Stock your healthy holiday pantry for $25

With our lightened recipes for home-baked sweets, you'll feel great about treating your guests (and yourself) to some guilt-free goodies. If you already have the basics―sugar, milk, eggs, butter, baking powder/soda, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, cake and all-purpose flours, spices, and so on―you're in good shape. For $25, add 8 key ingredients that expand your options for delicious holiday treats. Remember, a well-prepared host is a happy one. By Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

Shopping List:

Walnuts $4.49
Pecans $2.99
Oatmeal $2.65
Flaked sweetened coconut $2.19
Unsweetened baking chocolate $2.39
Semisweet chocolate baking chips $1.79
Unsweetened cocoa powder $2.79
Seedless raspberry jam $4.99

Total: $24.28

See More: Budget Cooking: Feed 4 for $10

Raspberry Linzer Windowpane Cookies

Key Ingredients: Raspberry jam

These elegant cookies―as delicious as they are stunning―are perfect for gifts, cookie swaps, and holiday spreads. Sure, they're not nutritional knockouts (straining the jam removes all the seeds, which are a source of fiber), but they're not serious offenders either. Smooth raspberry jam adds delicious flavor, with fewer calories than the buttery icing or chocolate glaze you might find on other cookies. Each windowpane contains about 80 calories.

View Recipe: Raspberry Linzer Windowpane

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies

Key Ingredients: Chocolate chips, oatmeal, pecans

A good recipe to make with kids, these drop cookies are easy and fun. The recipe calls for chocolate mini-chips, but the regular ones work fine. Nutrition bonus: The pecans provide a crunchy texture and good nutrition to boot. These tasty tree nuts contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals - including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins, and zinc―plus good-for-you fats.

View Recipe: Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies

See More: 10 Secrets to Baking Perfect Cakes

Thumbprint Meringues

Key Ingredient: Raspberry jam

This is another fun recipe to make with kids, who will get a kick out of seeing egg whites rise into cloudlike meringue, then leaving their signature thumbprint in each puff before baking. To keep it kid-friendly, leave out the raspberry liqueur. (If the jam seems thick, stir in a few drops of lemon or lime juice.) At just 37 calories apiece, these treats won't ruin anyone's appetite for a healthful dinner.

View Recipe: Thumbprint Meringues

See More: Cooking with Fruit Preserves and Jellies

Continue Reading : 5 More Recipes That Use Our 8 Key Ingredients

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