Looneyspoons Sisters, Janet and Greta Podleski, show off some guilt-free appetizer recipes from their Looneyspoons Collection.

Hearty-Choke Dip

Hot roasted artichoke dip with spinach and Asiago cheese

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1/2 large yellow sweet onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thirds
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup light (5%) sour cream
1 tub (8 oz/250 g) light garden vegetable cream cheese (such as Philadelphia brand)
½ tsp grated lemon zest
4 or 5 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2  pkg (5 oz/142 g total) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
1 cup packed shredded Asiago cheese, divided (4 oz/113g)

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Drain artichokes and pat dry using paper towels. Cut artichokes in half. Place artichokes in a small casserole dish or baking pan. Add chopped onions and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Mix well. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring once, halfway through roasting time.

While vegetables are roasting, place kidney beans, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon zest and hot pepper sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Whirl until smooth.

Remove artichoke mixture from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375ºF. Let vegetables cool for 5 minutes, then add to ingredients in food processor. Pulse on and off until mixture is well-blended but still slightly lumpy. Transfer artichoke mixture to a bowl and stir in spinach, a pinch of black pepper, and all but 2 tbsp Asiago cheese. Spoon mixture back into casserole dish. Top with remaining 2 tbsp Asiago cheese.

Bake uncovered on middle oven rack for 30 minutes, until mixture bubbles around edges and top turns a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. It’s hot! Serve with whole-grain pita chips or crackers.

Makes about 4 cups dip

Tip: Make sure spinach is well-dried (use paper towels to squeeze out excess moisture) before adding to dip.

Per serving (about ⅓ cup): 143 calories, 7.9 g total fat (3.9 g saturated fat), 7 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 2.8 g fibre, 22 mg cholesterol, 334 mg sodium

Mixed Up Meatballs

Appetizer-size turkey meatballs with cranberry-orange barbecue sauce


1-1/2 lbs (680 g) ground turkey or chicken
1/2  cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely minced or grated onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg
1/2 tsp each garlic powder and dried marjoram
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 can (19 oz/540 mL) jellied cranberry sauce
1/4 cup hickory or chipotle barbecue sauce (smoky)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp grated orange zest

In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, bread crumbs, onions, parsley, egg, garlic powder, marjoram, salt and pepper (using your hands works best). Form mixture into bite-sized meatballs, about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. You should end up with about 45 meatballs.

Place meatballs on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Stir meatballs once, halfway through cooking time, to brown sides. Remove from oven and transfer to a large pot.

In a small saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, barbecue sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and orange zest. Cook over medium heat until cranberry sauce is melted and mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over meatballs and stir gently until all meatballs are coated with sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Makes 45 meatballs

Per meatball: 44 calories, 1 g total fat (0.3 g saturated fat), 3 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g fibre, 17 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium