Delicious seasonal dishes for a happy holiday
(Family Features) By incorporating versatile ingredients into your holiday cooking, you can make a vast array of tasty seasonal goodies.
For example, California grapes are abundant throughout the holiday season and add taste and visual appeal to dishes of all kinds, such as Seared Salmon with Spinach and Grapes, Grape Caprese Salad Hors d’ Oeuvres, Grapes in Rosé Wine Sauce and Wild Rice Stuffing with Grapes and Hazelnuts. Plus, they’re an easy, fresh, healthy snack to keep on-hand for hungry guests waiting for the meal. With their natural beauty, grapes can also be used to create tablescapes and centerpieces for festive holiday settings.
5 Tips for Healthier Holidays
With filling meals and tempting desserts at every corner, it can be difficult to keep nutrition in mind during the holidays. However, these simple tricks can help keep you stay on track, while still enjoying the best that the season has to offer.
- Eat a healthy snack, like grapes with hummus and crackers, before parties to avoid arriving hungry.
- Bring fresh fruit to potlucks and holiday parties for a crowd-pleasing, healthy offering.
- Alternate high-calorie beverages with water.
- Create a party platter that assembles an array of healthy nibbles, such as fresh grapes, nuts, sliced veggies with a healthy dip, seasoned popcorn and olives.
- Practice portion control to avoid overindulging despite the bounty of homemade dishes from loved ones.
Seared Salmon with Spinach and Grapes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 salmon steaks or fillets (6 ounces each)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large bunch spinach, washed and stemmed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups red California seedless grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- In small bowl, combine salt, mustard, thyme and pepper. Drizzle salmon fillets with honey and sprinkle with seasoning. Reserve any remaining seasoning.
- In nonstick skillet or saute pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brown both sides of salmon fillets over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side.
- In baking dish, toss spinach and garlic with remaining olive oil. Place browned salmon on bed of spinach, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 8-10 minutes, or until salmon is just cooked through.
- In skillet used to brown salmon, over medium-high heat saute grapes 1 minute. Add wine, bring to boil and reduce quantity by half. Season sauce to taste with remaining herb mixture.
- Serve salmon on wilted spinach topped with grape and wine sauce.
Nutritional information per serving: 449 calories; 36 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 23 g fat; 45% calories from fat; 4.3 g saturated fat; 9% calories from saturated fat; 100 mg cholesterol; 730 mg sodium; 1,120 mg potassium; 1.6 g fiber.
Grape Caprese Salad Hors d’ Oeuvres
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- high-quality, aged balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 24 decorative bamboo skewers
- 24 red seedless California grapes
- 24 fresh basil leaves
- 24 small, fresh mozzarella balls
- sea salt
- On serving plate or platter, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired. Sprinkle with pepper.
- To assemble skewers: On each skewer, add one red grape, one small basil leaf and one ball fresh mozzarella.
- Lay skewers on serving platter and sprinkle with dash of sea salt.
Nutritional information per serving: 44 calories; 2.5 g protein; 1 g carbohydrates; 3 g fat; 64% calories from fat; 11 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; .07 g fiber.
Grapes in Rosé Wine Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups rosé wine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 cups halved red, green or black California grapes
- In large skillet, bring wine, sugar, vanilla bean and salt to boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in grapes and let cool.
- Serving suggestion: Pour warm grapes over creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.
Nutritional information per serving: 250 calories; 0 g protein; 49 g carbohydrates; 0 g fat (0% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat (0% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 55 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Wild Rice Stuffing with Grapes and Hazelnuts
- 2 cans (28 fluid ounces total) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup wild rice
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 cups California seedless grapes, picked from stem and rinsed
- In heavy saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil. Add wild rice and stir. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Let simmer 1 hour until rice is tender and has popped open.
- In frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon until almost crisp, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add butter to bacon pan then add onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Remove from heat and fold in parsley, hazelnuts and grapes.
- Add rice with any remaining liquid to frying pan and toss well to combine.
Nutritional information per serving: 166 calories; 5.4 g protein; 21 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat; 40% calories from fat; 1.4 g saturated fat; 8% calories from saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 126 mg sodium; 2.6 g fiber.