Stuffed Portobellos

One of my favorite hot appetizer “go-to’s” is always stuffed mushrooms.  I have posted a few ideas on this blog in years past of those recipes.  This recipe, however, is a dinner entrée recipe that is wonderful for a Meatless Monday menu plan. Made with larger mushrooms, this recipe is terrific served with a side salad for a complete meal.

Here is how I made this delicious dinner.  Select larger Portobello mushrooms, one per guest. Wash well and remove the stem.  Clean out the black scales and wash again.  Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish.  I poured about 1/2 cup of White Zinfindel wine in the pan for added flavor and moisture to the dish while cooking.

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon margarine and saute 2 stalks chopped celery, 1/3 chopped red onion, and 2 ounces of crumbled bacon.  I used crumbled bacon in a bag.  Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

When the vegetables are soft, remove them from the stove top. In a bowl, mix in 1/2 cup Panko crumbs and 1 cup shredded Fontina cheese. Add the sauteed ingredients to the bowl.  Add enough light mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup, just to pull together the mixture.

Stuff the mushrooms and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  This recipe can also be placed in a casserole dish and baked to serve with crackers as an appetizer.

Additional cheese can always be put on top of this casserole or the mushrooms prior to baking for an extra cheesy taste.  This recipe will fill four large mushrooms.

Tomato and Cheese Tart

Inspired by the Food Network magazine, September 2016 issue, I made this tart last week.  This is a great recipe, as the puff pastry works perfectly to create a tasty savory tart.  This could be a wonderful Super Bowl appetizer, or could be used alongside an arugula salad for a delicious lunch entrée.  This tart will provide four generous servings.

To make this appetizer tart, gather these ingredients.  One frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed less than 20 minutes–1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese, 5 slices of crumbled microwave bacon cooked, 3 medium Roma tomatoes sliced, dried thyme, Kosher salt, ground pepper, 2 Tablespoons Egg Beaters.

First, roll out the thawed puff pastry on a silpat mat or parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with cheese, keeping a nice border edge for folding later.  Top with the bacon and tomato sliced in three rows, slightly overlapping.

Next, season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Fold in the long ends first and slice with a knife in one inch apart vents.  Then, fold in the smaller ends.  Brush with Egg Beaters.  Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. Slice and serve warm.  Easy and quite delicious.

  

Thanksgiving turkey tray

For an afternoon holiday appetizer tray, I found this cute idea on Pinterest. If you haven’t found Pinterest yet, I highly recommend the website as a great way to find ideas for just about anything.  I have tried many great recipes on the site, and have saved more than 11,000 pins so far into various boards. Find me on Pinterest under my name.

Here is my version of an appetizer tray that I served on Thanksgiving day.  It was well received by my family. It was a cute way to serve a very basic appetizer while everyone was waiting for the main event. The relish tray is arranged in the shape of a turkey.

Earlier in the day, I cut and prepared the vegetables and then just before serving, arranged them on the tray.  It was easy and fun.  And also encouraged raw vegetable eating instead of other more caloric snacks!

 

spicy party poppers

Using a few jalapeno chilies from the garden, I put together this recipe for a party offering. I used some cooked chicken breast from a dinner the previous evening, and had a great easy appetizer or dinner side to spice up that Mexican meal. This recipe was adapted from Southern Living magazine, May 2016.

Assemble these ingredients to make the poppers:  12 jalapeno halves, 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, 1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon lime juice, black pepper to taste, 5 slices of fresh bacon, and some toothpicks.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice open the chilies. Place on a half sheet pan with a rack.  Mix together the other ingredients and place inside the jalapenos.  Slice the bacon and half and secure with a toothpick.

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Bake in the oven until the bacon is crispy.  It will take about 25 minutes.  Broil to really crisp the bacon if desired, at the end of cook time, for about 2 minutes.  These poppers refrigerate well, and can be re-heated for a party.  So, this is a great make ahead dish that can be ready for a game day the next afternoon. Remove the toothpicks for serving on an attractive plate or a bed of arugula.

Summer appetizers

Summer is a great time to invite family and friends for outdoor entertaining.  Even if enjoying the outdoors, it is still possible to offer a selection of appetizers indoors on a buffet.  Whether it is a small group of friends or just another couple, it is easy to have a few appetizers set up for casual entertaining.

Here are a few ideas for what to serve when guests stop by:  roasted red peppers and wheat crackers, the classic vegetable tray with an herb dip, a selection of olives with almonds, ham-Swiss-and dill pickle skewers, a cheesy bacon spread with crackers, homemade party mix of bugles, small pretzels, goldfish, rye wafers, and rice chex, or strawberries, blueberries and Monterrey jack cheese. Recipes for any of these appetizers have already been posted on this blog and can be found with the search option. Others are basic and need no recipe.

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Maybe, try an herbed feta with crackers and Camembert with jam tartlets.

So nice to have guests serving themselves during the summer months.

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Provide a selection of beverages or pour a glass of wine and enjoy!

Springtime Spinach Spread

March Madness is upon us again, and there is always another event where a new appetizer could be shared.  Here is an easy recipe that comes together in less than 30 minutes and is very creamy and tasty.  This recipe makes a lot of spread, so it can either be frozen for later events or only plan to make this recipe for a gathering.  It will become your next favorite recipe.

Gather these ingredients:  one package of crumbled real bacon, 8 ounces of low fat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese, 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, one box frozen spinach thawed, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and dried parsley flakes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a ceramic pie dish with Pam to coat.  With an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, mayonnaise, and the Worcestershire sauce. Next, stir in the spinach-fully drained, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, salt and ground pepper to taste.  Spread into the prepared dish.  Sprinkle with more cheddar and mozzarella as needed to cover the dish.  This will be about 3/4 cup of additional cheese.

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Bake for 20 minutes until slightly brown and very hot.  Garnish wish parsley flakes and serve with an assortment of crackers or crusty bread. Yum.

 

Oscar appetizer

The Academy Awards will be on television in just over one week, and when planning your Oscar party menu, here is one appetizer that will soon become a favorite for your guests.

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This is an easy recipe and the options can be changed up to include different flavor profiles very quickly.  And, depending on how many guests expected, just increase the number of ingredients.  It is that simple.  For today’s recipe, I used two boneless chicken breasts, sliced into cubes. I then wrapped each cube with one-third slice of bacon, topped with a teaspoon of Stonewall Kitchen Chutney.  I secured each appetizer with a pick, and placed on a sheet pan lined with a Silpat mat to bake.  In a pre-heated oven, bake the appetizers for 15-20 minutes until the bacon and chicken are fully cooked.  The chutney gives this appetizer a delicious caramelized taste and will keep your guests coming back for more on the platter.

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These appetizers can be displayed on a serving dish lined with flat lettuce leaves, shredded lettuce, or kale.  Having a green backdrop makes them very appealing.

By changing the flavor of the jam, the appetizer can be different every time.