Healthy Recipes For Your Holiday Party Food

Healthy Holiday Recipes
For many of us, the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season means over indulging with food and drink we wouldn’t normally eat as much of the rest of the year. But if family you haven’t seen in ages and lots of events to attend, it can be difficult to eat healthy. This year, we’ve got a few healthy alternatives for when you’re hosting Christmas week or the designated New Year’s party location.

Pear-Pecan Cheese Ball

Sweet pear, salty Cheddar cheese and crunchy nuts make this healthy cheese ball recipe an alluring holiday treat. Serve with an array of crudités and crisp party crackers.

Ingredients
8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 medium firm ripe pear, finely chopped
1 scallion, white and green separated, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
⅓ cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Preparation
Step 1 – Stir cream cheese, Cheddar, pear, scallion white, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.

Step 2 – Coat a large piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray. Scoop the cheese mixture onto it. Using the plastic wrap to help you, form the cheese mixture into a ball, then completely wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Step 3 – Just before serving, combine pecans and the reserved scallion greens in a shallow dish. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture, pressing to adhere.

Recipe and Photo Source: Eating Well

Cranberry-Orange Bars

These sweet-tart cranberry-orange bars are a great addition to a holiday cookie tray or cool weather grab-and-go treat.

Crust Ingredients
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts) or old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 tbsp canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit Filling Ingredients
5 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, divided
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup orange segments
1½ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
Step 1 – To prepare crust: Combine ¾ cup nuts (or oats), whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated.

Step 2 – Whisk egg, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor. Process, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out ½ cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining ¼ cup chopped nuts (or oats). Set aside for the topping.

Step 3 – Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Step 4 – To prepare fruit filling & assemble bars: Combine 3 cups cranberries, orange juice, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. (It may take up to 10 minutes to get a thick result if you start with frozen fruit.) Stir in the remaining 2 cups cranberries, orange zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Step 5 – Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.

Step 6 – Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1½ hours.

Recipe and Photo Source: Eating Well

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