Healthy Holiday Recipes Without the Bah Humbug

By December 18, 2019 Lifestyle & Fun

By Tabitha Caplinger

Recipes contributed by Kelly Kennedy

Holidays are a time for family, and when family gathers, there is always good food. We wanted to share some recipes with you from Kelly Kennedy that are not only delicious but health-conscious so you don’t have to be a Scrooge when you serve or eat them. These are favorites from her family to yours. 


Side Dish: Italian Green Beans 

Kelly says, “This is a favorite for my immediate and extended family.  Be sure to use fresh green beans for the best texture and taste!”

You’ll need:

2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed

4 slices turkey bacon

1/2 cup dried cranberries (look for low sugar option)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

4 oz sliced mushrooms

2 cloves minced garlic

salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Using a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving grease. Boil green beans until al dente. Meanwhile, add minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add drained beans, almonds and cranberries to skillet and stir. Heat for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in balsamic vinegar and top with cheese.

Dessert: Chickpea Blondies 

Kelly says, “These flourless, gluten-free blondies are a great solution for my sweet tooth.  I love that I can eat them for breakfast, dessert or a snack without feeling guilty!”

You’ll need: 

1 can (15 oz) drained and rinsed chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)

1/2 cup natural nut butter of choice

1/3 cup honey (can use agave nectar or maple syrup if vegan)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 egg (omit if vegan)

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I have added butterscotch chips in addition to the chocolate for a fall taste)

coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray (I use Baker’s Joy). In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in a prepared pan and sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges are slightly brown. Do not overcook. Sprinkle with sea salt and cool pan on wire rack. 

Next-Day: Turkey Noodle Soup

Kelly says, “Using the leftover turkey carcass for a tasty twist on chicken noodle soup has become a family tradition over the years.  We invite my parents and other family members in town over and enjoy another evening together. My oldest son, Austin always takes a large bowl back to Kentucky with him for a quick dinner later in the week.” 

You’ll need:

Turkey carcass and white and dark meat turkey (Christmas dinner leftovers)

4-5 stalks celery

2-3 large carrots

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, no salt added

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 (16 oz) package whole wheat egg noodles

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Cover carcass in an extra-large stockpot and boil for 1-2 hours until broth forms and any remaining meat falls off of the bones.  Cool, skim foam from top, remove bones and meat and strain broth into a second extra-large stockpot.

Bring the broth back to a boil and add all ingredients, including shredded leftover turkey and/or meat pulled from bones and seasonings.  Add additional seasoning as desired. Boil until noodles are al dente. Serve with fresh-baked whole grain bread or crackers.

*Kelly usually doubles or triples the recipe for a large carcass and freezes half of it for a quick dinner during the cold winter!


There you have it! Three delicious and guilt-free recipes to make your holiday yummy. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing some of your family favorites with us! What are your favorite go-to holiday recipes? What does your family love to eat this time of year? 

Kelly Kennedy is a mom who loves God, loves her family, loves being fit and healthy and has a passion for sharing that love with others.