Holiday Entrees Serve Up New Traditions

Christmas table with fireplace and Christmas tree in the background

I love turkey as much as the next person, but sometimes when I’m entertaining I want to show off my cooking chops. We all get into that culinary holiday rut of turkey, ham and beef roasts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those! But there are other entrees that are delicious, unique and could become your new holiday tradition. These are featured in my latest book, The Age Beautifully Cookbook.

Roasted Pork Shoulder

pork-roast-2Pork shoulder is pretty tough, so I like to start this dish the night before and let it cook slowly overnight. This method will tenderize any tough cut of meat. The balsamic sauce can be made at the last minute. This is a perfect dish for a buffet dinner.

Pork has protein and lysine for building muscle, bone, and blood, and phosphorous for nerve and muscle function. Annatto (achiote) seeds have a very bioavailable form of vitamin E, which helps lower cholesterol and protects the skin from the aging effects of ultraviolet radiation. They also contain carotenoids for healthy eyes.


Serves 10-12

5 lbs. pork shoulder
2 Tbs. rock salt or salt substitute
½ cup Annatto Water

Balsamic sauce

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1½ Tbs. low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ Tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. minced garlic (optional)
¼ tsp. rock salt
⅛ tsp. black pepper

Annatto Water

½ cup annatto or achiote seeds (whole, not ground)
½ cup warm water


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Rinse the pork, pat it dry with paper towels, place it in a large roasting pan, and prick it all over with a large fork.
  3. Rub the pork with the salt. Allow the salt to penetrate the meat for 15–20 minutes.
  4. Add the seeds to the water and let soak for 5 minutes. Work the seeds with your hands for a couple of minutes until the water turns orange. Strain to remove the seeds.
  5. Baste the meat with a little of the Annatto Water and put it in the oven.
  6. Allow the roast to slowly cook for about 5–6 hours at 200 degrees, basting every hour if possible.
  7. Make the sauce: Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  8. When the roast reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Serve with the sauce on the side.


FDisease Prevention – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.

beautyBeauty – Promotes vibrant skin and hair and keeps eyes healthy.
Strength –Builds strength for bones, muscles and joints. Increases bone density, builds and repairs tissue.

Salmon with Ginger-Apricot Sauce


Salmon is truly a superfood and it makes a nice, light holiday entrée. This anti-aging recipe is delicious year round. The salmon is poached, which keeps it moist. I favor wild-caught salmon from Alaska.

Salmon has heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can also help your brain function better and beautify your skin by reducing cellular inflammation that can lead to skin aging. Ginger and garlic add additional anti-inflammatory power.  Apricots have carotenoids, which contain lots of antioxidant power and offer protection against cancer and heart disease.


Serves 2

2 fillets (about 1 lb.) fresh salmon, skin on or off
2 cups water
¼ cup. miso paste
3 Tbs. minced or grated ginger
2 Tbs. crushed garlic
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. honey
½ cup chopped dried apricots, soaked in warm water for 1 hour and strained
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup sliced green onions, as garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the salmon in a glass baking dish.
  3. Combine the miso paste, water, 1 Tbs. of the ginger and garlic, and the oil and pour over the salmon.
  4. Cover the salmon with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30–35 minutes or until the fish is opaque. At this point it can be slightly undercooked because it will sit covered and warm while you make the glaze.
  5. Remove the poaching liquid from the salmon, re-cover, and set the salmon in a warm place.
  6. In a saucepan, simmer the poaching liquid and the remaining ginger and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the honey, apricots, salt, and pepper. Simmer another 10 minutes or until the glaze is thick.
  8. To serve, top the salmon with the glaze and garnish with the green onions.


AiAnti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and lowering the risk of long-term disease. 

MBMind – improves mood, memory and focus.

beauty Beauty – Promotes vibrant skin and hair and keeps eyes healthy.

Squab Stuffed with Red Rice


If you’re having a more intimate celebration, this dish makes a stunning presentation!

I like to eat game meats like squab because they’re sure to be free-range and organic. If you don’t have a local source for the squab, you can use two small Cornish hens or 1 large organic or free-range chicken instead. You can use store-bought chicken broth instead of homemade.

Squab, Cornish hen, and chicken have protein and lysine for building muscle, bone, and blood, phosphorous for nerve and muscle function, and B12 for healthy brain and heart. Red rice boasts anthocyanins, the same phytochemicals that make grapes and olives so good for your heart.


Serves 2-4

2 fresh squabs, skin on
2 Tbs. olive oil


4 Tbs. low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sea salt
Dash of white pepper


4 Tbs. olive oil, divided in half
¼ cup diced white onion
½ cup diced turkey bacon
1 cup red or wild rice
4 whole bay leaves
2 tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
2½ cups Chicken Stock
3 Tbs. tomato paste
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced green bell pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the marinade: Mix the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and place the squabs in the bag. Shake to coat well and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Make the stuffing: In a sauté pan, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cooking for about 3 minutes or until it is transparent in color. Add the turkey bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 40–50 minutes or until the rice is almost done.
  4. Remove the stuffing from the heat and add the red and green bell pepper. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  5. Stuff the squabs with the rice mixture and place them in a rectangular baking pan. Arrange any remaining stuffing around the squabs.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30–40 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the squabs with the remaining olive oil. Return to the oven uncovered and bake the squabs for another 15–20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.


MBMind – improves mood, memory and focus.

strengthStrength –Builds strength for bones, muscles and joints. Increases bone density, builds and repairs tissue.

About Grace O

GRACE O is the creator of FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness and longevity. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks – The Age Gracefully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, which recently won the National award for Innovation from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is a fusion chef with a mission to deliver delicious recipes built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her 20 years in the healthcare industry. Visit to learn more. Email us at
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.