Healthy Christmas Recipes

Christmas is a time of giving, sharing, loving and, unfortunately, holiday weight gain! Yeah, if you’re having the average Christmas and the average Christmas dishes, you know that bathroom scale is going to scream at you come January.

With a couple healthy Christmas recipes, however, you can eat great food, enjoy great flavors and not have to suffer the after effects of the usual Christmastime meals.

Here are two recipes to try out, an appetizer and a side dish.

Healthy Holiday Recipes to Try

Olive Tapenade

Tapenades make fantastic appetizers. Whether you eat them on a slice of pita or a whole-wheat cracker, you can enjoy a guilt-free and tasty appetizer that will not end up on your waistline in 2011.

Here’s what we’ll need to make this wonderful green olive tapenade: extra virgin olive oil; a shallot; garlic; Roma tomatoes (the peeled, seeded variety in cans works great), fresh oregano, red pepper flakes, white wine, a lemon, fresh parsley and about a cup of green olives.

First up, the prep work: zest your lemon and set it aside and pit and finely chop the olives. Next, dice about a tablespoon each of garlic and shallot and chop up about a teaspoon of the oregano and a tablespoon and a half of the parsley (finely chop the tomatoes if they’re not already chopped).

In a medium-sized pan, bring about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat and then add the garlic, shallots and tomato. Let this cook together for about 6 minutes, stirring consistently, and then add ½ cup white wine, a pinch of red pepper flake, the oregano, and let the mixture reduce until most of the liquid is gone.

Set it aside and let it cool. After it has cooled down, add your diced olives, parsley and the lemon zest – salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

Broccoli Rabe

This veggie has a great, unique flavor and the way we’ll prepare it really packs a punch without adding in the fat. At Christmastime, it complements any savory dish well and can be served as a side to replace one of those fatty, carb-laden options.

For this, we’ll need: a pound of broccoli rabe; a head of garlic; olive oil; red wine vinegar; salt and pepper.

Trim off the tough ends of the broccoli rabe and rinse them well. Next, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and finely slice (not chop) 6 cloves of garlic while that pan is heating up over medium-low heat.

We don’t want any high heat at all, because we’re adding garlic. If the garlic burns, the dish is ruined. So add your garlic slices and stir constantly until they take on a little bit of color. After that, add in your broccoli rabe and turn the heat up to medium. After about 3-5 minutes, the stems will be soft.

Salt and pepper to taste and add about ¼ cup of vinegar to the mixture and toss it – then you’re ready to eat.

Read more about Holiday Eating
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