9 simple festive recipes

Emma & Amy - Nutracheck Nutritionists | 11 Dec, 2022

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Festive mini pizzas

Festive mini pizzas

Makes 6 - 100 kcals per serving Mini pizzas

Kcals 100
Fat 2.7g
Sat fat 1.4g
Carbs 13g
Sugar 2.2g
Fibre 2.1g
Protein 5.3g
Salt 0.53g

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp peas, steamed
  • 1 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
  • ½ red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 green beans, steamed and finely chopped
  • 150g readymade pizza dough
  • 150ml tomato passata
  • 50g grated mozzarella

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C Fan/Gas mark 8.
  2. Mix together the peas, sweetcorn, red pepper and green beans in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Lightly flour a clean dry surface and roll out the pizza dough to a ½ cm thick round.
  4. Using festive shaped cookie cutters, cut out 6 bases from the dough. You may need to re-roll it out after cutting out a few.
  5. Pour the passata into a bowl and carefully spoon a little onto each pizza base, evenly spreading it close to the edges.
  6. Scatter a little of the mozzarella over each pizza.
  7. Spoon a little of the mixed vegetables over each pizza and then bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes, until the base is starting to crisp and the cheese is melted.

Pigs in blankets

Lighter pigs in blankets

Serves 6 - 64 kcals per serving

Kcals 64
Fat 1.9g
Sat fat 0.7g
Carbs 2.4g
Sugar 0.9g
Fibre 0.8g
Protein 9.2g
Salt 0.94g

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Ingredients

  • 6 reduced-fat pork sausages
  • 6 reduced-fat bacon medallions

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6.
  2. Wrap each of the bacon medallions around a sausage, trying to cover as much of the sausage as you can.
  3. Place the sausages on a baking tray and cook for 30-35 minutes until the sausages are cooked through and the bacon is crisp.
  4. Slice each sausage in 4 so you have 4 little lower-fat pigs in blankets.
Spinach and cheese pastry christmas tree

Spinach and cheese pastry Christmas tree

Serves 8 - 314 kcals per serving Spinach cheese pastry Xmas tree

Kcals 314
Fat 15.2g
Sat fat 8g
Carbs 33.1g
Sugar 2.4g
Fibre 1.5g
Protein 8g
Salt 1.14g

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Ingredients

  • 100g spinach
  • 150g low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Italian-style hard cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Black pepper to season
  • 2 lighter ready-rolled puff pastry sheets
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10g low-fat spread

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and squeeze out any excess moisture.
  3. Cut the spinach up into small pieces and add to a bowl with the cream cheese, Italian hard cheese, garlic and black pepper. Thoroughly mix together.
  4. Lay each piece of puff pastry onto the greaseproof paper on the baking tray and cut them into two large triangles. Cut a base for the tree at the bottom of each triangle. Discard the excess pastry.
  5. Spoon the spinach and cheese mixture onto one of the triangles and spread it evenly across.
  6. Lay the other triangle on top of the one with the cheese mixture to make a pastry sandwich.
  7. Cut from the edges into the middle, leaving around a 2-inch gap down the centre, all the way up either side of the triangle – with each section being around an inch wide. Then carefully twist each piece to make the branches.
  8. Place the cherry tomato halves all over the tree and push them into the pastry a little. Melt the spread in the microwave or on the hob until runny, then brush over the pastry.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp.
Vegetable crips

Vegetable crisps and guacamole

Serves 5 - 182 kcals per serving Crisps and guac

Kcals 182
Fat 14.4g
Sat fat 2.2g
Carbs 9.9g
Sugar 5.3g
Fibre 3.1g
Protein 2.3g
Salt 0.33g

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Few sprigs fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 small chilli, deseeded and finely chopped(optional)
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 100g vegetable crisps

Method

  1. Chop the avocado in half and remove the stone. Scoop out all of the avocado and place in a small bowl.
  2. Mash up the avocado until no large lumps are left, then add salt, pepper, lime juice, coriander and chilli if using. Mix well, cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. To serve, place your guacamole bowl in the centre of a large plate. Drizzle with olive oil and top with seeds for a bit of crunch. Arrange your crisps around the edge of the plate for easy sharing.
Filo mince pies

Filo mince pies

Serves 6 - 122 kcals per serving Mince pies

Kcals 122
Fat 0.9g
Sat fat 0.4g
Carbs 25.8g
Sugar 14.7g
Fibre 0.7g
Protein 1.9g
Salt 0.11g

