Light Holiday Menu Ideas

Use these holiday recipes from Cooking Light's 450-recipe 2012 Cookbook, The New Way to Cook Light,  to create a light and healthy holiday meal.

  • Eggnog
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Eggnog

    No need to forgo one of the holidays' favorite indulgences–creamy, rich eggnog. This version gives you all the satisfaction of the full-fat version without the guilt, and it can be made up to a week in advance.

  • Applejack-Spiked Hot Cider
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr, Mary Lyn Hill Jenkins

    Applejack-Spiked Hot Cider

    Warm up with America's traditional apple brandy, fragrant with spice and citrus. Take this less than 200 calorie drink on the go, or let its sweet, spiced scent fill your home with holiday cheer.
  • Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

    When planning for your holiday party, make this memorable appetizer. Do not make this until you've located real sherry vinegar (nutty and complex) and Spanish smoked paprika (almost bacon-y).
  • Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños
    Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver

    Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

    The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version.
  • Green Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

    Green Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

    This simple, light, and fresh green salad is the perfect pair to a heavy holiday entree. The Hazelnut Vinaigrette adds a beautiful and tasty touch of seasonal elegance.
  • Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots

    This holiday season, jilt the traditional super-sugary sweet potato casserole for this more streamlined, fresher, and certainly healthier version.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup

    Tis the season to snuggle up with soup. Spicy fresh ginger complements the sweet roasted winter squash and shallots in this easy and calorie-friendly recipe.
  • Cheese and Chive Challah
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Cheese and Chive Challah

    Celebrate Hanukkah with this traditional Jewish egg bread, enriched even more with the savory addition of fontina cheese and chives.
  • Christmas Stollen
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Christmas Stollen

    Jewel-like brandy-soaked fruit in an enriched dough–this bread is a joyous celebration of the season.

  • Classic Roast Chicken
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Classic Roast Chicken

    You can make this beautiful bird in an hour and a half for less than 300 calories. Make Christmas memorable and adorn your holiday table with this Classic Roast Chicken.
  • Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish-Chive Sauce
    Photo: Grant Cornett; Styling: Philippa Brathwaite

    Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Chive Sauce

    There's a lot to love about the lemony-bite of this creamy sauce, matched with a lean, tender cut. This dish is perfect for an elegant Christmas Eve entrée.

  • Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey
    Oxmoor House

    Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

    Want to try a unique spin on a classic holiday favorite? A hint of Southwest spice and chile heat blend with sweet apples for a crowd-pleasing change from traditional turkey.
  • Onion Tart
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Onion Tart

    If you're interested in serving a meatless main dish for the holidays, the essence of French onion soup in a flaky pastry shell makes this Onion Tart an appetizing choice for an entrée.
  • Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr, Mary Lyn Hill Jenkins

    Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues

    Crisp, airy meringue cookies are sweet little kisses that melt away. They're basically fat-free too, so we dipped them in chocolate and coated them with hazelnuts for some seasonal flare.
  • Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Creme
    Photo: Levi Brown

    Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Crème

    Enjoy a bowl of this decadent and light dessert during the holidays. The crackly counterpoint to the silky custard occurs when you sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top and broil to melt. The caramel hardens as it cools to a glasslike sheet.
  • Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
    Photo: Gentl & Hyers; Styling: Cindy DiPrima

    Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

    We wanted that thick, almost show-stopping texture, plus lots of tang, like a New York Cheesecake. The garnet swirl of fruit makes for a very elegant and festive tablescape.
  • Cooking Light The New Way to Cook Light

    Cooking Light The New Way to Cook Light

    Make sure The New Way to Cook Light finds it's way under your tree this holiday season. This treasured cookbook is confidently built on 25 years of Test Kitchen success and experimentation at Cooking Light magazine that displays the best route to fresh, light, and fully delicious food.

     

    Click here to order your copy today.

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