Many carbohydrate foods can be empty calories, full of processed wheat and sugar. If carbohydrates have fallen out of favor with you, look for protein substitutes when serving meals or entertaining. High-protein appetizers are more satisfying and heartier than carb-based foods; a little protein before a meal can help curb the appetite so you don't overindulge. The next time you're preparing a meal - be it for yourself, your family or guests - start the evening off right with a few protein-rich appetizers.
Deviled eggs are no strangers to the appetizer tray, and they are packed with protein. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, all found in the white part of the egg. After your eggs are boiled, peeled and sliced length-wise, make a creamy filling with the rich yolks. Put them in a food processor to whip them up to a fluffy, light consistency, or mash them and use a hand-held food mixer. For more flavor, nix the mayonnaise and opt for a creamy salad dressing with a distinctive tang, such as bleu cheese. Fill the egg whites using a pastry bag for a pretty presentation. Top your eggs with half an olive, a pimento, a mint leaf or a light sprinkling of paprika.
Chicken wings are flavorful and easy to make. Toss raw wings with a little bit of oil and your favorite spices, such as garlic, onion salt, paprika, chili powder and pepper, or just use a dry spice blend. Put them in the deep fryer, or spread them on a tray and put them under the broiler. They only take a few minutes per batch, and when they come out you can further flavor them by tossing them with a sauce, like barbecue sauce, hot sauce or honey-mustard. Serve your wings with a creamy ranch dressing, as it helps take the edge off the spice.
Meat and Cheese Tray
Making an appetizer can be as fuss-free as stopping at your local deli. Purchase ½-inch thick slices of turkey, ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, cheddar and American cheese. Cut them into ½ inch strips, then cut the strips into ½ inch squares, so you have perfect bite-size pieces. Pile them onto an appetizer tray and serve with cocktail toothpicks. Fill a small bowl in the center of the tray with a dipping sauce, such as creamy Parmesan.
Not all protein appetizers need to be meat products. Tofu is an incredibly rich source of protein, yet low in fat. Tofu on its own has a very mild taste, but it absorbs flavors very well. Put paper towels on a plate and put a slab of firm tofu on top of it. Add more paper towels, another plate and a weight on top of the tofu. This will press the moisture out of the tofu, and 20 minutes later it will be ready for a marinade. Try an Asian-flavored marinade of soy sauce, orange juice and Chinese 5-spice, or a lemon-pepper marinade with garlic and salt. Slice the tofu into thin slices, and cut those into bite-sized squares. Roll the edges in sesame or poppy seeds. Grill or pan-fry them a couple of minutes on each side just to brown them and serve on crackers.
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- "Healthy Life Kitchen"; Marilu Henner; 2000
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