On the first day of Christmas they had

Smoked Trout Spread

  • 1/4 pound smoked trout fillet, skinned and broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 celery stalk, diced

In a blender or food processor, combine the trout, cottage cheese, red onion, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the diced celery. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving. Serves 12.  Nutrition Facts/Serving size: 1 tablespoon.  Calories 26; Protein 4g, Cholesterol 14mg; Carbohydrate 1g; Sodium 234mg; Fat 1g; Sat Fat 0mg;  Fiber 0mg.

On the second day of Christmas they had

Shrimp & Avocado Appetizers

  • 16 whole-wheat Triscuit thins crackers
  • 1 avocado, cut into 16 slices
  • 16 cooked shrimp
  • Lime wedges

Top each cracker with 1 slice avocado, 1 shrimp and a squeeze of lime juice.  Nutrition Facts – 16 pieces - Per piece: 61 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 8 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 61 mg sodium;

On the third day of Christmas they had

Spinach Salad with Maple Cider Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 1 10-ounce package fresh spinach/12 cups
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions (green onions) finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese

Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

Toss spinach and cucumber in a salad bowl.  Whisk oil, shallots, vinegar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.  Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.  Serves 4, 2 cups each.  

Nutrition Facts Per serving: 115 calories; 5.6 g fat (1.2 g sat); 5 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 105 mg sodium

On the fourth day of Christmas they had

Roast Chicken with Dried-Cranberry Gravy

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 4-pound Roasting Chicken
  • 1 cup fat free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup lite cranberry-juice cocktail
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Place chicken in a shallow non-metal dish just large enough to hold the roast. Pour cooled marinade over venison and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 2 to 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove the chicken from marinade and pat dry, reserving marinade. Rub chicken with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Sear the meat, turning with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small metal roasting pan. Roast chicken 1½ hours. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain the reserved marinade into a medium saucepan. Add stock (or broth), cranberry juice, dried and cranberries. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until sauce is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 1 T. cold water in a small bowl; slowly whisk into the simmering sauce until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Carve into thin slices, serve with the sauce (without the chicken skin).

Nutrition Facts. Serves 6. Per Serving: Calories 253, Fat 7.2g, Sat Fat 1.7g, Cholesterol 66mg, Carbohydrate 12g; Sugars 9g; Protein 22g; Fiber 1g, Sodium 245mg.

On the fifth day of Christmas they had

Garlicky Green Beans -Instead of the usual green bean casserole this year, try this tasty healthy recipe

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove.  Add half the green beans to the boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon to the ice water to cool. Repeat with the remaining beans. Place a kitchen towel on a baking sheet and use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans from the ice water; blot dry with another towel.

Just before serving, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the green beans and stir. Add parsley, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 3 minutes.    8 servings, about 1 cup each.

Nutrition facts per serving:  66 calories; 3.4 g fat (.5 g saturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 148 mg sodium

On the sixth day of Christmas they had

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.  Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.  Serves 12 (1/2 cup). 

Nutrition facts per serving: 96 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat); 5 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 118 mg sodium.

On the seventh day of Christmas they had

Seasonal Fruit Palette - Arrange the fruit on a plate similar to an artists palette.  Substitute fresh fruits based upon availability.

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries, unsweetened (thawed)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 star fruit, sliced
  • 1 mango (or peach), pitted, peeled & sliced
  • 1 pear, pitted & sliced
  • 1 plum, pitted & sliced
  • 2 kiwi, peeled & sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.  In a food processor or blender, combine the strawberries and powdered sugar. Pulse until smooth. Pour onto chilled dessert plates that have a rim. Arrange the sliced fruit on top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Garnish with fresh mint and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Nutrition facts per serving:  Calories 151, Fat .6g, Sat. Fat .1g, Sodium: 5mg, Carbohydrate: 39g, Fiber 6g, Sugars 28g.

On the eighth day of Christmas they had

Tuscan White Bean Spread (Appetizer)

  • 1 16-ounce can white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped arugula, or watercress
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine beans, oil, thyme, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt & pepper.   Place the arugula/watercress on a shallow bowl and pour in the bean puree. Makes 1 ½ cups.  Serve with whole wheat pita bread.

Nutrition Facts Per tablespoon: 20 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 44 mg sodium.

One the ninth day of Christmas they had

Crunchy Pear & Celery Salad

  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons cider (pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
  • 1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese (substitute low fat if desired)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce

Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  Whisk vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition Facts: Serves 6 (1 cup per serving).  221 calories; 14 g fat (5 g sat, 4 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 240 mg sodium.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare salad without pecans up to 2 hours ahead. Stir in pecans just before serving.

Tip: To toast chopped pecans, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

One the tenth day of Christmas they had

Spinach lasagna with sun-dried tomato sauce - This hearty main dish can be prepared ahead, refrigerated and baked later.

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, including tender green tops, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrate in hot water, drain and chop)
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (save one for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 12 no-boil spinach lasagna sheets, about 7 by 3 1/2 inches

In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and continue to whisk until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the soy milk and stock all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Set the sauce aside.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and sauté until lightly browned. Stir in the basil and salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and stir quickly until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove from the heat.  Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together the ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and the egg white. Stir in the spinach and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the dish and cover with 3 sheets of the pasta. Spoon half of the spinach mixture onto the pasta and spread gently. Cover with 3 more pasta sheets. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and cover with another 1/2 cup of sauce, then another layer of pasta. Spoon in the remaining spinach filling and top with the last 3 pasta sheets. Add the remaining sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with  basil.   Serves 8.

Nutrition Facts (per serving) Calories 288, Fat 8 g, (Saturated Fat 2g), Protein 17 g, Cholesterol 6 mg, Carbohydrate 39 g, Sodium 526 mg, Fiber 4 g              

One the eleventh day of Christmas they had

Baby Minted Carrots

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound baby carrots, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Put 6 cups of water into a large saucepan. Add the carrots and boil until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the carrots and set aside in a serving bowl.

In a separate saucepan over moderate heat, combine the apple juice and cornstarch. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mint and cinnamon.  Pour the apple juice mixture over the carrots. Serve immediately.  Serves 6. 

Nutrition facts per serving:  Calories 38, Fat 0g, Protein 1 g, Sodium 45 mg, Carbohydrate 10 g. Fiber 2 g, Sugar 4g.

On the twelfth day of Christmas they had

Pomegranate Poached Pears

  • 4 ripe, firm Bosc pears
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, (1/2 large fruit; see Tip)
  • 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream
  • 4 fresh or dried bay leaves, for garnish

Peel pears, leaving them whole and stems intact. Slice off the bases so the pears will stand upright. Use an apple corer to remove cores, if desired, working from the base up.  lace the pears on their sides in a large saucepan. Pour pomegranate juice and cider over the pears. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Turn very gently once or twice as they cook so they color evenly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a shallow bowl and set aside.

Boil the poaching liquid over high heat until the sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

To serve, spoon 1 tablespoon sauce onto each of 4 dessert plates. Place a pear upright on each plate. Drizzle remaining sauce over each pear. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds around the pears and top with the almonds. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and a bay leaf.  Serves 4.

Tip: To seed a pomegranate and avoid the enduring stains of pomegranate juice, work under water. Fill a large bowl with water. Hold the pomegranate in the water and slice off the crown. Lightly score the fruit into quarters, from crown to stem end. Keeping the fruit under water, break it apart, gently separating the plump seeds from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 235 calories; 2.5 g fat (.2 g sat); 1 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrates;; 3 g protein; 7 g fiber; 16 mg sodium


And they all lived happy and healthy lives in the following new year!