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Healthy Traditional Holiday Meal

November 12, 1999
Web posted at: 11:59 AM EST (1659 GMT)

(WebMD) -- Michael Pardus, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, suggests the following modifications to standard holiday recipes for a meal pleasing to the palate and body.

Appetizing starters

Seasonal fruit cup: a mix of apple, pear and Fuyu persimmon slices with sections of pomegranate, orange and grapefruit. Season with a pinch of fresh mint and moisten with a dash of sparkling hard apple cider.

A sublime soup

Puree of celery root soup: Boil peeled celery root in de-fatted chicken stock or vegetable stock until tender. Puree in a blender, gradually adding more stock until soup-like in texture. Celery root thickens without needing cream. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of walnut oil and a sprinkle of fresh chives.

The main event

Roasted turkey breast. Remove skin and sear in a hot oven at 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. Turn oven down to 325 to 350 Fahrenheit and bake until center breast is 160 Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and let sit until center reaches 165 Fahrenheit.

Steam brussels sprouts until tender and serve rolled in chopped parsley and fresh thyme.

"Creamed" pearl onions: Whisk up a white sauce with low-fat or nonfat milk, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a pinch of grated dry jack cheese. Add peeled onions and bake in a medium oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until tender.

Roasted sweet potatoes: Peel and cut into wedges, brush lightly with canola oil, bake on a cookie sheet in moderate oven, 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until brown and caramelized on the bottom. Turn and bake until caramelized on the other side and tender.

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes: Roast garlic cloves in hot oven until soft and light brown, remove from skins, puree. Mash potatoes with low-fat or nonfat milk, fold in a dollop of garlic puree. Add a dash of low-fat yogurt or buttermilk for a tangy note.

Sage stuffing: Cut hearty thick bread that is slightly stale into mouth-sized pieces. Saute chopped onion, celery, garlic, fresh thyme and sage in a small amount of unsaturated oil. Add de-fatted chicken broth to make a sauce. Toss in bread pieces until slightly soggy, season with salt and pepper, place in a casserole and bake in moderate oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until crisp on top.

A sweet finishing touch

Pumpkin beggars' purses with cranberry compote: Layer five to seven small squares of phyllo dough with a scant brushing of oil or butter between each layer. Fill center of top piece with two to three tablespoons of roasted pumpkin or squash puree seasoned with nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. Moisten with evaporated skim milk if needed. Pull edges of phyllo together to form a "purse" and tie the top with a thin strip of phyllo. Bake purses on nonstick baking sheet until dough is a crisp golden brown, following instructions on box.

Compote: Simmer cranberries with sugar and white wine until cranberries are soft. Remove half the berries, puree and add back to remaining berries.

Arrange the purses in a pool of cranberry compote dusted with powdered sugar. Garnish with fat-free whipped cream or frozen yogurt.

Copyright 1999 webmed, Inc. All rights reserved.

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