Appetizers

Recipe—Garlic Parmesan Wings

 

Recipe—Garlic Parmesan WingsSo I am totally on a low carb kick right now. I am determined to loose this extra weight in preparation for summer and just to feel better overall. A lot of people ask me, “How can you do low carb? Don’t you miss all the good stuff?” My response is, “Uhhh…NO!” One of the reasons I love low carb is that you still get to eat really good food. Look at these garlic Parmesan wings, NO CARBS! Zero! Zilch! And while they are short on carbs they are most certainly not short on flavor. I actually made these for a party last weekend and they were a hit! When I told my husband what I was making for the party he told me he probably wouldn’t eat any. Well, guess who was standing over the kitchen sink chowing down on these wings? He just could not resist them. They smelled so incredibly good! And tasted just as scrumptious. I highly recommend these wings even if you aren’t watching your carbohydrates. They were super easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. By the end of the night several people had asked for the recipe. That my friends, is a very good sign.

INGREDIENTS
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried cumin
3 lbs chicken wings & drumsticks
4 tbsp olive oil (I used some roasted garlic flavored that I had on hand. Delish!)
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • In a small bowl combine oregano, rosemary, salt, and cumin. Stir to combine.
  • Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. Toss to coat.
  • Place all the wings in a single layer in a baking dish.
  • Bake for 23–27 minutes or until the wings just start to turn a golden brown.
  • Place the cooked wings in a large mixing bowl.
  • Drizzle the wings with olive oil and toss to coat.
  • Season the wings with the basil, garlic, and Parmesan and again toss to coat, making sure they all have an even coating of all the flavorful goodness.
Appetizers

Recipe—Pizza Rolls

For this years Super Bowl I was trying to come up with some fun new recipes and was contemplating making a stromboli. If you don’t know what that is, it is basically a big baked pizza log. Since half our guests this year were kids I thought it might get a little messy. So I decided to slice up my stromboli and make pizza rolls. I just served them up with a warm side of my homemade marinara and they turned out great! The kids had a blast eating them. I won’t lie, they were a hit with the adults too. They were perfect little fun size pizzas! (And who doesn’t like miniature stuff?) If you have kids that like to help out in the kitchen this is a great recipe for them to assist with. Let them help sprinkle on the toppings and roll that bad boy up. Get creative and use your favorite pizza toppings. I just went basic since I had pepperoni on hand. These pizza rolls are a great appetizer to make any time of year. Enjoy!

Note: You can prepare your log a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. Then just pull it out, slice it up, and toss the rolls in the oven for a super quick and easy appetizer. 

INGREDIENTS
1 can refrigerated pizza dough (I like Pillsbury)
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 c mozzarella, shredded
1 cup pepperoni, chopped
marinara, alfredo, or pesto sauce for dipping (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Open pizza dough and roll it out flat, about 1/4 “ thick.
  • Sprinkle with garlic salt, Italian seasoning, cheese, and pepperoni.
  • Starting at the long end roll the pizza dough up tightly to form a log.
  • Carefully wrap the log in saran wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. (It will slice much easier if it is firm.)
  • Cut the log into 1/2”–3/4” thick slices.
  • Place the slices on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10–12 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
  • Serve with some warm marinara for dipping.
Appetizers

Recipe—Chubby Chicken Taquitos

This is one of the snacks I whipped up for my Super Bowl get together a couple weeks back and they turned out AMAZING! I find many of the store bought taquitos are too much tortilla, not enough meat. That is not the case with these, hence the name chubby chicken taquitos. These things are stuffed with all sorts of delicious flavors. In fact they were so filling I think they would even make an awesome meal. These aren’t spicy in the least so they are great for the whole family. Keep these in mind for a fun dinner or even your next fiesta!

Note: The recipe is written for baked taquitos but I fried half and baked half just to compare. They were equally good but the fried ones had a nice light crisp to them that was wonderful. Feel free to use your preferred cooking method.

