As much as the holidays are meant to be fun, you can’t deny that a certain element of stress always lingers under the cheery surface. You’ve got to meet deadlines, wrap gifts, entertain relatives, attend holiday parties, and cook your signature dish—and sometimes all of this can land on the same day. While we can’t exactly help with your gift wrapping or relatives, we can help alleviate some of the stress associated with parties and potlucks.
These healthy crowd pleasing apps are perfect dishes to bring to any shindig this season, not just because they look and taste great, but because each one only requires five or less ingredients and minimal cooking time. There ya go! Maybe we did just help with your gift wrapping after all because we’re pretty sure we just freed up a good chunk of time with these easy appetizers. Whoever you decide to serve them to, be it coworkers, friends, or family, we promise they’ll have happy bellies and you’ll be a little more at ease to enjoy the festivities.
Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
We rarely pass up a chance to include pesto in a recipe if the opportunity presents itself, so when this little app came across our desks it had to make this list. It’s so easy you might be asking yourself, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ Because you have us, that’s why!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 lb. baby bella or button mushrooms
- 1/2 cup of your favorite pesto, either homemade or store bought
- Shaved parmesan and/or chives for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or preheat a smoker.
- Carefully remove and discard the stems of the mushrooms, then clean to remove any dirt with a damp cloth.
- Fill mushroom cavity with pesto (approx. 1/2 teaspoon each).
- Bake or smoke for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked and the filling is warm.
- Garnish with Parmesan and/or chives (optional)
Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Spice things up with this vegetarian twist on those oh-so-addictive buffalo wings everyone loves. We love this version because its lower calorie, slightly less messy (if you’re feeling high-brow, this can totally be eaten with a fork), and just as delicious.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 22 oz. (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
- 3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce (or hot sauce of your choosing)
- 1 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil.
- Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.
- Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.
- Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve with skinny blue cheese dressing if desired and celery sticks.
Green Chile & Goat Cheese Dip
Smile and say cheese! This delectable creamy dip will undoubtedly win you some new friends, especially since this particular recipe can serve a large group of people. Or…you can keep it all to yourself, because when it comes to cheese, we totally get that temptation too. The best part: for how cheesy and tasty it is, it’s surprisingly low cal.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 15-oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese, drained
- 8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 4-oz. cans chopped green chilies
- 2 tbsp. toasted pepitas
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
- Tortilla chips, crackers, or veggies to serve
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat a glass pie pan with cooking spray.
- Mash together ricotta and goat cheese in a medium bowl.
- Drain chilies in a colander or sieve, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible. Stir into the cheese mixture.
- Spread cheese chili mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with pepitas and chipotle.
- Bake until the dip is bubbling at the edges, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve with your choice of veggies, tortilla chips or crackers.
Refreshing Cucumber Tomato Ranch Bites
It’s hard to find anything easier or healthier than this refreshing platter of goodness, and perfect for when you need to throw something together last minute. Because the ingredients are so simple, the serving size is super flexible—and sometimes you just need that flexibility during the holiday chaos.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 min (while they cool in fridge)
Total time: 14 minutes
Servings: Will depend on how many slices/cucumbers used
- 2-3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced (you can get more or less, depending on how many slices you want to serve)
- 1-2 cartons cherry tomatoes, halved (actual amount will depend on how many cucumber slices you serve)
- 8 oz. light plain cream cheese
- 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
- 4 tsp. ranch seasoning mix
- Fresh herb of your choice (we used fresh thyme)
- Mix ranch seasoning, cream cheese, and Greek yogurt until smooth in a bowl. (It helps to let cream cheese warm up slightly before mixing.)
- Slice cucumbers thick enough to hold the cream cheese and tomato.
- Put the cream cheese mixture in a plastic bag and cut a small triangle off a corner.
- Squeeze the mixture on to the sliced cucumbers.
- Add the tomato halves on top. You can put it half up or half down.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before sharing.
Berry Yogurt Bark
We didn’t want to leave you hanging in case you got assigned the dessert dish this year, so here’s a healthier take on the sweet seasonal favorite. All the crunch of bark, without all the bite of extra calories.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (while they freeze in freezer)
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- 32 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries approx., sliced
- Parchment paper
- Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and honey.
- Pour and spread the yogurt mixture into the base of the lined baking dish.
- Sprinkle the different berries and gently press into the yogurt.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen.
- Use a knife to make the first “break” and then you can break with your hands. Break into serving size pieces and serve cold.
And just like that, your holiday cooking got a little easier. Enjoy!