Party like a rock star (post WLS style)

It's the holiday season and just because we had weight loss surgery doesn't mean yummy party foods are off limits. Here's some weight loss surgery friendly party foods so good your guests will never know.

Part 1: In this post I'll include some of my favorite dips, antipasto ideas, hot appetizers, and crunchy snacks. In another post I'll cover some drink ideas, sweet treats, and other post weight loss surgery party tips.

As always check with your medical posse: what is OK on my plan may be off limits on yours.

The Dips:

Roasted Eggplant Spread

1 medium Eggplant, peeled
2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded
1 Red Onion, peeled
2 Garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
11/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

Dippers: sliced cucumbers, celery, carrots, jicama, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, soy crisps, flax chips, toasted pita triangles or crackers.

Shelly's Italian Cream Cheese

3-4 Basil Leaves, chopped
Contents of 1 roasted large head of Garlic
8 ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Good Sicilian Olive Oil
sometimes I add:
1/4 cup toasted Walnuts (optional) or
1/4 cup chopped Artichoke Hearts (optional)

Mix chopped basil leaves, the contents of the head of one roasted garlic, cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts (optional), artichoke hearts (optional). Blend thoroughly. Add olive oil a few drops at a time until creamy.

Hollow out cherry tomatoes. Fill a gallon size Ziploc bag with Italian Cream Cheese, cut off end of bag and pipe a little inside each tomato.

The Antipasto Platter:

Fresh Mozzarella drizzled with olive oil & cracked black pepper
Prosciutto, sliced very thin
Soprasata, cut thick
Salami, cut thin
Smoked Albacore or Smoked Salmon
Fontina cheese
Parmesano Reggiano
Ricotta Salata
Marinated Mushrooms
Marinated Artichokes
Roasted Red Peppers
Green Olives (I use Sicilian)
Black Olives (I use Kalamata)
Pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
Pickled Cherry Peppers
Sliced Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes
Deviled Eggs

Make some cold cut-roll ups:

* Roast Beef and Swiss, smeared with Wasabi Mayo or Prepared Horseradish, rolled around a pickle spear

* Turkey smeared with Cream Cheese that has been flavored with a spoon of Cranberry Sauce, rolled up

* Salami and Provolone Cheese rolled up and speared with a Garlic Stuffed Olive

Caprese Skewers

1 bunch Fresh Basil
1 lbs Bocconcini (those bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls)
2 pints Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Pesto Sauce (homemade or store bought)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bamboo Skewers (toothpick size or cut a full length in half)

Wrap the bocconcini with basil leaf and pierce with skewer. Add a tomato to skewer. Repeat until you’ve run out of skewers or ingredients. Drizzle skewers with pesto sauce that has been slightly thinned out with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Cambazola Apricots

32 Dried Apricots
32 Toasted Pecan Halves
1/2 cup Cambazola Cheese at room temperature
3 ounces Cream Cheese at room temperature

Mix the cheeses and spread the apricots halves. Top with a toasted pecan half.

Hot Appetizers:

Shelly's Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

12 fresh Mushrooms, large (I use Crimini)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped fine
2 Green Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 6 oz. can Crab Meat
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Italian Blend Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
Salt/Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Remove the mushroom stems and chop, set the mushroom caps aside. In a skillet, melt the butter and add the onions and cook till golden. Add the garlic and chopped mushroom stems. Saute' for a few minutes. Mix onion mixture with crab and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add mayonnaise, horseradish, cheeses, and bread crumbs. Mix well and season with salt and pepper as needed. Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and place them on a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

Shelly's Lemon Garlic Chicken Drummettes

1 tablespoon grated Lemon Zest
1/3 cup fresh Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil and/or oregano (I use thyme, parsley and Greek seasoning)
Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste
12 Chicken Drummettes
10 Garlic cloves
3/4 cup Chicken Broth

In a small bowl, stir to combine, the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the herbs, and salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the chicken pieces in a roasting pan, and pour the lemon-herb mixture over. Arrange the garlic cloves all around the chicken, stirring them to coat with the mixture. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the broth to the pan and place on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, while mashing the roasted garlic to thicken the sauce slightly. I like to transfer the chicken to a platter, pour the sauce over the chicken and then, garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons herbs and lemon wedges.

Shelly's Crockpot Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

1 bottle Chili Sauce
1 can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 bag frozen Turkey Meatballs (or Beef), about 5 to 6 dozen meatballs

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring chili sauce and jellied cranberry sauce to a boil. Continue cooking at a simmer, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Place frozen meatballs into crockpot and pour sauce over. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours or high 2 to 3 hours.

Shelly's Beef Fiesta Bites

1/2 yellow Onion, diced
2 clove Garlic, diced
1 teaspoon Butter
1 teaspoon Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix, dry powder
5 Eggs
1 can/4 oz. Chopped Green Chiles, drained
1 jar/4 oz. Red Pimentos, drained
1 1/2 cups Shredded cheese, Mexican Blend
1 cup Crumbled Browned Ground Beef

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown ground beef set aside. Saute onion in butter till golden. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients together. Be sure meat & onions have cooled slightly before adding eggs. Spoon into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes or until centers are firm. Makes 24.

Other Eggface "Bites" (think crustless quiches):

Shelly's Beef Fiesta Bites
Shelly's Italian Crab Bites
Shelly's Breakfast Bites
Shelly's Pizza Bites
Shelly's Bacon & Swiss Bites
Shelly's Stuffed Pizza Bites
Shelly's Spamtastic Bites with Tropical Dipping Sauce
Shelly's Foo Rangoon Bites
Shelly's Ham Fiesta Bites
Shelly's Philly Cheese Steak Bites
Shelly's Lovely Lox Bites

Shelly's Spinach & Feta Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Artichoke Florentine Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Zucchini Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Mushroom Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Bruschetta Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Southwest Bites (vegetarian)

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs

40 small fresh Mission Figs
4 ounces Manchego or Blue Cheese
20 Prosciutto slices, halved

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make a small slit in the side of each fig and stuff a raisin-size piece of cheese in the opening. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each fig to enclose it. Stand the figs on a baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto melts slightly and forms a skin around the figs, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

2 lbs Bacon (regular sliced, not thick)
2 lbs Sea Scallops (if very large, cut in half)

Wrap a piece of bacon around each scallop; secure with water soaked toothpick or skewer (or better yet invest in a metal set of skewers I love mine) Arrange the wrapped scallops on a baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side, or until bacon is crisp. I usually just throw these on the BBQ a few minutes per side. You can add shrimp in between if you like.

Crunchy Snacks:

Bowls of Trader Joe's Olive Oil, Garlic & Feta Soy Crisps and Marcona Almonds, Lime and Salt Peanuts and Crunchy Cheese are some of my favorites.