Healthy living

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11 Healthier Holiday Dishes


 Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers with Dill Dip

Serving size: 2 to 3 tenders each (with 1 tablespoon [15 g] dip), 
Servings per recipe: 12


For chicken:

  • 1/2 cup (55 g) pecans

  • 1/3 cup (40 g) whole-wheat flour

  • 2 tsp (5 g) paprika

  • 2 tsp (6 g) dry mustard

  • 2 tsp (6 g) garlic powder

  • 1 tsp (2 g) onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (56 g) panko bread crumbs

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 pound (455 g) chicken tenders, larger pieces cut in half lengthwise

For dip:

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) nonfat plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) light mayonnaise

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp dried dill

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


To make the chicken: Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C, or gas mark 9) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whir pecans, flour, paprika, dry mustard, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor until pecans are ground to a powder, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the oil with the motor running, blending completely. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish and stir in the panko bread crumbs.

Beat egg in a second shallow dish and add chicken tenders, coating them completely. Transfer each tender to the breading, turning to coat evenly. Arrange chicken on the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and nearly firm, 8 minutes.

To make the dip: Stir all the dip ingredients together in a small bowl.

Enjoy the cooked chicken immediately with the dip.

Recipe Note: â€¨Chicken tenders come from the undersides of chicken breasts and are naturally portioned into strips, saving you time in cutting them. If you don’t have chicken tenders, substitute chicken breasts cut into 4x1-inch (10x2.5 cm) strips.

PER SERVING: 418 calories; 20 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 34 g protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 120 mg cholesterol

CREDIT: Michelle Dudash, R.D., Clean Eating for Busy Families, Fair Winds Press (2013).


Tiramsu Shots 

Servings per recipe: 5 (3-4 oz.) servings  


  • 1/2 cup chocolate coated espresso beans
  • 1 (12-ounce) package firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed espresso
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 1/4-1/2 inch thick disks of vanilla sponge cake (the disks should be roughly the size of the inside of 6-ounce tall juice or parfait glasses)
  • Espresso or Kahlua (optional)
  • Cocoa powder to garnish
  • Chocolate coated espresso beans to garnish


1. In food processor, grind chocolate-coated espresso beans until finely ground. Add tofu, espresso, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Blend until smooth and reserve.

2. Place a sponge cake circle in the bottom of each glass. Drizzle cake with a few drops of espresso or Kahlua. Spoon several tablespoons of coffee-tofu mixture over cake. Place another sponge cake circle on top of the coffee tofu mixture. Spoon remaining coffee-tofu mixture into shot, to reach almost to the top of the shot containers. Chill for at least 30 minutes. 

3. To serve, sprinkle tops of the shots with cocoa powder and top with a chocolate coated espresso bean.

CREDIT: Recipe and photo reprinted with the permission of the Soyfoods Council.


Petite Pumpkin Pie 

Serving size: 1 mini-pie each, Servings per recipe: 16 


  • 1/2 cup whole-grain graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 12 ounces fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp mild honey or agave nectar
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray each of 16 cups of two silicone or nonstick muffin trays with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each cup. Set aside.

2. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the ginger, salt, and cloves in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the pumpkin until well combined. Stir in the sugar mixture until well combined. Whisk in the milk until well combined.

4. Divide the mixture evenly among the 16 muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each. Bake both trays until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, about 33 to 35 minutes. Cool in the muffin trays on racks for about 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract.

6. When ready to serve, carefully remove each pie from the tray. Top each with the yogurt mixture, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and serve.

PER SERVING: 90 calories, 1.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 17g

CREDIT: 1000 Low-Calorie Recipes by Jackie Newgent (Wiley 2012).


Published November 13, 2012. 


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