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Healthy holiday recipes with Hester Hodde

Hester Hodde truly enjoys the art of cooking — from carefully selecting nutritious staples and carefully measuring ingredients, to the joy on friends’ and family members’ faces as they bite into her food.

Story by Becca Edwards  +  Photo by Celia G Photography

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com)

Hodde believes cooking is a creative outlet that allows us to savor life and spread joy to others, especially during the holidays. Sharing some of her favorite recipes, Hodde will get you in the spirit of the season while still toasting to your health.


Lentil and Brown Rice Soup

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups water
1 ½ cups lentils
1 cup brown rice (Example: Lundberg’s Wild Blend with brown and wild rice)
2 pounds canned small diced tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped into ½-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme 

DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes. When soup is cooked, stir in ½ cup fresh parsley chopped, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. *Option: Add chopped chicken. (Note: This freezes well and makes a nice gift.)


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved from top to stem
¼ pound turkey bacon chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss sprouts and garlic with olive oil and spread on the sheet, turning the cut sides of the sprouts down. Roast for 25 minutes. Mix broth and vinegar in a measuring cup. Remove pan from oven and drizzle sprouts with broth mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan. Roast 5 more minutes.


Savory Sauteed Kale

Ingredients (Serves 4)
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced into slivers
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large bag of kale stemmed and chopped
½ cup vegetable stock
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes for one minute. (Note: Do not let the garlic brown or it will be bitter.) Add kale and stock to pan and turn heat up to medium high. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft but still green. Remove cover and cook until liquid is evaporated. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar.


Zesty Spice Rub for Broiled Fish

Ingredients (RUB)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest from 2 lemons (save lemons to juice for fish)
Mix with ¼ cup olive oil to make a paste. 

DIRECTIONS: In a spice grinder, combine the ingredients and grind. Mix with olive oil to make the paste.

Ingredients (FISH)
4 fish steaks or thick filets (Example: Swordfish) 

DIRECTIONS: Spread zesty spice rub over fish. Broil on each side 4-5 minutes per inch.


Honey Broiled Citrus Fruit with Coconut or Vanilla Yogurt

Ingredients
3 red grapefruits
4 naval oranges
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey
2 containers of Greek coconut or vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS: Zest the oranges and set zest aside. Peel the oranges and grapefruit, removing the pith and seeds. Cut the fruit into ½ inch discs and place on a foil-covered baking sheet. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle cinnamon over top. Broil until honey is bubbling. Place fruit discs on dessert plates and dollop with yogurt. Sprinkle with orange zest.