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Simple & Elegant Entertaining Solutions with Chef Andre

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By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson
Photos: Allen Carrasco, kathy ireland Worldwide

When Kathy Ireland saw the need for simple and nutritious food and entertaining solutions for today’s busy family, she did not have to go very far for inspiration enlisting the help of longtime friend and colleague Chef Andre Carthen.

Having worked together on Kathy’s platinum-selling workout videos, the collaboration was a natural fit. Now, as Design Ambassador for Kathy Ireland Living, Chef Andre has contributed recipes to books such as Kathy Ireland’s Real Solutions for Busy Moms and Janet Jackson’s New York Times best-seller True You. Chef Andre also worked closely with Kathy Ireland to develop the ACafé Society – a place where everyone can learn and communicate about cooking and entertaining.

The Health Beauty Life crew was lucky enough to spend some time with the chef and cookbook author to learn a thing or two about finger foods that are fun, entertaining and most importantly, nutritious. So, whether you are looking to entertain a crowd or seeking out new ideas for kid-friendly snacks, Chef Andre has some quick tips and healthy recipes to have everyone coming back for seconds and thirds!

Veggie Baskets

veggie baskets

These are a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. The bright colors of the vegetables attract interest and the versatility allows you to put together any combination of vegetables you like!

• 6oz cocktail cups (plastic or glass)
• Assorted veggies such as: snow peas, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, bell pepper strips, carrot, zucchini spears, celery sticks
• Favorite creamy dressing such as ranch, bleu cheese, Caesar, creamy balsamic, green goddess

Place a few tablespoons of dressing at the bottom of the cocktail glasses. Arrange a variety of veggies in the cups and set out on a serving tray.

Guacamole Bites

guacamole bites

These bite-sized appetizers are cool, creamy and delicious. Follow our simple, no-fuss guacamole recipe below or save time by purchasing your favorite pre-made variety.

INGREDIENTS
• 8oz sour cream
• 8oz guacamole (see recipe below)
• 1 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
• Phyllo cups (found in your grocer’s freezer)

 

PREPARATION
Prepare phyllo cups as directed on packaging and allow to cool completely. Place a dollop of guacamole in the bottom of the cup and top with an equal serving of sour cream. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, place on a serving platter and serve immediately. ENJOY!

Quick and Easy Guacamole

INGREDIENTS
• 2 ripe avocados
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (for extra heat keep
the seeds)
• 1 tbs. cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 lime, juiced
• ½ tsp. kosher salt
• 1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

PREPARATION
Cut avocados in half, remove the seeds and scoop out flesh. Mash avocado with a fork, keeping it a bit chunkier than desired consistency. Add shallot, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt and mash again until combined. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap on top of the guacamole to prevent browning and refrigerate until ready to use. Right before serving, add tomatoes and mix
gently until combined.

Bite-Size Caprese Skewers

bite size caprese skewers

These fun skewers are a great way to serve veggies. They are small enough for kids but pack a sophisticated flavor, making them appealing to adults as well.

INGREDIENTS
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes
• 1 8oz container of Ciliegini mozzarella balls (small
buffalo mozzarella balls)
• 15-20 large whole basil leaves, stemmed
• 15-20 toothpicks
• Balsamic Vinaigrette

PREPARATION
Soak toothpicks in water for 30 minutes. When ready, insert a toothpick through the narrow end of the basil leaf. Continue by threading one cherry tomato and one mozzarella ball onto the toothpick. Finish the skewer by bringing the basil leaf up and pushing the top of the leaf onto the top of the toothpick. Place on a platter drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Smoked Salmon and Caviar on Rye

smoked salmon

This appetizer is a great way to serve elegant salmon and caviar to your guests without breaking the bank.

INGREDIENTS
• 1 loaf rye cocktail bread
• 2oz cream cheese
• 2oz sour cream
• 4oz smoked salmon
• 2oz caviar

PREPARATION
Combine sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl using a hand mixer. Place rye bread slices on a serving platter and top each slice with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. Next, place a piece of smoke salmon over the sour cream mixture and finish by topping the salmon with a ¼ tsp. of caviar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Beet and Sweet Potato Chips

beet and sweet potato bites

This bright, fun (and healthy) play on chips and dip will have everyone coming back for more! The oven baked chips are easy to make and worth the effort.

INGREDIENTS
• 1 medium beet
• 1 sweet potato
• 2 tsp. canola oil
• 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tsp. fresh chives, chopped

PREPARATION

FOR THE CHIPS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice beet and sweet potato to 1/16 inches thick. Place slices in a large bowl and toss with vegetable oil. Arrange root vegetables in a single layer on two baking sheets. Place another baking sheet directly on top of the slices and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until light in color. Transfer slices to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. The chips will firm
up and become crunchy as they cool.

FOR THE TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY: Place chips in a single layer in a serving tray. Place a dollop of the cheese mixture on each chip and top it off with a sprinkle of fresh chives. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

 

Photos: Allen Carrasco, kathy ireland Worldwide

Posted in: December 2012FeaturedFood
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