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Healthy Christmas Feast (for less)!

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The annual holiday challenge: How to lay out a fabulous meal for your guests while reining in your budget. While it’s tempting to overspend by splurging on exotic or out-of-season ingredients, we have a better way. Serve a crowd-pleasing feast using seasonal ingredients. Our holiday recipes offer tantalizing flavors at a reasonable cost, and they’re full of healthful nutrients. The goal was keeping cost under $50 to feed a family of six in the 2012 holiday season. The totals given here are not exact, but your expenditures should be close to ours. As you’ll see, we hit the goal.

The main event is the turkey. An orange juice-maple syrup glaze offers a hint of sweetness while giving our Herb-Buttered Stuffed Turkey a pleasing glow. There’s a nutrition bonus, too. Turkey is a lean-protein food and roasting is a low-fat preparation method. A 10-pound bird allows for plenty of leftovers. Dressing starts with cubes of hearty Hy-Vee Baking Stone bread. Toast them briefly so they will absorb the richly seasoned broth. To increase flavor and nutritional value, mix cubes from several types of breads. The recipe calls for the usual ingredients of chopped celery and onion, but a generous helping of diced carrots adds a nutrient boost and brilliant color to the dish.

A red-and-green color scheme makes Holiday Green Beans with Cranberries an irresistible addition to a holiday table. Crisp-cooked fresh green beans maintain their just-picked flavor. Cranberries and a bit of orange peel brighten the taste. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Pecans add a touch of holiday decadence in a surprisingly healthful dish. Sweet potatoes have plenty of immune-boosting vitamin A, as well as vitamins C and B. Round out the meal with dinner rolls, add a pie, and for under $50 you have a holiday feast that will leave everyone singing your praises.

A Sparkling Tabletop

Setting a memorable holiday table begins with familiar tableware and linens from your cabinets. To wow your guests, layer in some easy elegance with a few thoughtfully chosen items.

Clear glass vases and jars—in whatever sizes and shapes you have—serve as holders for a variety of “ornaments.” The glass sparkles as it reflects light, lending seasonal glam.

Inside each container, small objects add dimension. We went with a handful of candy canes, a grouping of limes and a few cut evergreen boughs as a centerpiece. Display vases holding single colorful, showy hydrangea heads. These long-living flowers may grace your table for months, as they dry beautifully.

The theme carries over to the cabinet, with another display of boughs, along with found pinecones and a bowl of green apples.

Ribbon scraps, left over from wrapping gifts, casually encircle a vase and are also crafted into napkin rings. Paper clips secure ribbon rings and name tags onto the napkins. While these clips are seasonally striped, everyday silver paper clips will gleam atop the linens.

In the spirit of economy, the limes and apples can be “recycled” into recipes another day, and candy canes serve as take-away treats for guests. A bunch of mixed evergreen boughs from Hy-Vee provides enough flora for vase and cabinet displays.

Help with Dinner

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you already have a lot on your plate. Let Hy-Vee give you the gift of time. Order a catered holiday meal from our kitchen to trim time spent in yours.

A variety of holidays-only catered dinners can be purchased by calling your local store's Catering Department. Arrange your choice of holiday meals and schedule a pick-up or delivery time. Here is the menu.

  • Traditional Turkey Dinner. This meal serves 8.
  • Traditional Boneless Ham Dinner. This meal serves 8.
  • Oven Roasted Prime Rib Dinner. This meal serves 8.
  • Boneless Turkey Breast Dinner. This meal serves 4.

Each dinner comes with a choice of three side dishes and includes gravy and rolls. Choose from such sides as stuffing; potatoes; veggies; and apple, pumpkin or cherry pie. Select additional sides to round out your menu, if desired. Also plan to order appetizers for munching as guests arrive and begin to mingle. Ready-made platters include fruit, vegetable and shrimp; signature-themed platters are also available.

When scheduling the pick-up or delivery of your meal, allow at least 2 hours for reheating before serving.

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Holiday 2012

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