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Quick holiday apps: Baked mushrooms, chicken skewers

Bernard Guillas is the executive chef at The Marine Room and is co-author of "Flying Pans." Here, he shares some festive bites, perfect for holiday entertaining, including baked mushrooms with caramelized onions, mango and blue cheese, chicken skewers with fennel date relish and more.

Baked cremini mushrooms with caramelized onions, mango and blue cheese

Serves 8


  • For mushrooms

    • 16 cremini mushrooms, 2" cap
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    • 1 teaspoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For caramelized onions

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 1/2 cup finely diced roasted red bell pepper
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup apple juice
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For assembly

    • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, sliced into 16 pieces
    • 1/4 cup blue cheese


Baking Directions:

For mushrooms:Preheat oven to 400°. Remove stems from mushrooms. Clean mushrooms with dry cloth or brush. In mixing bowl toss mushrooms with remaining ingredients. Place mushrooms upside down on baking sheets. Cook 3 minutes. Set aside. Cool.For caramelized onions:Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook until liquid is absorbed.For assembly:Divide caramelized onions equally among mushroom caps. Top each with one thin mango slice and blue cheese. Bake in oven 3 to 4 minutes, until blue cheese is softened, but not melted.

Marrakech chicken skewers with fennel date relish

Serves 12


  • For chicken

    • 12 6-inch bamboo skewers
    • 4 6-ounce chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup minced white onion
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Sambal chili paste
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • ** Canola oil spray
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    • 1 pineapple
  • For fennel date relish

    • 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed
    • 1/2 cup dates, pitted, 1/4 inch diced
    • 1/4 cup peeled, finely diced pineapple
    • 1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon minced mint
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Baking Directions:

For skewers:Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour prior to use. Cut each chicken breast into 3 equally sized strips. In a large mixing bowl, combine ginger, 1 tablespoon cilantro, paprika, cumin, garlic, olive oil, onion, lemon juice, chili paste and salt. Add chicken. Combine well. Cover. Refrigerate 2 hours. Cut pineapple into one 2-inch thick wheel. Lay on cutting board. Slice ¼ inch from one side to create base. Stand on serving platter. Thread each chicken strip onto each bamboo skewer. Place grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with canola oil. Sear chicken 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and remaining cilantro. Insert skewers into pineapple. Serve with fennel date relish.Fennel date relish:Thinly slice fennel crosswise using sharp knife or vegetable slicer. Add to mixing bowl. Combine with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl.

Florida stone crab stuffed cherry tomatoes

Makes 30 pieces


    • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon sour cream
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 1/4 teaspoon curry
    • Dash Tabasco
    • 1 cup stone crab meat
    • 2 tablespoon finely chopped celery
    • 2 tablespoon s finely chopped chives
    • 1/4 cup finely diced apple
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 30 vine ripened large cherry tomatoes


Baking Directions:

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, curry and Tabasco. Fold in crabmeat, celery, chives, and apple. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover. Set aside. Chill. With paring knife, cut tomato 1/4 inch from top (reserve tops). With small melon baller, carefully scoop out pulp and seeds. Sprinkle tomato shells lightly with salt. Drain on paper towel 15 minutes. Stuff tomato shells with crab filling. Make sure to mound filling on top. Cover tomato with reserved top. (It's a hat for the tomato).