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Posted on Tue. Dec. 24, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

Try appetizers as the food menu for New Year’s Eve

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Not up to putting on a formal dinner party for New Year's Eve? Can't blame you.

And who cares? Most people would prefer the more casual atmosphere of lots of appetizer-sized nibbles, anyway.

To help you pull it all together, we assembled an easy menu that recasts some classic appetizers in fresh ways. Start off with a roasted take on the traditional shrimp cocktail. Make it funky by serving the shrimp and roasted grape tomatoes in individual spoons. We also have a quick and easy pineapple chicken salad that's served in lettuce wraps.

And for fun, we offer up “Elvis cups” — mini phyllo pastry cups filled with bacon, peanut butter and banana slices.

Roasted shrimp cocktail

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 8

1 quart grape tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Set halved grape tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss together and let sit over a bowl or in sink to drain for 20 minutes.

After tomatoes have drained, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir horseradish and shrimp into tomatoes on baking sheet, then return to oven and roast for another 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be served on individual spoons or in a wide, shallow bowl with toothpicks.

Per serving: 70 calories; 10 calories from fat (14 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 85 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 12 g protein; and 210 mg sodium.

Pineapple chicken lettuce wraps

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 8

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

2/3 cup pineapple salsa, strained

2 tablespoons chopped cherry peppers

Soft lettuce leaves, such as Boston or bibb

In a medium bowl, gently mix together chicken, salsa and cherry peppers.

Arrange lettuce leaves in a single layer on a serving platter.

Spoon 1/3 cup of chicken mixture into center of each lettuce leaf, leaving enough room on each leaf for guests to grab leaves and wrap around filling.

Per serving: 60 calories; 10 calories from fat (17 percent of total calories); 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 11 g protein; and 30 mg sodium.

Elvis phyllo cups

The mini phyllo cups can be found in the grocer's freezer case near the other pastry and dessert items.

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Makes 15 cups

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large banana, cut into 15 slices

1.9-ounce package phyllo cups (each package contains 15 cups)

3 slices crisp-cooked bacon, each cut into 5 chunks

In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Place 1 slice of banana in bottom of each phyllo cup.

Top banana slices with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter mixture, then garnish each cup with a chunk of bacon.

Per serving: 70 calories; 40 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 4 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 2 g protein; and 80 mg sodium.


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