Tag Archives: appetizer

Everything Avocado Hummus

Hummus, meet my dear friend, guacamole.  At least that is what I say to myself every time I prepare this delicious, creamy dip.  Make it once, and you’ll want to make it all the time!  Plus, it can be made in 10 minutes and can be served in a multitude of ways.  It’s a great lunchbox snack for the kids or adults, served alongside chips, pretzels or cut up veggies or even adding a layer to wraps and sandwiches.  It’ll not only pack extra flavor, but also protein and fiber!  This will definitely become a staple in your home.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 ripe medium-large avocado or 2 mini avocados
  • ¼ cup cilantro, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour-cream or the standard tahini to make it Vegan.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • GARNISH with plenty of Everything Bagel Seasoning and a pinch of red pepper flake and smoked paprika for heat.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, and process for another 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.

If the hummus is too thick, slowly add in 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil, everything bagel seasoning and a dash of red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Serve with chips, veggies or schmear on your bread for sandwiches!  Enjoy!

AvocadoHummus

Christmas on the “Ranch” Rollups

I just love this time of year!  Not only because of the family time, presents, décor or music, but also because of all the yummy appetizers to be had!

This one here is a cinch to make and looks great on your Christmas Eve buffet.  Its creamy, yet has great crunch from the fresh vegetables and tremendous flavor from the bacon and ranch seasoning.  Plus you can add in any additional veggies you may have on hand (shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, etc.), which is a great way to sneak in a little bit of extra nutrition for your picky eaters!  This is definitely family and kid-approved!

 

The Starting Lineup 

  • 4 large garden spinach herb flavored (green) tortillas
  • 2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1oz) packet Ranch Seasoning
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, Ranch seasoning, crumbled bacon, red bell pepper, green onions, jalapenos and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.

Spread an even amount of the cream cheese mixture over each tortilla.  Roll up like a jelly roll and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight.  Slice each roll into 1″ pieces and arrange on a serving dish.  Enjoy!

RanchRollups

Green Chile Artichoke Dip

If you haven’t realized, I like to take classic recipes and give them a bit of a spin!  The typical artichoke dip is no exception.  I took the hot, cheesy concoction and amped it up with a couple cans of green chiles and diced hot peppers.  What was usually tasty, but quite bland, now has a real kick of flavor and your guests will love the welcome change!

*IF you have any leftover, you can served warm over grilled chicken breasts and rice.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cans diced green chiles, (one 4oz hot, one 7oz regular)
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1-2 fresh jalapenos, diced (I keep seeds in)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Drain the artichokes and pat dry.  In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the ingredients and transfer to an 8-inch cast iron pan (preferred, to hold in the heat) or 8×8 baking tin.

Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly, and then pop under the broiler till the top is a golden brown, 2-3 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips, baguette bread or fresh veggies.

GreenChileArtichokeDip

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

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

 

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

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

Rockin’ NYE Ribeye Crostini

As always, the days are long, but the years go fast, and this one is just about up!  While even myself is just about ‘over’ cooking all of these extravagant holiday meals (kind of), I figure we opt for finger foods for our last hoorah!

Until next time, “we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of auld lang syne.”  A very Happy New Year to you! xo

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless ribeye steak
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 bakery French baguette, 1/2″ slices. lightly toasted
  • Red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Chives, chopped, but kept a bit long
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, prepared horseradish, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high-heat until nice and hot.  Rub the steak with oil, salt and pepper till desired doness, making sure to rest about 10 minutes prior to slicing.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain and arrange on the toasted baguette slices.  Top with a dollop of the horseradish cream you made prior, a slice of red onion and a chives.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!!

RibeyeCrostini

GameDay Jalapeno Popper Piggies

Break out of your typical, grilled jalapeno-popper rut and try this out for size!  It has all of the flavors we love, fresh and spicy jalapenos, creamy cheeses and crisp bacon, BUT it also has another level of smokiness with the beef sausage while all wrapped in a warm, pretzel like pastry dough.

