Jumbo on protein and skimpy on fat and calories, this little crustacean may just be the best party appetizer there is. With just a few shrimp on your plate, you are less likely to gorge on the fattier options presenting themselves to you, because protein keeps you satisfied for longer. Shrimp also contains the mineral zinc, a rarity in finger food, which helps promote a strong immune system. As for the cocktail sauce, don’t overdo it. Bottled sauces often contain unhealthy amounts of sugar. Try dipping them in salsa instead. Originally Found Here
Vegetables and Dip
Here’s an ultra-safe strategy for party munching: load up three-quarters of your plate with the veggies from the crudite platter. You’ll be so busy chowing down on carotenoids, which are strong sources of vitamin A, that you’ll forget how healthy you’re being. And here’s the bonus: You don’t have to totally forgo that creamy ranch dip. Studies show that adding a little bit of fat to your veggies helps the body absorb the nutrients in the healthy selections you’ve made. “Don’t stay away from the dip entirely, just don’t douse your vegetables with it,” says Johnson. ORIGINALLY FOUND HERE
Pancetta is very similar to bacon. But it is cut very thin, it isn’t smoked, and it has a much sweeter flavor. I think it is very versatile and fun. It is perfect in this dish, which I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by meat. After all, it is a side dish. But the pancetta lends a savory and substantial quality that the dish lacks alone.
That is not to say that roasted cauliflower is lacking in any way all by itself. In fact, I love unadorned roasted cauliflower. Roasting is easy, and it tends to concentrate the flavors in a way that steaming does not. I chose to wrap only a portion of the cauliflower with pancetta. A bite with and a bite without is a very nice ratio. Careful cutting of the cauliflower yields large flat slices that roast beautifully and fairly quickly. Smaller chunks are perfect for wrapping because the pancetta goes all the way around and holds on to itself. I laid a few slices of pancetta on the slabs of cauliflower, and while they impart a great flavor, they do shrink up a bit. The pancetta on the smaller pieces is wrapped around sage leaves. Sage and cauliflower are wonderful together. One head of cauliflower yields four servings.
|Pancetta and Sage Cauliflower||
- 1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and with the greens removed
- 8 to 10 slices of pancetta
- 4 to 5 leaves of fresh sage
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil for brushing on the cauliflower
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully trim the cauliflower, leaving as much of the stem intact as possible. The stem holds the big pieces together. Slice the head in half from top to bottom. Using a long and sharp knife, cut as many half inch slices as you can from the middle until it starts coming apart. Lay the large slices carefully in a pan with raised sides which you have lightly coated with olive oil. Continue to slice flat pieces off of the remaining chunks to the extent possible. Place all of the cauliflower into the roasting pan. Brush the tops of the cauliflower with olive oil. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper, bearing in mind that the pancetta to be used later is quite salty. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, turning once with a spatula at about 15 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan and let the cauliflower sit until it is just cool enough to handle. Choose the 8 or so most substantial smaller pieces and lay one half of a sage leaf on top of them. Then wrap each of these pieces with a piece of pancetta. Some of the pieces will fall apart a little…just wrap it up. Lay any extra pieces of pancetta over the larger slabs of cauliflower. Return the roasting pan to the oven and allow it to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pancetta is browned and crispy.
- Should the pancetta still look a bit underdone at the end of 15 minutes, broil it for about 1 to 2 minutes to crisp the tops. This is a better plan than letting the cauliflower roast further and lose its bite altogether. But, as I always caution, beware of the broiler. Don’t walk away or you, if you are anything like me, will forget it and return to ashes.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
Spinach-Artichoke Dip via A Dash of Sass
I don’t think I can remember a time when some form of spinach artichoke dip didn’t appear on every restaurant menu. It seems to have become a standard American pre-meal munchie, a quintessential appetizer. Not that I mind. Who doesn’t love the thought of eating something healthy (spinach and artichokes) wrapped in mounds of cheese, butter and heavy cream?
This recipe is a healthier version of the restaurant stand-by that you can feel good about serving to friends and family. Instead of pounds of butter and heavy cream, this recipe uses reduced-fat sour cream and ricotta, plus it ads in some cannellini beans (my current favorite) which ups the fiber content. Truly a perfect party dish, this guilt-free dip lets you save some calories for where it counts
There are two ways to make this dip. You can either puree all the ingredients together at once, which will give you a completely smooth consistency, or you can reserve about half of the artichoke hearts, loosely chop them and mix them into the rest of the pureed ingredients. This is totally up to personal preference. We like a slightly chunkier dip around these parts so I generally opt for reserving some of the artichoke hearts.
Clearly, this dip is screaming for some perfectly salted tortilla chips, but if you really want to be a considerate host you can serve it with celery, endive spears, broccoli or any other low-calorie dipping veggies. Your waistline (and your friend’s waistlines) will thank you.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
COOK TIME: 30-45 minutes
2 cups canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons sour cream (reduced-fat)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (reduced-fat)
4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– Combine 1 cup artichoke hearts, beans, spinach, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, sour cream, ricotta, olive oil and garlic in a food processor or a large bowl if using an immersion blender. Pulse until almost smooth.
– Loosely chop the remaining artichoke hearts until chunky. Stir into the pureed mixture.
– Spread the mixture into a shallow dish (8 x 8 works just fine). Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
– Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until bubbly. Turn the oven to broil for the last 3-5 minutes to brown the cheese on the top.
– Serve warm with tortilla chips or veggies.
PINE NUT STUFFED MUSHROOMS
But what really makes these mushrooms the wave of the future is that they’re gluten-free and incredibly delicious. Ya see, every Thanksgiving and Christmas my Aunt Val serves her famous stuffed mushrooms- but they’re loaded with gluten- so I just sit there and stare at my family devouring each bite- and it kills me.
So, now that the holidays are past us and I wanted to make a refreshing stuffed mushroom that could be enjoyed year-round…something light yet a bit hearty but not like those heavy breaded mushrooms often served during the winter months.
- 24 large button mushrooms
- ¼ cup white onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup cooked brown rice
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- ½ cup pine nuts, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. organic salsa
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 chives, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking dish with nonstick baking spray.
- Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Set mushroom caps aside; discard stems.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until translucent, approximately 6 minutes.
- Add cooked brown rice, quinoa, carrots, pine nuts, salsa, sea salt and pepper; cook until warm, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Using a teaspoon, transfer rice mixture in each mushroom cap. Slightly over-stuff mushroom caps with rice mixture.
- Place stuffed mushrooms in a single layer on prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven; garnish with fresh chives.
- Serve warm.
And you can pop ’em into your mouth in an instant.
It’s kinda fun.
Yes, I am playing with my food.
So, get it over with- laugh at me all you want. I know you’re laughing at the gal on the other side of the computer who lives vicariously through her family’s glutenous lives.
2 garlic cloves
1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoon tahini
1. Place garlic cloves, garbanzo beans, lemon zest and juice from the lemon and tahini in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Salt to taste.
2. Add two avocados and blend just until smooth. Salt to taste once more. Transfer to a bowl, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil on top, and sprinkle a few dashes of paprika. Serve with whatever you like, whether it be pita chips, warm slices of pita or crackers.