Holidays can be an excellent time for getting together with coworkers, friends, neighbors, and family. Celebrating traditions and making memories can often revolve around food and drinks. If you are not careful, you can find yourself feeling differently in January from the change in your eating patterns from the previous six weeks. While one event won’t impact your wellness routine, a few days a week for several weeks can.
If you are hosting, choose healthier options for your favorite recipes. If someone else is hosting, be the person to bring the healthy side or dessert, others will be happy to have a more nutritious choice too!
Try this recipe instead of the traditional potato salad recipe. You can use Yukon Gold potatoes in place of the red skins, but the red skin potatoes and pesto will be a colorful addition to your holiday table!
Red skin potato salad
2 # red skin potatoes (about 1 ½” round)
2 T. olive oil
½ c. pesto sauce
- Wash and dry potatoes, slice larger potatoes in half or quarters lengthwise, so they are all uniform in size.
- Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and kosher salt
- Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until evenly browned.
- Remove from oven and while still warm, toss with pesto sauce until well coated, serve warm or cold.
Braised Brussels sprouts are a great addition to any plate. They are easy to prepare and readily available in the winter.
Braised Brussels Sprouts
2 oz pancetta or bacon, minced
2 lb brussels sprouts
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thin
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Wash Brussels sprouts and allow to dry; pat dry if needed.
- Using a knife; thinly slice sprouts.
- In a large saute pan add pancetta, render the fat; being careful not to burn.
- Add the olive oil and garlic and saute for 5 minutes then add the Brussels sprouts. Salt and pepper to taste and saute on high heat for 5-10 minutes or until desired tenderness.
- In a deep heavy saute pan, sauté pancetta on medium-low heat until fat melts and pancetta becomes golden, about 5 minutes. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden. Add shredded brussels sprouts, salt and pepper to taste and sauté on high heat for about 6 to 10 minutes, until tender crisp.
Green beans in tomato sauce are a hearty but healthy side dish. They pair well with most entrees and provide a good alternative to the traditional green bean casserole.
Green Beans Yaihni
(Green Beans in Tomato sauce)
1 ½ pounds fresh green beans, washed
1 small can of tomato paste
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves (minced or finely sliced)
½ c. Olive oil
½ c. water
kosher salt as needed
- In a large dutch oven add half of the olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- Add onions to the oil and saute for 4-5 minutes; then add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.
- Add tomato paste and remaining olive oil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes on low until it forms a thick sauce.
- Add green beans and ½ c. water. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Add more water if needed.
Roasted peppers are an easy and nutritious vegetable side dish or appetizer. With or without the balsamic glaze they are bursting with flavor. Using assorted colors rivals your centerpiece for attention!
Roasted Assorted Peppers
8 peppers of assorted colors; red, green, yellow, and orange
2 T. Olive oil
- Thoroughly wash peppers, removing the stem, seeds, and the inner membrane/pith, and put in a large bowl.
- Add olive oil and kosher salt to the peppers and toss until well coated.
- Roast in a convection oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
For conventional ovens, roast for 20-30 minutes.
Baked Pears make an excellent dessert.
Baked Pears with Walnuts
2 large ripe pears
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. honey
1/4 cup crushed walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash pears and pat dry with paper towels; do not remove stems.
- Cut in half lengthwise, leaving stems intact.
- Make a small cut on the side of the pear so it sits on the pan flatly.
- Scoop out the core and any seeds with a melon baller.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the pear flesh.
- Evenly drizzle the honey over each pear.
- Spoon the nuts over each pear so the flesh is almost covered.
- Arrange in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve in the baking dish or remove and place on a decorative plate.
Drizzle additional honey and sprinkle more cinnamon on the plate.