So whether your an avid football fan, need a new Thanksgiving appetizer or you just want to curl up on a cool day with a movie and snacks…these rock, my friend!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 package (36) Lil Smokies
  • 18 jalapeno peppers, halved
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour (for dusting); Kosher salt (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off each jalapeno pepper top; halve and discard the seeds.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon.  Fill the halved peppers with the cheese and bacon mixture.  Press a “Smokie” on top of the filling.
  4. Lightly flour a clean surface and unfold the thawed puff pastry dough.  Cut each dough rectangle into 6 equal strips vertically and then in half crosswise, to create 12 pieces.  *you may have to gently roll out each dough piece a bit to wrap around filled pepper.
  5. Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the cut puff pastry strips and seal with a bit of egg wash; seam on the bottom.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Once finished with all, brush the remaining egg wash overtop and sprinkle on a bit of the kosher salt.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, till golden brown; serve warm.

 

JalapenoPiggies2

 

Tropical BBQ Sliders

As of late, there has been a cooking phenomenon of baking the King’s Hawaiian rolls with ham and cheese, roast beef and cheese, turkey and cheese, do I need to go on?  ..and quite frankly, I LOVE it!  I have tried them all and they are all delightful.

On that same note, stay with me…my oldest son has been on a Lilo & Stitch movie binge.  Every single night before bed, for the last 2 weeks, he requests this now somewhat old movie, at least compared to his 6-year-old self.  Fifteen days into it later, he randomly asked me if I could make “Hawaiian Sandwiches” for dinner.  Now, I wasn’t about to go buy a can of SPAM, so I got creative while thinking of those new, beloved baked sandwich recipes.  Below I give you another favorite that needs to be added to the Pinterest lineup of such.  You can make them for an appetizer, party, a dinner with a side of fries…  A super easy and fun recipe to enjoy with your whole family!

*You can use fresh pineapple, by all means, but for this I actually prefer the canned variety, as fresh is pretty tart and overpowering for this recipe.  That being said, my preferred brand is the new’er Libby’s Brand “Skinny” Pineapple…It is not canned in that heavy syrup, so it’s not cloyingly sweet.

The Starting Lineup

  • 12 ct package King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce (I prefer also the King’s Hawaiian original barbecue sauce)
  • 1 lb thinly sliced or shaved ham (I prefer honey or Black Forest from the deli)
  • 1 package swiss cheese (about 8 slices); Colby Jack is a good alternative too
  • Pineapple (about 6 slices or 1/2 cup segments)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon (hefty fill) of ground ginger (i.e. McCormick brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut 
  • **Optional: fresh jalapenos slices, for a savory-sweet-heat flavor

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease or non-stick spray a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish.  Most recently, I used my Pyrex 8×11, but I have used a foil-lined & sprayed baking sheet when I made a double batch.

In medium microwave safe bowl, slowly melt your butter.   Whisk in the soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder and coconut.  Set aside.

With a large bread knife, halve the ENTIRE 12 (or 24) rolls horizontally, so that the rolls are still connected to each other and you have two “bread rectangles”; a bottom halve and a top half that will form your sandwich slider.

Place the bottom half of bread into your prepared bread and lay on half of the cheese, followed by the ham.  Next drizzle the BBQ sauce evenly overtop, followed by the pineapple and then the remaining cheese.  Place the other “bread rectangle” topper on top.

Whisk your butter mixture once more and evenly pour or brush overtop it all (don’t worry, it doesn’t get soggy).  **If using the  fresh jalapeno slices, I like to place 1 slice ON TOP of each roll (12 slices) and then pour on the butter mixture. 

Immediately transfer to your preheated oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, till the top will be a deep golden brown and the cheese is super melty.

Serve immediately and enjoy!  Maybe with a Mai-Tai or two?? 😉

TropicalBBQSliders

 

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