April Appetizers

By DeDe Hausmann

It’s spring time and you’ve got friends coming over for Easter Dinner or maybe a cookout.  The big question is: what’s new and different for appetizers?   Anybody can put out a basket of chips along with a bowl of dip but YOU want to be creative and knock your guest’s socks off with something scrumptious but still nutritious.

Make the most of the abundance of fruits and veggies.   Grab some strawberries, grapes, and slice some pears. Serve them with an icy cold dip of vanilla fat-free yogurt (Greek yogurt is even thicker and has more protein than regular yogurt) that has cinnamon and nutmeg added to it.  Use toothpicks for dipping.  For a vegetable platter consider celery chunks, cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, baby carrots, and broccoli flowerets and serve them with plain, fat free yogurt that has been enhanced with dry vegetable soup mix as a flavoring.  Mix the dip well and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Again, use toothpicks for serving.  Are you salivating yet?!  Both suggestions encompass 2 food groups.

My daughter loves to serve mini rye bread slices spread with a dill/light cream cheese spread and topped with a thin slice of English Cucumber.  This needs to be assembled just before serving so the bread doesn’t get soggy.  You’ve got 3 food groups covered here!

Want something a little more substantial?  Take large whole grain tortillas, spread with a thin layer of light cream cheese sprinkled with some herbs (as in cilantro or dill), and top with thin slices of turkey, roast beef or pork, top with layers of thinly sliced veggies and cheese, as in cucumbers, spinach, and reduced fat cheese.  Roll up tight, trim off the 2 rounded ends, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill.  Just before serving cut in 1 ½ inch slices, place close together on a platter, and watch them disappear.  I serve this with salsa.

Ever make Hummus?  Sure you can buy it ready-made but it’s expensive.  Drain a 15 oz. can of Chick Peas and save at least ½ cup of the liquid.  Puree the peas and liquid,  3 T. lemon juice,  2 T. Tahini (Sesame Paste), 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ cup of plain yogurt and herbs to taste (love dill).  Serve with veggies.

All of these suggestions are light, nutritious and tasty so give them a try.  See what your family and guests say and know that you are serving HEALTHY appetizers.  ENJOY!

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