Category Archives: Appetizers/Small Plates

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

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I was trying out this recipe for use as a party appetizer, and it was a true success story. The Brussels sprouts are blanched in hot water for a few minutes to bring out their bright green color. Once removed from the pot, they are cut with an X about halfway down. A mixture of goat cheese and garlic is piped into the middle and then the entire thing is wrapped in bacon. I usually buy center cut bacon, but for this recipe I suggest using a longer cut. Pop these in the oven for 30 minutes and out come these tasty little morsels. Serve with the picks that secure the bacon for easy handling. I do suggest that you try to find Brussels sprouts that are all about the same size for this recipe. Such a perfect idea for Thanksgiving when you can find them fresh “on the stalk” at your grocer.


BACON-WRAPPED STUFFED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (Serves: 8)

Ingredients

  • 18 large Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed and loose outer leaves discarded
  • 4 ounces cream cheese or goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 9 slices bacon, halved crosswise
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 2 minutes to blanch.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a sieve. Pat the Brussels sprouts dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel. Using a paring knife, cut an “X” in the top of each Brussels sprout, cutting halfway down through the sprout.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Blend the cheese and garlic in a small bowl. Spoon the cheese mixture into a small resealable plastic bag. Cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag. Place the cut-out corner of the plastic bag in the “X” of each Brussels sprout and squeeze in a dollop of cheese mixture.
  4. Wrap a piece of bacon around each sprout vertically, covering over the cheese. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the sprouts and sprinkle with the pepper.
  5. Bake the sprouts, flipping them over halfway through the baking time, until the bacon is evenly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with toothpicks.

~ RodaleWellness.com ~

Cucumber Cups Stuffed with Spicy Crab

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3.jpgThis recipe combines the cool crispness of cucumber with the spicy savoriness of crab. I recommend using English cucumbers for both their diameter and length. It is a bit challenging to scoop them out with a melon baller, but it gets easier as you gain experience. Make a crab salad by combining cream cheese, sour cream, crab meat, hot sauce, brown mustard and green onion. I felt that mine came out just a bit too runny and, as a result, a bit sloppy. I think in the future I would reserve just a little of the sour cream-cream cheese mixture so that I can regulate the consistency. Some of the guests mentioned that the 2″ cup was a bit difficult to handle. As a result, I think it would be wise to create smaller cucumber cups in the future — perhaps 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Smaller cups but a greater yield. The crab salad and cups can be made in advance, but fill them just before serving. Dust with paprika and sprinkle with sliced green onion. A real people pleaser and a great contribution to any get-together.


CUCUMBER CUPS STUFFED WITH SPICY CRAB (Yields about 20)

Ingredients

  • 3 long cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup crab meat, excess water removed
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or tapito)
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs minced green onion
  • Garnish with chili powder or paprika if desired

Directions

  1. Remove the peel from the cucumbers using a vegetable peeler. Cut the cucumber into 2 inch slices. Using a small melon baller, scoop out most of the inside. You want to leave the walls and a thick portion of the bottom intact.
  2. In a bowl, combine the sour cream and the cream cheese with a fork until well combined. add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Fill each of the cucumber cups with the crab dip. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve within 2 hours of making.

~ DomesticFits.com ~

Caprese Skewers with Plum Balsamic Drizzle

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1So beautiful and so tasty — this recipe from Ree Drummond is true perfection.  We cut fresh rosemary from the garden and stripped off the lower leaves to make skewers. (Why hadn’t I thought of this before?) Begin by marinating the mozzarella in olive oil and seasonings for an hour or so. We weren’t able to find bocconcini so we used the slightly smaller ciliegine mozzarella balls instead. Puree the plum preserves and balsamic vinegar together and then put on the stove to reduce by half. Thread the mozzarella and grape tomatoes on the rosemary skewers and drizzle with the plum balsamic mixture just before serving.  A wonderful thing to take along to a party or to serve as an appetizer at any gathering.


CAPRESE SKEWERS WITH PLUM BALSAMIC DRIZZLE (Serves: 20)

Ingredients

  • 20 bocconcini (mozzarella balls)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 15-ounce jar plum preserves
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 20 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes

Directions

  1. Put the bocconcini in a large bowl with the olive oil, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree the plums with the balsamic vinegar until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced by about half, several minutes. It should be fairly thick, but remember, it will continue to thicken as it cools. When cool, pour it into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.
  3. Trim about 2 inches of the leaves off the bottoms of the rosemary sprigs. Skewer a tomato followed by a bocconcino onto each. Arrange on a platter, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, squeeze over the plum balsamic drizzle.

~ FoodNetwork/Recipes/ReeDrummond.com ~

Cowboy Caviar

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3This is the perfect recipe to serve your family and friends for game or movie night. It is full of veggies and tossed with a delicious spicy-sweet dressing. To add color I picked up a package of Stoplight peppers (green, yellow & red) and some fresh avocados. Begin by prepping all of the chopped fresh vegetables and then, drain and rinse the black beans and black-eyed peas. Combine all of the ingredients, toss with the dressing and then into the refrigerator it goes until you are ready to serve. Bring it out with some sliced avocado and corn chips . . . and a stack of napkins. It is definitely drool worthy.


