Niagara Gazette

December 6, 2008

EXTRA:Healthy holiday party offerings that taste great


By JIM ROMANOFF

For The Associated Press



The trouble with most holiday party finger foods is that you can't eat just one.

This wouldn't be an issue except that the usual buffet of puff pastry hors d'oeuvres, mini quiches, egg rolls and chicken wings are jammed with fat and calories.

So if you're hosting a holiday party, do your guests a favor and offer up nibbles that are as guilt-free as they are delicious.

Try rolling sliced, lean grilled steak or roast beef around a dab of jarred horseradish sauce and strips of red, orange and yellow bell peppers; fasten together with a toothpick.

Slices of cucumber can be topped with finely chopped smoked salmon and a dab of reduced-fat sour cream blended with minced red onion and capers.

Halved large sea scallops can be wrapped with prosciutto rather than the traditional (and fattier) bacon. Secure with a toothpick and broil on a baking sheet until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Shrimp always are a hit and are virtually fat free. Precooked cocktail shrimp are convenient and relatively inexpensive, but for more flavorful results buy raw shrimp, thread them on bamboo skewers and cook them on the grill.

If you are concerned about eating farmed seafood, look for wild caught American shrimp, which cost only a bit more and have wonderful flavor and texture.

Chopped tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice bring Mediterranean flavors to these easy-to-prepare shrimp and pesto crostini. The recipe calls for store-bought pesto, but homemade would only improve things.

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SHRIMP AND PESTO CROSTINI

Start to finish: 10 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 16

Sixteen 1/2-inch-thick slices French bread

1 large clove garlic, peel and cut in half

1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons prepared pesto

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

16 large uncooked shrimp, deveined and coarsely chopped

Heat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil to toast both sides. Rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic clove. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, pesto, cheese, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, lemon juice and pepper. Toss to combine. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the shrimp and saute until opaque at the center, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pesto mixture.

Divide the shrimp mixture between the bread slices, spooning a bit on each. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 67 calories; 24 calories from fat; 3 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 23 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 0 g fiber; 128 mg sodium.



Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.