Holiday Recipes That Wow!

December 20, 2012
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

From my kitchen to yours.

Nothing makes me happier this time of year than having my nearest and dearest crowded around the kitchen enjoying a meal together. And with the hustle and bustle of the season, I’m always looking for quick and healthy snacks that are guaranteed to wow even the pickiest eaters.

I’d love to share some of my tried-and-true favorites to surprise your friends and family with at your next holiday gathering. Best of all, they’re a cinch to make!

My top 4 Holiday Hors D ‘Oeuvres:

Chunky Artichoke Dip

With just the right blend of creamy and savory, this dip goes well with veggie crudités, crackers or pita bread, but I especially love to serve it with my Spinach Flatbread!

Makes about 2 ½ cups, or 5 ½ cup servings


  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (7-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped ¼ cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Cayenne, to taste

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients; chill. Serve cold.

Spinach Flatbread

Makes 1 to 2 servings


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped onions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the mixture evenly onto the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Holding the ends of the parchment paper, pick up the flatbread and lay it on a cooling rack or towel. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Cranberry Chutney

As the “cranberry queen,” no holiday menu is complete at my house without the appearance of my favorite ruby red fruit!

Makes 8 (1/3- cup) servings


  • 2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped prunes
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onions
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/3 cup apple-cranberry juice (100% juice, unsweetened)
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

stuffed mushroomsGluten-Free Stuffed Mushrooms

These mushrooms are absolutely delectable – and guilt-free too! I was so pleased to come across this recipe as a healthier alternative to the typical breadcrumb and cheese-stuffed variations. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Makes 24


  • 24 large button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • ¼ cup white onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 carrots, grated and peeled
  • ½ cup pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. organic salsa
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 chives, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray baking dish with nonstick baking spray. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add cooked brown rice, quinoa, carrots, pine nuts, salsa and sea salt. Cook until warm, about 3-4 minutes, and remove from heat. Using a spoon, transfer the mixture into each mushroom cap and place stuffed mushrooms in a single layer in the baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives. Serve warm.

Send your guests home with a special treat…

My Rise and Shine Oatmeal Mix turns a basic breakfast staple into something truly gift-worthy. It all lies in the presentation—I dress mine up in an old-fashioned mason jar with grosgrain ribbon and a craft paper tag for just the right personal touch!

Rise and Shine Oatmeal

Makes 4 servings


  • Steel-cut oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Walnuts
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Medium-sized mason jar
  • Ribbon, fabric, gift tag, cinnamon sticks

Mix the oats, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fill the jar ¾ full with the oat mixture. Add the dried fruit in a layer on top, and then add a layer of walnuts.

Happy Holidays and the warmest of wishes for a wonderful new year!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Ana

    The spinach flatbread sounds more like a frittata than a bread – there’s no flour??

  2. george

    I’ll bet you could add coconut flour and water and have more of a tortilla texture … spread thin on a hot cast iron skillet.

    Looks yummy!!

  3. carol

    thank you so much ! i’m really eager to try these…………

  4. Mary

    The oatmeal looks delicious, and is so beautifully presented. What are the directions for the gift recipient on how to prepare it?

    • eva Stawecki

      I was wondering about the directions for the preparation as well.

  5. Colleen

    The stuffed mushrooms were wonderful. I made the rise and shine oatmeal jars for hostess gifts – what a great idea!


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