It might be tempting to skip the standard heart-healthy fare during the holiday season but there are good reasons not to. First of all, deciding to drop a healthy regimen can turn into a steady habit. Next, as organizations like the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence can tell you, healthy meals don’t weigh you down in this hectic season. To get an idea of how good heart-conscious cooking can be, peruse these delights.
Glazed Ham with Apricots
Starting with a lean ham shank, attach apricots from a 6 ounce package. Roast the ham with a cup of water while covered with foil. Bake for an hour and 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and brush on sauce made from a half-cup of marmalade and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard on the ham every 15 minutes for another 30 minutes.
Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives
Start by mixing a standard cornbread dough in a food processor. Next, add a half cup of Cheddar cheese and two tablespoons of butter until a granular dough forms. Blend in ¾ cup of sour cream, ¼ cup of chives, and four tablespoons of low-fat milk. Finally, divide dough into twelve half-inch thick biscuits and bake.
As the name implies, thinly slice eight red potatoes crosswise while leaving one edge intact. Microwave them until tender. Then dribble two tablespoons of olive oil over them and add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, bake them again in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes and shake on a tablespoon of parsley and a teaspoon of thyme.
Sweet Potato Nachos
A unique way to include sweet potatoes involves peeling and slicing three potatoes and tossing them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon each of chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Baked for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, flip them over and give them another 10 minutes. Once they’re crisp, cover with a third-cup of shredded cheese and melt it.
Mississippi Spiced Pecans
After browning a pound of pecan halves for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, thoroughly cover them with two tablespoons of olive oil. Next, sprinkle them with a mixture of one tablespoon of brown sugar, one teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, a half-teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and just a smidgen of cayenne pepper, then blend and cool.
Green Bean Casserole
This traditional favorite can be made with a pound of thawed beans, a can of low-sodium cream of mushroom soup, a half-cup of low-fat sour cream, and a smidgen of pepper mixed in a casserole dish and baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Peach And Tomato Salad
Skip the oven and mix four cups of sliced peaches, three sliced tomatoes, one chopped onion, one cup of chopped basil, salt and pepper, and one tablespoon of olive oil.
Obviously, as institutions like ICE, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence would point out, the holidays can be healthy as well as fun. These meals can bring smiles as much as any presents.