Summer is almost at an end and the High Holidays are quickly approaching. As usual, the big question on everyone’s mind is what to serve. I love the holidays but the usual fare is packed with calories and fat. Not this year. I’ll be preparing recipes from my new cookbook NORENE’S HEALTHY KITCHEN (Whitecap Books $34.95 Cdn, $29.95 U.S.) to serve at my holiday table.

Here are some delicious dishes that are heart-healthy, can be prepared in advance and are adaptable to serve both large or small families. You’ve been waiting a long time for my new book to arrive, and I apologize for the delay. I hope your family enjoys these dishes and they will become new traditions to serve at your holiday table.

I’ve also included many of my favourite cooking secrets and there are many helpful nutrition notes and lots of information about the glycemic index. The recipes are great for heart-smart cooking, for anyone watching their weight, and also for those who are on a diabetic diet. With 600 brand-new recipes to choose from, there’s something for everyone! You don’t need to sacrifice flavour for nutrition and there’s no need to convert the recipes to make them adaptable for the Kosher kitchen. It’s all been done for you.

Wishing all my readers a happy and very healthy New Year. From my healthy kitchen to yours, eat YOUR way to good health!


My assistant, Shelley Sefton, shared this treasured recipe from her late mom’s recipe collection. Daphne Zarenda’s friends have been waiting impatiently for it so they could savor the special memories of this special lady who loved to cook and bake for her friends and family. Daphne – this one’s for them – and you!

1 whole chicken (31/2 lb/1.6 kg), cut into pieces
1 tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 cup apricot or peach chutney
2 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 to 3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger

  1. Rinse the chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the excess fat. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Season the chicken pieces with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika. Place in a single layer in the prepared casserole.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chutney, lemon juice, brown sugar, curry powder, and ginger; mix well. Pour the mixture over the chicken and mix well, coating it on all sides. (If desired, the chicken can be prepared in advance up to this point and refrigerated for as long as 2 days.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the chicken, covered, for 1 hour, basting with the sauce every 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer or until the chicken is glazed and golden.

Yield: 6 servings. Recipe doubles or triples easily. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months.

218 calories per serving (without skin), 16.2 g carbohydrate, 1.0 g fiber, 19 g protein, 8.8 g fat (2.4 g saturated), 58 mg cholesterol, 216 mg sodium, 322 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 32 mg calcium

Shelley’s Lighter Variation: Use 8 boneless, skinless, single chicken breasts. Bake uncovered, basting occasionally, at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Juices should run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. One breast contains 190 calories, 12.1 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g fiber, and 3.3 g fat (0.9 g saturated).


My assistant Cindy Beer makes this simple and delicious dish ahead of time on her two-sided indoor grill. Her guests and family love it. Cindy insists on using thin asparagus spears because she thinks they taste better. If you munch a bunch of fiber-packed grilled asparagus rather than nosh on noodles or other starchy side dishes, over time you’ll be be pencil-thin too.

2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 2 lb/1 kg)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette (below)

  1. Preheat an indoor grill. Soak the asparagus in cold water for a few minutes. Drain thoroughly and pat dry. Bend asparagus and snap off the tough ends at the point where they break off naturally; discard the ends. Place the trimmed asparagus in a loaf pan or shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roll the asparagus around to coat all sides with oil.
  2. Transfer the spears to the hot grill, close the lid and grill for 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender-crisp. Remove from the grill and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to serve, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and drizzle with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Yield: 8 servings. Serve hot or at room temperature. Will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Don’t freeze.

122 calories per serving, 6.8 g carbohydrate, 2.3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 10.3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 26 mg sodium, 240 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 26 mg calcium

Chef’s Secrets:

  • Grilling Tip: If grilling asparagus spears on an outdoor grill, lay them crosswise to prevent them from falling through the cracks or place them in a grill basket.
  • Size Counts: Some cooks prefer large asparagus spears but these tend to be somewhat stringy and usually require peeling. Thin and medium-sized spears don’t require peeling. Try to buy spears that are all the same thickness so that they will cook evenly.
  • Weighing In: One bunch of asparagus weighs about 1 lb (500 g). There are 16 to 20 spears in a pound, yielding 2 1/2 cups cooked. Calculate 4 to 6 spears per person as a serving.
  • It’s in the Bag: Store asparagus in the refrigerator in a loosely sealed plastic bag. To keep it moist, first wrap it in a damp paper towel. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Note:

  • Asparagus is high in vitamins A, B, and C, and it’s high in folate, which is important for pregnant women and for cardiovascular health. Asparagus is also a good source of potassium and iron.


If you keep frozen raspberries on hand, you can whip up this fruity dressing in about 30 seconds. It’s excellent over grains or greens. For a real taste sensation, drizzle it over grilled asparagus. You’ll razzle-dazzle them!

1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (no need to defrost)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
(or 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp orange juice)
1 Tbsp honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process raspberries for 8 to 10 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and process 10 seconds longer to combine. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Shake well before using.

Yield: About 2/3 cup. Recipe doubles and triples easily. Keeps for up to a week to 10 days in the refrigerator.

68 calories per Tbsp, 2.5 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fiber, 0 g protein, 6.5 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 12 mg sodium, 4 mg potassium, 0 mg iron, 2 mg calcium


Experience the fabulous flavors of the Mediterranean with this colorful dish. You can use regular or whole wheat couscous, or try the pearl-shaped grains of pasta known as Israeli couscous (or maftoul), which are much larger and more versatile than the typical Moroccan couscous. You can substitute the couscous with orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), bulgar, or quinoa.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp minced)
11/2 cups couscous
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or dates
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or mint
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, red pepper, and garlic; sauté for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden.
  2. Stir in the couscous and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer or until golden. Slowly add the hot broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the couscous is tender.
  3. Stir in the raisins, apricots, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts and serve.

Yield: 8 servings. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

264 calories per serving, 43.7 g carbohydrate, 3.9 g fiber, 6 g protein, 7.9 g fat (0.8 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 182 mg sodium, 345 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 42 mg calcium

Couscous with Mushrooms and Chickpeas: Sauté 2 cups of sliced mushrooms with the onions, pepper, and garlic. Instead of cumin, add 1 tsp dried basil or thyme. Replace the dried fruit and nuts with 11/2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained. One serving contains 242 calories, 40.6 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 5.6 g fat (0.7 g saturated).

Couscous with Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Omit the cumin, dried fruit, and nuts. In Step 3, stir in 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and drained. If desired, add 1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives. One serving contains 192 calories, 32.2 g carbohydrate, 3.1 g fiber, 4.8 g fat (0.6 g saturated).