How to cook up some healthy, hearty holiday foods

UT Southwestern's Diabetes Management Program and William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital's Nutrition Services recently hosted a healthy holiday cooking demonstration in the University Hospital's dining area. Attendees learned how to make healthier versions of some favorite holiday foods – turkey, sweet potatoes, desserts, and more. All dishes were diabetes-friendly, and recipes and nutrition information were available for each dish.

Executive Chef Chris Hensel, Executive Chef Michelle Muhitch, Sous Chef Kevin McClure, and Sous Chef Alex Morgan performed the demonstration and served food to the attendees.

“We want our patients and the community to know that they don’t have to sacrifice taste when trying to eat healthy, even during the holidays,” Chef Hensel said. “The recipes are also really simple, and you don’t have to be a professional chef to make them.”

Dietitians Shelly Chaudhari and Amy Marshall compiled the recipes, and with the help of Administrative Assistant Bryan Guardiola, put them together in a recipe book for attendees. Check out some of the recipes below, or download the entire recipe book for more, including nutrition information.

Balsamic Herb-Roasted Turkey

Serves 8


¼ ounce garlic

¼ ounce rosemary, stemmed and chopped

1 sprig parsley

1 2/3 ounce low-fat balsamic vinaigrette

2 pounds turkey breast, foil-wrapped


    1. Stem and chop rosemary. In a bowl, add garlic, rosemary, parsley, and vinaigrette. Mix well for marinade.
    2. Add turkey to marinade. Toss to coat evenly. Hold refrigerated for 4 to 24 hours to marinade. Drain and discard excess marinade.
    3. Tent turkey breasts with foil. Cook in a convection oven at 350 F for 2 hours or until minimum internal temperature is at least 165 F.

Note: Remove foil 20 minutes before end of cooking period to allow breast to brown.

Honey Sriracha-Roasted Carrots

Serves 8


About 2 pounds carrots, cleaned and sliced ½ inch thick

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sriracha

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Mix honey, sriracha, salt, pepper, and oil.
  2. Toss carrots in the mixture and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven until tender, about 15-20 minutes, turning once in the middle.

Pumpkin Tartlets

Serves 12


1 refrigerated pie crust (½ of 15-ounce package)

1 15-ounce can of solid-pack pumpkin

½ cup fat-free milk

2 tablespoons sugar substitute

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Dash of allspice

1 ½ cups fat-free whipped topping


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray standard 12 count (2 ½ inch) muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Unroll pie crust on a clean surface. Cut out 12 circles with 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter. Discard scraps. Press 1 circle into each prepared muffin cup.
  3. Whisk pumpkin, milk, egg, sugar substitute, granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl until well blended. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin mixture into each tartlet shell.

  4. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Bake 12 to 15 minutes more until knife can be inserted into centers and come out clean. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of whipped topping on each tartlet just before serving.