A Festive but Healthy Holiday Table

Healthy HolidayHolidays are times for merrymaking and good food, but it is good to find ways to have your cake and eat it – without the unnecessary calories. Here is a menu that is fit for any occasion without wreaking havoc on your attempts to stick to a healthy diet.

Good Food without Regrets

Yes, it can be done. You can have a satisfying holiday party menu while making sure everything is healthy. You can start your meal with a healthy vegetable soup and make sure you try this recipe for yam and kale salad to add color and texture to your menu. For your main dish, you can serve Ina Garten’s herb-marinated pork tenderloins, a sure winner with meat lovers. A holiday meal is not complete without dessert, so do serve strawberries dip in chocolate if you are pressed for time, or pineapple-raspberry parfaits.

Good Meat without the Fat: Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderoins

In her show, Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten features Herb-marinated Pork Tenderloins, a good alternative to the usual fatty meat main dishes. She shares this recipe with Food Network’s website.

Her recipe calls for the juice of four good-sized lemons (3/4 cup), lemon zest, 6 cloves of garlic (minced), a tablespoon and a half of minced rosemary leaves, a tablespoon of chopped thyme leaves, two teaspoons Dijon mustard, kosher salt, ground black pepper, olive oil, and three pork tenderloins. Depending on the size of your tenderloins, you will have about four to five pounds of meat.

Ina Garten instructs her readers to “Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight…”

After the tenderloins have soaked in the flavor from your marinade, discard the marinade and sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, use two tablespoons olive oil to sear the tenderloins in a heavy, oven-proof pan till thoroughly golden brown. Place pan in oven preheated to 400 degrees F and roast the meat until the thickest part of the meat reads 137 degrees F. Let rest for a few minutes and slice diagonally into ½ inch pieces.

A Salad to Feast On: Roasted Yam and Kale Salad

Try this roasted yam and kale salad – a simple, colorful, and truly yummy entrée to complement your herb-marinated pork tenderloins. Allrecipes contributor Matt D. shares this recipe with cooks who like their salads with plenty of substance.

You will need two jewel yams (in one-inch cubes), two tablespoons olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, one onion (sliced), three cloves of garlic (minced), a bunch of kale (torn into bite-sized pieces), two tablespoons red wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of fresh thyme.

To prepare the yams, preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Toss yam cubes in two tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake till tender (about 25 minutes) and cool in refrigerator when done.

Sautee onion and garlic in two tablespoons olive oil till caramelized. After about 15 minutes, stir in kale and stir fry until tender. Cool kale mixture in refrigerator. Once everything has cooled, combine yams, red wine vinegar, kale, and thyme. Season to taste and toss gently to combine. Serve cold.

Sweet, Easy and Healthy: Pineapple-Raspberry Parfait

Eating Well magazine’s recipe for pineapple-raspberry parfait is the easiest dessert to prepare – and its beautiful colors add just the right festive touch to your holiday meal. Simply have half a pint of raspberries, a cup and a half of pineapple chunks and two eight-ounce containers of non-fat peach yogurt. Layer the pineapple, raspberry in four glasses, top with a mint sprig, and serve cold. There you have a feast for your eyes that won’t take you on a guilt trip after.

Round it Off with Wine

A holiday meal definitely calls for wine to go with it. In matching Food and Wine’s Which Wines Pair Best with Pork? Fiona Beckett says: To tell the truth white wine is a better match than red with most roast pork dishes but psychologically one tends to expect a red with a roast, even one cooked, Italian-style with fennel, lemon and garlic. I personally enjoy Northern Rhône and Italian reds with pork: something like a decent Crozes-Hermitage or a Chianti Classico (particularly with the latter dish) though I know many pork fans prefer a Pinot Noir…”

Beckett certainly knows her stuff. Remember, though, nobody will stop you from capping this meal with a glass of bubbly!

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