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Holiday Entertaining With A Twist
Entertaining Ideas
Ingredients

The holidays are a great time to take the opportunity to see old friends and visit with family. This holiday season, why not entertain with a twist? Add some mocktails for the non-drinkers, some health conscious appetizers and snacks that won’t have you dieting come the New Year, and for the vegetarians in your home, prepare a few meatless choices.

Remember to keep your pantry stocked for last minute entertaining; some tasty items to have on hand are whole grain crackers and low fat cheeses, fresh fruit and veggies, along with sodium reduced soda water and healthy fruit juices. Entertaining can be simple and healthy when you are prepared!

The mocktail recipes I have included below do not contain any alcohol. Instead they are made with pure fruit juices and mixers such as soda water. Just remember, mocktails need to be shaken or stirred before serving. For an extra touch, add some colourful decorations to your mocktails—try little drink umbrellas, swizzle sticks, paper flowers, or fancy straws.

…the mocktails…

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz (ounce) equals 2 tbsp (tablespoons)
  • 1 shot equals 1½ oz
  • 1 cup equals 8 oz

Very Merry Cranberry Spritzer

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • soda water
  • crushed ice
  • 1 to 2 thinly sliced wedges of fresh lemon
  • spring of fresh mint

Christmas Cidertini

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup low sodium club soda
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon

…the appetizers…

Holiday Mango Lassie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups low fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into chunks

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 24 cherry tomatoes (can use a mixture of red and yellow tomatoes)
  • Goat Cheese Filling or Guacamole Filling (see recipes below)

Goat Cheese Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves

Guacamole Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • Juice of ½ lime, freshly squeezed
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 25 asparagus spears, trimmed to 6-inch lengths
  • 25 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 1 ¼ pounds thinly-sliced prosciutto
  • ½ to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh chives

Festive Beet Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium beets, washed, leave the skin on
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Raw vegetables to serve (carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli spears, strips of red and green pepper)

Thai fish cakes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ lb fresh raw white fish like cod or haddock (about 3 fillets)
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped and loosely packed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Instructions

…the mocktails…

Very Merry Cranberry Spritzer

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or stirrer. Pour into a martini glass or an unusually shaped glass. Add crushed ice, a lemon slice with a sprig of fresh mint. Makes one serving.

Christmas Cidertini

Instructions:

Place apple cider and cranberry juice in a martini shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake to chill and strain into a martini glass. Top with club soda and a stick of cinnamon. Makes 2 servings..

…the appetizers…

Holiday Mango Lassie

Instructions:

In a food processor or blender mix the pineapple and mango chunks. Add the yogurt and blend until smooth. When ready to serve, pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and mix well. Pour this mixture into an unusually shaped glass. Add the crushed ice and a skewer with a couple of pineapple chunks. Makes 2 servings.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Instructions:

Cut a small portion off the bottoms of each tomato so they will sit on a try without rolling. Slice off the tops of each tomatoes and scoop out centers with the small end of a melon scoop to make a hollow yet sturdy shell; discard centers. TIP: Turn cherry tomatoes upside down and use the bottom for the top when stuffing. This keeps them standing straight.

Invert tomatoes onto damp paper towels and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to fill. Using a small spoon, fill each tomato with about 1 teaspoon of the filling of your choice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.

Goat Cheese Filling

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine the cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork until well blended. Scoop the cheese mixture into a zip lock freezer bag and seal. When ready, cut the end off of one of the corners to create a piping bag and squeeze the filling into each cherry tomato. Place the tomatoes on a platter and cover well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Guacamole Filling

Instructions:

Mash the ripe avocado with a fork until smooth; add the minced garlic. Add the chopped tomato to the mashed avocado. Add a little lime juice. Scoop the guacamole filling into a zipper-lock freezer bag and seal well. When ready to fill the tomatoes, cut the end of one of the corners to crate a piping bag and squeeze filling into each cherry tomato. Place the tomatoes on a platter and serve with some corn chips on the side.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Instructions:

Steam asparagus spears. Wrap one cheese slice and then a half slice of prosciutto around each asparagus spear. Arrange wrapped asparagus in rectangular baking dishes, one layer per baking dish. For the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper in a jar with a tight lid; shake well to mix. Drizzle half of the dressing over each dish. Cover and chill up to 24 hours.

To serve, arrange on a serving platter. If desired, wrap each roll with a chive and tie. Makes 25 individually wrapped asparagus spears.

Festive Beet Hummus

Instructions:

Cook beets in a large pot of boiling water for an hour or until tender. When cooled, peel beets and roughly chop. Set aside. Can be done 1 day in advance and refrigerated. In a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add beets, onion mixture, chickpeas, tahini, water and lemon juice to a food processor and puree until smooth. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Thai fish cakes

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine fish, egg white, cilantro, onions, lime and chili paste. Purée for 1 to 2 minutes. Form into 12 balls and set aside. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add sesame oil. When hot, add the fish cakes and gently flatten into disks once in the pan.

Cook 5 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook 3 additional minutes. Serve immediately with a peanut dipping sauce or on their own. Makes 4 servings.

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