INGREDIENTS
3 chicken breasts
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c green salsa
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp sliced green onions
1 1/2 c jack cheese
10–12 soft taco sized flour tortillas
cooking spray
kosher salt

DIPPING SAUCES
salsa
sour Cream
guacamole

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chicken breasts.
  • Boil chicken breast for 20–25 minutes.
  • While the chicken is boiling, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the cilantro, green onions, and cheese.
  • Set the filling mixture aside.
  • Remove chicken from pot and place on a large cutting board to cool.
  • Using a large fork shred the chicken breasts to pieces.
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Heat 3–4 tortillas for 30 seconds in the microwave (This makes them soft and easier to work with.)
  • Spoon some of the chicken filling down the center of the tortilla and roll tightly.
  • Place the finished taquitos seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet making sure they don’t touch.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling until gone.
  • Spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake for 15–20 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Appetizers, Brunch, Side Dishes

Recipe—Crab Stuffed Mushrooms


Are you looking for a classy appetizer to serve at your New Year’s Eve party tomorrow or any other night of the year? Search no further! These crab stuffed baby portobello mushrooms are easy, can be made ahead of time, are really elegant, and of course delicious. These will be a hit with all your guests. The crab filling is creamy with a nice little kick to it thanks to the Tabasco and the breadcrumbs give them the perfect little crunch. If you are serving a steak for a main course these can also be the perfect complementary side dish. Either way enjoy this fabulous recipe as you ring in 2013! Happy New Year everyone!

Note: You can completely make and assemble the stuffed mushrooms a half day in advance and store in the fridge until ready to bake.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, chopped
10–12 baby portobello mushrooms, washed and destemmed
salt and pepper
3 tbsp red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz lump crabmeat
1 tsp hot sauce (I like Tabasco)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 c breadcrumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and shallot and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the mushroom caps for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the mushroom caps from the skillet and place them upside down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
  • In a medium bowl mix together the crabmeat, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, old bay seasoning, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the sautéed veggies and mix well.
  • Stuff each mushroom cap with the crab mixture and top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
  • Allow mushrooms to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
Appetizers

Recipe—Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I am a girl who loves her boneless buffalo wings, just not all the calories that come with the batter fried chicken. This is a fabulous adaptation of the classic American appetizer. My husband isn’t really a fan of buffalo chicken but he really enjoyed these to my surprise. To be honest, the two of us finished off the entire batch over some Sunday football and I was guilt free! This is a really great appetizer that is not only quick but incredibly easy. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c buffalo sauce (I love Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce!)
1 tbsp butter, melted

GARNISHES
bleu cheese dressing
celery and/or carrots

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large bowl whisk together buttermilk, flour, and garlic salt until smooth. (If the batter seems too thick add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time. You want it to be slightly thick so that it sticks to the cauliflower. If it is too runny the batter will all drip off while baking.)
  • Place the cauliflower into the bowl of batter and gently toss to coat.
  • Spread the battered cauliflower out on a greased baking dish making sure to shake off any excess batter.
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes turning once until some of the edges turn a nice golden color.
  • While the cauliflower is baking combine the buffalo sauce and melted butter in a small bowl.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and drizzle the buffalo sauce mixture over the top and toss to coat.
  • Return the cauliflower to the oven and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes.
  • Remove the finished cauliflower from the oven and plate with some fresh veggies and a side of bleu cheese dressing.

 

Note (added 01/13/14): Many people have asked about the texture. The batter becomes more like a soft breading on the outside rather than crispy. To get a crispy texture try frying the battered cauliflower. And be sure to shake of excess batter as you place it on the baking sheet so that the cauliflower is lightly coated.

Appetizers, Dinners, Side Dishes, Snacks

Recipe—Butternut Squash Crisps

Over the past couple of weeks I have been getting squash on a regular basis from my produce delivery. I’ve been having fun trying to come up with creative ways to prepare them. These butternut squash crisps are a cross between potato chips and potato wedges, but with squash. They’re a fun way to enjoy this popular fall veggie. My son loves sauce so if you or your kids are the same way serve it with a little side of ranch. Happy dipping!

Note: For a crispier squash cut the slices thin otherwise they may come out soggy.

