Holiday Cucumber Hummus Bites

Genius healthy holiday bites in just minutes.
Cucumber Hummus Bites

Lighten up your holiday spread with these cute Cucumber Hummus Bites – ready in just minutes.

Confession time: This time of year I look for shortcuts. I mean, not to the extent of buying cookies at the bakery and running home and arranging them on a platter as if I had made them myself. NOT saying I have done this, but. = = cough = = cough = =

I like to look for shortcuts that are healthy-ish. Store bought hummus and cucumbers fit that perfectly. I love the hummus at Costco, and we always keep some on hand this time of year. Just. In. Case.

All you do for these pretty little yummy bites is slice some cucumber and spoon some hummus on top. Then, just top with festive foods – I like green and red. So, sliced green onions, sliced jalapenos, smokey paprika, diced roasted red peppers, pesto – red or green = these are all perfect toppers. And, you can have a plate ready in five minutes. NOT making that up!

Happy << easy >> holidays, all!

Cucumber Hummus Bites

Holiday Cucumber Hummus Bites
Prep time
Total time
Healthy holiday cucumber bites - ready in just minutes!
Recipe type: aPPETIZERS
Serves: 24 appetizers
  • One English Cucumber
  • 1 cup of hummus
  • Assorted toppings, such as sliced peppers, green onions or pesto
  1. Slice cucumber into ¼ inch thick slices. Press slices with a paper towel to dry completely (toppings won't slide off this way!)
  2. Spoon a little hummus on top, then top with your favorite toppings.


Roasted Garlic Guacamole Bar

Roasted Garlic Guacamole Bar

There is no such thing as the “perfect” guacamole recipe. And everyone likes their guacamole a certain way. Onions/no onions. Cilantro /greens free. Lime or Lemon? That’s why a guacamole bar is genius for Game Day or other gatherings.

To me, guacamole is one of those dishes that is – and should be – a unique creation every single time. My guacamole depends on my mood, the occasion, who the eaters are, and what is in my fridge and pantry. Avocados are good for you and have such a mild, creamy texture that they pair well with, well, pretty much anything.

I have used the basic recipe of Rick Bayless, a south-of-the-border anthropologist/chef I admire. Hat tip to you, Chef Bayless – the addition of roasted garlic is genius!

Just set this out in a bowl surrounded with toppings and let everyone scoop up the guacamole onto chips and then sprinkle with toppings of choice: diced cilantro, diced red bell peppers or jalapeno chiles, sliced green onions, crumbled queso fresco, grated pepper jack, pepitos (toasted pumpkin seeds), etc., etc.

Arriba! Arriba!

— posted by Donna

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Five Ingredient Cranberry Pistachio Goat Cheese Bites

Festive appetizers in five minutes flat!

Cranberry Goat Cheese BItes

I love that during the holiday season we make and eat such festive foods!

These little goat cheese bites are perfect on any holiday buffet – they are tart and creamy on the inside and sweet and crunchy on the outside. And with just five ingredients, they come together in just minutes.

Just take a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and roll it and chill it and then roll in pistachios and cranberries. That’s it. Really!

Happy Holly Days, y’all !


4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
Dash of cayenne pepper sauce
3 tablespoons minced pistachios
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese and cayenne pepper sauce. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll into bakes that are 1 heaping tablespoon each.

Spread pistachios and cranberries on a plate. Chill for 30 minutes.

Serve with skewers.

Other easy holiday apps worth checking out:

Five Easy Holiday Appetizers, Eating Made Easy
25+ Easy Low Carb Holiday Dishes, Kalyn’s Kitchen
100+ Easy Holiday Appetizers, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
5 Holiday Appetizers with 5 Ingredients or Less, Foodie Crush
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Appetizer, Cookin Canuck

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

Stuffed mushroom bites – pizza edition.

Mushroom caps with a pizza filling.

Mushroom caps with a pizza filling. Just think of these as Mushroom Pizzas – but all mushroom and no crust.

