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Girls' night in: What to serve for laid-back fun

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Stay in for fun!

Hosting a girls' night in? These recipes (including one fab cocktail) are tasty, simple to whip up and lower in the fat-and-calories-category, too!
Girlfriends having dinner party

The holidays are over, and the hustle and bustle has basically ground to a halt. Take advantage of this time to gather with your gal pals for a fun evening in! Whether you watch your favorite chick flick or kick back and chat the night away, check out these great recipes (including one cocktail) to savor during the fun!

Herbed, Roasted Chickpeas

Herbed, roasted chickpeas recipe

Be a smart chick when it comes to healthy snacking. Pass over the not-so-good-for-you chips and roast up a batch of crunchy chickpeas, instead. Chickpeas are a good source of fiber and protein and taste great roasted with your favorite seasonings!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. After drying your chickpeas with paper towel or a clean kitchen towel, remove any loose skins that remain.
  3. Place the olive oil in a medium-sized bowl and toss in the chickpeas. Mix to coat.
  4. Place the chickpeas on a flat baking sheet and season with the remaining ingredients, except for the Parmesan cheese. Use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to coat the chickpeas.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning often, until they become crispy. Watch them carefully at the end of your baking time, so the chickpeas don't burn.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Pink Pomegranate Cocktail

Pink pomegranate cocktail recipe

Pretty, pink and positively delicious, this cocktail is a delight for girls' night in! Just a few ingredients keep this cocktail easy to shake up and serve.

Yields 1

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces sparkling water
  • 1-1/2 ounces PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • Pomegranate seeds and lime twist for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine the sparkling water, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and lime juice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a few pomegranate seeds and a lime twist.
Green Goddess Dip

Green goddess dip recipe

OMG(oddess)! This flavorful, vibrant dip lightens things up by using plain, Greek-style yogurt instead of sour cream. Grab some fresh veggies for dipping and enjoy the green goddess goodness!

Yields 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves (wash and dry the leaves and remove the stems)
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons anchovy paste, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
  • Vegetables for dipping, like carrots, red peppers, cucumbers
  • Crackers for dipping, like toasted pita crackers

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend.
  2. Stop blending to taste and adjust the seasonings, as desired. Use a spatula to push the mix down into the processor, and continue to mix until well blended and smooth.
  3. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Slim and Sloppy Jane Sandwiches

Slim and sloppy Jane sandwiches

Give Joe the heave-ho and try this healthier sandwich option, instead! Made using veggie crumbles instead of ground beef, and pita pockets as slimmed-down sandwich bread options, these sammies make a heather sandwich than traditional sloppy Joes.

Get the recipe >>

Brownie Bites with Strawberries

Brownie bites with strawberries recipe

You can still enjoy a rich and decadent dessert, even if you're trying to watch what you're eating. These brownie bites with strawberries are fun to serve, and a bite (or two) tastes like a much bigger treat!

Yields 24

Recipe inspired by Hershey's

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 18-24 strawberries for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two mini-muffin pans (24 total mini-muffins) with paper baking cups and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, add the eggs and beat them with a fork. Add the sugar, milk and butter and mix well.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture, a little at a time, and mix until well blended and smooth.
  5. Use a spoon to fill the cups about halfway full.
  6. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a brownie bite comes out clean.
  7. Cool the brownie bites on a cooling rack.
  8. When the brownie bites are completely cooled, add the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave in 10-second increments until they're melted.
  9. Use a small spoon to spread the melted chocolate on the tops of the brownie bites.
  10. Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Gather with the girls for a fun night in!

More entertaining recipes

Moroccan-style shrimp with pomegranate dipping sauce
Easy, fresh-fruit bruschetta
Individual chocolate pound cakes with cherry-port topping

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