What’s Cooking for New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve is no excuse to fall off the clean wagon – even when going out to social events!  Offering to bring dishes and making them clean is a great way to stay on track!  I am going to a neighborhood party tonight and bringing two clean dishes!  The first is a turkey sausage, spinach, and mushroom pizza and the second is a delicious cookie recipe – Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate cookies!  I’m also going to share a fun Pomegranate Cosmo recipe! 
Appetizer or Main Course:

Spinach, Mushroom, and Turkey Sausage Pizza
Serves: 6

Hands-on time: 15 minutes.
Total time: 25 minutes.
CATEGORY:
Under 45 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:
6 oz spinach leaves
1/2 cup unsalted organic tomato sauce
1 14.5-oz can, no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
2 garlic cloves pressed and minced
1/2 teaspoon organic red pepper flakes
1 whole-wheat thin pizza crust (such as Boboli 12” 100% Whole Wheat Thin Crust)
2 fully cooked, all-natural, deli turkey sausages, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
3 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)

PANTRY STAPLES:
Olive oil cooking spray
Ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Place 1 cup tomatoes in a fine mesh strainer and press out as much liquid as possible. Mix with tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and garlic.  Spread tomatoes onto pizza crust. Top with spinach, sausage, mushrooms, and mozzarella. Bake 10 minutes, or until sausage is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Rest pizza on a cutting board for 5 minutes, slice into 6 equal pieces and serve.

Nutrients per 1/6 of pizza: Calories: 230, Total Fat: 8 g, Sat. Fat: 4 g, Carbs: 25 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 12 g, Sodium: 205 mg, Cholesterol: 25 mg

Nutritional Bonus:
A serving of this clean pizza provides more than 3⁄4 of your daily calcium need, but that’s not all from the mozzarella cheese. Spinach is also a good source of calcium: 1 cooked cup offers about 245 mg of the bone-building mineral (that’s a bit more than the calcium in a 3/4 cup of skim milk at 240 mg!).

Dessert:
These cookies are always a crowd pleaser!  They practically melt in your mouth! 
Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves:

Makes: 24 cookies
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes
CATEGORY:
Gluten Free, Under 45 Minutes INGREDIENTS:
•1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
•3/4 cup Sucanat
•1 large egg
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/4 tsp sea salt
•3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate.
2.Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.
Nutrients per cookie: Calories: 110, Total Fat: 8 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Carbs: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium: 55 mg, Cholesterol: 10 mg

Nutritional Bonus: It’s more than wishful thinking — chocolate can be good for you in the right proportions. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more flavanol antioxidants.

Cheers!
New Year’s Eve for many people involves some cocktails!  Here is a great recipe for a Pomegranate Cosmo that’s less than 200 calories per serving!
Pomegranate Cosmo
Ingredients

2 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
2 1/4 cups vodka
1 cup lime juice
3/4 cup Cointreau, or Grand Marnier
1/4 cup ginger juice, (see Note)
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine bar sugar, plus more for the rims
Strips of lime zest, for garnish

Directions
1. Mix pomegranate juice, vodka, lime juice, Cointreau (or Grand Marnier), ginger juice and sugar in a large pitcher.
2. For each drink, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, add 1/2 cup Cosmo mix, and shake until the shaker turns frosty and cold. Dip the rim of a martini (or highball) glass into water and then in sugar (to “sugar the rim”). Strain the drink into the martini glass (or over fresh ice in the highball glass). Garnish with a twist of lime zest, if desired.

Tips:
Note: Use bottled ginger juice (pressed ginger root) to add the taste of fresh ginger without the work of mincing or grating. Use it to flavor drinks, stir-fries, marinades or anywhere you’d use fresh ginger. Find it in specialty stores or online at gingerpeople.com.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 1 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 188, Sodium 4 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Potassium 107 mg. Exchanges: Other Carbohydrate 1.

New Year’s Eve can be delicious AND clean! Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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