The holiday season is coming to a close but we in SaddleBrooke are always celebrating something. It might be the girls coming over after a game of golf, or the card players are coming on an afternoon, or maybe the unit is having a get together and you need to bring a dish. Here I have tried to give you some suggestions for an appetizer or main dish that pleases the palate.

Pecan Cranberry Spread

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or Craisins)

1/8 cup orange juice concentrate

Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed and cream the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Transfer to a small bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors blend, at least 30 minutes. Serve c old with your favorite crackers.

Hot Crab Dip (a low-carb recipe from United Feature Syndicate)

1 cup mayonnaise

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

4 scallions, minced

6 oz. canned crabmeat, drained

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 oz. cream cheese, softened, cut into chunks

Combine everything in a slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour. Remove lid, and stir to blend. Cover and cook for 1 more hour. Serve with celery, Baby carrots, bell pepper and cucumber dippers. Use your imagination with this one. The cracker sticks make an excellent dipper.

Egg Salad with Bacon and Tarragon

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, finely chopped, or 1 tbsp. each parsley and green onion (or use any combination of fresh dill, basil, chives)

2 tsp. Tabasco pepper sauce

1/4 cup salt

8 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and coarsely chopped

6 cups mixed salad greens

4 slices bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled

12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Combine celery, mayonnaise, tarragon, Tabasco and slat in a bowl and mix well. Add eggs and mix gently. Divide salad greens between four salad plates; place a scoop of egg salad on each and sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top. Garnish with tomatoes.

If using as an appetizer, try baby lettuce leaves and scoop the egg salad in the center of each leaf, then crumble the bacon and place a tomato half on top. Each leaf is a personal serving. Your guests fold the lettuce like a roll and enjoy.

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