Healthy Easter Meal for the Whole Family

Sunrise Senior Living  |  March 23, 2016
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Easter is right around the corner, which means it's time to start prepping for the holiday meal. Just because holidays have a reputation for loading up on the fattening treats, carbs and calories, doesn't mean you have to follow suit. In fact, there are plenty of delicious, fresh ingredients you can use to perfect your Easter entrees.

Spring into holiday cooking with these light and nutritious recipe ideas:

The main dish: Stuffed Leg of Lamb
Forget the ham this year - instead, try this simple yet impressive entree that is only 265 calories per serving!

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/3 cups parsley - minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 4-lb boneless leg of lamb - trimmed
  • 1 small bunch kale
  • 1/3 cup red onion - minced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese - crumbled
  • 1/2 cup olives - pitted and chopped
  • Lemon zest

Directions:

First, heat your oven to 450 degrees and coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Combine half of the garlic with the parsley, 2 Tbsp. oil, salt and pepper for your rub. Grab your leg of lamb and generously rub mixture all over. Set aside. Remove the stems of your kale and chop the leaves.

Next, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onion, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add kale leaves and continue to cook, stirring often until tender - this should take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Then, add the feta, olives and lemon zest.

Spread the mixture on the inside of the lamb, leaving a 1-inch border at each end of the meat. Roll the cut from the short side, tucking the stuffing in as you go. Tie the leg with kitchen string to keep it from separating. Place the leg steam-side down in the roasting pan and cook for 15 minutes.

Once the time has passed, reduce the oven's temperature to 350 degrees. Continue roasting until the internal heat reaches 135 - this should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let rest on cutting board for 15 minutes before removing string and carving. Enjoy!

The side dish: Asparagus and Peas and Tarragon Vinaigrette
This delicious recipe combines nutritious vegetables and a little bit of bacon for the perfect side dish, and its only 136 calories per serving!

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 lbs. asparagus - trimmed and halved
  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shallots - chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon - chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Using a large pot, bring 3 quarts' water to a boil over high heat. Next, add the green peas, asparagus and snap peas and cook well - this should take about 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Then, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until it reaches as a crispy consistency. Once the bacon is cooked to perfection, move to a paper towel and drain. Crumble into small bits and set aside. Save 1 Tbsp. of bacon drippings for pan.

Coat pan in leftover bacon drippings and heat over medium setting. Add shallots and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring consistently. Then, add the vinegar and mustard and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the asparagus mixture, tarragon and salt and pepper. Cook the entire mixture for about one minute. Remove from heat, add bacon bits and enjoy!

The dessert: Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Did you know that zucchini pairs well with carrots, especially in dessert? Try a serving of this delicious carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting for only 292 calories.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup carrot - grated
  • 1 cup zucchini - grated
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed pineapple juice

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese - softened
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter - softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut - toasted

Directions:

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Then, combine whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, canola oil and eggs. Gradually stir the carrot and zucchini into the sugar mixture. Then, add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until well combined. Spoon batter into baking dish and cook until done - this should take about 33 minutes.

While the cake is baking, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl for your frosting. Beat the mixture until smooth, then add powdered sugar. Continue to mix until the frosting reaches the perfect consistency. Set aside.

Once your cake has finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire wrack. After the cake has cooled, spread frosting evenly on top of the cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. Enjoy!