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Monday, May 17, 2010

Party Time

Sorry not to get my Thursday post done last week.  It seems preparations for my son's surprise 16th birthday party and other duties took more time than anticipated.  May is such a busy month with graduations and the end of school parties, banquets, etc.  Parties can lead to over eating or making poor choices but you can slip in some healthier choices as I did for Cameron's party.  A fruit tray always goes over well and I usually leave out the dip.  Plain fruit is delicious all by itself if you choose it carefully for ripeness and what is in season.  You can make a fresh salsa so you can control the ingredients rather than rely on the jarred variety, which has too much salt and preservatives.  Bowls of plain nuts are great for parties and you can easily add spices to dress them up. 

One of my favorite party dips, Mexican Layered Bean Dip, has several healthy ingredients and you can cut back on the less healthy ones if you want.  I also have a recipe for chicken nuggets or strips that is quick to whip up and much better tasting than the heavily breaded store kind.  These are good for dinner or a party.  I serve a dipping sauce with them. 

Mexican Layered Bean Dip
Spread these items in a layers on a large platter.
1.  One or two cans of refried beans, depending on the number of people.
2.  2 or 3 avocados mashed with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
3.  8 oz. low fat sour cream with 1/2 cup low fat mayo and 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning stirred together
4.  3 or 4 small tomatoes diced and drained
5.  green onions chopped
6.  1 can sliced olives
7.  Top with 1 to 2 cups grated cheddar or Mexican cheese
Serve with chips.  

Chicken Strips or Nuggets
1 lb. chicken strips or nuggets
Olive oil
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. parsley
Put chicken in a bowl and add olive oil to coat well.  Mix last three ingredients in a shallow dish.  Add chicken to bread crumb mixture and coat well.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve with favorite dipping sauce. 

Give these recipes a try for your next party and lighten things up. 

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