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Healthy Recipes For A Quick and Easy Dinner Party

Updated on August 22, 2012

Healthy Recipes - Quick and Easy Dinner Party

Quick and easy healthy recipes are a must-have in the realm of entertaining. Sometimes it is a spur-of-the-moment get-together that takes you unaware - but you don't have to panic!

Knowing that you can create wonderfully simple yet healthy dinner party menus is a gift that we can all give ourselves so that we have less stress and more time to enjoy what really matters - our friends and family.

Sometimes it is okay to experiment and go 'all out' with labor-intensive menus for dinner parties, but most often it is the quick and easy menus that we put together that are the most memorable - at least for our guests, but probably for us, too!


flickr motomo
flickr motomo
flickr wonderlane
flickr wonderlane

Quick and Easy Grilled Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Walnuts and Apples

Makes 12 servings - 1 bruschetta and 2 apple slices

Substitute blue cheese for this wonderful appetizer or even feta - several cheeses go splendidly in this recipe.

Prep time is 15 minutes max and cook time 4 minutes.


  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon brandy, cognac, or Grand Marnier
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • Dash of pepper
  • 12 1-ounce slices of French bread or other crusty bread - cut diagonally - cut slices about 1 inch thick
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 garlic cloves, halved (or roast a head of garlic until soft in the grill or in the oven and squeeze garlic out of 6 cloves)
  • 3 Granny Smith or other tart apple - each one cut into 8 pieces


  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine cheese, butter, liqueur, pepper and walnuts in small bowl and stir until blended together.
  3. Spray the grill rack with cooking spray - place bread slices on rack and cook about 2 minutes per side until lightly browned.
  4. Remove from grill and rub with garlic - either roasted or cut edges of garlic on 1 side of each slice of bread.
  5. Place about 2 teaspoons of cheese mixture on bread slice and serve with apple wedges (2 slices of apple per toast).

This is a great appetizer because of the combination of cheese and apple with walnuts but it also gets the grill fired up for the main entree!

flickr jasmine&roses
flickr jasmine&roses

Quick and Easy Basic Green Salad and Champagne Vinegar Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings

Prep time is about 8 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion (or shallots)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt if desired
  • Pepper if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 cups torn lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, romaine or combo of all)
  • 1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if on the larger side


  1. Mix together minced onion and vinegar in small bowl - let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add olive oil, salt, peper, Dijon mustard or any other seasonings - mix well with a whisk.
  3. Place lettuce, sliced onion and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.  Toss gently to combine ingredients.
  4. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad - toss again.
  5. Serve immediately.

flickr thebittenword
flickr thebittenword

Quick and Easy Flank Steak with Pine Nuts and Cilantro

Makes 4 servings - 3 ounces of beef and 1 tablespoon of pesto

This is a delicious pesto type flank steak done with a pesto of pine nuts and cilantro.

Prep time is about 13 minutes and cook time the same.


  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted *
  • 1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 3 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1-pound flank steak, trimmed
  • Cooking spray


  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Place cilantro, pine nuts, jalapeno, salt, pepper and garlic to blender or food processor.  Process until finely chopped (15 seconds or so).  Add yogurt and juice and process again until smooth.
  3. Spray rack on grill with cooking spray.  Place flank steak on grill and grill for 6 minutes on each side - or until desired degree of doneness.  (About 130-135 degrees internal temperature on meat thermometer)
  4. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.  Serve with pesto sauce.

Substitute basil for cilantro.  

Substitute almonds for pine nuts.

Dry Toasting Pine Nuts or Almonds

Place nuts in a small nonstick pain over medium heat and stirring frequently, brown in dry pan.  Take off when lightly toasted - after about 2-4 minutes max.

flickr ccharmon
flickr ccharmon

Quick and Easy Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Makes 4 servings

Prep time is about 14 minutes and cook time 8 minutes.


  • 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted (see above on toasting)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove minced, if desired


  1. Steam green beans for 7 minutes covered or until crisp-tender.
  2. Drain and return to pan.  Add parsley and remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss to combine.

flickr footosvanrobin
flickr footosvanrobin

Quick and Easy Roasted Potatoes

Makes 8 servings

Prep time is 20 minutes if making Watercress Sauce, cook time 35 minutes.

Potatoes should be started after bruschetta is made, while other foods are cooking or being put together.


  • 3 pounds small red potatoes skin on, washed and quartered
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. If making watercress sauce, make that while oven is heating and put in fridge to chill.
  3. Combine potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl or in a zip-lock bag, turning to coat potatoes.
  4. Turn out onto a pan coated with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.

Watercress Sauce


  • 1-1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup trimmed watercress
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic or other vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Cover and chill.


flick paullomax
flick paullomax

Quick and Easy Tapioca with Toasted Coconut

Makes 4 servings

This is a marvelous end to a great meal.

Prep time on this recipe is about 7 minutes, cook time 3 minutes.


  • 1-1/2 cup light coconut milk* (see below)
  • 1-1/2 cup skim milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 teaspoons uncooked quick-cooking tapioca
  • 4 tablespoons egg substitute (or use 4 tablespoons real egg)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons flaked sweetened toasted coconut* (see below)


  1. Combine coconut milk, skim milk, sugar, tapioca and egg substitute with salt in medium saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly if desired between 4 bowls.
  4. Cover and chill until thickened.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
  6. If desired, serve with light cookies or a bit of fresh fruit.

Coconut Milk

Substitute unsweetened soy milk for coconut milk if unavailable or if desired.

Substitute whole milk combined with 1 teaspoon coconut extract.

Toasted Coconut

If unsweetened coconut, add 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar - then toast in 350 degree oven for 2-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

flickr donnunn
flickr donnunn

Summing It Up

Having a dinner party doesn't have to be a major stressor. As you can see, this dinner is relatively simple and all the dishes are super easy to make and require very little in the way of time.

In preparing dinners of any kind on any occasion, it is all about getting things together at the same time. Having dishes and foods that blend with each other and that are easy to make simultaneously or one after the other really helps - it all depends on the prep involved with each dish.

These recipes are all very simply done but delicious and healthy parts of a great dinner party.

One thing I try to do when I'm cooking for dinner parties and I know that there will be unexpected delays or distractions is to try and 'prep' as many foods the day ahead or earlier in the day as possible.

For instance, if there are things that need to be chopped or blended that can safely sit in the refrigerator until time to cook or put them together, I have them in small bags or bowls labeled and ready to go. That cuts down further the cooking time along with the anxiety factor of trying to do too many things at the same time.

I also set my table or put out my dishes/plates so that I know where things will go ahead of time so I don't have to forage around at the last minute to make it all work. Sometimes being prepared is the best gift you can give yourself!

Entertaining is a favorite hobby of mine and I love trying out new and delicious recipes on friends and family. The key is being organized and then keeping it fairly simple. No one likes a stressed hostess or cook! I try to remember that the main reason I am cooking is because I love to but then because I love these people.

My motto when I'm cooking is to just enjoy it and relish the time I have to spend with people I love. It also is about creating easy and pleasing recipes that people want to take with them!

The main goal is enjoying the food and the ambience - If you can come up with quick and easy, pleasing meals to boot, it's all the more fun!


Tips on Successful Dinner Parties

Have a Dinner Party for Under $25

Dinner Party Tips


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