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New Year’s Entertaining

Let the countdown begin! It’s time to wrap up the year 2011 and I can’t wait to have one last holiday hurrah with family and friends. What do I plan to do? I’ll start by trading in my bulky Christmas sweater, super sweet eggnog and pine-laden wreaths for shimmering sequins, bubbling champagne and confetti!

This year, I want to keep my New Year’s props and décor simple with added touches of flair. Bright centerpieces like glitter candles or shiny beads hanging from lamps and chandeliers add the perfect touch. If I am feeling crafty, I might use leftover holiday wrapping paper to make streamers.

When entertaining guests, I make sure that they are occupied with fun-filled activities. Playing cards is traditional; instead, I suggest creating more personalized games. Try this one: place written memories from this year in a jar. Have each guest pull one and read aloud!

I plan to serve lots of light bites at my New Year’s fete. Hors d’oeuvres actually provoke guests to mingle at a party and promote a more sociable atmosphere! Let’s be honest; after gorging at last week’s holiday dinner, a formal meal might not even be necessary. Making fiber-rich snacks is a great way to start the post-holiday diet.

Kale & Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms



Makes: 25 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 25 cremini mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1½ cups artichoke hearts, canned or frozen
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pecorino romano, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil, thyme and a small amount of salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook garlic in a ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir.
  3. As onions begin to soften, add kale and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add red pepper and artichoke. Cook until kale is wilted.
  5. Remove mixture from pan and allow time to cool.
  6. Once cooled, stir in chopped walnuts and cheese.  Fill each mushroom cap with the kale and artichoke mixture.
  7. Top each mushroom with a bit more cheese and walnut. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Serve!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 38 Calories, 1.8 grams Protein, 2.5 grams Fat (<0.5 grams Saturated), 2.8 grams Carbohydrate, 1.5 grams Fiber, 113 mg Potassium, 82 mg Sodium

Recipe photo: Tasteofhome.com

Featured Article on A&P Nutrition Tip Blog



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