Healthy Holiday Appetizers

I love having a few things to nibble on in the kitchen.
These simple recipes will leave you with enough time to enjoy your guests.
If you have a holiday favorite, post it in the comments.
I plan on snacking from now right through the new year!

Garlic Herb Mushrooms

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounces mushrooms, cut in half
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh herbs (your choice)

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick pan. Add the garlic.
  2. Add mushrooms and turn the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring, for two minutes.
  3. Add vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook five minutes, until the mushrooms are tender but not limp.
  4. Remove from the heat and toss with fresh herbs.

Serve with toothpicks.  Can be made ahead and served cold, if desired.

Rosemary Spiced Nuts

Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten, from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?


2 Tablespoons olive oil + some for baking sheet
2 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews
2 cups whole walnut halves
2 cups whole pecan halves
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush a sheet pan generously with oil, or cover with parchment paper. In a large bowl, add the different kinds of nuts.
  3. In a small bowl, combine  olive oil, the maple syrup, orange juice, and spices and mix well. Pour the mixture onto the nuts and toss well.
  4. Add half of the chopped rosemary and  salt and toss again.
  5. Spread the nuts in one layer on the baking pan. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with other half of rosemary.
  6. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.


Baked Ricotta

olive oil for baking dish
15 ounces whole milk ricotta (or one container)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, beaten to break them up a bit
1 Tablespoon herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Oil a small oven proof baking dish
  3. Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  Transfer to  baking dish.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown
  5. Let it rest for 3-5 minutes before serving