Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oscar Party Menu

I am not hugely into award shows, but it is so nice to just have an excuse to hang out. Don't get me wrong I love going to the movies and enjoy many of the movies that are Oscar buzz worthy. Unfortunately our friend P lives in Memphis and so this year we ended up hosting the Oscar Party. My husband took a leaf from her book and found the following Oscar Bingo and Ballot sheets from How About Orange. For the menu, I decided to go a healthy route, except for dessert.

Green Goddess Veggie Dip with Crudites
Taken from America's Test Kitchen

Ingredients: 1 C 1 percent low-fat small curd cottage cheese, 1/4 C boiling water (measure after boiling), 1 C low fat sour cream, 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 C fresh parsley (I used Italian), 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, 1 garlic clove minced, salt and pepper, 1/4 C minced fresh chives
Process the cottage cheese and boiling water together (I used my blender for this project, though they suggest a food processor) until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sour cream, oil, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and continue to process until combined 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chives. Cover and refrigerate until the flavors have blended, about 1 hour. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste before serving.
*This was so light, fresh and delicious! I served it with carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, blanched sugar snap peas, and blanched broccoli. It was amazing to me what a difference blanching the aforementioned veggies did for their improved texture, color, and taste. Who knew veggies could be so exciting!
Per 3 Tbsp Serving: Cal 50, Fat 3g, Sat Fat 0g, Chol 5 mg, Carb 1g, Protein 3g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 125 mg

Hummus and Homemade Pita Chips
Taken from America's Test Kitchen 

I bought premade hummus from the grocery store, but was trying to make my own chips to decrease the calories... not sure if I was really that successful, but the chips were good and very crunchy. You simply buy pita pockets/bread use kitchen scissors to cut in half all the way around the circumference so that you have two separate circles, then cut into 6 wedges. I covered my baking sheets with parchment paper to decrease mess. Place pita wedges smooth side down on baking surface, then spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt (I used sea salt). Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes on each side.
Per Serving (6 Chips): Cal 110, Fat 1g, Sat Fat 0g, Chol 0mg, Carb 22g, Protein 4g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 500mg

Popcorn with Olive Oil and Popcorn with Warm Spices
Taken from America's Test Kitchen 

Ingredients: 1 Tbsp water, 1/2 C popcorn kernels, 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp salt (I would suggest using table salt, on the batch where I used sea salt there was not enough oil/moisture for it to stick), 1/2 tsp pepper

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the water and popcorn, cover and cook, shaking frequently, until the first few kernels begin to pop. Continue to cook, shaking vigorously, until the popping has mostly stopped. Pour the popcorn immediately into a large bowl, toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
Same directions as above for Popcorn with Warm Spices, except warm oil, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, and 1/2 tsp cumin in a small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. When popcorn is done popping toss together in a large bowl.
Per 2 C Serving: Cal 90, Fat 4.5g, Sat Fat 0.5g, Chol 0 mg, Carb 10g, Protein 1g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 330mg

Nutella Sandwich Cookies
Taken from A Beautiful Mess

Nutella Sandwich Cookies, makes 10-12.
Ingredients: 1/2 C softened butter, 1 C granulated sugar, 1/4 C brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 C flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of Nutella.
Cream together the butter and sugars, stir in egg and vanilla. Now mix in flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. The batter should be crumbly and you will probably need to use your (clean) hands to combine it a bit more to form a dough ball. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. (I just refrigerated after making dough ahead of time that morning)
Now form into small round disks, about 2-3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick. You want your cookies to all sort of match each other in size because you will be placing one of top of another to form sandwich cookies. Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes, allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before adding filling. Once cool, spoon a couple of tablespoons of Nutella on one cookie and place another on top. Devour, and don't apologize.
*So I have to admit that while these cookies were good they would have been significantly better if I had remembered to set the timer... end result was way too crunchy. I was sorely disappointed since I am in complete love with Nutella and was really looking forward to a sinfully delicious treat. Oh well guess I will just have to make them again til I get it right ;)