Low-Calorie Holiday Dinner Recipes That Won't Pack Pounds
Braised Lamb Shanks & Eggplant
This slow-cooked lamb and eggplant stew melts in your mouth. Sumac, a lemony-flavored spice, gives the dish a fruity, tangy aroma. Look for it in Mediterranean markets or spice shops. Serve the stew over mashed root vegetables, bulgur or brown rice.
Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze
This sweet-tart pomegranate molasses glaze is delicious combined with the citrusy sumac spice rub, and gives the roasted chicken a dark, ruby luster. Rub the chicken earlier in the day, or overnight, for the best flavor.
Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry-Shallot Sauce
Turkey and cranberry sauce is delicious any time of year. To help keep this recipe fast, sear the tenderloins and get them in the oven first, then prep the shallots, thyme and cranberries and make your sauce. If you like sweeter cranberry sauce, you may want to add another tablespoon of brown sugar. Serve with: Mashed sweet potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts and a glass of Riesling.
Apricot-Espresso Glazed Roast Pork Loin
A little espresso gives a robust edge to the sweet-tart apricot glaze for this roasted pork loin. There is a 20-minute cooking range for the pork because its thickness can vary--check your roast at the earlier range of timing to make sure you don't overcook it. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.
Rustic Mushroom Tart
Don't let phyllo dough's fussy reputation put you off: our method of brushing olive oil and sprinkling breadcrumbs between the layers makes this tart actually quite simple to assemble, and helps keep it healthy. It can be served as a main course or cut into smaller pieces and enjoyed as an appetizer.
Garlic-Stuffed Standing Rib Roast
A beef rib roast screams celebration. The meat is expensive, but rewards minimal effort with amazing, juicy flavor. All you need to do is poke pieces of sliced garlic into the meat, season it with salt and pepper and roast it. Serve with mashed potatoes and greens. Or make it brilliant with savory herb, Parmesan and horseradish breadcrumbs (see variation). Use leftovers in sandwiches or roast beef hash.
Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb
A seven-hour leg of lamb is a traditional technique for slow-cooking lamb until it is fall-off-the-bone tender and luscious. This one is seasoned with plenty of garlic, lemon and fresh herbs and the resulting rich jus is served alongside the meat. For a brilliant accompaniment, serve with creamy stewed white beans.
Salmon with Red Wine-Morel Sauce
Dried mushrooms give this rich red-wine sauce an almost meaty flavor. Look for them in the produce department of well-stocked supermarkets or specialty grocers. If you're not a fan of salmon, try the recipe with halibut instead. Serve with barley tossed with parsley and steamed broccolini. To double: Prepare a double batch of sauce in the large skillet, increasing reduction time as needed. Cook 2 1/2 pounds of salmon in two batches, adding oil as necessary.
Michel Nischan's Roast Turkey with Potato Pan Gravy
Plan ahead to make this succulent turkey recipe--brining the turkey for 12 to 18 hours before roasting makes the meat super-juicy and flavorful. The gravy, made silky-smooth in a blender (no lumps!), is thickened with potatoes instead of cornstarch or flour.
Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
This super-simple recipe covers beef tenderloin in a blend of cracked black, white and green peppercorns. Though it takes moments to prepare, since it's beef tenderloin it's perfect for a special occasion. Look for peppercorns in the bulk spice section so you can buy just what you need. The recipe will also work with black ones only.
Whole Roasted Fish in a Salt Crust
Roasting a whole large fish in a salt crust might seem scary, but it's actually quite simple. It's just a matter of placing the fish on top of a bed of salt and patting a layer of salt over the fish--the salt seals in the juices, but amazingly doesn't overwhelm the fish with a salty taste. Present the whole salt-crusted fish at the table if you'd like, then take it to the kitchen to deconstruct it.
Potato-Cheese Pierogi with Sauerkraut
Potatoes mashed with sautéed onions and sauerkraut makes a flavorful filling in these yummy pierogi. We used whole-wheat pastry flour for added fiber and substituted extra-virgin olive oil for margarine or butter. Pierogi freeze beautifully, so make a large batch if you like.
Lemon & Oregano Lamb Chops
Juicy lamb chops take a trip to the Middle East with a quick herb-and-lemon rub and a tangy cucumber-tahini sauce. Serve with couscous or rice pilaf and a green salad.
Five-Spice Roasted Duck Breasts
Make these roasted duck breasts, seasoned with five-spice powder and redolent with aromatic oranges, the centerpiece of a chic dinner. You may be surprised to know that without the skin, duck is a great healthy choice, with no saturated fat in a 3-ounce serving. Starting duck breasts in a cool skillet, then heating, renders off most of the fat with less mess.
Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart
Try this roasted-vegetable free-form tart as an appetizer or side dish for a special dinner or as a vegetarian main dish. The pastry dough is very forgiving and quite easy to roll out on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. The walnut-studded crust is crisper served warm, but you can enjoy the tart at room temperature or cold too.
Pork Tenderloin "Rosa di Parma"
This is a traditional roast from the Italian province of Parma, often served for special family celebrations. (“Rosa di Parma” means it's stuffed with Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto.) Typically made with beef, it is equally delicious and more economical made with pork tenderloin and ideal for entertaining parties of 8 to 10. Seek out true Italian Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano for this dish--even though they are more costly, the superior flavor is worth the expense.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans
Acorn squash's natural shape makes it just right for stuffing. This filling has Mediterranean flair: olives, tomato paste, white beans and Parmesan cheese. Serve with: Mixed green salad with radicchio and red onion and crisp white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.
Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Luxurious beef tenderloin shines when treated to a simple horseradish-mustard rub and roasted for a nicely seared and flavorful crust. Add 5 to 10 minutes to the roasting time for well done.
Pear Risotto with Prosciutto & Fried Sage Leaves
Sweet ripe pear matched with the delicate saltiness of prosciutto defines this creamy risotto that goes well with any roast meat or poultry. Pungent, crispy fried sage leaves give a special finishing touch to this dish.