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Ingredients

  • 3 sheets filo pastry
  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 140g mincemeat

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4. Put a muffin tray into the oven to warm through.
  2. Lay the 3 sheets of filo pastry out on top of each other and cut into 6 fairly equal squares. You now have 18 squares in total.
  3. Remove the muffin tray from the oven when warm and line 6 holes of the tray with 3 of the filo pastry squares. Place one sheet in at a time and arrange in a staggered pattern so the edges are fairly jagged.
  4. Spray with low-cal cooking spray and place in the oven to crisp up for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and fill each case with a dessertspoon full of mincemeat. Pop back in the oven to warm through and crisp up for a further 5 minutes.
Strawberry Santas

Strawberry Santas

Makes 12 - 27 kcals per Santa Strawberry Santas

Kcals 27
Fat 2.3g
Sat fat 1.7g
Carbs 1.1g
Sugar 1.1g
Fibre 0.5g
Protein 0.4g
Salt 0.01g

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Ingredients

  • 12 medium strawberries
  • 100ml lighter double cream
  • 24 black sesame seeds

Method

  1. Wash all of the strawberries thoroughly and dry with some kitchen towel. Chop off the pointy end, about a third of the way down the strawberry, and set all pieces of the strawberry aside.
  2. Using a whisk, mix the double cream thoroughly until it starts to thicken.
  3. Put the cream in a piping bag and squirt a little onto the flat end of the largest part of the strawberry. Pop the pointy end of the strawberry on top of the cream to make a hat.
  4. To finish decorating, pipe a little cream onto the point of the strawberry and two buttons down the front. Then place two of the sesame seeds onto the main bit of cream, for the eyes.
Crudite baubles

Crudite baubles

Makes 12 - 54 kcals per bauble Crudite baubles

Kcals 54
Fat 1g
Sat fat 0.5g
Carbs 8.3g
Sugar 2.5g
Fibre 1.1g
Protein 2.7g
Salt 0.28g

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Ingredients

  • 12 large round water biscuits or crackers
  • 170g tub Philadelphia Lightest Herbs soft cheese
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into small shapes
  • 1 cucumber, chopped into small shapes
  • 1 red onion, chopped into small shapes
  • 1 carrot, chopped into small shapes

Method

  1. Take each water biscuit and spread evenly with Philadelphia.
  2. Arrange your veggies on top in rows to mimic the patterns on a bauble. Use a piece of cucumber at the very top of the biscuit for the bauble hanger.
Chocolate bark

Fruit & nut chocolate bark

Serves 10 - 156 kcals per serving Chocolate bark

Kcals 143
Fat 8.2g
Sat fat 3.7g
Carbs 16.2g
Sugar 15.5g
Fibre 1.7g
Protein 2.2g
Salt 0.02g

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Ingredients

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 20g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 20g peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 40g dried cranberries
  • Handful freeze-dried raspberries

Method

  1. Break the dark and white chocolate up into separate heat-safe bowls. Place each one over a pan of simmering water and stir regularly until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate over the parchment-lined baking sheet to form an even layer. Drizzle the white chocolate on top, using a toothpick or chopstick to create swirly patterns in the chocolate.
  4. Scatter the nuts and fruit on top, then pop your baking sheet in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate has completely set.
  5. Break up the chocolate bark into ten shards and serve. Get creative and try this with whatever toppings you prefer!
Candy cane pretzels

Candy cane pretzels

Serves 10 - 175 kcals per serving Candy cane pretzels

Kcals 175
Fat 1.1g
Sat fat 0.2g
Carbs 37.9g
Sugar 20.8g
Fibre 0.6g
Protein 3.5g
Salt 0.37g

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Ingredients

  • 6 candy canes
  • 125g low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 200g star-shaped mini pretzels (other shapes work fine too)

Method

  1. Put your candy canes in a sealable plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin until broken up into very small pieces.
  2. Whisk together the yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth.
  3. Before assembling, take a wire rack and place in on top of a baking sheet, ideally coated in parchment paper to catch any drips.
  4. One at a time, dip each pretzel into the yoghurt mixture, then roll the pretzel in the candy cane pieces. Pop each pretzel on the wire rack.
  5. Place the sheet of pretzels into the freezer for a few hours until the yoghurt has set. Store in the freezer until serving.

Nutritionists Emma White (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition and Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition, are passionate about diet and how this impacts overall health. They support evidence-based advice around nutrition and aim to help everyone better understand how different nutrients affect the body and long-term health status.

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