Easy & Healthy Christmas Eve Party Foods

Bountiful by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

Bountiful by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

Christmas Eve munchies aren’t traditionally healthy. The holiday spread is usually decked with cookies and candies and high-calorie bites that are big on fat, but not so big on nutrients. That’s where “Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by our Garden,” comes in, my new favorite cookbook and the inspiration for my Xmas Eve menu.

Bountiful was created Todd Potter and Diane Cu. It’s a girl raised on Vietnamese food meets boy raised on cattle ranch in Oregon story of love and food. The couple met, feel in love, got married, and because of their shared love of growing, creating and photographing food, created the White On Rice Couple blog and later the cookbook – and their “feeding others is a loving way to connect” philosophy shines through in every inspired photo and every delicious bite. I want to make and devour every recipe from Bountiful (Pizza with caramelized fennel, arugula and lemon; Spicy roasted cauliflower, Basil pesto Ferro salad, Heirloom tomato galettes), but here are two of my faves, both perfect healthy party foods for Christmas Eve….

photo by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

photo by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

Roasted cherry tomato and goat cheese dip

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound (225g) cherry tomatoes
1 cup (240ml) whole-milk ricotta
1 medium clove garlic, minced
¼ cup (15g) minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (8-ounce / 225-g) log goat cheese, pinched into large chunks
Bread or crackers, for serving

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly oil a 5- to 6-inch (12.5- to 15-cm) baking dish.

2 In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the tomatoes. Set aside.

3 In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, parsley, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

4 Fold the goat cheese into the ricotta mixture.

5 In the baking dish, layer half of the cheese mixture, then add half of the tomatoes. Layer the remaining cheese mixture, then top with the remaining tomatoes. Gently press the top layer of tomatoes into the cheese mixture.

6 Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are evenly roasted, 25 to 40 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the tomato skins and the depth of the baking dish.)

7 Serve warm with bread or crackers.

photo by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

photo by Todd Potter and Diane Cu

Olive oil–baked beet chips with sea salt and black pepper

2 pounds (910g) large beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line several sheet pans with parchment paper.

2 Wearing gloves to prevent staining your hands, peel the beets.

3 Using a mandoline, thinly slice the beets to a thickness of 1/16 inch (1.5 mm).

4 In a large bowl, combine the beet slices and oil. Rub the oil evenly over the slices.

5 On the prepared sheet pans, in a single layer, arrange as many slices as will fit without crowding. Bake until crisp, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking.

6 Cool the chips and blot them on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

7 Repeat steps 5 and 6, using a cool sheet pan lined with parchment paper for each batch, until all the beet slices are baked.

8 Toss the chips in a large bowl with the salt and zpepper to taste.

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