Occasions 365

Appetizers

Festive finger foods

When it comes to providing finger foods for your party, the pressure's on: drinks in hand, your guests are looking forward to them with an almost giddy excitement, and you don't want to disappoint them. In fact, you want to wow them. Given the amazing assortment of party snacks on the market today, you could probably do so with a store-bought selection, but you will impress them even more with delicious appetizers that you made yourself.

Some Ideas for Tasty Low-Fat Appetizers

Many appetizers are notoriously creamy, deep-fried or full of saturated-fat-laden meats and cheeses. But an appetizer doesn't have to be bad for you to be delicious; even making a small adjustment in the kind of meat or cheese you choose can take the punch out of an appetizer's artery-clogging damage without also taking out its taste. Your guests will never know that you're taking care of their health as well as their taste buds.

Here are a few fun bites that are bursting with more flavor than calories:

  • Stuffed baguette. Mix chopped-up sundried tomatoes, baby spinach and a few pitted and sliced black olives in a bowl with some low-fat hummus. Cut the end off a whole-grain baguette and use tongs to pull out the "innards," leaving a tube of hollowed-out crust. Scoop and press the hummus mixture into the hollow until full. Serve whole with a knife for cutting off slices. Alternative stuffing mixture: chopped baby spinach, sliced strawberries, and a mixture of fat-free cream cheese and low-fat ricotta.
  • Dates in a blanket. Pan-fry strips of chicken or turkey bacon until they are just starting to brown. Stuff pitted dates with a bit of plain goat cheese. Wrap each date in bacon, skewer with a toothpick and bake in the oven at 350˚F until bacon crisps.
  • Avocado kabobs. Cut ripe avocados into chunks about ½-inch square and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice. Cut pickled beets in similarly sized pieces, and low-fat feta into chunks about half that size. Skewer one each avocado, beet and feta onto a toothpick. A perfect complement to a nice glass of wine.
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