary than a generous scoop of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? A slice of hot buttered cornbread is nice, too. Some would even say it’s the green bean casserole that really makes the meal special. Personal preferences aside, we can all agree that the sides are the best part of Thanksgiving — next to the smorgasbord of pie, of course. And since we only get to enjoy this celebratory feast one day each year, why not dig in to the indulgent dishes that are so representative of the holiday?
Then again, if you plan on having a lot of leftovers, you could be enjoying these dishes for a few days (or an entire week) after Thanksgiving has passed. That’s incentive to throw some healthier options into the mix. Here are the classic, comforting sides we all long for, with a few alterations to make each one less of a splurge. As it turns out, your healthiest Thanksgiving could be your most-traditional yet.
Mashed Potatoes (pictured above)
Food Network Kitchen prepares these Mock Mashed Potatoes using cauliflower in place of traditional Yukon Golds, which results in a creamy mash that will have everyone at the table fooled. Garlic and thyme add flavor depth while nonfat Greek yogurt and a little Parmesan bring in some dairy richness and tang.
by Emily Lee in Healthy Recipes, November 10, 2016
’Tis the season to cozy up with warm bevvies. But be careful: Many drinks are liquid calorie traps, as calories and sugar can get out of control. Enjoy these hot toddies for under 300 calories per serving.
Mulled Cider (pictured above)
Mixing apple cider with cinnamon, allspice and cloves makes a delicious toddy that’s low in calories.
Ginger Spiced Hot Cocoa
There’s nothing better than a warming cup of hot cocoa on a cold day, especially with a touch of soothing ginger.
Orange Tea with Honey
Flavor your everyday tea with orange and lemon peels, which add a bright dose of cold-fighting vitamin C. Read more
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means our opportunities for sampling fresh baked goods are about to quadruple. If you’re choosing between a mammoth slice of cake festooned with buttery frosting and a modest piece of carrot cake, the carrot cake is clearly the better choice. Carrots are in peak season right now, and when used in baking, this vivid orange vegetable offers wonderful texture and natural sweetness. Still, the usual embellishments — chopped nuts, dried fruit, cream cheese frosting — all present opportunities for refined sugar and added fat to sneak in. So whether you prefer your carrots in cake, cupcake or muffin form, follow these six tips for turning your favorite carrot desserts into health-minded fall treats.
Use Whole-Wheat Flour
Whole-wheat pastry flour and pumpkin pie spice add great nutty flavor to Food Network Kitchen’s rustic Carrot Cake, while buttermilk and grated carrots keep the batter extra moist. Confectioners’ sugar and reduced-fat cream cheese yield a still-sweet, still-tangy frosting for very few extra calories.