Watermelon with Mint

This is an appetizer we did for Samuel and Lisa’s wedding. I was dubious at first, but these little appetizers are delicious! That and it’s gluten and dairy free, simple, refreshing and really, really easy to make.

My trick to picking delicious watermelons:

  1. Don’t buy watermelons that have been sitting outside in the heat.
  2. Find heavy watermelons that sound hollow. Not thuds. Hollow.
  3. Test two or three potential ones to find the best.
  4. Try and buy from places that have set prices instead of by the pound. (you’ll save money that way)

editedIMG_8168

Watermelon with Mint

Ingredients:
Watermelon
Mint leaves
toothpicks

Directions:
Cut watermelon into 1″x 1″ cubes. Top each cube with half a mint leaf and secure it with a toothpick. Serve cold.

Advertisements

Amy’s Cheesy Artichoke Tarts

This recipe get devoured quickly and is deliciously rich. I recently made 9 times the recipe for a party, so it’s also an easy recipe. I find it much easier to precook the wonton wrappers and then warm the filling inside. Both wonton cups and filling can be made days in advance and assembled last minute.

goodIMG_3715

Ingredients:
32 wonton wrappers (3 1/2 inch square)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
4 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin cups.
Gently press 1 wonton wrapper into each muffin cup, allowing ends to extend above cups.  Spray edges of wrappers with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, cayenne pepper and mustard in a medium bowl and mix well.
Stir in pepper and artichoke hearts.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into each cup.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheese mixture is set and edges of wrappers are lightly browned.
Serve warm (but they taste great cold as well).

Spinach Pie (or Spanakopita)

This delicious recipe makes me drool just thinking about it. Layering several sheets of pastry and then doing the “Flag fold” around the filling makes little pockets which are great as appetizers.

Ingredients:
2 cups onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed, rinsed and squeezed
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon oil
6 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not the powdery stuff), grated
3/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs, best if made from croutons (if regular bread crumbs are used, add salt and pepper)
1 pound feta cheese (can try other cheeses as well or use a blend of different cheeses), crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans or pine nuts, chopped in medium pieces, optional
1/2 cup butter
1/2 or more package phyllo dough, thawed, opened, laid flat, covered with a damp towel

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Warm a skillet.  Add 1 teaspoon butter and oil.  When melted, add onions and garlic and cook them till slightly browned.  Remove from heat.
Put eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in spinach.  Add feta, Parmesan, nuts, nutmeg and bread crumbs.  Add onions and garlic.  Mix well.
Brush each sheet of phyllo with melted butter as you layer them on the bottom of pie plate.   Use six sheets of phyllo, leaving some overlapping edge and shifting each piece to overlap a different section of the pie plate.
Put spinach mixture in the dish and mound it evenly.
Layer six more sheets of phyllo on, buttering, layering and shifting  each as you go.  Roll the overlapped edges in to form a crust.  Brush edges with butter.
Bake for about  55 minutes or until the inside is set.
Let set 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Tortilla Roll-ups

We love these so much that we rarely make them and slice them properly, but just cut them in half like a sandwich.

goodIMG_3714

Ingredients:
10″ flour tortillas
Cream cheese or mayo
Mustard of choice
Meat of choice
Cheese slices
lettuce

Directions:
Spread condiments on, lay cheese slices (I usually have them a 1/2-1 inch wide) down the middle. Lay three pieces of meat along one half of the tortilla. Fill with as much lettuce as you want. Tightly roll (this takes practice, but the more your do it, the easier it gets). Slice in 1-2 inch slices.

Variations:

Turkey: combine cream cheese with cranberry sauce till smooth (cream the cream cheese for a long time before slowly adding cranberry sauce). Use that filling topped with meat, cheese, lettuce and pickles if wanted. Roll and slice.

Roast Beef: combine horseradish with cream cheese and use that filling topped with roast beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato and cooked asparagus.

Ham and Cheese: Ham, mustard and cheese with veggies.

Peanut butter and banana: spread peanut butter on tortilla. Place whole banana down the length and roll. Slice and serve.

Peanut butter and jelly

Veggie Wrap: ranch dressing, veggies of choice, wrap, slice and serve.

Caprese Bites

These delicious bites are just the right size and pop with the perfect ratios of cheese, tomato and basil.


Ingredients:
mozzarella balls
basil leaves
cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
salt and pepper
toothpicks

Directions:
Mix together dressing ingredients.
Poke one mozzarella ball and one tomato with the basil around the bottom like a boat.
Fifteen or twenty minutes before serving, toss gently with dressing.

BLT Bites

These are simple and deliciously flavorful. A breadless BLT! 😀 The only picky part is hollowing the tomatoes, but that can be done the day before.
Edited2IMG_7349 editedIMG_7344


Ingredients:
grape tomatoes
bacon , cooked and torn into 1/2 inch pieces
leafy lettuce, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
mayonnaise

Directions:
Cut the top off of each tomato and scoop out insides.  Press a piece of lettuce into each cavity, add a piece of bacon.  Just before serving, scoop some mayonnaise into a Ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in one corner. Squeeze a little mayonnaise into each tomato. Serve cold.

Jalapeno Poppers

In the midst of the chaos of yesterday, I didn’t get a picture to put up with this recipe. Means I get to make them again soon! I made the filling several days before the party I served them at. On the day, I baked them up in the morning and then reheated them closer to the time.



Ingredients:
1 package cream cheese (8 oz), softened
1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 oz) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound fresh jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
sour cream, onion dip or ranch salad dressing

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine cheeses, bacon and seasonings; mix well.  spoon about 2 Tbsp. into each pepper half.  Roll tops in bread crumbs.
Place in a greased jelly roll pan.  Bake uncovered at 300 for 20 minutes for spicy flavor, 30 minutes for medium and 40 minutes for mild. Serve with sour cream, dip or dressing.

Bang Bang Sauce

This is a spicy recipe. It can be served over just about anything and has a delicious flavor. We usually eat it with breaded shrimp, but served with steak is delicious!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (Chinese section)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

Directions:
Mix until combined.

Serving Ideas:
-breaded shrimp
-shrimp
-over chicken
-over pasta
-over rice
-over steak

Claire’s Cheeseball

This is by far the most delicious spread. I love the flavor and texture and how easy it is to make. We rarely make it into an actual cheese ball, but usually serve it out of a glass bowl. My all time favorite way to eat it is over toasted English muffins or toasted homemade bread.

Ingredients:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 package Ranch dressing mix
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer.
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.  Put cheeseball on wrap.  Form into ball.
Place in small bowl, pushing down to remove air pockets.
Chill one hour or more.
When firm, roll in walnuts.  Press nuts into cheese mixture.
Serve with crackers and/or chopped vegetables.

Serving Ideas: Serve:
-as sandwich or toast spread
-on crackers
-on veggies (especially carrots, celery and cucumbers)
-can use in pastry bag with tip onto crackers with a garnish