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From savory nibbles to sweet treats, here are several healthy recipes to try in place of holiday belly busters

Nov 23, 2015 01:53PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Holiday Swap 
Compiled by Rhea Torreon


Turkey, Dill, and Orzo Soup

This is an incredibly easy and yummy soup that anyone can make. Think chicken noodle soup, but better! Simply peel and cut a couple carrots and throw everything (in stages) in chicken broth. Throw in your favorite spices for an extra flavor boost.

Serves 4

• 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• ½ cup orzo
• 1 ½ cups shredded roasted turkey or chicken
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the carrots and orzo and simmer until tender, 12–15 minutes. Add the turkey and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the saucepan and simmer until heated through, 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Adapted from: “Turkey, Dill, and Orzo Soup.” America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2013. Print.

Swap in place of: cream of “anything” soup; pot pies; chili.


Veggie Stir Fry

Stir fry might as well be synonymous with “easiest meal to throw together” because it involves a very minimal amount of work. All you need is some hot oil and a handful of ingredients to get you started. Enter the veggie stir fry: a humble hodgepodge of nutritious yet delicious morsels. This dish is a great opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. Use your favorite seasonings, vinegars, garnishes, and sauces. Substitute (or add) some broccoli florets or bean sprouts, and throw some scallions on top. Add chicken, shrimp, or beef to the mix; the possibilities are endless.

Serves 2–4

• Assortment of vegetables including (but not limited to) asparagus, bell pepper, kalamata olives, wild mushrooms, squeeze of lemon slice
• Grape seed or raw coconut oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Cook vegetables to degree of desired doneness.

Swap in place of: ratatouille; creamed spinach; mashed potatoes.


Butternut Squash & Pears with Rosemary and Baked Wild Salmon with Blackberry Puree

The butternut squash and pear component of this dish is absolutely delicious, and can be eaten on its own, with a protein, or even with a sprinkling of feta cheese. Rosemary adds depth of flavor to the subtlety of the fruits involved. The combination of all three fruits (two fruits and a fruit juice) results in a surprisingly sweet dish, but one that is balanced by the hint of cayenne. The richness of the wild salmon is a perfect backdrop for the layering of so many fruit flavors. As a whole, the dish is extremely enjoyable, and it’s a great naturally sweet alternative to those nutrition-less holiday cookies and candies.

Butternut Squash & Pears with Rosemary

Serves 4

• 1 Bosc pear
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• ½ small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• ½ cup local cider
• Sea salt

Halve and core the pear and cut it lengthwise into thin slices. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, flipping every few minutes, until the squash starts to brown and soften, about 5 minutes. Add the pear, rosemary, cayenne, and apple juice and cook until the liquid evaporates and the squash is tender, 6–8 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Adapted from: Jacobi, Dana. “Butternut Squash & Pears with Rosemary.” Good for You: Easy, Healthy Recipes for Every Day. Weldon Owen, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. California: San Francisco, 2013: Print.

Baked Salmon with Blackberry Puree

Serves 2

• 2 skinless wild salmon fillets
• 6 ounces blackberries
• ½ cup water
• 1/8 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine blackberries, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until berries start to break down, about 5 minutes. Strain blackberry liquid using a fine mesh strainer. Push the pulp through with the back of a spoon. Discard blackberry seeds. Return strained blackberry liquid to saucepot and put over high heat until boiling. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and set salmon filets in center. Drizzle oil on top and season with salt and pepper. Pour blackberry puree over salmon and bake for 3-4 minutes. Pour remaining puree over salmon and place under broiler on high for 3 more minutes, or until desired temperature.

Adapted from: “Anderson, Sunny. “Baked Salmon with Blackberry Ginger Glaze.” Food Network. Oct. 2014. Web. 2009.

Swap in place of: prime rib; leg of lamb; holiday ham.


Grapefruit Brûlée

Grapefruit brûlée is a quick and easy dessert. If you have fresh fruit handy or some that’s been sitting in the fruit bowl, this is the perfect way to use it. Ghee is clarified butter, which can be found in their international section of some grocers, such as Whole Foods. If you don’t already have ghee you can manage just fine without it. It’s important to thoroughly cut each grapefruit segment from the membrane and skin beforehand, otherwise spooning out the fruit will be difficult.

Serves 2

• Ghee
• Brown sugar
• Cinnamon
• 1 white grapefruit cut in half

Turn broiler on high. Cut the bottom off grapefruit half. Carefully cut grapefruit segments in between membranes, as well as a circle cut to separate segments from the skin. Evenly spread ghee on the open face of the grapefruit half. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar to coat. Broil grapefruit for 3–4 minutes, or until sugar coating browns.

Swap in place of: crème brûlée; any pie; mouse.