Healthy Holiday Appetizers

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Holidays mean celebrations with family, friends and co-workers and what’s a celebration without some terrific food and sharing of recipes. Of course we all have our creamy, cheesy, and chocolaty favorites, but it might surprise you that your guests will appreciate you for providing some yummy healthy snacks as well. Lighten up your holiday parties with these slimmed down some appetizer recipes!!

Tomato and Marinated Feta Skewers

(One of my favorites.)

1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, cut into 16 cubes
16 small cherry or grape tomatoes


  1. Grate rind from lemon; squeeze juice to equal 2 tablespoons.
  2. Combine rind, juice, oregano, oil, and pepper in a shallow dish.
  3. Add cheese; marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning cheese over after 10 minutes. Drain.
  4. Arrange 1 tomato and 1 feta cube on each of 16 small skewers or party picks.

Serves 8. Each Serving contains  Calories 50, Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 13 mg, Carbohydrates 1 g, Protein 2 g, Fiber 0 g, Sodium 159 mg.

 Queso Dip with Goat Cheese

1 (15.5-oz.) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)
¼ cup light sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons canola oil
¾ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted chicken stock
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
5 ounces vegetable chips or taro chips


  1. Place beans, cheese, sour cream, and lemon juice in a food processor; process until completely smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add onion; cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add stock; cook, stirring constantly until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add bean mixture; cook, whisking constantly until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives; serve immediately with vegetable chips.

 Serves 10. Each 3 Tbsp. and 6 chip serving contains Calories 136, Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 6 mg, Carbohydrates 1.5 g, Protein 5 g, Fiber 3 g, Sodium 189 mg.

Artichoke Dip with Blue Cheese

(In case you haven’t noticed, I love blue cheese and a slow cooker!)

1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup) (gorgonzola is the creamiest)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) carton reduced-fat sour cream


  1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  2. Place onion mixture in a 2½-quart electric slow cooker. Add blue cheese and remaining ingredients; stir until blended. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours or until cheese melts and mixture is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.

Serves 20. Each ¼ cup serving contains Calories 76, Fat 3 g, Protein 5 g, Carbohydrate 8 g, Fiber 4 g, Cholesterol 12 mg, Sodium 188 mg.

Stuffed Red Potatoes

16 small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
6 slices bacon
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives


  1. Scrub potatoes well, place in a pan and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Add 1 tsp. salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are tender and a knife can be inserted easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; let cool.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, turning, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble bacon.
  3. Cut each potato in half crosswise. Trim a small slice from the bottom of each half so it stands upright. With a melon baller or teaspoon, remove center of each potato, leaving a ¼-inch border. Put potato flesh in a bowl and mash with sour cream; season with salt and pepper. Fold in crumbled bacon. Fill each potato half with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with chives (you may have some filling left over). Serve immediately.

Yields 32 pieces. Each piece contains Calories 79, Fat 2 g, Protein 2 g, Carbohydrate 14 g, Fiber 1 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 98 mg.

Best-Pickled Shrimp Appetizer

1 Vidalia or sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup capers with their juices
¾ teaspoon celery seeds
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Splash of Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 ½ pounds (41/50 count) peeled and cooked shrimp


  1. In a large bowl, combine the onions, lemon, cider vinegar, canola oil, capers, celery seeds, sugar, salt, and Tabasco. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve chilled. Keeps for at least a week.

Serves 6-8.

Greek Style Seven Layer Dip

1 container hummus—(10 ounces) your favorite flavor (I like the Greek-inspired, or make your own)
½ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tomato, diced
½ cup seeded cucumber, diced
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh parsley


  1. Pita chips, carrots, broccoli, sliced bell peppers, or crackers for serving
  2. Spread the hummus in a smooth layer in the bottom of an 8 × 8-inch square baking dish, a shallow pie dish, or similar serving dish. Dollop the Greek yogurt by small spoonfuls over the top, then gently spread to create a new layer.
  3. Scatter the tomato, cucumber, feta, and olives over the top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then dip with pita chips, crackers, and sliced veggies as desired.