It's truly the most festive time of the year. I love celebrating Christmas with my entire family (Jewish family included), laughing together and loving this mandatory time off.
Here's what we make for Christmas Dinner.
I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post that I do not believe in appetizers - the most I will do is put out some dairy-free cheese and crackers. That's good enough for our crowd!!
In How The Grinch Stole Christmas, all the Whos in Whoville sit down at the end of the movie and enjoy a Roast Beast along with the Grinch. So, we humans also prepare a Roast Beast. My favorite Beast is... chicken.
- Whole Chicken
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 onions, quartered
- 5-8 garlic cloves
- 3 lbs halved baby potatoes - I like using multicolored baby potatoes, they're so pretty
- Preheat your oven to 450F (you'll be reducing to 350F later on).
- In a large roasting dish, oil the bottom of the pan (I like avocado oil) and throw in the halved baby potatoes. Toss to coat, add salt and pepper generously.
- Prepare your chicken for roasting by patting it dry, and oiling liberally with oil of your choice.
- Place a couple of lemon halves and onions inside the bird, along with 2 sprigs of rosemary. Salt and pepper the bird liberally. Place remaining lemon and onion in the pan to flavor the potatoes.
- Roast for 10 minute at 450F. Then, reduce temperature to 350F and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. The final internal temperature of the chicken should be 165F, but it will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven.
- Let sit at room temp while you roast off some butternut squash and bake eggplant (below)
This salad is super simple to put together, and is the perfect light starter/compliment to a hearty holiday meal.
- 2 cups of greens of your choice - I like a mix of arugula and spinach
- 1 cup shredded kale
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened (to keep it low-sugar)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- Dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt, & pepper, mixed together in a mason jar.
- Mix all ingredients together in a huge bowl, toss with olive oil lemon vinaigrette, and serve!
BROWN RICE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO
I did not grow up Italian, so we did not have risotto when I was a kid. Upon growing up and moving out, I discovered this Italian dish and HOLY MOLY it is amazing. Making risotto with brown rice will yield a more dense rice dish, and it takes a lot longer since it's brown rice. However, if you have the time and commitment, its a crowd pleaser. It's also an amazing main dish if you want to spoil your family.
- 2 cups short grain (very important!!) brown rice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc works best), at room temperature
- 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 small butternut squash, or 1/2 large butternut squash, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350F to roast the butternut squash
- In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil on medium-low heat. I like to use avocado oil in most savory recipes, but the heat in this recipe doesn't get high enough for the oil to become rancid, and the olive oil lends a really great authentic Italian flavor to the risotto.
- Once the oil is shiny and heated, throw in the onion. Add a teaspoon of salt. Keep the heat low and let the onion sweat for a few minutes, until translucent.
- Then, add in the rice. Toast the rice for about 3-4 minutes, stirring, letting each grain get coated in oil and become fragrant. Should smell nutty and sweet.
- While the rice is toasting, pour the vegetable broth into a separate pot and let it warm up. You don't want to add cold broth to warm rice.
- Now, grab a sturdy wooden spoon, and maybe an assistant, because you'll be stirring for a while (50 minutes)
- Slowly add in the wine, stirring constantly.
- Once the wine is absorbed, add in one ladle of the warm vegetable broth, and stir until absorbed. Add some salt now (you can always add more later).
- Now would be a great time to pop the butternut squash into the oven to cook. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Continue adding in one ladle at a time of the vegetable broth, stirring constantly, and ONLY adding 1 ladle of warm broth when the previous ladle is absorbed.
- When your arm is about to fall off (just kidding!! kind of...), and the rice is almost soft enough, add in the roasted butternut squash and stir well. You should still have some more ladles to add to the rice.
- When you're done, you'll have a gorgeous pot of creamy, rich brown rice (without any cream!!!) dotted with specs of bright butternut squash. Add pepper to taste. Serve warm and enjoy! You won't have leftovers.
The Best Eggplant
I'm obsessed with anything that's a dip - hummus, baba ganoush, and everything in between (I make a mean homemade hummus). The star of baba ganoush is, of course, eggplants! I love roasting up eggplants in the oven, they're the perfect compliment to a gorgeous Christmas meal.
- 4 eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
- Avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- Chopped parsley, about 3 tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- After slicing your eggplant lengthwise, make deep crosshatch marks on each half.
- Oil with avocado oil (can also use olive), and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Roast for 30 minutes, until totally charred.
- While the eggplant is roasting, toast up the pine nuts in a dry pan until fragrant, just a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!
- Once the eggplant is finished, pull out of the oven. Serve with a drizzle of tahini sauce, some pepper, toasted pine nuts, and parsley!
For dessert, I like to serve any of the festive treats that I've written about here in the blog! Here's a round-up of my favorites:
Of course... a simple Dark Chocolate Sundae
Low Carb Peppermint Bark - this makes a great gift to give away as well!
Decadent Brownies - these aren't low carb but they're fabulous!