This post is sponsored by GIANT Food Stores. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
It’s that time of year when we’re all eating TOO MUCH FOOD. I know we are, anyway. All the parties, the cookie baking, the holiday meals. It’s a lot of heavy, rich stuff that we don’t normally eat. As we reach the end of the year with Christmas and New Year’s just a couple of weeks away, I’m trying to come up with some better ideas to serve (I am a finger-foods person – makes entertaining so easy!) that my guests will love without leaving all of us feel like we gorged ourselves.
This is when I am SO thankful for Savory magazine from GIANT Food Stores. I can’t tell you how many great recipe ideas I’ve gotten from this magazine and they have a website too! This is awesome because if you need an easy, practical recipe idea you can see what’s trending and search for what you need: drinks, appetizers, desserts, whatever it is! A couple of appetizers in the current issue that I’m loving are these Mini Cherry Tomato, Pesto, and Mozzarella Bites, and this amazing Walnut, Pomegranate, and Roasted Pepper Dip.
This month’s holiday issue in particular has a ton of great ideas for your holiday entertaining. I’m sharing a few of them below.
I mentioned that I love finger foods for entertaining versus a formal, sit-down dinner. It is true, though, that appetizers can sometimes turn into a mini meal packed with extra fat and calories. There are a few rules of thumb we can keep in mind to curb the calories:
- Showcase lean proteins (We love smoked salmon, too!)
- Feature produce
- Incorporate whole grains
- Swap out sour cream for Greek yogurt
Last month, GIANT nutritionists’ chose the pomegranate as the healthy pick of the month and in partnership with them, I made their recipe for Pomegranate Salsa. It is SO good, full of fresh, flavorful ingredients and it’s just gorgeous. Perfect for the holiday season! This is a healthy option you can serve up to your guests guilt-free.
Another tip? Instead of a giant bowl of food people are taking by the handful, try to portion it out a bit in advance. Nuts, for example, contain good fat, but they’re high in calories and that can really rack up quickly when we are mindlessly eating at social gatherings. Want to serve nuts? Try these ideas:
- Fruit dipped in chocolate and crushed pistachios (See the recipe and photos of this below!)
- Nut and oat energy bites
- Nuts individually portioned out in festive container
- Try GIANT’S pomegranate pistachio bark! (Get the recipe and photos of this below!)
This is the Pomegranate Pistachio Bark. So easy to make, too! I made a batch with my daughter on Thanksgiving morning for our guests to munch on before dinner was served and everyone loved it. Isn’t it pretty?
Chocolate Dipped Clementines
This is going to be a new favorite around here. I made these Chocolate Covered Clementines today while the kids were in school and they came home and gobbled them right up.
They are truly a breeze to make (you probably can look at them and figure it out but the directions are below), and the flavor combination of sweet juice clementines with smooth, dark chocolate is perfection.
They only real trick here is to set yourself up with all your supplies and ingredients, and then go melt the chocolate. It will start to solidify again after a few minutes when it’s no longer warm and melty, so just peel your clementines in advance, and prep your bowls of coconut and chopped almonds for dipping.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper to place your chocolate covered clementines on while the chocolate hardens. Definitely don’t skip this part – use the wax paper and try to let them completely chill before moving them or you’re going to lose half the chocolate. I popped this in the freezer for about 10 minutes and they were all ready to eat!
This is what they look like after the chocolate hardens. So pretty! And they are delicious. I love these flavors together! Here’s the recipe:
Place the coconut in one small bowl and the almonds in another small bowl. Set aside. Place the chocolate chips in a small, microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Dip one half of a clementine section into the melted chocolate, then dip into the coconut or almonds. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with the remaining clementine sections, topping with coconut, almonds, or just chocolate. Chill to completely dry the chocolate, about 15 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Exact measurements on any of these ingredients aren't required. You can just eyeball what you think you'll use.
Place the coconut in one small bowl and the almonds in another small bowl. Set aside.
Place the chocolate chips in a small, microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
Dip one half of a clementine section into the melted chocolate, then dip into the coconut or almonds.
Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Repeat with the remaining clementine sections, topping with coconut, almonds, or just chocolate.
Chill to completely dry the chocolate, about 15 minutes.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Exact measurements on any of these ingredients aren't required. You can just eyeball what you think you'll use.
Yum! Keep them in a container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. That will keep the clementines fresh and keep the chocolate from melting. If you need a quick and easy, yet impressive appetizer for your next get together, give these a try! We love them!
Visit the GIANT Food Stores website to access lots of Savory recipes, and be sure you pick up Savory magazine in your local store. You can find it either in the vestibule at the entrance, or at customer service.
The generous folks at GIANT Food Stores are offering one of my readers a $25 GIANT gift card to help you try some of these delicious, better-for-you appetizers! This giveaway is open to US residents only (please make sure you live near enough to a GIANT that you can use the prize), ages 18+, and will end at 11:59pm on December 20, 2017.