There’s no need to feel guilty about snacking on holiday treats, thanks to these light takes on classic Christmas fare. Actually enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with one of these holiday desserts, sides, and main dishes that are full of flavor, not calories.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


  • 2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss together Brussels sprouts, oil, and vinegar on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, stirring once in the last 5 minutes, until tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

One Pan Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken


  • 2.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, with skin on (around 4 to 6 chicken thighs or breast) See notes for lower fat option
  • fresh thyme
  • a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs (optional)
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup fresh cranberries (or previously frozen)
  • 1 tbsp each maple syrup and balsamic vinegar mixed together to coat chicken during roasting

For the Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce or coconut aminos (optional)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp minced)


Clean your chicken, then place in a roasting or baking dish. Set aside.

Make the Balsamic Chicken Marinade:

Blend all the balsamic chicken marinade ingredients listed above in a food processor or blender until liquified and smooth.

Pour marinade over the chicken thighs, coating evenly.

Cover and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hrs.

Once marinated, preheat oven to 375F.

Remove chicken from fridge.

Add extra 1/3 to 1/2 cup cranberries, thyme, and Italian herbs to the dish. Spread it out evenly on and around the chicken.

Bake skin side down first for 25-30 minutes.

Remove and turn skin side up. Check for doneness. Then brush each chicken skin with the maple syrup/balsamic vinegar combo.

Add more seasoning (like dried herbs, salt, pepper) to the top if desired. NOTE: If using fresh herbs, wait to add until after you remove the chicken from the oven.

Depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs, either bake a little longer skin side up, then broil. Or if chicken is almost done and not pink, then skip extra baking and just broil for about 3-4 minutes or until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked evenly inside. NOTE: If using boneless chicken, cooking time will be around 35 minutes total.

After thoroughly cooked, remove from oven.

Spoon the sauce from the pan onto each chicken thigh/breast and a pinch of black pepper or cracked pepper.

Serve with the roasted cranberries on top and any extra fresh herbs desired.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad


  • 2 cups (~3) medium sweet potatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package (4.3 ounces) Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix or see homemade version below
  • 1 large apple I used honey-crisp
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 8-10 ounces mixed greens lettuce I use a 50/50 blend spinach & spring mix leaves
  • Optional: crumbled goat cheese or feta
  • Lemon Balsamic Dressing
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small chunks. Toss the potato chunks in 1 tablespoon olive oil plus some salt and pepper. You could also add some other seasonings if desired.

Bake for 10 minutes, flip and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, and then flip once more and bake for 10 more minutes or until the potato chunks are tender and roasted through. Watch these carefully so you don’t overcook the potatoes.

Meanwhile, prepare the wild rice either according to the package directions if you are using a package mix OR according to the directions in the recipe below this one (for a homemade version of seasoned wild rice). If you make the homemade wild rice, start with making that before roasting the sweet potato so they will be done around the same time.

Combine the roasted sweet potato with the cooked wild rice in a large bowl and place in the fridge while prepping the dressing.

For the dressing combine all of the ingredients in a small blender (I use my Blendtec + twister jar) or a food processor. Blend until completely combined, taste, adjust to personal preference, and then pour into a dressing bottle or mason jar and place in the fridge.

Chop up an apple (you can peel if desired) and an avocado (remove skin and pit). Toss both together with the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Add to the cooled potato + wild rice mixture. Toss with the lettuce and add cranberries plus almonds (you can toast almonds if desired by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat and stirring until lightly fragrant watching carefully to not burn them.)

Toss everything with the dressing and add in some feta or crumbled goat cheese to personal preference. Increase the amounts of cranberries or almonds if desired.

Once dressed enjoy the salad the same day. If not finishing the salad in one day check my notes for storing the salad ingredients separately to keep it fresh.