Post Content

Commissioner Scott Soares

Commissioner Scott Soares

Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)

View Commissioner Soares' Bio

    For a lot of us, the holiday season is associated with a time of delicious food and festive meals with friends and family. I think the abundance of holiday treats makes December one of my favorite times of year. Food has always been a big part of my family’s holiday traditions and it’s something I look forward to every year.

    This year I am particularly excited by the growing opportunity to buy more and more ingredients for my holiday meals from Massachusetts farms. Every time I turn around, there are more winter farmers markets, more year-round farm stands, and more holiday markets. Throughout the winter, farms stay open for business by selling things like delicious cheeses, meats, apples, cranberries, maple syrup, and eggs. Fresh, local ingredients are a good start to making a tasty and festive meal, especially a holiday meal! With so many tempting treats around the office and at home, it’s nice to know you can still maintain a healthy diet by taking the time to purchase fresh ingredients and find healthful recipes. Here are two of my favorite healthy holiday recipes using ingredients from Massachusetts’ farms you can find throughout the holiday season.

Squash Apple Casserole (by the University of Massachusetts Extension School Agriculture Program)

  • 2 ½ cups fresh winter squash, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 ½ cups cooking apples, pared and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Alternate layers of squash and apples in an 8"x 8" pan, ending with apples on top layer. Sprinkle spices over top layer. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in 350 degree F oven for approximately 45-60 minutes until squash is tender. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes to remove any excess liquid that might have accumulated. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 4.

Turkey Pot Pie

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  •  3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped turkey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 prepared pie crust 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in saucepan (or pour in oil) and cook chopped onion until tender. Stir in celery and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Stir in turkey, parsley, sage and peas. Pour mixture into casserole dish. Top with pie crust and brush with egg white. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden.

Look here for information on how to find your local holiday foods. Get tips on having a healthy holiday season with outdoor activities on The Great Outdoors blog.

Written By:

Tags: , ,

Recent Posts

Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference posted on Jul 25

Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference

In the six years from 2008 through 2013, 356 workers died on the job in Massachusetts.  This is about one worker every five days!  The MDPH CFOI and MA FACE projects developed this infographic to illustrate these tragic worker deaths and to underscore the human costs   …Continue Reading Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference

Making Your Summer POP! posted on Jul 19

Making Your Summer POP!

Few things are better than an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day!  I have vivid memories from my childhood running around through the sprinkler and various neighbors’ yards enjoying the summer sun.  At that age, having a messy red ring around your mouth from   …Continue Reading Making Your Summer POP!

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces posted on Jul 18

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Wellness programs are good for business. They can lead to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and decreased healthcare and insurance costs. Now, small businesses can be rewarded for these efforts! The Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive gives small businesses in Massachusetts a state tax credit   …Continue Reading Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces