Holidays are times many of us enjoy special family meals, often with extended family.
More than meals, these are experiences.
Foods for these family meals often become traditions in themselves, with added significance because they are regional or cultural.
For instance, sharing seafood with the family is a tradition that dates back for many years, even centuries. What started as a religious observation has spread to others who aren’t even aware of its origins.
Eating Fish at Holiday Meals
The Feast of the Seven Fishes goes back to Roman times, when families would serve at least seven but as many as thirteen different kinds of fish and fish dishes. Fish was served as a way to avoid meat to honor the birth of Jesus and eaten while they wait for the coming of the baby.
For many cultures, fish is a staple for holy days. Often times some of the fish dishes included frying it.
Throughout history during the holiday, fish can be served in a variety of traditional ways using different kinds of fish, including salted fish such as cod, fish processed by drying, prawns for long life, herring roe for fertility, eels, calamari, anchovies, mussels, squid,or pickled herring to ensure a bountiful fish harvest.
Serving a whole fish so that your year is happy from beginning to end is another way people around the world serve fish during this time of the year.
Seafood dishes are also widely served in coastal regions of the country where seafood is abundant and celebrated as life sustaining for those living nearby. Dishes such as seafood gumbo, oyster dressing, seafood casserole, crab, and mussels and pasta are on the menu throughout the season.
You may also enjoy cooking and serving seafood during the holidays and even at your main holiday get together with family, whether or not you live near the water or follow a cultural tradition.
Family Seafood Recipes and Nutrition
Many of our favorite seafood recipes passed down through the generations are not always the most healthy recipes we will eat.
Seafood dishes are often breaded and deep fat fried. Others use heavy cream and butter as a base for creamy goodness.
Still other seafood items we dip in clarified butter for an extra punch.
Do you have family seafood recipes that could use a renovation to give them a healthier profile? Most of us could substitute not just healthier ingredients but also more available, fresher ingredients that will give our seafood recipes a healthier nutritional content compared to their original versions.
Health Benefits of Seafood
Health experts agree that incorporating fish into our menus two or three times a week will provide us with good nutrition and health benefits.
Fish is a high protein food source that is low in fat — depending how it is prepared of course. Oily fish are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids that give our heart and brain a protective benefit.
Fish contain vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin) as well as calcium, phosphorus and the minerals iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
Recipe Renovation™ Seafood Corn Chowder
My family enjoys this recipe and it is easy to make – a bonus for the cook. There are a variety of ways to make it so it can be a little different each time and we can use everyone’s favorite ingredient each time so it is never boring.
Renovating this family favorite lowers the calories, fat and sodium content to help us all meet our personal health goals for heart disease, blood pressure, and weight concerns so we can prevent disease.
|Seafood Chowder||Original||Recipe Renovation|
|Protein||16 g||19 g|
|Carbohydrate||36 g||34 g|
|Total Fat||8 g||4 g|
|Saturated Fat||4 g||1 g|
|Cholesterol||88 mg||89 mg|
|Sodium||870 mg||344 mg|
|Fiber||4 g||4 g|
The best part is that it is still packed with flavor and doesn’t disappoint anyone. Some don’t even realize that the chowder is now healthier for them – they don’t really need to know anyway!
Enjoy the holidays and all year using this Recipe Renovation™ recipe card.
- Bacon, low sodium, 6 slices cut into small pieces
- Onion, 1 large, chopped
- All-purpose (unbleached) Flour, 2 tablespoons
- Chicken broth, low sodium or homemade, 4 cups
- Bay leaves, 2
- Paprika, 1 teaspoon
- Dry mustard, 1 teaspoon
- Potatoes, large russet, cut into bite sized chunks
- Thyme, 2 teaspoons
- Milk, low fat, 1 cup
- Corn, 3 cups
- Peppers - green, red, or banana - 1/2 cup chopped
- Fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- Scallions sliced optional
- Seafood - use your favorite type: 1 pound of small shrimp, 2 cups cooked lobster chunks, 2 fish fillets, 1 cup crab meat, or 1 pound of scallops
- Parsley, 1 teaspoon
- In large pot, fry bacon. When crispy, remove bacon to a plate.
- Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook in the bacon grease until transparent. Return bacon to pot.
- Add flour and stir until combined.
- Add broth, bay leaves, paprika and dry mustard and stir together. Heat for 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and thyme and cook for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Add milk, corn, sliced peppers and black pepper heating for 10 minutes until all is thoroughly heated and soup begins to thicken up.
- Add seafood and parsley. Heat thoroughly for 15 minutes until seafood is cooked completely.
- Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
- Keep hot until ready to serve.
- Add chopped parsley over the top for garnish as desired.
- We prefer shrimp but you can choose the seafood you have on hand or your family's favorite (fresh, frozen, canned).
- Recommend using frozen corn because there are no added ingredients but you can use fresh or fresh frozen that you saved when it was in season.
- If using frozen corn on the cob leftover from summer, slice off cob.
- Use whichever pepper you prefer. I use banana peppers I grow in my garden and freeze whole for use throughout the year.