COWBOY CAVIAR (Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups seeded and diced Roma tomatoes (about 1 pound Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 – 15-ounce can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup seeded and diced bell pepper, any color (about 1 medium pepper)
  • ¾ cup red onion or shallot, small diced
  • 1 – 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro (about ½ bunch fresh cilantro)
  • 1 to 2 avocados, sliced (optional)

Ingredients (Dressing)

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add the diced tomatoes, corn kernels, diced bell pepper, diced red onion, black beans, black-eyed peas, and minced jalapeño. Stir to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until well-combined.
  3. Pour the dressing into the large bowl over the veggies. Add the cilantro, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  4. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with sliced avocado or corn chips, as desired.

~ TipHero.com ~

Egg in a Hole Burger

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I used this recipe for an Egg In A Hole Burger as my inspiration for the delicious sandwich shown above. I reserved some Italian sausage from the pizza that we had prepared the night before and decided to pair it with the beautiful pasture raised eggs that I picked up at The Travelled Farmer. I am a firm believer that the best dishes are made from the best quality ingredients available. One word of advise is to add the egg to the burger before it is too well done, and cover it immediately so that it firms up as the burger finishes cooking. I paired the burger with a slice of a fantastic, meaty heirloom tomato, a slice of cheddar, a bit of bacon and some freshly chopped green onions. I skipped the sriracha mayo and used a carmelized onion whipped mustard instead. The result was outstanding!!


EGG IN A HOLE BURGER (Serves: 4)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce, for serving
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Make Sriracha mayo: In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and Sriracha.
  2. In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  3. Form beef into three equal-sized patties. Using a small glass, cut out the center of each patty to create a donut-shaped burger (combine excess meat to form fourth patty). Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add burgers and cook 2 minutes, then flip. Crack an egg into the center of each burger and cook, covered, until whites are set.
  5. Toast buns and spread Sriracha mayo on bottom buns. Build burgers by topping with lettuce, burger, bacon, and Cheddar.

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~ Delish.com ~

Garlic Parmesan–Baked Carrot Fries

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These carrot fries are a super delicious, super healthy snack. I have to admit that I used leftover carrots from our Thanksgiving dinner, so my fries did not come out quite as crisp as fresh carrots would have. However, it was a great use of the leftover carrots, and it gave me a good idea of what the texture of the baked carrot would be. Try to grate your parmesan into a fine “powder”, if possible. I think that it would have coated the carrots better than my example here. We found that the Dipping Sauce was way too salty for us (I would cut the amount o garlic salt to at least one-half teaspoon). You can substitute Ranch dressing or try to adapt the recipe for the sauce to your taste. Perfect as a snack or served as a side.


GARLIC PARMESAN–BAKED CARROT FRIES (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients (Dipping Sauce)

  • 4 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the top and bottom off of carrots then slice them in half, slice each half into thirds lengthwise.
  3. In a large bowl, mix ingredients with carrot sticks.
  4. Spread on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

~ Buzzfeed.com ~

Bruschetta

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bruschettaI have been mispronouncing this fantastic appetizer for so many years that, now that I know better, I can’t seem to get it out my mouth correctly. At least I have no trouble getting it into my mouth!! I fell in love Brushetta (broos-keh-t-tah) on my first visit to Park Side Restaurant located in the Corona neighborhood in Queens. This place is the real deal when it comes to authentic Italian fare. It also has a very colorful connection to the Mafia. In fact, it is owned by Anthony “Tough Tony” Federici, a reputed Genovese captain. We make sure to allow time to dine there during our annual trip to New York. You can still see many “associates” meeting for dinner and drinks and a “business” discussion.

This recipe is a real winner. However, I do have a few things that I think would make it even better. Make sure that you purchase nice firm, ripe grape tomatoes. We prefer them cut into eight pieces rather than in half. The smaller the cut the easier it is to eat without spilling. It also gives a mouth full of the wonderful tomato, garlic and basil deliciousness. This is the first time that I toasted the bread on the stove in butter. It came out beautifully, but make sure that you watch the temperature of the pan. Butter has a pretty low smoking point and you want to keep your bread light, toasty and just browned. I like to allow the bruschetta to rest overnight in the refrigerator. Take it out about an hour before serving to take off the chill and serve with freshly grated parmesan. Many thanks to Food Networks Pioneer Woman for this recipe. It was a Fan-Favorite on game day . . .


 

BRUSCHETTA (Serves 12)

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 whole fresh basil leaves, plus more as needed, chiffonade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole baguette or crusty loaf
  • 1 stick butter

Directions

  1. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute, removing before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden). Pour the garlic and oil into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Add the red and yellow tomatoes, balsamic and basil to the bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed (don’t over salt, though!) Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if you have the time.
  3. Cut the baguette into diagonal slices to allow for the most surface area possible. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and grill half the bread on both sides, making sure they’re nice and buttery. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the other half of the bread.
  4. To serve, give the tomato mixture a final stir, and then spoon generously over the slices of bread. Serve on a big platter as a first course or appetizer.

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~ from FoodNetwork.com/recipes/Ree-Drummond ~