Healthy Holiday Recipes from Renown Heart Nurses


The holiday season is time to celebrate with family and friends and, of course, enjoying delicious holiday foods.  With the abundance of appetizing holiday fare, it’s easy for most of us to gain a pound or two –or five –over the holidays. But the holidays don’t have to mean weight gain.

The nurses at Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health have come to the rescue and provided some great-tasting, healthy holiday meals your friends and family will love.  Feel free to mix and match these holiday dishes for all of your holiday celebrations to create meals the entire family will enjoy. Bon appétit!



Healthy Holiday Breakfast: Zucchini Carrot Muffins

 “This recipe came from the Preventive Cardiovascular Nursing Association (PCNA) and is one of the most delicious heart healthy-recipes I have ever tasted.  I make them for lots of different occasions.  I gave this recipe to many of my cholesterol patients while I ran a Lipid Clinic for Reno Heart Physicians.”

Submitted by Katie Locke, RN


3 egg whites (or ¾ cup liquid egg substitute)
½ cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milled flaxseed
1/3 cup Crisco®
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups shredded or grated zucchini (use the skin for color and fiber)
1 ½ cups grated carrots
¾ cup all-purpose unbleached white flour
½ cup whole wheat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray four dozen mini muffin tins with vegetable oil spray.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites slightly.  Add brown sugar, Crisco®, applesauce, vanilla, and ground cinnamon; whisk together.
  3. In a large bowl, combine white flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and baking powder; mix well.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until just blended.
  5. Add zucchini and carrots, stir well.  Divide mixture among 48 mini muffin tins, filling muffin tins two-thirds full.
  6.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Per serving:  63 calories, 1.3g protein, 2.3g fat, 0.26g saturated fat, 0.7g fiber, 63mg potassium, 68mg sodium

Appetizer: Holiday Berry Dip/Cranberry Salsa

Submitted by Jan Louise Federici, LPN


12 oz. fresh cranberries (frozen bag of cranberries can be substituted)
¼ cup cilantro
4 green onions
2 jalapeno peppers, ribbed and seeded
2 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 package softened cream cheese (use low fat or fat free)


  1. Pulse cranberries to size of pomegranates in food processor and remove.
  2. Pulse cilantro, green onions and jalapeno peppers.
  3. Add lemon juice, sugar and ginger. Pulse together, adding cranberries back in.
  4. Pour over cream cheese.
  5. Serve with crackers. I suggest Wheat Thins®.

Dinner Accompaniments: Holiday Relish – Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

“This Christmas relish is not only heart healthy, it is very festive, colorful and easy to make!  If you would like to decrease sugar, you can always use half white sugar, half Splenda®.”

Submitted by Jan Louise Federici, LPN


12 oz. fresh cranberries (frozen bag of cranberries can be substituted)
1 ¼ cups white sugar
2 tbsp. undiluted orange juice
2 tbsp. orange zest
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier® liqueur


  1. Put all ingredients in food processor.
  2. Blend until course in texture.

Main Course: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

“This recipe is yummy and serves a lot of people and it is great for holiday parties – feel free to use low-fat soup and sour cream. This recipe freezes well, if there are any leftovers!”

Submitted by Paula Kissinger, LPN


1 cup water
1 cup sherry
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 3-lb. fryer/broiler chickens
½ tsp. curry powder
1 sliced onion
½ cup diced celery
1 lb. fresh, or canned mushrooms
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 can low-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 packages Uncle Ben’s® wild rice mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In large sauce pan, combine water, sherry, salt, curry powder, onion, celery and chickens, simmer for one hour.
  3. After one hour, bone and shred chicken.
  4. Cook rice separately following instructions on package, substituting cokking liquid from chicken for water.
  5. In a buttered casserole dish combine soup, chicken, mushrooms, rice and sour cream.
  6. Cover and bake for one hour.