Warm and Healthy Winter Favorites

Related topics: Eating Right

Hoppin' John is a traditional New Year's Day treat. Here's a healthier spin on this favorite comfort food. And instead of a calorie-laden box of Valentine's Day candy, serve your sweetheart this heart-friendly fruit cobbler.

Bowl of hoppin' john

Hoppin' John (Sausage, Black-Eyed Peas and Rice)

Makes 4 servings (recipe can be easily doubled)


  • 1/2 cup brown rice, instant uncooked (or white rice)
  • 1 tsp canola oil (or corn oil)
  • 3 ounces low-fat smoked turkey sausage ring, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (lowest fat and sodium available)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (medium, chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, medium (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 can black eyed peas (no salt added, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Prepare the rice using the package directions, omitting the salt and butter/margarine.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the sausage for 3 minutes or until richly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the peas, water, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened slightly but some liquid remains. Remove from the heat.
  5. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes so the flavors blend. Stir in the rice. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 cup (1/4 of recipe)

Calories per serving: 224

Total fat: 3g; saturated fat: 1g; cholesterol: 4 mg; dietary fiber: 7g

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Winter Crisp

Makes 6 servings


For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 cups apples, unpeeled, sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries

For the topping:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp soft margarine, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and lemon peel. Mix well. Add the lemon juice, apples, and cranberries; stir to mix. Spoon into a 6-cup baking dish.
  3. To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, whole-wheat flour, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the melted margarine; stir to mix.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the filling. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1/6 of crisp

Calories per serving: 284

Total fat: 6g; saturated fat: 1g; cholesterol: 0g

Source: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute