appetizer

Halibut Ceviche Veracruz

This Mexican-style ceviche is a perfect light snack or appetizer for these coming summer months.  Truth be told, I have eaten just this for my dinner on a hot, sunny evening.

The flavors here are bold, but still light and refreshing!  Zesty lime juice, brininess from the olives and capers, sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado chunks and a kick of the jalapeno.  I chose halibut for this, but you can use any sashimi-grade, firm white fish that is available to you.

I also love this meal because there is no need to even turn your oven on, keeping your kitchen cool.  So please give this simple, refreshing recipe a try!

The Starting Lineup

• 10oz halibut, cut into 1” cubes
• ½ cup of fresh lime juice
• 2 firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
• 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 large avocado, chopped
• 12 Manzanilla (green) olives, pitted and halved
• 1 Tbsp capers
• Kosher salt & pepper

In a medium glass bowl, add the cubed halibut and pour the lime juice overtop, making sure all the fish is covered. Plastic wrap the bowl and place in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours, until the fish is opaque and firm.

Drain and pat dry your fish with a paper towel and place back in the bowl. To that, add in the diced tomatoes, serrano, cilantro and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and place back in the refrigerator, covered again, for at least 2 hours/up to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, add in the chopped avocado, green olives and capers. Serve immediately with corn tortilla chips.

HalibutCevicheVeracruz

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Chicken Salad Carrot Crescents

“Hippity, hoppity Easter’s on its waayyyy….”

I can never enter the Spring season without singing that song verse on more than one occasion.  So, now that we’re even closer to this years Easter holiday, it’s in my crawl as much as one of my favorite festive recipes!  These buttery crescents are shaped onto cone molds and when a tinted egg wash is applied and baked, resemble not only perfect vessels to stuff, but cutesy lil’ carrots!

Depending on our Easter plans for each year, I’ll either serve these at lunch, for an appetizer or bring to a potluck to rave oohs and aahhs.  Plus, they taste great!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water (can add food coloring if desired)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill, garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, onions, pecans, mayonnaise, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unroll the crescent dough and pinch seams together.  Using a pizza cutter, cut lengthwise into 6-8 equal strips.  Brush each with egg wash and roll each strip out to about 16″, like a thick spaghetti noodle.  Repeat.

Using either a cream horn mold or foil shaped into a cone, wrap one strip of dough around the mold.  Apply more egg wash.  Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove mold.

Fill each “carrot” with chicken salad (or salad of choice) and top with a parsley or dill sprig, enjoy!

ChickenSaladCrescents

 

Pimiento Cheese Drop Biscuits

Question:  Can you make buttermilk biscuits even yummier??  Most may give a nay shake of the head, BUT I am here (of course) to say otherwise!  Now, I’ll stop for a quick minute, because if you do not know what the cheesy “caviar of the south” staple is, it would be hard to answer my original question.  Pimiento cheese is a perfect blend of sharp cheddar cheese, mayo, cayenne and pimientos.  I often like to add diced jalapenos to mine; I also like to scoop it onto a bacon laden, juicy grilled burger…I digress….

Anyway, this spin gives such a new and great flavor to your standard biscuits and I will also say, your Sunday Supper guests will be raving until they get home!  *make a double batch to send home with guests; still great warmed up in the microwave.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup pimientos, diced
  • Melted butter, for brushing the tops
  • Flaky salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, baking soda and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Add the cheese and toss to coat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise; add to the dry ingredients until combined and fold in the pimientos.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. *I like to sprinkle a pinch more salt while warm after baking.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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Crispy Baked Artichoke Hearts w/ Lemon Garlic Aioli

This may just be my new favorite appetizer!  First off, they’re beautiful!  All gold and crispy-crunchy, a great tangy bite from the artichoke itself AND the dipping sauce, and they’re also more on the nutritious side!  A happy “win” for me!

Plus, if you’re craving a vegetarian option, these are great piled between two soft bakery rolls!  Make sure the bun halves are slathered with the lemon-garlic aioli and fresh slices of tomatoes and butter lettuce!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 (15oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Lemon-Garlic Aioli

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt 

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and salt till incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Place drained artichoke hearts in a dish and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter and garlic powder.  In a separate dish, combine the parmesan and Panko breadcrumbs.

