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Work on nutritious Labor Day appetizers

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Our nation will celebrate Labor Day on Monday. Since 1894, this federal holiday has recognized and celebrated the American workforce.

Labor Day is commonly viewed as a day to relax, and eat great food. I am sharing a couple of my favorite appetizer recipes that taste great, look gorgeous, and are loaded with nutrition.

Enjoy Labor Day 2013 and be proud of the work you do.

Black Bean Salad

Makes 10 servings

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (16-ounce) can no salt added corn, drained

1 teaspoon cilantro

1 red bell pepper

¼ cup canola oil

1 green bell pepper

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 yellow bell pepper

1 teaspoon lime juice

½ cup red onion, diced

Ground pepper

Baked tortilla chips (You can make your own tortilla chips by cutting whole-wheat tortillas into wedges, spraying them with olive oil, salting them lightly, then baking.)

Seed and dice bell peppers. In salad bowl, combine bell peppers, onion, corn kernels, garlic, and cilantro. Toss to mix. Add canola oil, vinegar and lime juice. Add pepper to taste. Toss again. Add black beans, toss well and serve with tortilla chips.

Nutrition information for salad per serving: 135 calories, 6 g fat, 165 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3.5 g sugar, 4 g protein.

Garden Veggie Roll-ups

8 flour or whole-wheat tortillas

1 (8-ounce) package fat-free soft cream cheese

1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch dressing (I use Hidden Valley)

2 carrots (peeled)

½ cup red pepper

½ cup green pepper

½ cup broccoli

½ cup green onion

Put veggies in a food processor and chop until very fine. Beat cream cheese. To cream cheese, add ½ to all of ranch dressing mix package. 

Spread cream cheese mixture over a tortilla, top with veggie mixture and roll up. Slice into 1-inch bites. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Nutrition information for 3 roll-ups: 137 calories, 6.7 g fat, 140 mg sodium, 2.4 g fiber, 0.9 g sugar, 4.1 g protein.

Creamy Taco Dip

1 package fat-free cream cheese, softened

½ cup (4 ounces) nonfat sour cream

½ cup taco sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (15-ounce) can fat-free refried beans

1 cup shredded green leaf lettuce

½ cup shredded low-fat cheese

1 medium tomato, diced

¼ cup chopped olives

¼ cup canned chopped green chilis

Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in taco sauce and cumin, set aside. Spread refried beans in serving platter or a 9-by-13-inch pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over the top, leaving 1 inch uncovered around the edge. Top with lettuce, cheese, tomato, olives and chilis. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Nutrition information per ¼ cup serving: 45 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate.

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