Christmas Appetizers

Angels on Horseback


12 oysters in shells
Coarse rock salt or aluminum foil
3 slices lean bacon
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 cup dry white wine (with or without alcohol)
12 drops hot red pepper sauce

Nutritional Information
1 oyster:
Calories 23
Saturated Fat 0g
Total Fat 1g
Protein 2g
Carbohydrate 1g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 45mg
Cholesterol 9mg


Oysters curl as they cook, resembling angel wings and giving this New Orleans appetizer its name.
Makes 12 appetizers.
Preparation time:15 minutes.
Cooking time: 3 minutes.

Step 1:
Buy the oysters the day you plan to cook. Ask your fishmonger to shuck them, leaving them on the half shell and reserving the liquor. Cover the oysters and liquor and refrigerate.

Step 2:
Preheat the broiler. Line a broiling pan or shallow baking pan with the rock salt or a layer of crushed foil. Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise, then lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix the parsley with the garlic.

Step 3:
Place the oysters in their shells in the prepared pan. Top each oyster with a piece of bacon, then about 1/2 teaspoon of the parsley mixture. Top each oyster with a little white wine, oyster liquor, and a drop of red pepper sauce. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 3 minutes or until the oysters curl at the edges and the bacon browns. Serve immediately.

Country Pâté

8 ounces lean ground pork or beef
8 ounces ground veal
1 medium-size yellow onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 cup low-fat (1% milkfat) milk
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (1 slice)
3 sprigs parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Nutritional Information

1 Serving:
Calories 37
Saturated Fat 1g
Total Fat 2g
Protein 4g
Carbohydrate 1g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 44mg
Cholesterol 12mg

Elegant hostesses often served French pâtéas a first course at formal dinners. Today, this lower-fat version doubles nicely as an appetizer or picnic food.
Makes about 24 servings. Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Chilling time: 2 hours.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8- x 4- x 2-inch loaf pan with foil, extending the foil about 1 inch above the pan on all sides. Lightly grease the foil. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook pork, veal, onion, and garlic over moderately high heat for 10 minutes or until browned. In necessary, drain off fat.

Step 2:
In a food processor or blender, process the pork mixture and milk until almost smooth. Add egg whites, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, thyme, sage, and pepper. Process until almost smooth. Spread in foil-lined pan. Cover pan with foil, place it in a larger baking pan, and pour hot water around loaf pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170°.

Step 3:
Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours (will keep for 2 days). Grasp the edges of the foil and lift the pate out of the pan. Carefully remove the foil. Using a thin-bladed sharp knife, thinly slice pate; halve slices. Arrange pate slices on a lettuce-lined plate and serve with rye bread or an assortment of crackers. Makes about 24 servings.

Holiday Cheese Ball

3 tablespoon finely chopped pecans
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cream cheese (at room temperature)
3 green onions (finely chopped with tops, 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup minced parsley

Nutritional Information

1 tablespoon:
Calories 50
Saturated Fat 2g
Total Fat 4g
Protein 2g
Carbohydrate 1g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 72mg
Cholesterol 12mg


Cheese has been included at many American celebrations over the years. In 1802, President Jefferson was presented with a 1,235-pound Cheshire cheese ball at the White House. Surprisingly, it had come from Cheshire, Massachusetts, not England.

Makes about 24 servings.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 8 minutes.
Chilling time: 15 minutes.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350° and spread out the pecans in a small pan. Bake, tossing once, for 8 minutes or until toasted. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, place the cream cheese, onions, mustard, red pepper sauce, and garlic. With an electric mixer at moderate speed, beat for 3 minutes or until well blended. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap, shape into a 4-inch ball, and chill for 15 minutes.

Step 2:
On wax paper, toss the toasted pecans with the parsley. Unwrap the cheese ball and carefully roll it in the parsley mixture, coating it completely. Rewrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve. Place the ball on a serving platter and surround with an assortment of crackers.

