40 Ways to Lighten Up a Holiday Party Menu
Today we're sharing some of our favorite holiday recipes from "The SparkPeople Cookbook." You can take a sneak peek at a few of them, but the rest are available exclusively in the cookbook. But because 'tis the season of giving, we've also rounded up Chef Meg's favorite seasonal appetizers (including a brand-new one), plus a money-saving entertaining tip!
Holiday dinnerMove over, holiday ham. Step aside, scalloped potatoes. We have some new family favorites that are healthier and just as tasty. Make room for these at the table and you won't need to wear elastic-weight pants to holiday dinner.
- The Downies’ Honey-Ginger Salmon
- Chef Meg's Roasted Chicken with Herb Oil
- Chef Meg's Beef Roast
- Peppercorn Steak with Herbed Blue Cheese
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Dill Sauce
- Grapefruit-Pear Salad with Fennel
- Braised Swiss Chard with Beans
Holiday brunchStart your family's celebration off on the right foot, with a healthy morning meal. These dishes are great any time of day, and they're sure to please a hungry crowd.
- Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Raspberry Streusel Muffins
- Mushroom-Cheese Frittata
- Tomato-Cheese Frittata
- Light Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
- Warm and Spicy Banana Waffles
- Chef Meg's Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins
- Grapefruit-Pear Salad with Fennel
- Banana Honey Cake
Desserts/cocktail partyParties can be a calorie minefield, but they needn't be. Enjoy yourself and still fit into your favorite little black dress by serving up these better-for-you, oh-so-good sweets, treats, and small plates.
- Chef Meg's Mini Apple Tarts
- Antipasto Kebobs
- Sweet and Spicy Pecans
- SparkGuy’s Best Trail Mix
- Creamy, Tangy Tomato Bruschetta
- Bruschetta with Cilantro Pesto and White Beans
- Avocado Cherry-Tomato Salsa
- Meg-herita Pizza (cut into bite-size pieces)
- Barbecue Chicken Pizza
- Coconut-Lime Shrimp
- Turkey Meatballs
- Chef Meg's Beef and Blue Sandwich (mini versions)
- Black-Bean Burgers with Lime Cream (mini versions)
- Chicken Kebob Pitas with Creamy Cucumber Sauce (ditch the pitas, serve on skewers)
- Buffalo Chicken
Cookie/treats exchangeEven cookies and baked goods can be lightened up without sacrificing flavor. Give the shortbread a year off and swap one of these tasty treats instead.
- Espresso Thumbprints
- Lemon Berry Tartlets
- Chef Meg's Cocoa Meringue Shells
- Dark Chocolate Cake (baked as cupcakes)
Want more great recipes for your holiday parties?
Chef Meg knows that flavor comes first. That's why these party-size appetizers are perfect for your next get-together. She skimps on fat, but you--and your guests--will never be able to tell.
- NEW: Chef Meg's Spicy Sliders
- Chef Meg's Wilted Lemon Lettuce and Beef Bruschetta
- Chef Meg's Cranberry-Orange Creme Brulee
- Chef Meg's Easy Cucumber Cups
- Chef Meg's Festive Polenta Rounds
Here's Chef Meg's tip, from "The SparkPeople Cookbook":
We recently hosted 16 teenage boys and 10 adults for dinner on the fly. Each family brought a side dish; we provided salads and salmon, shrimp, and chicken. What a beautiful banquet table it was, filled with fresh fruit, salads of pesto and whole-wheat pasta, cherry tomatoes with avocados and a vinegar-based slaw. To stretch the meal and keep portions reasonable, salmon steaks were grilled then sliced into two-ounce servings, chicken breasts were grilled then sliced on an angle into one-inch strips, and the shrimp were divided into four per skewer. By doing this, the serving sizes were kept to two to three ounces and each person was able to have some variety.
Plates were filled high with vegetables and fruits and topped with few ounces of meat and everyone went home happy, with bellies that were satisfied—not stuffed.
"The SparkPeople Cookbook" makes a great holiday gift. Click here for more info!
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What are you serving at your holiday gatherings? What's your go-to potluck dish?
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