Harry and Kathe Deitzler had a beautiful holiday celebration immediately before Christmas at their Kanawha City home.
It wasn't a specific gathering for "healthy biters." The platters of family-made food with hearty and wholesome ingredients weren't aimed for a select interest group. It just turned out that the majority of the great-tasting buffet dishes were good for you - a culinary principle to which I suspect the Deitzlers adhere.
Harry and son Brad, a senior at Capitol High, managed the precision-cut fruit compote of fresh cherries, apples, oranges, blueberries, red and green grapes, presented without added sugar or sweetened liquid.
And someone had to tackle lots of whole pomegranates (with their valuable antioxidants) to arrive at the generous bowl of blazing red pomegranate seeds, served plain or as a topping for the fruit.
The standout of the evening was a light and refreshing chicken-couscous salad, courtesy of their daughter, Erin, home for the holidays.
"It's a recipe I found in a chicken cookbook a while back and have made many times since," she said when quizzed about the dish. "But the chicken is optional. Just toss in more chickpeas or favorite vegetable to make up for it."
Erin, who recently moved to Oregon after graduate school at Kent State, is a high school counselor. She's very into fitness and enjoys healthy eating, ethnic dining, hiking, camping and skiing. Her salad reflected her healthy outlook and lifestyle. It also was very popular and left more than one person requesting the recipe.
A marinated shrimp and mushrooms, in a light vinaigrette, needing no cocktail sauce, was another easy-on-the-diet dish. According to Kathe, "Mrs. Wallace's Shrimp" is an old Southern recipe and the newest in her treasury, after having recently enjoyed it at a friend's house in North Carolina.
To be sure, waiting on the sideboard were chocolate-covered cherry cookies, loaded oatmeal cookies with browned butter glaze, powdered
Erin pointed out a cooking tip from Kathe for the chicken. She said her mother poached the chicken with added curry in the broth so that the protein was infused with the flavor of one of the salad ingredients, boosting the taste.
Erin's Favorite Couscous Salad
Makes 10 1/2 cups
2 (about 8 ounces total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, boiled, shredded
1 cup cooked couscous