Surprise Cocktail Meatballs

12 ounces lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (1 slice)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons low-fat (1% milkfat) milk
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg white (lightly beaten)
18 water chestnut halves, pecan halves, pineapple tidbits, and/or small sweet green pepper squares

For the Sauce
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


When this sweet and sour dish first became popular, the surprise inside was a cube of cheese. Today, water chestnuts, green pepper, or pineapple makes more healthful fillings.

Makes 18 meatballs.
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 23 minutes.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350°. To prepare the meatballs, in a large bowl, mix the beef, bread crumbs, onion, carrot, parsley, milk, marjoram, salt, sage, pepper, and egg white. Divide into 18 pieces (tip, below). Wrap each piece around a water chestnut half. Place the meatballs in a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meatballs are no longer pink. Transfer to paper towels and drain well.

Step 2:
Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, in a medium-size saucepan, whisk together the apple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Stir the meatballs into the apple juice mixture and simmer for 3 minutes or until the meatballs are heated through. Place in a small chafing dish or shallow serving dish. Use cocktail forks or toothpicks to serve.

Stuffing Meatballs:
Pat the meat mixture into a 6- x 3-inch rectangle. Then, with a knife, cut the meat into 18 1-inch squares. Separate the squares and flatten each square slightly.

Wrap each square around a water chestnut half or one of the other fillings. Be sure the meat is completely sealed around the filling so it doesn't poke out during baking.

Maryland Crab Cakes

1 1/2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over and flaked
3 green onions, with tops, finely chopped (6 tablespoons)
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay or Creole seasoning (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 large egg whites
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large unpeeled lemons (thinly sliced to garnish)


Since colonial days, Maryland has prided itself on serving some of the finest crab cakes in the land, often made from the blue crabs of Chesapeake Bay.

Makes 6 servings.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Chilling time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 17 minutes.

Step 1:
In a large bowl, lightly toss the crab with the green onions, parsley, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Old Bay seasoning if you wish, Worcestershire, salt, and red pepper sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs.

Step 2:
In a small, clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on High until soft peaks form, then fold into the crab mixture. Form the mixture into 4-inch-round patties, about 1 inch thick. On a piece of wax paper, spread the remaining 3/4 cup of bread crumbs and use to coat each patty. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 3:
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Cook the crab cakes for 3 minutes on each side or until brown, adding the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil as needed. Serve with the lemon slices and tartar sauce.

Cauliflower Provençal

1 cauliflower
1 sweet red pepper (diced)
2 tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Nutritional Information

1 serving:
Calories 74
Fiber 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Total Fat 1g
Sodium 127mg
Cholesterol 0mg
Carbohydrate 14g
Protein 5g


Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, carbohydrate, and potassium. It is best during winter months, from October to April.

Serves 4.
Step 1:
Prepare and steam cauliflower 9 to 10 minutes or until just tender.

Step 2:
In a saucepan, combine red pepper, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cover pan and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes or until peppers are almost tender.

Step 3:
Add cauliflower and olives and toss to coat. Cover pan and continue to cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Bite-Size Crustless Quiches


1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 ounces Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Nutritional Information
1 serving:
Calories 37
Protein 2g
Carbohydrates trace
Fat 3g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 75mg

These hors d'oeuvres are quick to prepare, so you have more time with friends. They're also easier to handle than slices of a large quiche--making them ideal finger food.

Makes 18 bite-size quiches.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease one tray of 24 mini muffin-pan cups (1 3/4- x 1-inch). In a small saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat. Add bell pepper and onion; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

Step 2:
In a medium-size bowl, combine eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir in the bell pepper and onions. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin cup. (The mixture will fill 18 to 22 cups.)

Step 3:
Bake until the centers are set, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the quiches cool for 1 minute. Using a knife, loosen the quiches around the edges and remove from the cups. Arrange them on a platter and serve.

