Need some holiday cooking inspiration? The members and staff from the Ohio Physical Therapy Association (OPTA) kicked in and shared some of their favorite holiday recipes. Some are healthy, some aren’t so much, but all are delicious. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season and healthy New Year!

White Chocolate Cranberry & Pistachio Bark

White Chocolate Cranberry & Pistachio BarkVictoria Gresh
Ohio Physical Therapy Association

11 ounces white chocolate chips
3 ounces dried cranberries
3 ounces roasted, unsalted pistachios
Parchment paper
(I tripled the recipe)

1. Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper.
2. Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir.
3. Repeat, until the chocolate is completely melted. Or, use a double boiler.
4. Spread the chocolate onto the parchment paper into an even rectangle. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and pistachios evenly over the chocolate.
5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.


Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

35 Minutes to Make & Serves 24

Kristen Blatt
Ohio Physical Therapy Association

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffed MushroomsMeat
1 Bacon strip, cooked and finely crumbled
2 Garlic cloves
24 Mushrooms, large fresh
1/4 cup Onion
1 pkg. Spinach, frozen
Baking & Spices
1/2 tsp Salt
Oils & Vinegars
1 tbsp Olive or vegetable oil
1 8oz. pkg Cream cheese
1/2 cup Feta cheese
5/8 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Remove stems from mushrooms: set caps aside. Finely chop the stems.
2. In a skillet, saute the chopped mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until tender.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese til smooth Stir in the spinach, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, bacon, salt and mushroom mixture.
4. Spoon into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
5. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Tips: Fresh Parmesan is much better and the more finely the feta and bacon are crumbled the more evenly you can distribute these flavors. The bigger the caps the better as they shrink a lot when baked.


Marinated Cheese

Victoria Gresh
Ohio Physical Therapy Association
Marinated Cheese

1 (8 oz.) block sharp cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
3 T. minced green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Set aside.
2. Make sure cheeses are well-chilled (I put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes). Cut block of cheddar in half lengthwise; then cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices. Set aside. Cut the cream cheese, following the same procedure. Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edges.
3. Pour marinade over cheese slices. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours.
4. To serve, transfer cheese slices to a serving platter in the same alternating pattern. Spoon marinade over the cheese. Serve with assorted crackers.


Peppermint Bark

Marie Ruskin
Ohio Physical Therapy Association
Peppermint Bark

8 oz. peppermints
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
12 oz. white chocolate chips
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. peppermint extract

1. Crush peppermints (Food processor/ or manually in Ziploc bag and rolling pin)
2. Measure out 12 oz. of semi- sweet chocolate morsels and 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Add both ingredients into a mixing bowl and melt (Stove-top is recommended, but microwave will do)
3. Pour melted chocolate into a parchment paper-lined baking pan, refrigerate until cool.
4. Mix 12 oz. of white chocolate chips with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in mixing bowl and melt (stove top is recommended, but microwave will do)
5. Add ½ tsp. of peppermint extract to the melted white chocolate.
6. Add melted white chocolate to the top of the cooled chocolate already in the pan.
7. Sprinkle crushed peppermint pieces to the top of the melted white chocolate while it’s still warm.
8. Cool in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes, or until the peppermint bark easily breaks apart.


Roasted Pork Loin With Apples

Serves 6-8

Lynn Colby

Roasted Pork Loin With ApplesIngredients
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup good quality barbeque sauce (I use Montgomery Inn)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons marjoram leaves
1 3-5 lb. pork loin or pork tenderloin ( probably three tenderloins)
4 tart apples (granny smith, or galas) cored and quartered
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
Springs of marjoram for garnish

1. In a mixing bowl, wisk together the apple juice, balsamic vinegar, barbeque sauce and mustard. Stir in garlic and marjoram. Put the pork in a large zip lock bag and pour in the apple juice mixture. Seal the bag, pressing out any air. Place the bag on a large plate and refrigerate overnight.

To Cook: Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Remove the pork from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan (if using tenderloins, stack them 2 bottom 1 on top) and put in the preheated oven.
3. After 15 minutes, baste the roast with the reserved marinade, place the apples in the roasting pan and reduce the heat to 325°F. Continue roasting, basting for the first half-hour. Roast for about 1 ½ hours total, until the center temperature of the meat registers 150°F. Transfer pork and apples to a platter and loosely cover to keep warm.
4. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a small saucepan. If necessary, add a little water to the pan, and stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to dissolve the pan deposits. Add this liquid to the saucepan. Skim off any fat floating on the surface. Bring to a boil and simmer until it has a syrupy consistency. 3 to 5 minutes.

To Serve: Carve pork into ½” slices. Serve with slices and apple quarters. Spoon or pour sauce

I double the amount of sauce most of the time and only use half in the basting process. Mix reserved sauce in with pan drippings in step 4


Festive Cranberry Pineapple Jello Salad

Sabrina Kaminski

Festive Cranberry Pineapple Jello SaladIngredients
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 pear, chopped
2/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts

1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
2. Remove 1 Tbsp. pineapple; set aside. Add enough cold water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 3 cups; pour into saucepan.
3. Bring to boil.
4. Add to dry gelatin mixes in medium bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.
5. Stir in cranberry sauce.
6. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until slightly thickened.
7. Stir in remaining pineapple, pears and nuts.
8. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Top with reserved pineapple just before serving.


Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

Family Size portion

Marie Ruskin
Ohio Physical Therapy Association
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

¼ c. olive oil
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
5 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Put the oil in a large oven safe skillet and heat on medium-high. When the oil simmers but before it smokes, arrange the sprouts in one layer, cut side down. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook, undisturbed, until the sprouts begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Move the pan to the oven and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sprouts are very brown and tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Drizzle with the vinegar and adjust seasoning as necessary. Stir and serve.
4. Remove whole garlic cloves from skillet before serving.


Christmas Tree Crudité

Lori Peffly
Ohio Physical Therapy Association

Christmas Tree CruditéWhat You’ll Need:
Cone-shaped Styrofoam from the craft store
Cheese cubes
Tiny sausages

1. Cover Styrofoam with foil
2. Cut veggies into small pieces (So they will hold nicely on your Styrofoam cone)
3. Attach vegetable pieces to toothpicks and adhere to Styrofoam tree.
4. You can assemble veggies however you’d like (no two Christmas trees are every decorated alike, so get creative)
5. Add sausages and cheese cubes to Styrofoam with toothpick like you did with the veggies.
6. For a more festive look, add a small strand of battery operated lights around the bottom of the tree like a tree skirt.


Irish Cream

(Whiskey Drink)

Lori Peffly
Ohio Physical Therapy Association

Irish Cream (Whiskey Drink)Irish whiskey mixed with cream and sugar with hints of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and almond. Will keep for 2 months if refrigerated.”

1 cup heavy cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a blender, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Irish whiskey, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving.