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Category Archives: Appetizer

Brie with Caramelized Onions

This is the most amazing and simplest thing to put together for any occasion.  I saw it originally on pinterest (another site I’ve recently become addicting to!) and had to make it.  It’s very simple.  And I saw this at exactly the right time, because I just happened to have a whole wheel of brie in my fridge (another silly Costco purchase haha!).

Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice a red onion in thin strips.  Melt butter in a skillet over low to medium heat and add the onion.  Cook the oven, stirring periodically until the onions are nice and dark.  Place the brie in an oven safe dish (I know that it’s supposed to be fine to cook/ eat the rind, but that creeps me out, so I cut the whole rind off before putting it in the dish) and top with the caramelized onions.  Cook for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly.

Enjoy with crackers or baguette slices.

 

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Loaded Nachos

Loaded nachos are a great treat!  It’s also a great way to use up fiesta left overs!

 

Warm up the ground beef in the microwave (or cook fresh ground beef with the taco seasoning).  Spread tortilla chips over a plate and sprinkle with shredded cheese and microwave until the cheese is almost melted.  Spread the ground beef over the cheese and microwave for a few more seconds until the cheese is completely melted.  Use any ingredients you have in the house to load up the nachos.  I used fresh tomatoes, green chillies, red onion, guacamole, sour cream and finely diced jalapenos.

 

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Fresh Salsa

Fresh salsa is so unbelievably delicious and simple to prepare.  It is way better than store bought because you can tweek it to your taste!

 

Fresh tomatoes

Red Onion

Fresh cilantro

Green Pepper

1 lime

Jalapeno

 

Chop the tomatoes, onion and green pepper in a small dice.  Chop the fresh cilantro and mix in with the tomatoes, onion, pepper.  Dice the jalapeno in very small pieces (this will help get the heat, but will hopefully not give a mouthful of spicy) and mix in.  Squeeze the lime over the fresh salsa.  If you want even more heat, you could do a dash of hot sauce into the mix.  A bit of salt and pepper gives extra flavor.  If you don’t want any major heat, leave the jalapeno out.  I did a bunch of “mild” without the jalapeno and then another with.

 

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Watermelon Feta Bites

I saw this on www.foodgawker.com (it’s seriously so inspiring to look at!!) and had to try it!  It was really easy to do, and looked so elegant.  It was on the menu for a birthday brunch that I threw for myself last weekend haha.  The picture and recipe I saw had a balsamic reduction that I’m sure would be a fantastic addition.  But, we didn’t have any balsamic vinegar when I made these, so we just left that off.  Next time I do them, I will definitely include that though!

1 watermelon

1 block Feta cheese

Fresh basil

Balsamic vinegar reduction

Slice watermelon in 1 1/2 inch slices.  Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out circles from the melon.  Repeat for as many as you are making.  The block of Feta I had was about 1/2 inch thick.  Use the same size biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the cheese.  Use a very sharp knife and very carefully cut each circle in half.  The Feta is very potent, so you want a much higher ratio of watermelon to the cheese.  Make the balsamic reduction by placing vinegar in a sauce pan over low heat and let it reduce.  It will become thick and sticky.  Place the watermelon on a platter or plate and top with the Feta and then a drizzle of the balsamic reduction.  Place a fresh piece of basil on each bite.

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Stuffed Banana Peppers

Apparently this summer is all about stuffing peppers for me!  I saw locally grown, beautiful, and fresh banana peppers at the farmers market recently and I had to have them.  And stuff them haha.  They varied in color which directly resulted in slightly different heat in each of them (I read somewhere that the deeper or oranger/ redder they are the more mild they taste).  They were all delicious!  I had been talking to my co worker about stuffed banana peppers, and knew the basic jist of what went in them, but didn’t do my usual research to find things I liked about 5 recipes and then come up with my own spin.  So, I just went for it.  While I was stuffing the browned sausage into them I realized people probably make a meat ball (or tube would be more relevant, I guess) and cook the meat in the oven.  I didn’t do that and it crumbled like crazy all over the peppers.  But, I must tell you, I think I enjoyed the extra texture that the crumbly browned sausage gave over the regular baked only filling.  And it really wasn’t difficult to stuff them even if it was a little crumblier.

