Creating a Heart Healthy Holiday

12:17 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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Grand Rapids (WZZM) - There is a lot of tradition around a holiday meal.

You might use recipes that your own mother or grandparents used in the past.

Some of them might not be as heart healthy as they can be so Jessica Corwin, a registered dietitian and nutrition educator with Spectrum Health shares some ideas to make the holidays more heart healthy.

Click on the video link to watch the segment.

Jessica is teaching a class on this topic. It is Monday, December 9th from 6-8pm. It will be held at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market at 435 Ionia SW.

The cost is $30. All of the ingredients are provided. Click here to learn more and register. Recipes are below.

Fresh Figs and Stuffed Dates
Yields: 16 servings

- 16 fresh figs
- 16 Medjool dates, pitted
- 4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed
- 16 dry-roasted pecans, walnut halves or almonds

For the figs:

1. Simply wash, slice in half, and serve.

Tip: For a more elegant spread, you can top each fig half with ½ teaspoon of honey flavored goat cheese and a single almond before broiling for 2-3 minutes. Once cooled, top each with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

For the dates:

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
2. Slit open the dates lengthwise and remove the pits and stems.
3. Stuff about 1/2 teaspoon of brie cheese inside each date and close the sides loosely, mounding the cheese on top of each date. Top each with your choice of nut. Place the dates on a non-stick baking tray.
4. Bake the dates for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dates are hot. Arrange on a platter and serve one of each immediately.

Tip: For even more flavor, toast the nuts prior to baking. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts
Yields: 6 servings

- 1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (up to 2 lbs)
- 2 TBSP olive or canola oil
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 TBSP pomegranate molasses
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate or about 3/4 cup arils (seeds)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts (or pecans, walnuts, or other nut)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1 TBSP finely grated orange zest


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Place Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan; toss with oil and season with pepper. Roast for about 35-45 minutes (depending on your oven and how closely the veggies are packed) or until light golden brown in color and a knife easily enters the veggie.
3. Transfer sprouts to a large serving bowl.
4. Add pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, nuts, and lime and orange zests.

Source: Bobby Flay for Food Network

Pomegranate Molasses
Yields: 1/4 cup

- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Place the pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved.
2. Once sugar is dissolved, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has been reduced to about ¼ cup and is the consistency of thick syrup. Roughly one hour later.
     Tip: Make sure the liquid is simmering to ensure it is actually evaporating. You may need return the heat level to medium.
3. Remove from heat and allow liquid to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes.
4. Transfer to a glass container and allow liquid to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Source: Bobby Flay for Food Network

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