Healthy Food Tips for Entertaining Guests

healthy recipes

Entertain the Healthy Way

We all enjoy getting together with friends and family for parties, tailgates, and potlucks! These gatherings sometimes offer few healthy choices and may tempt you to overeat. Set yourself up to make healthy choices with these tips:

  • Plan for colorful plates. Create a sign-up sheet for your party with categories for dishes from each food group so you have a variety of healthy options. Think about the edible rainbow. Red might be strawberries, tomatoes, or watermelons. Yellow could be bananas or squash. Purple options include figs, eggplants, and grapes.
  • Sip up some flavor. Boost flavor in water or unsweetened ice tea with mint leaves, lemons, or frozen fruit. Skip sugary drinks like soda, punch, and lemonade.
  • Keep foods safe. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until serving time. Don’t leave food out at room temperature for longer than two hours. After two hours, illness-causing bacteria may start growing.
  • Prioritize your plate. Take a quick lap around the food table to see what foods are available before filling your plate. Save calories with smaller helpings.
  • Include fruits and veggies. Fill half your plate with vegetables such as beans, broccoli, or mixed greens and fruits like berries or grapes.

Looking for healthy recipe ideas? Check out this yummy Tailgate Caviar recipe from Kentucky Cooperative Extension:

Tailgate Caviar Recipe

Original material sourced from Choose MyPlate. Adapted to print in the October/November 2018 of Healthy Choices for Healthy Families. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

KY Proud Spaghetti Squash Casserole

The following Family & Consumer Sciences article originally printed in the 2018 Fall edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.

Home Cooking Corner

Spaghetti squash is a member of the winter squash family. Summer squash is eaten before the seeds mature, whereas winter squash is consumed after the seeds have matured and outer skin has hardened. Get your sharp knife out, and make this delicious recipe that is calorie and carb friendly.

spaghetti squash recipe

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 small (about 2 pounds) spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 (4 to 5 ounce) can chopped mild green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the squash by carefully cutting it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scooping out the seeds. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cut-side down and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be easily inserted into the rind.
  2. Remove the squash from the oven and cool. Use a fork to scrape out the stringy flesh from the shell and place in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible. Place squash in a medium bowl and keep warm.
  3. In a skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned. Add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Drain well and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine the chopped tomatoes and green chilies.
  5. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick coating. Layer half of the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the pan. Spread half the meat mixture on top of the squash. Layer half of the tomatoes and chilies on top of the meat and top with half of the cheese. Repeat the layers.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F until the casserole is hot all the way through and the cheese is bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Nutritional Analysis: 140 calories, 4 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 17 g protein

Yield: 9 servings

Introduction written by Chris Duncan, Oldham County FCS Agent, and Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Recipe from Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud.

Enjoy Juicy Peaches for Breakfast

Did you know that August is National Peach Month? The following Peachy Breakfast Bake recipe uses half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose. Start living a healthier life by making half your grains whole!

healthy breakfast peach recipe

Peachy Breakfast Bake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle position. Place butter in an 8-by-8 inch baking dish and place in oven on the center rack to melt. Add peaches and brown sugar to melted butter in baking dish, stir to coat. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake 15 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with a whisk, add almond milk and vanilla. Whisk together. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until blended. Remove peaches from oven, pour batter slowly and evenly over baked peaches. Return to oven and bake 20 minutes, until the center of the batter is firm, puffed up, and browned. Serve warm with whipped cream.

healthy peach breakfast recipe

Nutritional Analysis: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g sugars, 3 g protein

Yield: 9, 1/2 cup servings

Source: Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud, University of Kentucky Extension

Summer Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe

The following recipe printed in the 2018 Summer edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.

healthy zucchini lasagna

Summer Garden Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium zucchini
  • 2 yellow summer squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggplants, sliced 1/2
  • 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Thinly slice zucchini and summer squash 1/4 inch thick and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast in oven at 400 °F for 20 minutes, turn slices after 10 minutes. Slice eggplants, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; place on baking sheet. Roast in oven at 400 °F for 20 minutes, turn slices after 10 minutes. If needed, place under broiler for 5 minutes to reduce excess moisture. Mix together yogurt, cottage cheese, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, diced onion, and chives.

