Holiday time means party time. If you’re planning on hosting a holiday party but don’t want it to wreck your waistline, here are some great menu ideas that will please all of your guests. Everything is nutritious and delicious, so you’ll have no problems zipping up your favorite jeans come January 1st!
BANANA MINI MUFFINS – in a large bowl mash 2-3 ripe bananas with 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbs. ground flax seed and 1/4 cup agave nectar. In another bowl, combine 1-1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Fill the muffin tin and place in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove when muffins are lightly golden. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Serve.
12 servings; Per serving: 168 calories, 1.1 (g) fat, 39.1 (g) carbs; 2.2 (g) protein
MEXICAN VEGETARIAN FRITATTA – saute a mix of onions, colorful bell peppers, mushrooms, and Yukon gold potatoes with some cumin and chili powder. Pour into a 9-inch pie pan. In a bowl, combine 1 cup egg whites with 1/2 cup nonfat milk and 1/2 cup light shredded Mexican cheese blend (or use 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese); mix well and pour over vegetables. Place in a pre-heated 350F oven and cook for approximately 40 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
YOGURT PARFAITS – In clear glasses, layer 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup frozen, thawed mixed berries, and 2 tbs. granola or Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal; repeat layers. For an extra punch, mix the Greek yogurt ahead of time with some vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and honey or agave nectar.
SPICED FRUIT COMPOTE – In a large saucepan place 2 cups of assorted dried fruit (apples, pears, apricots, plums). Cover with 2 cups apple cider or orange juice and 1 sachet mulling spices (or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook until the fruit has plumped up and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Your house will smell great!
LUNCH OR DINNER PARTY
Rather than a sit-down meal, I like to lay out a buffet table with lots of finger foods that everyone will love. Not everything has to be made from scratch – make your life a lot easier by purchasing some items and adding your “twist” to it.
SWEET AND SOUR TURKEY MEATBALLS – Buy 1-2 bags of Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs. For the sauce, combine 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce with 1/4 cup black raspberry preserves. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook on the stove or in the microwave until meatballs are heated through.
ASSORTED STEAMED DUMPLINGS – Again, I hit the freezer section at Trader Joe’s, but there are plenty of other markets that carry dumplings. My assortment includes shrimp and vegetable potstickers, vegetable potstickers, chicken and cilantro dumplings, and cucumber dumplings. Steam each one according to directions and serve with some low-sodium soy sauce and ponsu sauce.
TERIYAKI CHICKEN SKEWERS- This can either be made by threading chicken breast tenders onto wooden skewers and then baked or grilled and painted with some teriyaki sauce OR buy them in the frozen section of the market or Costco (also called “yakitori”).
SHRIMP COCKTAIL – Be careful where your shrimp comes from. I always purchase shrimp that’s been farmed in the USA versus shrimp that comes from Thailand or Indonesia (the water over there is very polluted). I’m still wary of the Gulf shrimp in the aftermath of the big oil spill. Shrimp (laid out over ice) and cocktail sauce (one plain and one with added horseradish) is simple and elegant.
VEGGIES, WHOLE-WHEAT PITA BREAD AND ASSORTED DIPS (HUMMUS, SPINACH-ARTICHOKE DIP, SALSA, GUACAMOLE)
The hummus, salsa, and guacamole I buy already prepared. The spinach and artichoke dip must be made from scratch to avoid the fat- and calorie-bomb of the traditional recipe.
- 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Transfer to a medium heat-proof dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until the top of the dip begins to brown.