Healthy Holiday Meal

The first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve both fall on the same day this year. With only two days left to prep, we need to cut to the chase. There’s no time to waste.

Did you know that the average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas Day? research carried out by Associated British Foods recently found. That’s more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake.

You made it through Thanksgiving dinner unscathed. You even indulged in a few of your favorite dishes. We want to make sure that you enjoy this holiday too so we brought in Coach Safia to give you a few healthy holiday menu ideas. Today, we will cover off on the appetizer ,the main course, and a side dish, and we are leaving the best part, DESSERT for tomorrow.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut pumpkin into 2-inch pieces. Combine pumpkin, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer. Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife (about 30 minutes), rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins.
  2. Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups of stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups of stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Roasted Branzino with Fennel, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Olives

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 branzino (sea bass), 1 1/2 to 2 lb., cleaned, with head and tail intact
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 7 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 2 lb. boiling potatoes
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup Gaeta or Kalamata or other Mediterranean-style black olives

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp, heavy knife, make slashes on both sides of the fish, cutting down to the bone.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, marjoram, 4 tbs. of the olive oil, and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Rub the mixture inside the cavity and over the outside of the fish. Tuck the lemon slices inside. Cover the fish and let stand while you prepare the potatoes, tomatoes and fennel.
  4. Peel and slice the potatoes, half the cherry tomatoes and rinse under cold running water.Pat dry the potatoes. Place in a bowl. Cut off the stems and feathery leaves from the fennel bulbs. Reserve for another use or discard. Cut away and discard any discolored areas of the bulbs. Halve each bulb lengthwise and cut away the tough core. Cut the halves crosswise into thin slices. Add the fennel slices to the potato slices and tomato mixture along with the remaining 3 tbs. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, toss well, and then spread the vegetables in a roasting pan large enough to hold the slices in a shallow layer.
  5. Bake until the potatoes, tomatoes and fennel begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the potatoes,toss the tomatoes, stir in the olives, and place the fish on top. Continue to bake until the flesh is opaque when cut near the bone, and the potatoes, and fennel are tender; 20 to 30 minutes more.
  6. Transfer the fish to a warmed platter. Surround with the potatoes,tomatoes, fennel, and olives. Serve immediately.

And there you have it. Enjoy!

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