Dip each artichoke heart into the melted butter, followed by the breadcrumbs.  Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with all remaining artichokes.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve alongside the lemon-garlic aioli.  Enjoy!

ArtichokeHeartsAioli

Garlic Butter Italian Sausage Sandwiches (slow-cooker)

Cooking Italian sausages right in your slow cooker equals the most tender, flavorful and simple supper!  Plus, since there is basically no prep work involved (besides slicing the bell peppers and onions), you simply add the minimal ingredients to your pot, cover and be about your day!  You can welcome yourself home to the delightful smell of a gourmet dinner and it’s also great for a crowd!

*serves about 10 people.  If wanting something other than sandwiches, or for leftovers, you can serve over al dente noodles or polenta.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packages Italian sausage links (appx 10 links, sweet, mild or spicy)
  • 24oz jarred Italian diced tomatoes (I love Racconto organic San Marzano’s)
  • 3 Bell peppers, cut into strips (I used red, orange and green)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini’s 
  • 1 tsp each salt, pepper and garlic
  • 10 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
  • 10 hoagie rolls
  • 1 container garlic butter (often found in deli or bakery section)

To your slow cooker: add in the sausage links and top with the sliced bell peppers, onions, pepperoncini’s and the seasonings.  Pour the jarred Italian diced tomatoes over top and set to low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5.

On a baking sheet, split the hoagie rolls and generously slather on the garlic butter to each side.  Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until just golden brown.  Fill each roll with a sausage and your desired amount of sauce and veggies.  Top with the cheese and place under your broiler for another 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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French Onion Meatballs (slow cooker)

Meatballs!  You can never go wrong serving meatballs.  Whether it’s for an appetizer, a hot sandwich, atop a pizza, with lingonberry jam (I can go on and on), it is rarely served with creamy, dreamy, buttery mashed potatoes…and why not??

Given we are still in the middle of winter (those poor people in the 2019 polar vortex right now, I shouldn’t be complaining), I am craving a warm bowl of anything!  When you combine these ingredients together, along with the work of your slow cooker, you end up with tender meatballs and a rich, onion and mushroom gravy that pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes.  I always like to add that extra touch of the melty Swiss cheese for a more authentic French Onion flare, but feel free to omit if desired.  Just don’t tell me or I’ll deem you crazy. 😉

 

*If you’d like, and have the time, sauté the onions on low with a couple of tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt until caramelized.  Add these to the slow cooker, along with the other ingredients, in the beginning versus rawEither way, it’s delicious! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 ( 30oz) bag homestyle meatballs, frozen
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thick
  • 12 oz container fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cans low-sodium cream of mushroom soup, plus 1-1/2 can milk
  • 1 packet dried onion soup mix, low-sodium if possible
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 
  • 1 package sliced swiss cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Layer in half of the onions and mushrooms, followed by the frozen meatballs and then the remaining onions and mushrooms.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, dried onion soup mix, milk and pepper.  Pour overtop the meatballs.  Set to low for 6 hours, stirring once or twice.

30 minutes prior to eating, layer the swiss cheese overtop.  Recover and allow to melt.

Serve in a bowl with buttery mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles and a sprinkle of parsley, enjoy!

frenchonionmeatballs

Shrimp Scampi Fettuccine

This will appear as an impressive main dish to your guests, but it’s really a quick and easy 20-minute meal that works great for weeknights!  Simple ingredients, simple to prepare, but feels so indulgent!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb fettuccine noodles (can also use gluten free or even “zoodles”)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (i.e. pinot grigio) or chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (to taste) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (plus extra wedges for serving)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare noodles as directed, opting for more al dente texture.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Pour in the wine (or broth), red pepper flake, salt and pepper.  Allow to reduce by half (2-3 minutes).

Add in the shrimp and sauté until they turn a bright pink (3-4 minutes depending on size).  Stir in the lemon juice and parmesan and then add in the cooked noodles and chopped parsley; toss to coat.

Serve with a simple side salad or classic Caesar and warm crusty bread, enjoy!

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