I learned to cook in the 80’s. Remember the 80’s? Big hair, florescent fashion. Hammer pants and stuffed mushrooms were all the rage. Classic stuffed mushrooms were typically made with bread crumbs, cheese and sometimes crumbled sausage, and as the fabulous Elise from Simply Recipes declares – every home cook should be able to make this recipe as a go-to appetizer.

With all the couch time coming up in the near future – Hello: Superbowl, Olympics – I decided a twist on the classic 80’s appetizer was in order. I was inspired by Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen, who made fabulous portobello mushroom pizzas. Mine are in handy little bite-size form.

The only trick is getting the water out of the mushroom caps so they won’t be soggy when cooked with the pizza stuffing. So, I brushed the caps with a little oil and roasted them in a hot oven for about 8 minutes. They filled up with water, and I just took them out of the oven and turned them all upside down and let them cool to room temperature. Then, I flipped them back over and stuffed them with pizza fixin’s and gave them a second roast. Perfect!

I just love love LOVE mushrooms – in any way, shape or form. Check out the Mushroom Channel for other mushroom delights.

I bought cute little mini pepperoni slices and used little round slices. Then, I made small round slices from a mozzarella cheese stick. And of course, sliced olives are a must. I made a variety of toppings so you get a different classic pizza bite with each mushroom cap.

Happy couch time everyone!

— posted by Donna

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Homemade Low Fat Deviled Ham on Sweet Potato Chips

If you’ve got leftover ham, you’re in luck!

Ham and sweet potatoes are a match made in heaven. Delicious together in any combination. So why not in an appetizer? If you need a quick yet different appetizer for your holiday party, this is it.

Making deviled ham spread at home is a win/win situation: five ingredients in less than five minutes flat. And then, just spoon a little onto sweet potato chips and you have instant flavorful appetizers.

Remember back when you were a kid and you ate deviled ham from those little cans wrapped in paper with the dancing devil logo? Underwood deviled ham is the oldest still existing food trademark, just FYI. Well, this is like that, only about a million per cent tastier. Just buy some deli-sliced ham and whirl it in your food processor with a few other things and you have an instant party spread – or sandwich spread you can stash in your fridge because it keeps for a few weeks.

I wish you Happy Season’s Eatings!


For the deviled ham:

8 ounces sliced deli ham, rough chopped (use the good stuff for this recipe)
1/4 cup plain low fat mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, (or a little more as desired for consistency)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon allspice

For the appetizer:

Sweet potato chips
Thin slices of red jalapeno
Thin slices of green onion

Process ham, Greek yogurt, mustard, hot sauce, allspice in a food processor until very smooth. If the mixture is not creamy enough, add additional Greek yogurt and process again for a few seconds.

To assemble:  Place sweet potato chips on a serving platter. Place about 1 teaspoon of ham mixture on top of each sweet potato. Top with one slice of jalapeno and green onion.

Makes about 24 bites.

I was inspired by these bloggers:

Deviled Ham Spread, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Deviled Ham, Umami Girl

Asparagus Hummus and Shrimp Bites Recipe

Asparagus Shrimp Bites

Asparagus Hummus Shrimp Bites

One of my very favorite things about spring is asparagus. Well, also having sunshine and warmth once again. Ok, but asparagus is definitely third on my list.

The Athens Mini Fillo Shells  challenge for April is “spring vegetables,” and so I knew what I had to use.

The limitation of four ingredients plus the shells means you have to choose wisely to get maximum flavor, but luckily asparagus packs a punch when roasted at high temps. So – hummus with roasted asparagus is divine – and I topped it with shrimp. Perfect for a spring brunch, I say. Or spring anything, really.

These little fillo shells are so handy – pretty and crispy – the perfect match for creamy hummus. Full of Martha-like potential. And you can whip these bites up in about 10 minutes flat.

A little spring celebration in your mouth!

— posted by Donna

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Julia Child’s Easy Cheese Tartlets Recipe

Julia Child’s Cheese Tarts – a simple, elegant appetizer.

Julia Child recipe cheese tarts

Julia Child’s Easy Cheese Tarts

Easy and Elegant are two words which define Julia Child’s cooking.

