Take a (Caprese) Bite Out of Holiday Entertaining

Who doesn’t love a season devoted to get-togethers involving food? Me, that’s who! Oh, it’s not because I don’t like get-togethers or food – it’s just that I’m one of those people who waits until the last minute, and then frantically tries to think of something creative to bring. I know better than to attempt anything as daunting as Baked Alaska or worse yet, any type of soufflé, but I still want my offering to be mouth-watering and eye-catching.

Once again, the always inventive Nina Pucillo, the beauty and brains behind
Nina Cucina, has come to the rescue! This month she’s provided us with an easy-to-assemble appetizer that’s healthy and quick. What’s not to love about that?

If you’ve ever had a Caprese salad, you already know how tantalizing and delicious the flavors and textures are. Nina has put her own spin on this dish for the holiday season by using sun-dried tomatoes. You can put yours on it as well by creating a Balsamic reduction sauce to accompany it, or simply serve as suggested here:

Caprese Bites (Serves 6)

Nina Pucillo's sundried tomato caprese bites

These tasty bites dress up a table with their holiday colors!

What You’ll Need:
A serving platter
Fancy toothpicks
A small ramekin (for the platter – to discard the picks)
A sharp kitchen knife

12 Baby Mozzarella Balls, known as Bocconcini
12 Basil Leaves
12 Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil, well-drained
12 Black Olives to decorate the plate

How to Put It Together:
1. Set your ingredients out on your work surface in a little assembly line. Slice your baby mozzarella balls in half. One by one, pick up half a mozzarella ball and skewer it onto your toothpick. Now add your sun-dried tomato, your basil leaf and top it off with the second half of the mozzarella ball. Place your Caprese Bite on your serving platter. Repeat this process for each bite.

2. To decorate the platter, you can arrange the Caprese Bites in a circular pattern and place the black olives in the center.

3. Serve and enjoy!

If you want to add a Balsamic Reduction Glaze:
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or cruet. Allow to cool. This can be drizzled over the bites before serving for a taste twist on the original recipe.

You now have a great dish to take to your next open house or holiday party, or to serve when friends drop over. It couldn’t be easier!

nutritional facts caprese bitesChef’s Tip:
Sun-dried tomatoes are nutritious and delicious. All the nutrients have been concentrated into one delicious little bite: One ounce offers you almost half of your RDA of vitamin C!


Besides sharing her recipes with Amoena Lifelines, Nina has been busy putting together her cookbook filled with great, healthy recipes. Click for a sneak peek!

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