Dining and Entertainment / Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Go for Festive, Healthy Hors d’Oeuvres at Your Next Event

It’s “the season of eating,” when many find their calendar filled each week with festive celebrations and engagements – and their waistline expanding. According to Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE, nutrition expert for TOPS Club, Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, one method to contend with calorie-laden cocktail party fare is to bring your own healthy dish to pass. The following lighter hors d’oeuvres recipes are flavorful and may please even the pickiest partygoer.

Beef and Lamb Meatballs
Millet is the secret ingredient that gives this gluten-free meatball dish a healthy kick. The millet acts as a binding agent and helps cut the amount of meat needed, while adding fiber and a whole grain ingredient to this popular appetizer. Browning the meatballs before baking locks in flavor and moisture. If time permits, after browning, you can use a slow cooker instead of baking.

meatballsPrep and cook time: 75 minutes
Servings: 10 (2 meatballs in 1/4 cup sauce)

Meatball ingredients:
2 cups water
1/2 cup millet, hulled
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup jarred red bell pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces lean ground lamb
6 ounces extra-lean ground beef
2 large eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cooking spray

Sauce ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 28-ounce can “no added salt” diced tomatoes

Bring water to a boil. Add millet and bring heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Cool.

Using your hands or an electric mixer, thoroughly combine cooked, cooled millet with parsley, red bell pepper, salt, black pepper, ground lamb, ground beef, eggs, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wet your hands, then shape meatball mixture into 20 meatballs (approximately 1 inch each). Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

To prepare sauce, add olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes and their accompanying juice. Increase heat to high, bringing tomato mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tomato mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.

After sauce is ready, set aside and keep warm. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add chilled meatballs and cook, turning until all surfaces are browned, about 5 minutes in total. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Place cooked meatballs in prepared sauce and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories (63 calories from fat); 7 g total fat (3 g saturated fat); 60 mg cholesterol; 350 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrates; 2 1/2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 10 g protein.

TOPS Club Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 66 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has more than 125,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $32 per year in the U.S. and $36 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

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