Nutrition and Eating

Recipes and Video: Healthy Holiday Appetizers

On December 4, 2013, the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion hosted a cooking demonstration titled "Healthy Holiday Appetizers."

TriHealth dietitian Kathy Haugen RD showed the group how to make several holiday foods that are both healthy and delicious. Here are the recipes she used and handed out to the class:

Mini Pear and Goat Cheese Tarts


  • 14 mini fillo shells

  • 1 1/2 cups diced pears, skin on (about 2 small bosc pears)
2 oz goat cheese

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Arrange thawed fillo cups on to a baking sheet. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together pears, goat cheese, egg whites and ground black pepper.
  • Fill each fillo cup with a heaping tablespoon of pear mixture.
  • Drizzle to top of each tart with a little balsamic vinegar.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

Nutrition Information for 2 tarts: Calories 90; Carbohydrate 11 g; Protein 3 g; Fat 4 g; Saturated fat 1.2 g; Dietary fiber 1 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 75 mg.

Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

Prepare this retro-chic snack up to two days ahead, and serve with crackers, bread, or veggies.

Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2010 

Yield: 14 servings (serving size: 2 tablespoons)


  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk 
  • 5 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened 
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened 
  • 3 tablespoons minced pitted Medjool dates (2 to 3 dates) 
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots 
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted 


1. Place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add dates, shallots, lemon rind, salt, and pepper; beat at medium speed until well blended, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

2. Spoon cheese mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Form into a ball, using a rubber spatula. Wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap; chill overnight.

3. Combine parsley and walnuts in a shallow dish. Unwrap cheese ball; gently roll in nut mixture, coating well. Place on a serving plate. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving 

Calories: 78  Fat: 4.8g  Saturated fat: 2.6g  Monounsaturated fat: 1.2g  Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g  Protein: 4.2g  Carbohydrate: 5.3g  Fiber: 0.5g  cholesterol: 12mg  Iron: 0.2mg  Sodium: 229mg  Calcium: 74mg 

Creamy Garlic Herb Dip


  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese 
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes or until smooth.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving 

Calories: 55  Fat: 4.4g  Saturated fat: 2.9g  Monounsaturated fat: 1.3g  Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g  Protein: 2.5g  Carbohydrate: 1.5g  Fiber: 0.1g  Cholesterol: 15mg  Iron: 0.1mg  Sodium: 195mg  Calcium: 17mg 

Creamy Mushroom Phyllo Triangles

This elegant appetizer takes a couple of hours to make, but you can do all the preparation ahead of time. Don't fold triangles too tightly or the mixture will burst through the phyllo. Assemble and freeze up to two weeks before the party. Don't thaw the triangles before baking; just add seven minutes to the baking time.

Cooking Light APRIL 2005 

Yield: 48 triangles (serving size: 2 triangles)


  • 3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 3/4 ounce) 
  • 1 pound button mushrooms 
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 ounces) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 
  • 24 (18 x 14-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed 
  • Olive oil-flavored cooking spray 



  • Cover porcini mushrooms with boiling water in a bowl. Let stand 1 hour. Drain well; chop.
  • Place half of button mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 8 times or until finely chopped. Remove from processor. Repeat procedure with remaining button mushrooms. Add onion to processor; pulse 8 times or until finely chopped.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add button mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates (about 10 minutes). Stir in porcini mushrooms, oregano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts. Stir in parsley.
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying). Cut sheet in half lengthwise; lightly coat with cooking spray. Fold each phyllo piece in half lengthwise to form a (3 1/2-inch-wide) strip. Spoon a level tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto 1 short end of each strip, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold 1 corner of edge with 1-inch border over mixture, forming a triangle; continue folding back and forth into a triangle to end of strip. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, cooking spray, and mushroom mixture. Place triangles, seam side down, on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat tops with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.


Nutrition Information for 2 triangles: Calories 49; Calories from fat 37; Fat 2 g; Saturated fat 0.8 g; Monounsaturated fat 1 g; Polyunsaturated fat 0.2 g; Protein 1.5 g; Carbohydrate 6.2 g; Fiber 0.5 g; Cholesterol 3 mg; Iron 0.6 mg; Sodium 97 mg; Calcium 7 mg. 

Almond Joy Hot Chocolate

This Recipe Serves 4


  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
4 cups unsweetened almond milk

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder

  • ¼ cup Splenda Sugar Blend
½ teaspoon coconut extract

  • ½ cup fat-free whipped topping



  • Add almonds to a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  • Add almond milk, cocoa powder, Splenda, and coconut extract to a blender and blend until incorporated and slightly foamy. 
  • Add hot chocolate mixture to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add one cup of hot chocolate to a coffee mug, top with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cooled, toasted almonds. 
  • Repeat for three remaining coffee mugs.


Nutrition Fact for 1 cup + 2 tablespoons whipped topping + 1 tablespoon sliced almonds: Calories 105; Carbohydrate 11 g; Protein 3 g; Fat 7 g; Saturated fat 0.9 g; Sugar 5 g; Dietary fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 190 mg; Potassium 320 mg. 

Bruschetta for Two


  • ¼ cup  quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp.  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp.  chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp.  KRAFT Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tsp.  KRAFT Lite Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 2 thin slices French bread (1/4-inch thick each), toasted


  • Combine first 5 ingredients. 
  • Spoon over toast slices just before serving. 

Make Ahead

Tomato mixture can be prepared ahead of time. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Nutrition Information: Calories 60; Total fat 2 g; Saturated fat 1 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 200 mg; Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 4 g; Vitamin A 8%DV; Vitamin C 6% DV; Calcium 15% DV; Iron 0% DV. 

Bell Pepper Poppers

This Recipe Serves 12


  • Cooking spray

  • 12 mini sweet peppers
2 slices turkey bacon, diced
½ cup diced onion
4 ounces fat free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside. 
  • Slice each pepper in half lengthwise then scoop out any seeds and membrane.
  • Add bacon to a non-stick sauté pan with cooking spray over medium heat and cook until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
  • Add onions to the pan used to cook the bacon and add more cooking spray if needed. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until clear. Set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese. Add the bacon, onions and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  • Grind toasted bread in a food processor with the garlic and parmesan cheese. Set aside in a small bowl.
  • Spoon the cheese mixture into each pepper half (1 teaspoon of mixture per popper), and then press the cheese side of the popper into the whole wheat breadcrumb mixture. Lay on the prepared baking sheet breadcrumb side up and spray each on lightly with cooking spray. 
  • Bake the poppers for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have softened and the breadcrumbs are golden brown  

Nutrition Information for 2 Poppers: Calories 40; Carbohydrate 3 g; Protein 3 g; Fat 1.5 g; Saturated fat 0.9 g; Sugar 1 g; Dietary fiber 1 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 125 mg; Potassium 85 mg; 

Cinnamon Roasted Pears

This Recipe Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon Smart Balance margarine

  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend

  • 2 medium Anjou Pears (about 6.5 ounces each), peeled, cored and sliced in half

  • 1 tablespoon walnut, chopped

  • ¼ cup water


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a small bowl (using fingers) combine margarine, cinnamon and brown sugar. Add walnuts and mix.
  • Arrange the pears cut side up in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Pour ¼ cup water in bottom of pan.
  • Divide the brown sugar mixture evenly among the pear halves and place in middle of pears.
  • Bake until the pears are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm ingredients are gluten-free and this recipe can be made gluten-free.

Nutrition Information for ½ of a pear: Calories 100; Carbohydrate 19 g; Protein 1 g; Fat 3.5 g; Saturated fat 0.7 g; Dietary fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg.



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