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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Time to gather for fun food

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

It finally feels like fall to me, what do you all think? Maybe it is the cooler weather? Or maybe there are more fall products available at the stores? No matter what the reason is, I love the fact that we are finally in the Fall season. I feel like most of us start partying in October, and it is mostly because there are several special events that occur starting in this month, such as football games and Halloween. When there is a party, there is always food involved. Don’t you agree? Party foods usually are finger foods and packed with empty calories. Are all the party foods always unhealthy all the time? NOT NECESSARY! Party foods can be healthy, delicious, and easy to make at the same time. What we need is to spend a little more time exploring some healthy but delicious party food recipes. No worries guys, I’ve got your back on this! Now, you might think a delicious healthy snack food recipe is too complicated. I'd like you to hold that thought over there because it is NOT TRUE. I always believe simplicity is the key to a successful healthy eating lifestyle. There is no requirement for fancy tools or skills in preparing healthy, gourmet-like food at home.

There are several party/gathering food ideas I am sharing in the month. I really hope you are able to try some of them during this party season. I promised them that they were very easy to make and way too delicious for the party.

Baked Chicken Wings with Cilantro Dipping Sauce: First off, it is a baked version of chicken wings recipe, that is way healthier than store-bought chicken wings. Also, these wings are packed with smoky flavor. I hope you enjoy these baked chicken wings. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Vegan Lemon Pepper Glazed Cauliflower Bites: This recipe is inspired by the lemon chicken recipe. These crispy oven-baked cauliflower bites are coated with sweet, tangy, and peppery flavor glaze. It is perfect as a finger food or served on a bowl of warm rice. The recipe is adapted from the Foodie Take Flight.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels: This is an extremely easy, healthy, but flavorful smoked salmon pinwheels rolled up with chives and dill spread (the recipe called for cream cheese, I used garlic & herbs boursin cheese instead) and handfuls of baby spinach. Do not get fooled by these pinwheels. Although they are simple to make, they taste way better than it looks. The recipe is adapted from the ambitious kitchen.

Vegan Jalapeno Butternut Squash Queso: I have to admit to you that this recipe ain’t my first choice when I was browsing for party food ideas. But sure enough, I was wrong with my first impression of this recipe. This vegan queso is a flavor-bomb dip recipe. My friend, Jeffrey, can’t stop eating it, and he was super impressed that this queso is actually a vegan-friendly recipe. The recipe is adapted from the ambitious kitchen.

Lower-calorie Guacamole (with frozen peas): If you are craving for guac to go with your tortilla chips and/or raw veggies, but still on a calorie-budget diet, this recipe is yours! The recipe is adapted from Eating Bird Food

Nachos with Walnut Chorizo: This is a vegetarian-friendly nacho supreme recipe. The traditional nacho supreme made with greasy chorizo makes your stomach feel very uncomfortable having eating them, but not for this recipe. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Vegan BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders with Pickled Onions: Need some appetizers for your game night parties? I highly recommend this mouthwatering vegan-friendly slider recipe! If you are to make this recipe, I definitely recommend you to pick a better quality BBQ sauce or make yourself some homemade BBQ sauce. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Instant Pot Red Braised Pork Buns with Steamed Lotus Leaf Buns: This is a quick and easy version of red braised pork recipe! The super flavorful and tender pork shoulder stuffs in the fluffy steamed buns and topped with shredded cucumbers. My family loves this dish a lot more than I anticipated. If you like to challenge yourself with something different for your gathering this year, I highly recommend this recipe to you. The recipe is adapted from the Woks of Life.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing: It is a healthier delicious “chicken-version” meatballs recipe that you have a full control on the level of spiciness. We served these buffalo chicken meatballs with some homemade greek yogurt ranch dressing. The recipe is adapted from the ambitious kitchen.

Vegetable egg rolls (baked version) with homemade Yum Yum sauce: Why spend so much money on egg rolls when you can easily make them at home with whatever ingredients you like (meat or vegetarian version). I heard many of my friends mentioned about getting egg rolls to-go from restaurants over the last few years, parts of me wanting to ask my friends, “why can’t we make those egg rolls at home, cook however many you need at that time, and freeze the extra uncooked egg rolls for later use”. It is hassle-free to prepare egg rolls, and they taste way better than store-bought. If you are interested in making some homemade vegetable egg rolls, please refer to the Wok of Life. I also made some homemade Yum Yum sauce to go with the egg rolls, which is adapted from the Daring Gourmet.

*Most of the ingredients used for the cooking are contributed by the DRH food and nutrition department. And, thank you chef (Colby) for testing out the vegetable egg rolls recipe.

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