Healthy Holiday Recipesby Michelle Karam
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if your diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure problems were just like a food allergy - and you could simply avoid that food, take your meds and you’d be all set?
With the holiday season upon us, and Christmas and New Year's right around the corner, if you have one of these conditions you may be forced to examine your eating habits and tune into your body and what will keep you healthy. Special occasions can be challenging, but they aren’t impossible.
Cooking for someone who has any of these conditions can also pose some challenges. Here are some fantastic recipes and ideas for a holiday feast that’s really delicious for just about anyone... whether you have a condition or not!Holiday Tips:
- Remember you are in control!
- Don’t obsess over trying to cook the perfect meal for everyone at the table.
- Instead create a bunch of small dishes so that everyone can “mix & match” and get what they want out of their meal.
- Try preparing some of your old favorite recipes but decrease the fat and sugar by using sugar substitutes and reduced or low fat products.
- Don’t go to your holiday party starving! This will cause you to over eat and possibly indulge in a little more pumpkin pie than you’ll really mean to.
- Exercise! Keep your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day. This movement will help keep your blood sugar levels controlled and burn those extra calories.
These tips are not meant just for those of you who have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. After all, the best and healthiest diet for someone living with those conditions is usually the very same as the suggested diet for someone who isn't.
I hope you enjoy and try these recipes. They’ll be sure to please even your most hearty holiday eater!
Holiday Feast Menu
Oven Roasted Turkey with Mushroom Gravy
Ingredients (makes 12 servings)
- ½ Cup dried cherries
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Teaspoons snipped fresh sage
- 10-12 lb Whole turkey
- 1 Large onion, quartered
Mushroom Gravy? Ingredients
- 1½ Cups dried porcini, oyster, shiitake, and/or chanterelle mushrooms
- 2 Cups of boiling water or low sodium chiken stock
- ½ Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup low sodium/low fat chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons dry sherry
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place dried cherries, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sage in a blender container or food processor bowl. Blend mixture just until cherries are finely chopped.
Slip your fingers between the skin and meat of the turkey just under the breast and loosen the turkey skin. Lift the skin and, using a spatula or spoon, carefully spread the cherry mixture directly over the turkey breast meat. Place the turkey on a rack, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Place the onion quarters inside the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs together using butchers twine. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh portion of the turkey without the thermometer touching the bone. Brush the top of the turkey with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Roast in preheated oven for 2½ hours. After 2½ hours of cooking, cut the string between the drumsticks so thighs will cook evenly. Uncover; roast 30 to 60 minutes more or until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees farenheight. Remove turkey from oven. Cover; let stand 15 minutes before carving.
Mushroom Gravy Directions
Meanwhile, place mushrooms in a medium sized bowl. Pour boiling water over mushrooms to cover. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain mushrooms. Strain the mushroom-soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth, paper towels, or a coffee filter and reserve.
Pour pan drippings from turkey into a large measuring cup. Skim and reserve fat from drippings. Pour 1/4 cup of the fat ( if necessary, add butter) into a medium saucepan. Stir in flour.
Add enough mushroom liquid and chicken broth to remaining drippings into a measuring cup to equal 2 cups. Add broth mixture all at once to flour mixture. Whisk over medium heat to make sure it’s all incorporated well. Cook and continue stirring over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in mushrooms and sherry. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Low-Sugar Cranberry Apple Dressing
Ingredients (makes 3 cups)
- 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ tablespoons spoonable sugar substitute
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
In a saucepan place the cranberries, sugar, sugar substitute, and cinnamon and add water just enough to bring the cranberries to a float. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes and then drain, but leave a small amount of water in the pan.
Add apples and cover mixture for 5 more minutes or until apples are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Allow to cool, then transfer dressing to a serving bowl. Cover and refigerate for at least two hours. Serve chilled.
Sweet Potato Pie
Ingredients (Makes 10 servings)
- 3 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine, softened
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
- 1 cup evaporated skim milk
- 3 large egg whites
- 9-inch unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, and egg yolk. Mix in sweet potatoes and evaporated milk.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into sweet potato mixture. Do not over mix. Pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack until ready to cut into wedges to serve.