Healthier Summer Entertaining

Summer is the perfect time to lighten up our dishes, but that can be a challenge when we’re grilling juicy burgers, munching on decadent french fries and gobbling up sweet pies and cobblers.  I’ve lightened up some of my favorite dishes and featured them on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas. Here is what I made, from appetizers to dessert!

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 cup Miracle Whip Dressing, Fat Free

1 8oz container softened low fat cream cheese

10oz frozen chopped spinach

1 14oz jar artichoke hearts in water (drained and chopped)

3 roasted bell peppers, chopped

3 green onions, finely sliced

1 tbsp powdered Ranch dressing mix (optional)

Parmesan for baking


Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  If serving cold, place in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.  If you’re baking it, heat oven to 350 degrees. Place in an oven proof container and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with pita chips or carrot sticks

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BLTs and Low Fat French Fries

4 slices Thick Cut Bacon

Skinny Buns (Oro Wheat 100 calorie buns or similar)

Sliced tomato and lettuce (I love butter lettuce for their crunch)

Mayonaise and mustard

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


For the French Fries, the T Fal Actifry makes crispy, crunchy fries without the grease or splatter.  Simply rinse the potatoes and pat dry.  Place in the Actifry, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper evenly on the potato slices. Turn on the Actifry and cook for 30 minutes or until the fries are crispy and golden.  Meanwhile, fry the bacon on the grill.  Place thick cut bacon on the grill and cook at the lowest heat. Cooking it low and slow means the fat will drip down the grill, but the thick meat will remain, creating flavorful and delicious bacon.  Place a couple slices on the bun, along with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.

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Roni’s Summer Coleslaw

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 cups shredded red cabbage

3 cups shredded green cabbage

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup sliced red bell pepper


Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Add the crushed whole garlic cloves (it tastes best when you can refrigerate and let the garlic marinate overnight). This will make quite a bit of vinaigrette so store leftovers for future salads. Meanwhile, mix together the vegetables. Whisk the vinaigrette to combine the olive oil and vinegar, then pour over the slaw to desired taste.

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Blueberry Pavlova

For the pavlova crust:

6 egg whites

1 2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vinegar

For the blueberry filling:

16 oz frozen blueberries

1 cup sugar

Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Slowly add the sugar and vinegar and whisk until stiff peaks form.  Place in a greased springform pan and bake at 300 for about 45 minutes or until merengue is browned.  Meanwhile, heat blueberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes, until they become thick and syrup like, yet blueberries remain whole.  The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool, then pour over the pavlova merengue crust. A dollop of whipped cream would be a lovely addition!



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