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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: New traditions for holiday get-togethers

Trying adding roasted asparagus with crispy prosciutto chips to your holiday feasts.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie and this is never more obvious than around the holidays.

I look forward to trying what each person has contributed to a potluck and seeing the spread at our family dinners.

I indulge in my favourite treats, especially the tried-and-true stuffed appetizers and sweet desserts.

But I have also built up a reputation for bringing something different, delicious and nutritious to the party.

You can also wow guests with a bright, vibrant dish at your next get-together.

A fruit- or vegetable-based side dish or snack can help balance out the other options and is often much appreciated among the more decadent offerings.

The other day, I overheard someone comment that green beans did not belong at a holiday meal.

Why not?

Make it a new tradition for family and friends to try something different at your holiday feast each year.

If you’re looking for a make-ahead or store-bought option to bring along to a party, consider bringing a sauce or dip.

Cranberry sauce and chutney are great on the dinner table to give guests some options for topping their turkey or mashed potatoes.

A pomegranate and pear salsa or a corn relish could be a nutritious option for topping crostini or dipping tortilla chips at a party.

Preparing a creative dish does not have to take a lot of time. Spend less time prepping and have more time to visit with your guests by stocking your freezer with frozen vegetables.

Frozen produce lets you save time on trips to the grocery store or extend your shopping by a few days, as you won’t have fresh items spoiling in the fridge.

Frozen vegetables and fruit are also budget-savvy choices, usually being less costly than fresh produce that comes from far away when not in season locally.

Frozen veggies require less effort to prepare because they’re already pre-washed and cut, so you can get right to cooking your dish.

Here are a few ideas for jazzing up standard roasted or steamed veggies with garnishes that will impress guests with extra colour and flavour:

Steam frozen cauliflower, then puree with cheese and sprinkle with green onions for a nutrient-dense alternative to traditional mashed potatoes.

Roast frozen broccoli or brussels sprouts and top with Parmesan cheese.

Roast pre-sliced frozen beets as the base of a simple salad, topped with crumbled goat cheese and chopped parsley.

Using pre-cut frozen butternut squash, roast in just minutes and throw into cooked wild rice with dried cranberries and pecans.

Or use frozen asparagus spears, like in the recipe below, to whip up an impressive side dish. It even uses pre-made bottled hollandaise sauce to make your prep time even quicker.

Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto Chips


  • 2 slices PC Free From Prosciutto Dry-Cured Ham
  • 1 package (300 g) frozen PC Asparagus Spears
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) each salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) PC Memories of Eggs Benedict Hollandaise Sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
  2. Arrange prosciutto on paper towel-lined large microwave-safe plate, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover with separate sheet of paper towel. Microwave until crispy (about two minutes). Let cool. Set aside.
  3. Toss together frozen asparagus, oil and salt and pepper on baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Bake, turning asparagus once, until tender-crisp, for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place hollandaise sauce in a small microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and repeat until heated through. Set aside. Break prosciutto into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  5. Transfer asparagus to serving platter. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with prosciutto.

Chef’s tip: You can crisp the prosciutto in the oven, if you prefer. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in 425 F (220 C) oven until crispy for five to seven minutes.

  • This makes four servings.
  • Per serving: 120 calories, fat 11 g (of which 3 g is saturated), sodium 280 mg, carbohydrate 4 g, fibre 1 g, protein 4 g
  • Recipe source:

Hayley Ewing is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Bridgewater and Liverpool. Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or shop with the dietitian? Book online at www.atlanticsuperstore/dietitians, by phone at 902-521-4261 or on Facebook at Hayley Ewing, Registered Dietitian.

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