Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Better Cheese Plate

The holidays means entertaining ... having friends and family come together to share special moments, moments we enhance with food, and snacks. I see cheese trays everywhere in the stores and advertisements - Trays laden with a variety of cheeses, set conveniently next to a tray of crackers. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love cheese and crackers. I'm the first to admit that I love them a bit too much. If cheese and crackers are out as a pre-dinner snack, I'll eat so many that I don't really need any dinner. But I remember reading something that made me laugh ... eating cheese is better than eating straight butter. And, the cheeses made with low salt and low fat? Please, don't make me! So, here's a better, and healthier, idea. Mix fruits, vegetables, a few nuts for crunch, and a sweet treat right on the cheese plate. Forget the crackers. Try small bits of really tasty cheese with the fruits to see which combinations you like best. You'll have fun, and so will your guests.


2 slices of sharp or other cheese with personality per person
2-4 slices of several fruits per person
4 almonds or hazelnuts per person
1 handful of dried fruit per every 2 people
1 large spoonful of something sweet (jam, marmalade, chutney, honey) per every 2 people


Arrange everything attractively on a plate, and serve.

The tray I've pictured here serves two. It includes, from front to back:

Dried cranberries, Manchego cheese, persimmon slices (our last one of the season), 1 slice of prosciutto cut into pieces, 1/2 apple cut into slices, almonds, and mango chutney.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Can't live without the crackers? Look for ones made with whole grains, then include only about 2 to 4 crackers, depending on size, per person.

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