The most magical time of the year brings parties and snacks galore! But have you ever looked up and down a holiday buffet, and marveled at how the old-fashioned family recipes come out of the woodwork: heavy, layered dips, rich cheese logs, candied cornflakes, and everything wrapped in pastry or bacon. If you need a break from the butter and sugar this time of year, here are four ways to take those dated party snacks, and give them a modern twist.
No, You’re the Cheese Ball!
Retro: A cheese ball
It’s not possible to attend a holiday party without encountering a cheese plate, good, bad, or ugly—like that block of cream cheese, covered in jelly. The cheesiest of them all: the retro-fabulous cheese ball, featuring a mush of mystery ingredients, and a dusting of artificial colors.
Refresh: Fruit crostini with goat cheese
Bowl it over with inviting fruit crostini. They’re easy to assemble, taking whole-grain crackers or toasts, spreading them with soft goat cheese, and topping with seasonal fruit, such as apples, pears, figs, persimmons, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil or honey to get that gloss, sprinkle with sprouts or seeds to make it pretty.
When I Dip You Dip We Dip
Retro: Spinach & artichoke dip
Spinach and artichoke dips sound vaguely like a vegetable, but unfortunately, they’re mostly mayo and sour cream. A rounded spoonful can deliver 50 calories—something to keep in mind before dunking white bread all night.
Refresh: Fresh veggies & colorful hummus
Grab a more nutritious dip, packed with plant protein, and keep it simple with fresh veggies. Hummus is anything but bah-humbug these days, from edamame and beets to red peppers and herbs. Winter carrots, cauliflower, and endive look beautiful on a plate.
Frozen-in-Time Mini Pastries
Retro: Mini quiche
Lazy hosts of all eras have relied on the convenience of the freezer aisle, filled with boxes of mini pastries, from quiche and spanakopita to tartlets and puffs. Unfortunately, bacon, cheese, and pastry really rack up the saturated fat, making these adorable little butter bombs.
Refresh: Spinach frittata squares
If you cut the crust, quiche has nutritious components, so leave the prefab pastry in the deep freeze. Frittata is quick, easy, and elegant, focusing on fresh eggs and veggies.
To make spinach frittata squares, spray a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan with cooking spray. Sauté 1 red onion, thinly sliced, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, and 2 bags (5 oz/155 g) baby spinach in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in the pan. Whisk together 12 large eggs, ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) skim milk, ½ cup (4 oz/125 g) part-skim ricotta, and pour over. You can add additional herbs or cheese, if you like. Bake at 350°F (180°C) until set and golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool, cut into small squares, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Freshen Up Your Drink
Alcohol can undermine your healthy eating goals, and glogs, nogs, and toddies are the worst offenders of yore. If you look forward to your grandmother’s homemade eggnog all year, savor a few sips. Just don’t swig cream plus bourbon (read: calories plus calories) all night.
Refresh: Citrus spritzer
Give your holiday cocktail a fresh twist with chilled white wine, club soda or sparkling water, and just a splash of fresh fruit juice. Citrus is in season, from blood oranges and ruby grapefruits to cutie clementines and tangerines. Add a sprig of rosemary or a twist for extra holiday cheer.
Source: Fitbit Blog