The turkey, the stuffing, the mounds of potatoes and slices of pie - so delicious, but also loaded with fat and calories.

If you’re feeling bloated and feel like it’s time to lighten up, there are options besides a head of lettuce and a few tomatoes.

Salmon is available year-round, is easy to prepare and is considered one of the “super foods” because of its healthy benefits that include everything from joint protection to improving mood (who doesn’t need that after last weeks’ snowstorm) to improved cardiovascular health.

Salmon is high in B vitamins, rich in omega fatty acids and is a good source of protein. Its vibrant color gives it a festive appearance and makes it a great centerpiece for a holiday meal.

If you have picky eaters who turn their nose up at fish, try the pasta dish. It is simple to make and you can dish up a plate or two before adding the salmon, if necessary. The original recipe for this Penne with Creamy Smoked Salmon called for crème fraîche, which is a thick cream with a tart, buttery flavor.

A quick check at a local store did not find crème fraîche on the shelf, so time to find a substitute - which was half sour cream and half heavy whipping cream. The finished recipe may not have had quite the same taste as the original one, but it ended up being a creamy and flavorful dish.

If you’re looking for a simple, yet elegant dish, for company, try the Panko Parmesan or Brown Sugar Salmon. Both dishes are easy to prepare and, served with a slice of lemon or a side of asparagus, look like an elegant dish.

Tired of heavy holiday meals? Salmon is readily available in area stores and with just a few ingredients and a little bit of time, you can prepare a delicious dish for family and friends. Happy Eating!

Penne with Creamy Smoked Salmon

  • 12 ounces of penne pasta (or bow tie pasta)
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon (cut into ribbons)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

In a medium sized pan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Place the cream, sour cream, lemon juice and Dijon mustard in the pan. Turn heat to medium. Cook just until the mixture is warmed and slightly thickened.

Add the pasta back to the pan and stir so it is evenly coated with the cream mixture. Add the salmon and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place on top serving plates and sprinkle dill on top. If desired, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Panko-Parmesan Baked Salmon

  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Rinse the salmon and dry on paper towels.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the Panko, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper.

Place the salmon in the prepared pan. Spread a light layer of olive oil on top of each piece of salmon. Spread Panko mixture evenly over each piece.

Cook 15 to 20 minutes, just until salmon flakes easily with a fork. If desired, turn the broiler on for the last minute or two of cooking to brown up the Panko bread crumbs.

Salmon with Brown Sugar

  • 2 pounds salmon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons jarred garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Lemon slices, if desired
  • Chopped parsley, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the salmon on top of the foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the sides of the foil up and around the salmon.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the glaze over the salmon. Fold the foil over the top of the salmon and seal.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The salmon should be flaky when a fork is inserted into it. Remove the foil from the top and baste the salmon with the sauce in the foil.

Turn the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, just to brown the salmon. Place on serving dishes and if desired, top with chopped parsley and serve with slices of lemon.