Katie Lee Biegel Shares Her Favorite Holiday Food Traditions—and They're Easy to Make Ahead
With the holidays coming up, Katie Lee Biegel is excited for her favorite form of self-care: spending time cooking and baking her favorite food traditions. The Food Network's The Kitchen co-host and cookbook author finds cooking to be stress-relieving, even during the seemingly most stressful time of the year, and she's not alone.
According to a survey conducted on behalf of Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove, 95% of Americans find cooking to be calming and soothing. Inspired by this, the brand sparked up a new kitchen-therapy initiative encouraging people to unwind from holiday stress through cooking.
We were excited to talk to Biegel about her recent partnership with the appliance company and learn more about her favorite recipes to make, both classic and modern, plus her go-to quick dinners that she can make on busy days. Read on for easy appetizers she preps ahead, the breakfast that she makes every Christmas morning, and how she finds her inner peace when cooking.
EatingWell: How do you maintain a positive energy in the kitchen during the busy holiday season?
Biegel: I find cooking to be therapeutic. It's the "me time" I really crave, especially during the holidays. In my partnership with Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove, I learned that 95% of Americans feel the same way about cooking; it's calming. When it comes to holidays, which can be such a stressful time having so much on our plates, I think it's just about carving out the time and making it a part of your schedule so that it's not something that waits until the last minute. Find those moments where you can get into the kitchen and enjoy it.
EatingWell: Preparing for holiday meals ahead of time is great for making the holidays themselves easier, but it can be hard to pivot and make dinner to eat that night. What are some of your go-to quick meals for days like those?
Biegel: Making quick, healthy meals in between the holiday entertaining time is important. We do a lot of sheet-pan meals. I always have my refrigerator loaded with fresh veggies, so I'll take whatever vegetables we have, protein (like tofu) and make a really quick dinner with it. I cube the tofu, use the veggies I have, make a sauce for it and spread it all on a sheet pan and put it in the oven. It's great for any busy time of the year.
EatingWell: With the holidays coming up, are you looking forward to any food traditions? What are they?
Biegel: I have so many food traditions during the holidays. One of my big ones is cinnamon rolls. My grandma and great aunt have a terrific recipe for a refrigerator cinnamon roll dough that I use to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. One of my new traditional items on the menu that I started making a few years ago is Brussels sprouts. I found myself running out of oven real estate with so many things that needed to be cooked in the oven, so I started making a Brussels sprout salad. That was a way to really add a fresh element to the plate. Brussels sprouts are so hearty, and you can make that salad in advance and store it in the refrigerator where it will stay nice, fresh and crisp. It's a really nice hit of fresh and acidic flavors next to the fattier items on your plate.
Related: Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls
EatingWell: What's your favorite make-ahead appetizer that you consider a must for the holiday table?
Biegel: I'm a big believer in keeping appetizers on the lighter side because you spend all this time making a big meal, so I like to have minimal appetizers and keep them on the light side so everyone's really hungry for the main event. I always make a big platter with a lot of veggies and then make a fun dip, whether it's tzatziki or pumpkin hummus with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top. And I always have deviled eggs because it's not a party at my house without deviled eggs! If you want to lighten those up, even though it's traditional to make them with mayonnaise, you can make them with half mayonnaise, half Greek yogurt.
EatingWell: What does eating well mean to you?
Biegel: Eating well to me means having a colorful plate. I like to have a lot of fruits and veggies. I start every day with fruit, and my daughter is the same way. My grandma would also start the day with a fruit bowl every morning, so that's how I got started with it. It's a good way to start the day with some vitamins and antioxidants. And for the rest of the day, I always look at my plate and try to make sure it has 80% vegetables.
We love Biegel's plant-first approach to her meals. Here at EatingWell, we believe there's room for all foods in a healthy eating pattern, including your holiday favorites. Balance is the name of the game when it comes to feeling your best. Plus, there's no shortage of delicious dishes to make around the holiday season. We think Biegel would love our Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad, which fits all the boxes of crunchy, fresh and tangy. If you are into roasted Brussels sprouts, Biegel was kind enough to share her go-to recipe for that as well.
Katie Lee Biegel's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Feta Yogurt Sauce, Pomegranates & Cilantro
This recipe was adapted from Katie Lee Biegel. "These Brussels sprouts add both color and flavor to any holiday spread," Biegel said. "Roasting them in the oven gives them a nice caramelization that pairs perfectly with the creamy tang of the Greek yogurt, the pop of sweetness from the pomegranates and freshness of the cilantro."
Active: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Serving Size: about ¾ cup each
- 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Toss Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with oil, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast, stirring once halfway, until browned and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix yogurt, feta, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the yogurt mixture in the bottom of a shallow serving bowl. Top with the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with pomegranate arils and cilantro. Serve warm.