Healthy Recipes to Include in Your Holiday Tradition

With Thanksgiving in three days, the holiday season is officially in full swing. In anticipation of our December 3 Twitter chat, #LBBCchat: Healthy Eating After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Kendall Scott, co-founder and health coach of The Kicking Kitchenis back on our blog to share three recipes to add to your holiday feast.

Image via Kendall Scott/The Kicking Kitchen.

Image via Kendall Scott/The Kicking Kitchen.

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

I love making stuffed squash: It fills my kitchen with sweet and savory scents and fills me up without feeling bloated and tired afterward. My mother-in-law also makes her own delicious version of stuffed squash. She gave me the idea to make them up ahead of time, wrapping each half of a stuffed squash in aluminum foil, baking some immediately to enjoy now and storing the rest in the fridge for up to three days. Then you just pop them in the oven and they’re ready to eat in an hour!

Yield: makes 4 stuffed squash halves

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small zucchini, small chop

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

5 crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Dash of  pepper

Directions:

Cook the brown rice according to direction in whole grains chart on page 244 of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen (or use these instructions from Whole Foods).

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Gently scrub skins of the squash and cut off any long stems. Slice the acorn squash in half, from end to end, and scoop out seeds and loose membranes.

To prepare the stuffing, sauté the red onion in olive oil for two minutes over medium heat or until onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute until it just begins to turn a very light golden brown. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the spinach, paprika, cumin, yeast, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for five minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and remove from heat.

Turn the squash cut-side up and scoop stuffing mixture into each squash half, packing it well and mounding the mixture high. Wrap each squash half in aluminum foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour until the squash is thoroughly tender and easy to pierce with a fork.

Image via Kendall Scott/The Kicking Kitchen

Image via Kendall Scott/The Kicking Kitchen

Gingerly Carrot Soup

This soup is a tasty addition to your holiday meals. The flavors mingle the longer they hang out together, so cook it well ahead of time if possible. Feel free to adjust the amount of ginger for a milder or stronger flavor. Cancer-fighting miso helps strengthen the good bacteria in the gut, and adds a little saltiness, and carrots are full of the cancer-fighting antioxidant, beta carotene.

Yield: makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 leek, well rinsed and sliced in rings

Sea salt

2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pound carrots, scrubbed with ends removed, and chopped

Juice of one orange

2 to 3 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon miso

Ground pepper

Directions:

In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leek and a pinch of sea salt and sauté until the onion is soft, about five minutes. Add the ginger and cinnamon and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the carrots, juice and enough stock to cover the carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat then simmer, covered, until carrots are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about twenty minutes.

Turn off the heat, and purée with an immersion blender. Remove a small amount of the soup (about 1/2 cup) and mix it with the miso in a small bowl. Add miso mixture to the soup and warm on low heat for several minutes. Check a spoonful for seasoning, adding pepper as needed.

Cranberry Brown Rice Pilaf

If you are craving something deeply satisfying, look no further. This dish is delicious alternative to a holiday stuffing, because it has similar flavors with the sage, thyme and celery, but it’s better for you! Brown rice is a delicious whole grain (once you’ve been enjoying it for a while, white will seem so last year) and the herbs and cranberries up the taste and nutritional goodness of this pilaf. You can easily use extra rice left over from the day before in this recipe.

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice, soaked and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, small dice

1 garlic clove, minced

5 medium mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, small dice

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried), minced

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup filtered water

Directions:

page 244 of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen (or use these instructions from Whole Foods). Heat half of the oil in skillet and sauté the onion for 2 minutes. Add rest of the oil, garlic, mushrooms, celery, sage, thyme and salt and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the rice, dried cranberries and water, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Check out Ms. Scott’s book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, for more healthful recipes for the holidays and year-round.

Get practical information about healthy eating during challenging times like the holidays in our Twitter chat on Wednesday, December 3.

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