I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July, I know I did! Yesterday, even with all of the rain, was a relaxing and fun day/night. The morning was spent watching the World Cup games on my couch and eating a whole wheat bagel with tofu vegetable cream cheese. Yes you read that correctly, it was tofu and in my opinion tasted just like regular cream cheese. You will obviously have to try it for yourself but I think I’ve found my new bagel topping, which is very exciting since I have such dairy issues (not that it normally stops me haha).
Then, for the nighttime Bill and I went to my parents and spent the night at their house. I took this opportunity of three willing taste-testing participants to make some healthy appetizers and sides to go along with the steak my dad was going to grill. I was pleasantly pleased with how they turned out and everyone loved them, which is obviously the best part! All of the dishes were relatively simple to make yet full of flavor and healthy! Also, I apologize for the photos, I need to work on my “working” photos so for this post I just have the end product.
(The “before” photo haha)
Appetizers: Red & Blue (berry) Salsa:
This first recipe I found on the blog All Through The Year Cheer and thought it was perfect because it was so different from anything I would ever have chosen to make in the past and the name was too cute to resist. It was very simple to make but also very time consuming with all of the chopping so I would just make sure to give yourself enough time to get it all done. The blogger shows the salsa as a topping to chicken or fish which is definitely how I would like to try it next time.
-1/2 Cup fresh blueberries, chopped
-1/2 Cup fresh whole blueberries
-1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (I didn’t use a full half because it seemed like more pepper than I wanted so just play around with the amount)
-1/4 red onion, diced -3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (once again I didn’t use this full amount, I only used 2 TB’s but add as much as you feel is right for you)
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
I left out the two optional additions but here they are in case you would like to add them:
-1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
-2 tablespoons fresh minced mint
Directions: In a bowl, stir together all ingredients for the salsa and refrigerate until ready to use and voila you are all done!
Kickoff Pepper Dip
The next recipe came from this site that I receive recipe emails from called Recipe.com that compiles recipes based on a theme from many different recipe sites. This particular one was from Diabeticliving.com. One tip for this recipe is to actually follow the direction of letting the dip chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I only left mine for about an hour since I did not realize this, however it still tasted good but I can see it being better when it was colder
-4 large red, green, yellow, or orange sweet peppers, seeded and cut up
-1 small onion, cut up -1/4 cup water
– 1-8 ounce package of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
-1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise dressing or light salad dressing (I used the mayo dressing)
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
-1/4 teaspoon salt -3 small red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers, tops and seeds removed (optional, but I thought it really added to the dish displaying the dip in the peppers)
-assorted veggies for dipping
- In a blender or large food processor, combine 1/3 of the cut up sweet peppers, the onion, and the water. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Add the remaining cut up peppers and blend till smooth
- Place pureed vegetable mixture in a fine sieve; press mixture gently to drain off excess liquid. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, lime juice, oil, horseradish, & salt. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in pureed vegetable mixture. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
- Spoon dip into remaining sweet peppers and service with fresh veggies!
Pasta Spinach Salad
This pasta salad was also from one of the emails I receive from Recipe.com.
-6 ounces dried whole wheat penne
-2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (put more in a bowl so people can add more if they would like)
-1/3 cup bottled Italian dressing
– 6 cups torn fresh spinach (I used baby spinach)
-2 tablespoons sliced, pitted ripe olives (I put these on the side so people could choose if they wanted to add them)
Then the last ingredient I didn’t use but here they are in case you would like to:
-1/4 cup sliced green onion
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and put in the fridge to chill ahead of time.
- When you’re ready to serve, combine pasta, tomatoes, feta cheese, salad dressing, green onions, and olives.
- If you need to, everything can be made ahead of time and put into the fridge to all chill together, just make sure to rinse the pasta with cold water first so that it is not still hot.
- To serve, arrange spinach on a large serving platter, spoon pasta mixture over spinach.
Fresh Corn, Avocado and Quinoa Salad
This salad I found on the blog Eating Bird Food and the author says it can also be used as a dip but I used it as a salad.
-4 ears (about 3 cups) fresh, uncooked sweet corn
-1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 ½ cups)
-1/2 cup red onion, diced
-2 large avocados, diced -lime juice (1 lime or about 2 TB’s)
-1 teaspoon sea salt -1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (The store was out of basil so I didn’t add this, but it still tasted good)
- Cook quinoa according to the package directions. Place in a bowl and put in the fridge to cool. This step can also be done the day before or hours in advance.
- Husk and cut the corn from the cob.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and either serve immediately or let sit for a few hours to marinate before serving.
What did everyone else do for the 4th? Try any new recipes? Any good 4th of July party ideas?