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Healthy Holiday Menu Ideas

Posted Dec 21 2012 1:29pm
Here are a few sample holiday dinner menu ideas to help you plan and organize your holiday food prep. Of course, you'll need to adjust the number of courses you'll be making to suit the number of guests you'll be serving. Please note that each menu section is grouped by skill/difficulty level. Generally, the easier the recipe, the less time it'll take to make it; and of course, the reverse is often true as well. And of course, every menu has links to recipes from this blog. :)

Happy Holidays!
-C


Healthy Holiday Menu Ideas:

Level: EASY (Requires beginner level cooking skills and minimal prep time)

Sample Menu #1 (Carnivores): (French-Style Holiday Dinner)
Note: This French-themed menu has enough hearty dishes to make sure that no one goes hungry. :) Not only does this meal satisfy, it also has an air of sophistication about it as well.
Appetizer(s): Black Olive Tapenade , served with crudités and crusty, toasted slices of French bread. (Baguettes are the perfect size for slicing into bite-sized rounds.)
First Course:  Wild Mushroom Soup
Second Course:  Lemon-Thyme-Tarragon Vinaigrette on a Bed of Watercress Greens
Main Course:  Filet Mignon au Poivre et au Lavande (Lavender & Black Peppercorn Crusted Steak)
Side Dishes:  Lavender-Infused Potatoes with Garlic & FennelCranberry Sauce Spiked with Cointreau , and  Celeriac Remoulade (Céleri Rémoulade / Rémoulade de Céleri-rave)
Dessert(s): Cherry Clafouti with Almonds & Pistachios  and Blueberry-Lemon Pots de Crème

Sample Menu #2 (Vegan/Vegetarian) Appetizer(s):   Creamy Red Hot Pepper Dip , served with crudités, crackers, &/or baked chips of some sort, and  Italian-Style Marinated Vegetable Salad (Antipasto) .
First Course: Kale-Potato-Leek Soup
Second Course:  Cucumber, Tomato, & Artichoke Salad
Main Course:  Mushroom-Olive Quinoa Pilaf with Fresh Herbs
Side Dishes:  Ginger-Garlic Baby Carrots and  Quick & Easy Italian-style Beet Greens
Dessert(s): Apricot-Papaya Pudding Parfait  and Pear & Apple Crisp


Level: MEDIUM (Requires intermediate level cooking skills and prep time)

Sample Menu #1 (Carnivores): (Italian-Style Holiday Dinner)
Appetizer(s): Caponata Siciliana , served on ciabatta (or grilled zucchini, if you'd rather not eat bread)
First Course:  Zuppa di Spinaci (Italian-Style Spinach Soup)
Second Course:  Insalata Caprese con Finocchio e Olive (Caprisian Salad with Fennel & Olives)
Main Course:  Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce (Pollo con Salsa di Capperi e Limone)
Side Dishes:  Savory Stelline with Fresh Herbs & Sun-dried Tomatoes  and Italian-Style Sautéed Broccoli with Fresh Herbs
Dessert(s): Tantalizingly Transcendent Tiramisù  and Baked Figs (in Marsala Wine)

Sample Menu #2 (Vegans/Vegetarians) Appetizer(s): Avocado-Edamame Dip , served with crackers
First Course:  Beet and Fennel Soup
Second Course:  Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Caper-Avocado Dressing
Main Course: Pumpkin Risotto
Side Dishes:  Cauliflower Mash  and Grilled Carrots & Turnips Seasoned With Fresh Herbs & Spices
Dessert(s):  Mango Pie Flavored with Cardamom and Saffron , served with vegan ice cream, and  Poached Persimmons


Level: ADVANCED (Requires advanced level cooking skills and significant prep time. Prep is labor-intensive and elaborate.)

Sample Menu #1 (Carnivores):
Appetizer(s): Mushrooms Canapés Stuffed With Goat Cheese, Kalamata Olives, & Fresh Herbs  and Dill-Avocado Dip with Fresh Tarragon & Chives , served with crackers or toasted bread
First Course:  Pumpkin Soup with Fresh Sage, Rosemary, and Basil
Second Course: Hearts of Romaine with Tri-Colored Roasted Bell Peppers, Eggplant Croutons, & Lemon-Sumac Dressing
Main Course:  Herb-Encrusted Rack of New Zealand Baby Lamb
Side Dishes: Mashed Red-Skinned Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Fresh Herbs  and Grilled Marinated Vegetables
Dessert(s):  Pumpkin Pie  and  Cherry, Apple, & Pear Tart (Made with Asian & Bosc Pears)  (Serve each slice with a scoop of lowfat vanilla ice cream, but of course. :-D)

Sample Menu #2 (Vegans/Vegetarians): (Asian-Style Holiday Dinner)
Appetizer(s):  Southeast Asian Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce  and Avocado with Sweet Soy Bean Paste
First Course:  Chinese-Style Vegetable Soup
Second Course: Gimesamwata Sarada (Japanese Salad) and  Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing
Main Course:  Stir-fried Chinese Eggplant in a Spicy-Sweet Garlic Sauce
Side Dishes:  Chinese-Style Black Rice Noodle Salad  and Asian Jicama Slaw
Dessert(s):  Coconut Sticky Black Rice Pudding with Poached Asian Pears

Note: If you need beverage / cocktail ideas, feel free to browse the respective tags on this blog.
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