Bring on the holiday appetizers

Kim Reid Contributing columnist

December 29, 2013

Holidays mean celebrations with family, friends and co-workers and what’s a celebration without some terrific food and sharing of recipes. Of course we all have our creamy, cheesy and chocolaty favorites, but it might surprise you that your guests will appreciate you for providing some yummy healthy snacks as well. Plus all this will give your friends a reason to enjoy desert!!

Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Almonds

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chipotle seasoning (for a salt-free blend I like Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle)

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped + pinch more after roasting

Pinch cayenne or chili powder, to taste

Pinch salt, to taste

Pinch black pepper, to taste

1 c almonds

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients except for the almonds in a bowl and mix. Add the almonds to the oil and spice mixture, and toss to combine. Spread almonds in a single layer on a parchment, foil, or Silpat-lined cookie sheet (for easier cleanup) and roast for 15-20 minutes until lightly toasted, or until desired toasting and browning level is reached. Allow to cool slightly and serve. Top with a pinch more of finely chopped rosemary after roasting, if desired. Will keep in an airtight container or jar for weeks.

Healthy Stuffed Mushrooms

1/2 pound ground turkey sausage (or very lean pork sausage)

4-ounce package fat free cream cheese, softened

32 ounces mushrooms

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/3 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash mushrooms and remove stems using tomato corer. Brown turkey, then chop mushroom stems and add to turkey mixture. Mix in cream cheese and remaining spices. Spoon turkey filling into mushrooms, then bake for 15-17 minutes. Serve immediately.

For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.