Dana Carpender’s Low Carb Holiday Party Guide

The party season is upon us! From now until January 2nd, there will be caroling parties, open-house brunches, tree-trimming parties, gift-wrapping parties, and just plain all-out merriment.

Personally, I feel that half of us should be required to move our parties to February, a dreary month that could surely use more cheer. But it’s hard enough work trying to get everyone to eat right; I doubt I can influence everyone’s social lives as well. If you, too, are planning a party, make it low-carb-friendly. You’ll feel better the next day, and your friends will thank you for serving them wonderful food that doesn’t leave them with post-party regrets. Here are some ideas for your fabulous low-carb bash:

  • Raw veggies with a low carb dip – see the recipe below! You keep hearing about people who don’t like vegetables, but they never seem to come to the parties I’m at.
  • Stuffed mushrooms. One medium mushroom has about a half a gram of usable carbohydrate. So use your imagination! Stuff ’em with cheese, sausage, tuna, spinach, or anything you can think of that’s savory and low carb. Arrange in a baking dish, add just barely enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serve hot!
  • People love chicken wings! Most Buffalo sauces are very low carb – read the labels – and so is the blue cheese dressing that traditionally accompanies Buffalo wings. You could sprinkle them with chili powder, garlic, and lime juice, instead, or baste them with a combination of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and Splenda. Just don’t bread them!
  • Deviled eggs may seem old fashioned, but people love them! Spiff ’em up with low carb treats like mashed smoked salmon, curry powder, deviled ham, or mashed avocado, if you like.
  • A bowl of mixed nuts will vanish quickly, and couldn’t be easier. One ounce of deluxe mixed nuts has 6.3 grams of carb, with 1.6 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 4.7 grams.
  • Ever been to a party where there was cold shrimp left over? Neither have I. Carb-free! Serve with lemon-butter, mustard and mayo mixed half-and-half, or mix 1/2 cup low carb ketchup with 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco to make low carb cocktail sauce.
  • A platter of mixed cheeses is simplicity itself, and a gourmet’s dream. Serve “regular” crackers for the carb eaters, and fiber crackers for the low carbers. Fiber Rich are some of the lowest carb – 3 big crackers contain 12 grams of carbohydrate with 5 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 7 grams. Or try Finn Crisp – 3 crackers have 11 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 8 grams. Better yet, cut your cheese into cubes and impale on fancy toothpicks. Look, ma, no crackers!
  • Celery stuffed with peanut butter isn’t going to make it at a grown-up cocktail party. But if you mix equal parts crumbled blue cheese and cream cheese, with a touch of garlic and maybe a shot of hot sauce, you’ll have a filling that adults will appreciate. A large stalk of celery has less than 1 gram of carbohydrate, and both cream and blue cheeses have about 1 gram of carb per ounce.
  • An array of fabulous imported olives is a welcome touch, and goes especially well with dry red wine. Even really big olives have less than a half a gram of carbohydrate apiece, and I trust we’re all clear on olive oil being good for us!
  • Splenda-sweetened desserts are so tasty, few will think to ask if they’re “real.” Not sure about adapting dessert recipes? Here’s a hint: I’ve never made a bad Splenda-sweetened cheesecake. Apparently no one else has, either, because of all the recipes readers have contributed, I’ve had more cheesecake recipes than any other kind. The reason is simple – the texture of cheesecake comes from fat and protein, not sugar. So try adapting your favorite cheesecake recipe!
  • If you feel you must have something sugary for the non-low-carbers, serve something you don’t like!

Here’s a great dip that will stay hot in your slow cooker till the end of the party – or at least till it’s gone!

Hot Crab Dip

Hey, hot crab, hot cheese, garlic – what’s not to like?

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 6 ounces canned crab meat, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut in chunks

Combine everything in your slow cooker and stir together. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour. Remove lid, and stir to blend in the now-melted cream cheese. Re-cover, and cook for another hour before serving with celery, pepper, and cucumber dippers.

8 Servings, each with: 372 Calories; 37g Fat; 13g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1g Usable Carbs.

(Reprinted by permission from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes by Dana Carpender, 2005 Fair Winds Press)

© 2009 by Dana Carpender. Used by kind permission of the party-girl author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.

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