Snacks in a snap
We're smack dab in the middle of the holiday party season. We had our company Christmas party just the other night, and I'm sure a lot of other people also have had their work get-togethers or will be attending one soon. If they're mainly a food ...
We're smack dab in the middle of
the holiday party season.
We had our company Christmas party just the other night, and I'm sure a lot of other people also have had their work get-togethers or will be attending one soon.
If they're mainly a food event, these parties usually feature two or three meat entrees, as well as a nice salad, a choice of vegetable and a dessert. A person who is watching what they eat generally can enjoy a nice meal while keeping the calories down.
But heck, if you're like me and have a regular exercise routine and eat sensibly most of the time, you can splurge a bit on these special occasions.
If it were just work parties that we had to worry about, things would be fine. But some holiday seasons, every time you turn around, there seems to be another party to attend.
Most feature a lot of appetizers. And many (think meat and cheese trays, little wieners in barbecue sauce and chips and dip) are the kind that tend to add extra pounds that we find ourselves strapped with in January.
My wife, Therese, recently attended an appetizer party with several co-workers. Not passing up an opportunity to do something in the kitchen, I volunteered to make one. The recipe I came up with was for sweet and sour meatballs that were cooked in a mixture that included pineapple chunks and juice, barbecue sauce and sliced green peppers.
The recipe fulfilled two requirements that I think are essential to a good holiday appetizer it wasn't time-consuming and was fairly healthy. From start to finish, it took just about an hour to make. And nutritionally, it contained very little fat, since I used ground buffalo. (Turkey would have made it even leaner.)
Slight alterations in both ingredients and cooking methods can make some of our favorite recipes healthier without sacrificing taste. I recently came across one for spinach bread dip that substitutes plain yogurt for some of the salad dressing as well as using reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream.
Here are a couple of other suggestions for quick and nutritious appetizers:
-- Fruit platter (try exotics such as papaya, mango and starfruit) accompanied by fat-free yogurt mixed with honey as a dip.
-- Shrimp and cocktail sauce (naturally low in saturated fat).
-- Baked potato skins served with melted, reduced-fat cheese or fat-free sour cream.
-- Hummus with homemade whole grain bagel chips (fat-free and full of fiber).
-- Pumpernickel bread rounds with fat-free cream cheese and topped with thinly sliced cucumber and a sprinkle of cilantro.
If you follow these suggestions or at least use common sense when you find yourself tempted by more decadent appetizers you probably won't have to loosen your belt and squeeze into the stretch pants in the new year.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, ext. 136, or firstname.lastname@example.org .