Dr Joy’s Healthy Habits: Festive Holiday Foods #26 

 December 17, 2020

By  Dr. Joy Lasseter

There are several holidays during this season. As you celebrate according to your beliefs and traditions remember to substitute the high calorie sugar ingredients with a natural net zero calorie sweetener when you make your holiday meals! (See “Trick the Sugar Monster” in my Myth Busters Issue #26) Here are some of my favorite, festive and delicious holiday foods. Enjoy!

Dr. Joy’s Golden Recipes

Cornish Game Hens with Orange Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 F. Thaw the frozen hens a day ahead in the refrigerator. You will need one hen per person. Tie legs together with baking twine. Tuck wing tips under backs. Clear the hen cavity and insert the rice stuffing. Place each on the rack in a turkey baking pan. Brush each hen with the Orange Glaze using a basting brush. Bake for about an hour until done. Use a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the hen, not the stuffing. They are done at 165 F on thermometer. Garnish with long curls of orange zest just before serving.

Vegetarian Options: Replace the animal protein with beans, nuts and seeds or cheese if they eat dairy. There are many sub- categories of vegetarianism. Ask what your guest eats before the big day so you can prepare what they will enjoy.


Orange Basting Sauce

Combine in bowl: 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp garlic paste, 1 tsp each paprika, salt, pepper, and stir well. Brush sauce on the Cornish Game Hens with a basting brush before baking. Also brush them again just before serving.


Wild Rice Stuffing

Cook ahead of time enough rice to fill the cavities of the hens. Calculate 1 cup rice per hen, plus 1 cup rice extra per guest as side dish. (You can substitute another rice if desired. The water-to-uncooked-rice ratio will vary depending on the type of rice you choose. Read instructions on the package.)

In a large bowl put the following: cooked rice, ½ cup walnut pieces, ½ cup celery thinly sliced, and 1 cup dried cranberries (plumped in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes.) Add a drizzle of olive oil, stir and stuff the Cornish Game hens. You want the stuffing to clump not crumble. If you have vegetarian guests cook the stuffing outside of the hens in a separate oven pan. (Follow baking instructions above.)


Festive Holiday Vegetables

Steam equal amounts of the following vegetables 2 cups per guest) in separate pots: (Each vegetable has a different cooking time.) French cut green beans, red Bell Pepper sliced lengthwise, and white cauliflower cut into small florets before steaming. They are done when they are slightly crunchy, not mushy. Using a slotted spoon lift some of each vegetable out of the pot gently. Let the water drain off before placing in the large serving dish. Place the green, red and white vegetables in an artful design. Then garnish the top with slivered almonds. Serve with lemon Vinaigrette dressing. Keep warm.


Vinaigrette Dressing

Combine in bowl the following: ½ extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. local honey, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to blend. Pour into dressing server for the table.


Festive Fruit Pie

Buy or bake your favorite recipe for fruit pie. I like to select a red fruit to match the theme of the holiday colors (cherry, strawberry, rhubarb, raspberry). Buy or make gluten free pie crusts if your guests have gluten allergies. If you are making the filling from scratch use Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener instead of cane sugar for any diabetics and dieting guests.


Dr. Joy’s Health Notes:

You will notice that I have kept the ingredients low on the allergy radar. These recipes are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, cane sugar free, peanut free and yeast free, with a vegetarian option. One exception is nuts. These can be easily left out of the recipes for the stuffing and vegetable dish.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday!

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