Who doesn’t love a party? Just the thought of friends and family in for hors d’oeuvres and drinks makes us smile. But then it hits you. Half of the family should be watching their weight and the other half is, including you. What’s to be done?
Try these simple and slim hors d’oeuvres. Trim down your favorites with the tips at the end and like that famous, butter-enriched chef says, “Bam!” You’ll have a great gathering without any weight gain. Now that is my kind of party.
At just 59 calories for a heaping tablespoon serving, have a few without the guilt.
Olive Spread: In a food processor, finely chop 1 cup pitted black olives, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and one clove garlic.
Basil Chickpea Spread: In a food processor, combine 2 cups fresh basil leaves (chopped), one 15-oz can chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 2 teaspoon oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Roasted Pepper and Olive Tapenade: Place 3 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained well; 1/8 cup capers, drained; l/4 cup Parmesan (optional); 1 tablespoon lemon juice; 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced; 2 cloves fresh garlic; 3 1/2 ounces roasted red pepper, drained in a food processor. Process until as smooth as you desire. Note: Since some people are sensitive to cheese or choose not to eat it, I often forego the Parmesan. This saves calories, too.
30-40 cherry tomatoes or 8-10 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half, with center removed
3 ripe avocados peeled and mashed (or one container of prepared guacamole)
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons onion, diced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (to taste)
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine avocado, diced tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Fill prepared tomatoes with guacamole mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled, garnished with extra chopped cilantro leave or curls of lime rind if desired. Makes 30-40 appetizers using cherry tomatoes, or 16-20 appetizers using Roma tomatoes.
Stuffed Pita Strips
1 whole wheat pita bread
2 ounces low fat cheddar cheese slice
1/4 avocado, cut into thin slices
1 red onion, sliced very thin (optional)
2 lettuce leaves
1 tomato sliced
4 cucumber slices
2 teaspoons fat-free vinaigrette
Slice the pita in half and stuff both halves with ingredients. With a sharp knife, slice each half into skinny pie shapes, then arrange on a platter. A toothpick inserted in the middle of each slice will help keep these tasty stuffed treats together.
What is a party without chips? But when the usual handful or more of potato chips can sink a dieter in the water, why do that to the folks you love. Here are some options that you can share and smile as you do it.
1 package whole grain English muffins, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
Grated nonfat Parmesan cheese
Split muffins, brush with oil and sprinkle with a dusting of cheese. “Toast” in the broiler until they’re brown and crunchy. Cut each split muffin into four triangles.
Oven Baked Potato Chips
Potatoes (Russets work well)
Vegetable oil (olive oil doesn't make them very crunchy)
Salt (if desired)
Wash and slice potatoes. Leave skin on. Par boil potatoes, until you can see skin slightly peeling back and drain well. Place on an oven baking tray and sprinkle with fresh rosemary and a bit of salt if desired. Carefully drizzle oil on potatoes and toss gently. Bake at 400 degrees until crispy, about 20 minutes.
Baked Taco Chips
8 fat free flour tortillas
1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out tortillas and briefly spray both sides with oil. Add chili powder if desired. Cut each tortilla into eight triangles. Bake on cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes until crisp and golden.
Life has plenty of high fat food choices, so here for the holidays or whenever is a list of substitutes to trim the fat from favorite recipes.
• Use olive oil, corn or canola oil for hard shortening, lard
• Use lemon juice and herbs for creaming salad dressings like blue cheese
• Use nonstick cooking sprays for frying or sautéing with oils
• Use herbs and spices like onion, garlic, or broth and wine for added fat, butter, margarine or gravy
• Use nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream for mayonnaise or sour cream
• Use skim or low fat milk for whole milk or nondairy creamers
• Use lower fat cheese, like ricotta, Jarlsberg, Neufchatel for hard, full fat cheese
• Use two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for two whole eggs
• Use equal amounts of fruit puree like applesauce for fat in baking recipes
• Use skimmed evaporated milk for whipping or heavy cream
• Bake or roast on a rack, broil, grill, steam or microwave rather than frying
Make the holidays a happy, healthy place in your home. Put your favorite appetizers on a weight reduction plans and you’ll stay fit for life.
Sheila Cluff, fitness expert, television celebrity and owner of The Oaks at Ojai, is the author of Take 5: How You Can Benefit from Just Five Minutes of Daily Exercise and The Ultimate Recipe for Fitness by Sheila and Eleanor Brown. Visit Sheila’s Spa on the Internet and see all that’s happening at the resort: The Oaks at Ojai www.oaksspa.com.
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