6-8 Fresh whole banana peppers, cut n half length wise and seeded

1 package ground hot sausage

1/4 cup or so of Panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 medium white onion, chopped

A few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce

a pinch of salt (I used Tastefully Simple’s seasoning salt)

I also used a sprinkle of Garlic! Garlic! from Tastefully Simple

 

Pre heat the oven to 350.

Saute the onion in some butter over medium heat.  While they are getting beautifully transparent and making your kitchen smell amazing, slice the peppers in half long ways and get all of the seeds out.

Place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with just a tad of extra virgin olive oil.  If you are browning the meat first, like I did, bake the peppers for just the amount of time it takes you to brown the sausage.  If you are doing a meat tube (that phrase is cracking me up!) and baking it all together, you could skip this step.  You don’t want the peppers to be an overcooked mushy mess.

Once the onions are nice and sauteed, add the hot sausage to the pan.  You may need to add a slight amount of butter or oil here.  Break up the meat with your spoon as it cooks.  Once the sausage is browned, add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, the spices (seasoning salt and Garlic! Garlic! in my case), the bread crumbs and the cheese.  Once you have that combined, take the peppers out of the oven and spoon into the pepper boats.  Spoon it in as best you can and just know that it will be delicious!  Sprinkle a little more cheese over the top and place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until the cheese is nice and melted and everything feels nice and warm).

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Veggie Sushi with Shrimp

I saw a great picture and recipe for a vegan veggie sushi roll with cashew paste.  It was so pretty and I wanted to put a spin on it.  The cashew paste did not appeal to me at all, so instead of that to seal the wrap I used cream cheese with shrimp and wasabi.  They turned out pretty tasty!

1 zucchini, sliced very thin

2 carrots, chopped in about 2 inch match stick width

1 bell pepper, chopped in about 2 inch thin strips

1/2 block of cream cheese

4-5 squeezed of wasabi (do this according to your taste, taste after each squeeze)

1/4 cup chopped cooked shrimp

Place the cream cheese in a bowl and let it come to room temperature.  While that is happening, slice and chop the vegetables.  Squeeze the wasabi into the cream cheese and continue to mix until you get it to your taste.  Add the shrimp and mix until it’s incorporated.  Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture to each slice of cucumber and place the carrots and peppers on top.  Roll the zucchini as tightly as possible.  The cream cheese mixture will help it stay sealed.  Serve with soy sauce.

1 cucumber will make about 15 rolls.  Oh and I ended up not using the radish that was in the pic, I didn’t like how it tasted with everything else.

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Stuffed Jalapenos

If you love jalapeno poppers, you will love this recipe!  This was the other selection for our recent apps for dinner, and turned out very well!  It gives you all of the great flavors of a jalapeno, but I think it would have to be a little healthier for you, because it’s not completely in-cased in breading like they are.  Oh and they are baked and I’m sure the ones you get at restaurants are probably fried.

If you love the flavor, but want a pretty mild pepper, prep the peppers and roast them in the oven while you make the filling.  The longer you roast them, the milder they will become.

If you love the heat, leave the seeds in them or mix them into the filling for lots of forehead sweat inducing extra heat!

1-2 jalapeno pepper per person

1/2 block cream cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 sour cream

1/4 – 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke

Panko breadcrumbs

(This ratio will stuff about 6 or 7 peppers, adjust accordingly to serve more!)

Heat the oven to 350.

Split each jalapeno in half length wise and remove the seeds and veins.  (Again if you want them very spicy, leave some seeds)  To reduce the heat, roast the peppers in the over for anywhere 10-30 minutes to make the pepper more mild.

While those are roasting, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and Liquid Smoke with an electric mixer.  Stir in the shredded cheddar and mix by hand.

If you roasted the peppers, remove them (you may have to wait til they are cool enough to handle) and fill with the stuffing mixture.  Return to the pan or dish and sprinkle with the Panko breadcrumbs.  Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

To get the breadcrumbs nice and golden brown, place the pan under the broiler for just a minute or 2.  This will give the perfect golden crunch to the “popper”!

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