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Rocco DiSpirito's Party-Perfect Recipes

Throwing a party just got a whole lot easier with these healthy recipe ideas from celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito.

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Courtesy of Rocco DiSpirito
Courtesy of Rocco DiSpirito
black bean brownies
Courtesy of Rocco DiSpirito
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Throw the Perfect Party

You don't have to shell out the big bucks to throw a decadent feast for your next party. Here, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito shares some of his favorite party recipes you can whip up in 30 minutes or less for your next soiree. Oh, and did we mention they are all under 300 calories?

Sweet Potato Latkes with Applesauce

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves 4


1 1/2 cups peeled and grated white turnip
1/2 cup peeled and grated Idaho potato
1/2 cup peeled and grated white sweet potato
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 Fuji apples , peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon coconut nectar
2 teaspoons egg white powder
Salt and ground black pepper

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the grated turnip and both potatoes. Mix in the thyme leaves, then season with salt and black pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender, stirring twice. Place the bowl in the freezer to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile place the apples, thyme sprig, and coconut nectar in a separate microwave bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until the apples are just tender, stirring twice. Remove and discard the thyme sprig. Use a potato masher to mash the apples (you can also use a food processor for smoother consistency). Set aside.
  • Once the vegetables are cooled to room temperature, add the egg white powder and mix thoroughly.
  • On the prepared baking sheet, make 12 equal piles of the vegetable mixture, then form each into a slightly flattened disk. Spritz the top of each latke with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to carefully flip them and bake for another 6 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Place 3 latkes on each serving plate and top with applesauce.

Nutritional information per serving (3 latkes with applesauce): 87 calories; 0g fat; 0mg cholesterol; 20g carbohydrate; 3g protein; 3g fiber; 214mg sodium

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Rollups

A lighted-up version of a comfort food favorite, perfect for small gatherings all year round.

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves 4


8 slices light wheat bread (such as Pepperidge Farm Light Style Extra Fiber or 7-Grain)
6 ounces deli-sliced smoked chicken breast
2 ounces deli-sliced low-sodium ham
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
4 ounce block 75 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 16 even strips
Olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
2 large Belgian endives, cut in half and sliced 1/2 inch thick lengthwise
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • Lay two slices of bread on a clean work surface. Overlap the curved tops of the bread slices by 1 inch. Use a rolling pin to flatten the bread slices into very thin rectangles, adding extra pressure to the overlapped areas. Repeat with the remaining bread slices to make 4 total rectangles.
  • Top the bread rectangles evenly with sliced chicken, then the ham, being sure to cover the surface of the bread evenly with each addition. Divide 1 tablespoon of the mustard between the rollups, spreading it evenly over the ham.
  • Stack 4 strips of cheese lengthwise along one short end of each rollup. Roll each up like a carpet, making it as tight as possible. Once it is rolled, wrap each roll tightly with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Place the rolls on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Unwrap each roll and place in the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned, rolling them around to brown evenly.
  • In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 tablespoon of mustard, the vinegar, and the tarragon. Add the endive and apple slices and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then divide between 4 serving plates. Once cheese is coming out the sides of the rolls and the bread is browned, place the rollups on a cutting board.
  • Cut each roll into 4 to 6 pieces and divide evenly among the plates.

Nutrition information per serving: 231 calories; 4g fat; 33mg cholesterol; 27g carbohydrate; 23g protein; 6g fiber; 1,070mg sodium

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Black Bean Brownies

Take a break from the sweets with this easy solution that will nix your craving instead.

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves over 8


Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
3/4 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons low-calorie sugar-free chocolate syrup, such as Walden Farms
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (such as Breakstone's)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
24 packets (84g) Truvia or 8 tablespoons granulated Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds (optional)

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-x-8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
    • Combine the beans, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and egg substitute in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl halfway through.
    • Add the chocolate syrup, sour cream, butter, Truvia, and vanilla. Process until all the ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
    • Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with soft batter clinging to it.
    • Top with sliced almonds. Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then cut into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

    Nutrition information per serving: 53 calories; 1.6g fat; 4mg cholesterol; 8g carbohydrate; 4g protein; 3g fiber; 94mg sodium

    Originally published on, January 2012.

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  • What do you think? Review this slideshow!

    sweetdrms2nt wrote:

    I just used regular chocolate syrup - it's only a 10-calorie difference for the entire recipe. I also omitted the espresso powder and added a bit of extra vanilla extract. These were great once I threw 'em in the fridge, otherwise they have an odd texture. I'd make them again!

    4/7/2012 11:43:19 PM Report Abuse
    anonymous wrote:

    I agree with CKFit. I'm always surprised and highly disappointed to see an organization devoted to healthy living list artificial sweetener as an ingredient. They are first on my list of supposedly edible chemicals that will not be permitted into my body, or that of my family.

    2/6/2012 10:53:03 AM Report Abuse
    CKFit wrote:

    reduced fat items usually have some kind of artificial sweetener in it. Just because it's lower calories doesn't mean it's good for you. I'd hoped for better from a fitness and health leader like Fitness Magazine. Also, plain greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream - zero fat and loads of good protein!

    2/4/2012 11:20:20 AM Report Abuse

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