Appetizers

Baked Kale Chips

With a bit of salt and olive oil and a turn in the oven, you'll make this dark green leafy vegetable crisp, crunchy and as delicious as potato chips - just much healthier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rinse the kale leaves. Put them in a salad spinner and spin very well. After you remove it from the spinner, dry it even more with paper towels or a dish towel until the leaves are very dry.

Remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces

Put the kale leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the kale. Massage the oil into the leaves. Sprinkle with salt.

Arrange the kale chips onto a baking sheet and slide it into the oven. Bake until the leaves are crisp to the touch, but still a dark green. (When they turn brown, they turn bitter.) Check them at about 12 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 55
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 312 milligrams

Recipe adapted by Kip Hardy, Food & Nutrition Services, from Gluten Free Girl and Smitten Kitchen

Black Bean Dip

This quick and easy dip will be the hit of any party.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 medium-sized garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

In a blender or food processor, combine beans, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, vinegar, orange juice and garlic, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into serving bowl. Let stand about ½ hour before serving. Garnish with chopped onion. Serve with pita bread or fresh vegetables.

Yield: 6 servings (1½ cups)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 188
  • Fat: 1 gram (5% of calories)
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 201 milligrams

Creamy Cocoa Fruit Dip

With less than 100 calories per serving, you can enjoy this deluctible rich dip with out worrying about the calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz. carton non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 fresh peaches, plums, nectarines or pears (or any combination), sliced

Preparation:

Combine yogurt and cocoa and serve with sliced fruit.

Yield: 4 servings (1/4 cup)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 86
  • Fat: <1 gram (0% of calories)
  • Cholesterol: 1 milligram
  • Sodium: 35 milligrams

Jerk Chicken Skewers

Great for any occasion after trying your jerk chicken skewers your friends won't able to stop raving about them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 6-oz. jar of whole sweet pimentos, drained and cut into 1-inch squares
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Preparation:

In a food processor or blender, combine onions, thyme, sugar, pepper, salt, nutmeg and allspice, and blend to form a paste. Transfer to a shallow, non-aluminum dish. Place chicken in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour, or for up to eight hours, turning periodically. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute for four to six minutes or until the outside is browned and the inside is no longer pink. Thread a piece of chicken on each of 18 small wooden skewers, followed by a pimento square and a cilantro leaf. Repeat until each skewer is full.

Yield: 6 servings (3 skewers per serving)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 4 grams (31% of calories)
  • Cholesterol: 36 milligrams
  • Sodium: 743 milligrams

Pinto Hummus

This is the perfect dip for all your favorite veggies and crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1¼ Tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
  • 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Preparation:

Place beans and next 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon hummus into a bowl. Top with pine nuts and parsley. Serve with pita bread wedges or pita chips, or use as a spread for pita sandwiches.

Yield: About 1½ cups (serving size: 2 Tablespoons)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 59
  • Fat: 4 grams (54% of calories from fat)

Smoked Salmon Spread

Get a healthy dose of the omega-3 fatty acids with this spread, and with the touch of vodka, everyone will be coming back for more.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound smoked salmon
  • 1½ cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pepper-flavored vodka or regular vodka
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Dill

Preparation:

Cut half of the salmon into chunks. Dice the remaining salmon. Place cottage cheese in a fine-mesh sieve and press on it to remove excess moisture. Transfer the cottage cheese to a food processor. Add the salmon chunks, vodka, lemon juice, mustard and horseradish. Process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the diced salmon. Refrigerate until chilled. (The spread may be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two days.) To serve, spread on crostini and garnish with a sprinkling of cracked black pepper and dill. Note: If substituting plain vodka for the pepper-flavored vodka, season generously with cracked black pepper.

Yield: 2 cups (serving size 1 tablespoon)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 0 grams (0% of calories)
  • Cholesterol: 2 milligrams
  • Sodium: 59 milligrams

Stuffed Cucumbers

The combination of cool cucumber and creamy insides makes a great appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber for both

Filing #1 Ingredients:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg (chopped) (may use egg whites of two eggs as substitute)
  • 2 oz. chopped ham (may use turkey or ham as substitute)
  • 2 tbs. mayonnaise or miracle whip (light)
  • ½ tsp. grated onion
  • pepper

Filing #2 Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. low-fat sour cream or 4 oz. low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 oz. low-fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. grated onion
  • ⅛ tsp. white pepper

Preparation:

Wash cucumber. Cut ends off and scoop out all the seeds. Stuff cucumber with choice of filling.

Filling #1 Method:
Mix ham, egg, onion, pepper and mayonnaise or miracle whip. Blend well. Stuff cucumber. Wrap and chill. To serve, slice and garnish.

Filling #2 Method:
Mash cream cheese. Add grated cheddar and continue mixing. Add onion and white pepper and mix well. Stuff cucumber. Wrap and chill. To serve, slice and garnish.

Yield: Filling #1: 10 slices; Filling #2: 10 slices

Nutritional Data Per Serving

Filling #1:
Calories: 30
Fat: 2 grams (54% of calories)
Cholesterol: 23 milligrams
Sodium: 109 milligrams

Filling #2:
Calories: 22
Fat: 1.1 grams (45% of calories)
Cholesterol: 3 milligrams
Sodium: 38 milligrams

Watermelon and Mango Salsa

This is great with a baked, whole grain tortilla chip or over grilled fish or chicken.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely minced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, core and ribs removed, finely diced
  • ¼ Cup red onion, ¼" dice
  • 2 Cups watermelon, ¼" dice
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and ¼" diced
  • ½ Cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, ¼" diced (1 small cucumber)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, very thinly sliced

Preparation:

In a large bowl, whisk lime juice, brown sugar, salt, ginger and pepper until sugar dissolves. Dice the onion and soak in ice water to remove acid and crisp. While onion is soaking, cut watermelon, mango, cucumber, and mint and add to the bowl with the dressing. Drain the red onion and add to the fruit mixture; gently toss. Cover and chill. Season with salt to taste and serve cold.

Yield: 3 Cups (serving size: ½ Cup)

Nutritional Data Per Serving

  • Calories: 57
  • Fat: .2 grams (3.5% of calories from fat)