GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We can enjoy the holidays and still eat healthy! Registered dietician and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Grace Derocha shares a couple of incredibly simple ideas for outstanding holiday additions to the appetizer table or charcuterie board.
She encourages everyone to use their imagination and take the stress out of the day by buying some things already prepared – like pre-sliced mozzarella for the fabulous caprese candy cane. Just add some fresh basil, tomatoes and seasonings, and this is good to go!
If goat cheese is more your thing, whip up some simple “ornaments” for your Christmas tree tray. Mix the simple base and roll in different flavors, from cranberries, to pistachios, to dill. Easy enough to get the kids involved and quick enough to get out the door to your next holiday gathering.
Candy Cane Caprese Board (or Caprese Wreath)
- Fresh tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch slices
- Fresh buffalo mozzarella, pre-sliced or cut into ¼ inch slices
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Balsamic vinegar glaze for drizzling
- Basil leaves as a garnish
- Serve with crackers or toasted baguette
- Salt and pepper to taste (or may use Everything But the Bagel Seasoning)
- Start at the top end of the candy cane shape and alternate layering a slice of fresh mozzarella with a slice of tomato until you get a big candy cane shape or do the same on a round plate for wreathe.
- Place fresh basil leaves around the board to garnish and a small serving bowl with the balsamic glaze or drizzle balsamic glaze.
- Just before serving, drizzle the mozzarella and tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
- Serve with additional olive oil, seasonings and crackers or toasted baguettes.
Christmas Tree Goat Cheese Board
- 8 oz. goat cheese
- 8 oz. light cream cheese
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dry basil
- ½ cup crushed pistachios
- ½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh chives, chopped
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- In a food processor, add cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic powder and basil. Blend until combined.
- Place goat cheese mixture into refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes.
- Remove goat cheese mixture and roll into just less than 1” mini balls. You should get about 12 -15 balls. Place on parchment paper and put in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to harden.
- Prepare toppings while cheese balls are in the refrigerator.
- Remove goat cheese balls from the refrigerator and roll them in the toppings. Feel free to mix and match or just use a single topping. Get creative.
- You can arrange the goat cheese balls in a Christmas tree or wreathe or star shape. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve with your favorite crackers. Enjoy!