Sauté garlic in remaining olive oil until golden. Add spinach to pan and cook until wilted. Spoon half of roasted zucchini, squash, and sauteed garlic into a greased 9 by 11 inch baking dish. Coat evenly with half of the cottage cheese and yogurt mixture. Place an even layer of eggplants on cottage cheese mixture. Spread a layer of spaghetti sauce on eggplants and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Repeat process for one more layer. Bake at 425 °F for 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped basil and cheese for garnish.

healthy lasagna recipe

Nutritional Analysis: 240 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 840 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 17 g protein

Yield: 10, 1 cup servings

Source: Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud, University of Kentucky Extension

Healthy Summer Squash Pizza Recipe

Summer Squash Pizza

Yield: 4 servings

Crust Ingredients: 1/2 tablespoon rapid rise yeast • 1 tablespoon sugar • 1/2 cup warm water • 1/2-1 cup whole wheat flour • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping Ingredients: 2 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced • 1 cup thinly sliced onion • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary • Salt and pepper to taste • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sliced squash, onion and pepper in roasting pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until onions are lightly brown and squash and peppers are tender. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let yeast proof, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, salt and oil. Mix until smooth then rest for 5 minutes. Add additional flour as needed to be able turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into flat 1/4 inch thick crust. Place crust onto a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes to set crust. Remove from oven and distribute vegetable mixture on crust. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until crust is firm, being careful not to burn. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cut into quarters and serve.

Nutritional Analysis: 310 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 9 g protein

Recipe from Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud. The Kentucky Proud Project is a cooperation between County Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences and Dietetics and Human Nutrition Students at the University of Kentucky.

Asian Asparagus Salad Recipe

The following Family & Consumer Sciences article originally printed in the 2018 Spring edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.

Asian Asparagus Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1½ tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or artificial sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

healthy asparagus recipe

Yield: 4, ½ cup servings

Directions:

  1. Snap off and discard the root ends of the asparagus.
  2. Wash remaining stalks thoroughly.
  3. Slice stalks into 1½ inch lengths on the diagonal.
  4. Blanch asparagus for 1-3 minutes in boiling water, until bright green in color.
  5. Cool immediately under cold water and drain.
  6. Combine soy sauce, sugar, olive oil, and sesame seeds in a small glass bowl. Mix dressing until sugar is dissolved.
  7. In a gallon zip-seal bag, add asparagus and dressing. Turn bag to coat asparagus with dressing and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Turn bag again and chill for an additional 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Analysis: 70 calories, 4.5 g fat, .5 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

This Kentucky Proud recipe is a favorite of Chris Duncan, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent in Oldham County.

10-Minute Bean Soup Recipe

healthy fast bean soup recipe

Soup Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 teaspoon minced garlic • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped • 2 (15.8 ounce) cans of great northern beans, rinsed and drained • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano • 1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth • 4 cups kale, torn into small pieces • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes or until onion is tender.
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, and broth to saucepan. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add kale and cook until tender, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese just before serving. Optional, garnish with finely chopped fresh basil or dried basil.

Recipe Variations:

  • Cooked dried beans may be substituted for canned beans. Using prepared dry beans in place of canned will reduce sodium in this dish.
  • If you can’t find diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, use regular diced tomatoes and add dried versions of these seasonings.
  • Opt for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make a vegetarian 10-minute bean soup. Make the soup vegan by leaving out the Parmesan cheese.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings.
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
Cost per recipe: $6.52
Cost per serving: $1.63

Nutrition facts per serving: 400 calories, 8 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrate, 15 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 24 g protein, 140% Daily Value of vitamin A, 160% Daily Value of vitamin C, 40% Daily Value of calcium, 30% Daily Value of iron

Source: Caroline Durr, Area Nutrition Agent for Kentucky Nutrition Education Program, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service