Easy Brie Appetizer & Strawberry Swap

Topped with a healthy mixture of fresh California Strawberries, this easy brie appetizer recipe will wow your holiday guests.


~by Regan Jones, RD of HealthyAperture.com

One of the best things about the holidays is all the fabulous food.

One of the worst things about the holidays is all the fabulous food.

Surely you know what I mean? That first time you bite into something amazing you haven’t tasted since last November, you stop to savor every bite. But by the time New Year’s rolls around you’re wondering if someone will have to roll you out the door!

The holidays can be especially stressful for people watching what they eat to manage diabetes. So many cakes, cookies and appetizers that don’t seem to fit for a healthy diet. That’s one of the reasons I’ve teamed up with my friends here at California Strawberries in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month to provide simple #strawberryswaps for an easy brie appetizer recipe that would normally be a no-no during holiday celebrations.

Today’s swap is a fun, less frivolous twist on a classic baked brie recipe. You know the one, right? Brie is coated in a thick, sugary fruit preserve mixture and then wrapped in puff pastry. It’s a deliciously easy brie appetizer, yes, but not exactly on the lighter side for healthy entertaining. A fruit and cheese tray would certainly be a simple, healthy swap to replace classic baked brie, but I’ve got something a bit more special — Strawberry Topped Brie.

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Easy Brie Appetizer Topped with California Strawberries

By eliminating the puff pastry, I’ve trimmed both calories and fat. Yes, brie is still a rich cheese, but a little goes a long way and does provide a nice mix of protein and fat to help you feel full longer during all the holiday noshing. And by using the simple #strawberryswap of making the topping mixture a combo of fresh California Strawberries (which are naturally low in sugar) and only a couple of tablespoons of preserves, I’ve cut down on the overall sugar as well.

The cool thing about this idea (aside from how insanely beautiful it is and so simple to make) is that it’s a great way to wow friends with the health benefits of California Strawberries. November is not only Diabetes Awareness month, but it’s also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. So be sure to let guests know you’re serving up a dish with healthy strawberries — that the American Diabetes Association considers a top 10 superfood, and clinical research shows may benefit your mind!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful start to the holiday season.

~Regan

easy-brie-appetizer

Easy Brie Appetizer Topped with California Strawberries

Strawberry Topped Brie

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup chopped onion

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Pinch of salt

1 cup California Strawberries, sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon strawberry preserves

1 round of brie, at room temperature or warmed slightly

Crackers and crostini

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with rosemary and salt; cook an additional 2 minutes. Add strawberries and saute 2 more minutes. Add in vinegar, orange juice and preserves, stirring well and cooking until thickened (about 10 minutes).
  2. Place brie on a small plate; remove strawberry mixture from stove and pour over brie. Serve with crackers or crostini.

 

 


Start New Again for Nutrition Month

If your new year’s resolutions are but a distant memory, I’ve got some good news. March kicks off National Nutrition Month making it the perfect time to pick up those missing healthy habits you wanted for a healthier 2016.
I totally “get” why our January intentions leave us behind about as quickly as the holiday decor is packed away. It’s easy during holiday vacations to find the time for healthier meals or to head to the gym. But time gets tough when work is calling, schedules are tight and life is simply too busy to make a health a priority.

This whole reality is exactly why I love quick and hearty salads and wraps like the ones I’m sharing today. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, lunch is the glue that binds a healthy day together. Skip it and you’re sure to be reaching for a less than healthy pick me up in the afternoon or worse, find yourself so hungry at dinner that you can’t seem to find the bottom of your bowl.

But let’s be honest. Salads for lunch sounds skimpy and seem a bit boring. That’s why I focus on these three key strategies to make the most of a lighter, but filling lunch:

  • Fill up with fiber — Whether your salad is grain, greens or even meat based, fiber is the key to filling you up, not out. Be sure to include whole grains, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits, like the California Strawberries I’ve added to today’s recipe. They’re the perfect salad choice because they’re easy to prepare, available year-round and deliver exceptional nutrition and health benefits. I’ve also added pumpkin seeds to today’s recipe to boost fiber and add crunch.
  • Make it sweet and savory — By far one of the most important keys to keeping salads out of the “boring” category is to pair up sweet foods with savory, like I’ve done in today’s wraps. Combining the savory flavor of feta cheese with the natural sweetness of California strawberries takes chicken salad to a whole new level. The good news is that by the choosing natural sweetness of California strawberries, you can keep the calories low. In fact, one serving of eight medium strawberries is only 45 calories.
  • Add herbs and spices for interest — The most memorable salads (you know, the ones you think “I want to eat that again tomorrow for lunch!”) are the ones that have multiple layers of flavor and texture. One of the simplest ways to add more taste is by using fresh or dried herbs and spices. I recommend fresh herbs for green salads and dried herbs or spices for grain or meat based salads. Think beyond your basic basil and grab flavors like dill, cumin, thyme and rosemary.

You may not be able to revive every healthy resolution you made just a few months ago. But with tasty recipes like these, eating healthy in 2016 is back on the plate!

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

2 cups of diced, cooled, cooked chicken breast

1 cup quartered California Strawberries

1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon salt

Large leaf lettuce or kale

Additional toppings: pumpkin seeds and feta cheese

  1. In a medium-size bowl; combine all ingredients (except lettuce leaves); toss well to combine. 
  2. Scoop onto leaf lettuce, add additional toppings as desired and serve.

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (horizontal)