Broccoli Polonaise

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 bunches broccoli, cut into flowerets (about 8 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a small pot bring salted water to a boil. Gently lower eggs into water and reduce heat to med. Simmer 13 minutes. Drain, cool under running water and coarsely chop.
  2. In a large pot over high heat bring salted water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook 7 minutes, or until just tender; drain.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir in chopped eggs.
  4. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over broccoli
  • Asparagus or cauliflower can be used in place of the broccoli
  • The eggs can be hard-cooked and kept for three days in the refrigerator
  • The broccoli can be slightly undercooked, drained, and chilled by putting in an ice bath; drain again. Cooked broccoli can be kept in the refrigerator one day. Reheat in microwave or in boiling water just to heat through
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Chicken Pot Pie


  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (9 inch) pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the chicken meat, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear.
  2. Remove the chicken and let cool. Pour the remaining chicken broth mixture into a measuring cup. Let stand; spoon off fat. Add enough milk to the broth mixture to equal 2-1/2 cups. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. In the same pan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in broth mixture. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and boils. Add the chicken, vegetables, parsley and thyme. Pour mixture into a 1-1/2-quart deep casserole dish.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  5. Roll out pastry 1 inch larger than the diameter of the casserole dish on a lightly floured surface. Cut slits in the pastry for venting air. Place pastry on top of casserole. Roll edges and cut away extra pastry; flute edges by pinching together. Reroll scraps to cut into decorative designs. Place on top of pastry. Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Servings: 4

Maple Butternut Squash

  • 4 lb. (2 kg). butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. With a large, sharp knife, cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop seeds out with a spoon and place both halves, cut side down, in a shallow baking dish or cookie sheet with sides. Pour in just enough water to cover the pan about 1/8 inch (0.25 cm) deep. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the squash halves over and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until very tender when poked with a fork. Remove from the oven.
  3. With a spoon, scoop squash flesh out into a bowl. If you have a food processor, puree squash with butter, whipping cream, maple syrup and salt until very smooth and creamy. (You may have to do this in two batches.) You can also beat butter, cream, maple syrup and salt into squash with an electric mixer, if you prefer. The squash won't come out quite as velvety smooth, but it will still be delicious.
Servings: 8

Holiday Appetillas

  • 1 pk flour tortillas, fat free
  • 16 oz cream cheese; softened
  • 1/4 c green olives; chopped
  • 1/2 c green onion; chopped
  • 1/2 c red pepper; chopped
  • 1/2 c green pepper; chopped
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 ts garlic salt
  • 1/2 ts red pepper flakes, crushed
Cooking Instructions
  1. Let tortillas stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix together all ingredients, except for the tortillas. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over all the tortillas.
  3. Tightly roll up flour tortillas.
  4. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Cut in 3/4" diagonal slices.
  7. Serve with salsa.
Yield: 10 Tortillas

Scalloped Potatoes

  • 6 medium potatoes (2-1/2 to 3 lbs.)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken broth (homemade or canned)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups (500 mL) fresh bread crumbs (coarse)
Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) rectangular baking dish.
  2. Scrub potatoes well and slice them very thinly (1/8 inch or 0.25 cm thick). It is not necessary to peel the potatoes, unless you prefer to do so. Place them in a bowl of cold water and set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet, sauté sliced onions in 2 tbsp. (30 mL) of butter or margarine over low heat until evenly golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt together the remaining 2 tbsp. (30 mL) of the butter or margarine and the flour over medium heat. Whisk in chicken broth, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and bubbles. Continue to simmer for a minute or two, then remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Drain potatoes completely and layer them as follows: 1/3 of the potatoes, 1/2 of the onions, salt and pepper; 1/3 of the potatoes, remaining onions, salt and pepper; and finally all the remaining potatoes. Pour the sauce evenly over the potatoes and cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with bread crumbs and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and crumbs are crisp and browned.
Servings: 6 to 8