I love Julia Child. I often pause in my kitchen and repeat the phrase that Christians coined: WWJD? – but when I’m  in my kitchen “WWJD” means “What Would Julia Do?” Whenever I feel discouraged about my cooking prowess, I snuggle on my couch late at night and watch an episode of The French Chef. (Co-blogger Anne gave me a DVD set!) I laugh out loud every single time, and am instantly strengthened and renewed. When truly serious discouragement hits me, I bring out the big guns: Saturday Night Live’s French Chef Skit: “You’ll need a knife . . . a very, very, very sharp knife. . .” I dare any cook who watched Julia to watch this and not laugh out loud!  It was during one of those late-night couch sessions that I saw her make cheese tartlets. I took copious notes, and I’m glad I did, because I have not been able to find this recipe written down anywhere. It’s not in any of her cookbooks!  You’ll just have to trust my note taking on this one.

These are a masterpiece. Truly. I dare you to make appetizers that are as simple and yet sophisticated as these. It is impossible. They are the perfect blend of rich, satisfying flavors and melt-in-your-mouth comfort. If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, use that, or check out my miracle Never-Fail Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust.

Bonus: they take only minutes to throw together. Another bonus: they are very forgiving, and can be served warm or at room temperature. Add these mini-tarts to your Hostess Bag of Tricks. I promise you won’t be sorry.

If you’re looking for other apps for Oscar Night, check out my new book: 200 Appetizers by Gibbs Smith Publisher. Julia’s tartlets plus 199 other fab small bites!

— posted by Donna

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Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Caprese Chopped Salad Recipe

Proscuitto Cups 2

Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Cparese Chopped Salad

I decided to attempt some Sans-Fork salads by making edible cups. I had seen this wacky idea to make bacon baskets, but they just seemed too greasy . . and heavy, and UN healthy for my plan. Proscuitto to the rescue. Here’s the entire recipe: 1) get 1 pound of thinly sliced Proscuitto, 2) brush 12 muffin tins with vegetable oil, 3) heat up your oven to 400 degrees, 4) Line each muffin tin with a slice of proscuitto, 5) stuff the cup with aluminum foil so the Proscuitto “cup” will hold its shape while cooking, and 6) bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until, obviously, crispy. That’s it.

Oh yes, then cool and stuff with a favorite filling. Caprese chopped into little cubes sounded perfect. So, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil tossed with a little of your favorite vinaigrette. Cinchy! Might try egg salad next!

Crispy Proscuitto Cups

Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Caprese Chopped Salad

— posted by Donna

Gift Wrapped Shrimp Bites – Your New Favorite Easy Appetizer

The Perfect Festive Holiday Appetizers - Gift Wrapped Shrimp Bites

So, let’s say you’re invited to a holiday get together at the very last minute, and your hostess, who is one of those really maddeningly Martha-Stewart kind of people, says – casual as can be – “Oh, just bring some finger foods.”

So, you need some appetizers that are not just delicious but pretty on a platter, and you need them STAT.

Never fear, foodie fans.

This idea was inspired by Martha herself in her latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. She made Shrimp Mango Bites by wrapping a thin piece of mango around a grilled shrimp and tied it up with a softened green onion. Really,   green onions are just perfect for bow-making, aren’t they? And, since I love making green and red food this time of year, I switched up the mango and used  roasted red bell strips with the green onion bow.

You could make these even easier by just making the spicy shrimp and then tying it with a softened green onion (skipping the bell pepper strip).

These are seriously the cutest little holiday bites I have seen -  they just scream out “Happy Holidays!” They look adorable on a party platter, and the flavors are perfect together – spicy shrimp, sweet bell pepper and the green onion tang.

A perfect holiday bite!

Holiday Shrimp Bites Appetizers

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Super Appetizers for Super Bowl Sunday – Our Highlights for a Fab Frugal Feast

No matter which team is your champion, we are ALL united in our support of GOOD FOOD! Here are some of our faves from appetizers of the Fab Frugal past!


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