INGREDIENTS
1 butternut squash
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler.
  • Cut the ends off and slice in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out all the seeds and stringy pulp.
  • Cut into 1/4” slices or smaller. The thinner they are the crispier they will be.
  • Put the slices of squash in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread the squash out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet making sure they don’t overlap. You may need to use two sheets.
  • In a blender pulse together breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the squash slices.
  • Bake squash for 25–30 minutes until the tops of the “crisps” are golden brown.
Appetizers, Snacks, Sweet Treats

Recipe—Toffee Apple Dip

I love it when I can find festive after school snacks for my little munchkin. While this isn’t the healthiest snack, we sure had fun making it together. We had it “whipped” up in less than 5 minutes and eaten in almost the same amount of time. Just kidding, I demonstrated some self-control and saved a little for my husband to enjoy for dessert that night. This was so good that when we ran out of apples I was just using my fingers to scoop it out. I know, I’m ashamed, but I couldn’t help it! It was really yummy! A better name for this is probably “Apple Crack”. After we finished the dip off we were trying to think about what else would go well with it and we think some graham crackers or Nilla wafers would make great dippers too. Enjoy! (And I know you will!)

Note: This is the perfect amount for 3–5 people but if you want to make it for a group definitely double or triple the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1 Heath bar
8 oz cream cheese (1 block)
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3–5 apples sliced

STEPS

  • Using a very sharp knife cut the Heath bar up into small bits. Set a tablespoon of the bits aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugars, and vanilla,
  • Stir in the majority of the Heath bits.
  • Transfer to a small serving bowl.
  • Top with reserved Heath bits.
  • Serve with sliced apples.
Appetizers, Sauces

Recipe—Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

 

The other night we were going to a friend’s house for a Mexican feast and I was put on appetizer duty. I wanted something besides plain ol’ bean dip that I could make ahead of time and assemble there, something light, refreshing, and elegant with a Mexican flare. These bite size shrimp taco cups were perfect! I must admit the sauce totally makes this dish. It is sooooo good! I think I will be making it in the future as a salad dressing. It would be great with a spicy chicken breast over a bed of greens. It just has so many flavors and each ingredient really shines through. Enjoy!

Note: Since these had to travel I was able to cook the won ton cups and shrimp at home and assemble them at my friend’s house. These are perfect if you are hosting a social gathering since all the prep can be done ahead of time and just quickly assembled once your guests arrive, which means more time for socializing! Perfect for the upcoming holidays.

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

SHRIMP CUP INGREDIENTS
24 small won ton wrappers
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 lime
1 c shredded cabbage

STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Lightly brush wonton wrappers with olive oil and arrange in a mini muffin pan making sure to press down flat in the bottoms.
  • Bake for 5–7 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  • Toss the shrimp with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and chili powder.
  • Roast shrimp on a baking sheet in the oven for 6–8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove shrimp from oven and squeeze the juice from the lime over the shrimp.
  • To assemble fill each wonton cup with a bit of shredded cabbage, add a spoonful of the sauce, and top with one shrimp.
Appetizers

Recipe—Pear and Gorgonzola Crostini

Summer has just come to an end and that means pears are in season. Here is a great appetizer that will help get you in the mood for fall. It’s really elegant and really easy, perfect for a romantic night in or a night of wine tasting! The flavors aren’t ones you might think to typically use together but they really do complement one another nicely. Once you eat these warm delights you will be in the mood to throw on a scarf and go pumpkin picking. Welcome fall!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c cream cheese, softened
1/2 c Gorgonzola
1/4 c butter, softened
baguette, sliced into 1/2” thick slices
2 pears, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 c pecans, chopped
2 tbsp rosemary. chopped
1/4 c honey

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • In a small bowl combine cream cheese, Gorgonzola, and butter.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cheese spread on each baguette slice.
  • Place one or two pear slices on top of the cheese.
  • Top pears with some crushed pecans and sprinkle rosemary on the top.
  • Place the prepared baguette slices on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 7–8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and drizzle with honey.
Appetizers

Recipe—Queso Fundido

Today is day 1 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one!

Planning a fiesta anytime soon? If so, this is a perfect appetizer sure to start the party off right. It is quick and easy. I have made this for two social gatherings in the last couple of weeks since jalapeños are in abundance at our house and both times the dish was practically licked clean. It is one of those appetizers that you just can’t get enough of. Just serve it up with your favorite tortilla chips and watch it disappear.

Note: If you have a small appetizer sized crock-pot you can put the finished queso fundido in it on low heat to stay warm.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped
3 tbsp tequila
2 c jack cheese, shredded
1/4 c milk
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium high heat and add tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños.
  • Cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Carefully add in tequila and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Mix in cheese and milk and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  • You can serve as it is OR you can put the cheese mixture in an oven safe dish and finish off under the broiler for 3–4 minutes or until just starting to turn a golden brown on top.