Tag Archives: appetizer

Salmon Spread

28 Aug

On Sunday my mom loaded up a bag of goods for me that included a few leftovers and a big pile of lovely produce from her garden.  For two days now I’ve snacked on mostly tomatoes with an occasional cucumber or green bean thrown in for variety.  After a few days of all tomato meals, I decided I better dig into some of the other items she sent my way – and that included some smoked salmon.  I know that I’m in the minority on this one, but I really hate leftovers.  The only way I like to consume them is if I turn them into something new.

Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, leftover salmon transforms into delicious salmon spread. Really, it’s practically that poetic.

There’s hardly anything easier than making salmon spread.  Take all the ingredients, mix them together in a bowl, and serve.  The spread is good on crackers, bread, bagels, and with veggies.  Because I care about you very much, I feel that I should tell you that the combination of salmon and garlic will give you POWERFUL BREATH.

Salmon Spread
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 8

8 oz. grilled or smoked salmon, cooled and flaked
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 T. mayo
1 T. Red Hot
1 t. prepared horseradish
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors come together.

Serve on a bagel, with crackers or bread, or with veggies for scooping.

Estimated calories:  82 cal/serving

Print it: Salmon Spread

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Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

6 Aug

Last week all I could think about was the Garlic Mashed Potato Pizza from Pizza Luce.  Like an earworm, I knew it would stick there until I did something about it.  I had two options: 1) Drive 90 miles to get some, 2) Make it.  I decided to make it.  All I needed was crust, garlic mashed potatoes, tomatoes, green onions, and tomatoes.  Of those ingredients, I had none, so I had to make do with what I had.

And it is not a real hardship to make do with what you have, when what you have is some goat cheese.

I started out with a pita flatbread.  You can use any variety or size, the one I like is not too dry and around 190 calories.  You can use whatever kind you like, just make sure it is strong enough to hold a big pile of ingredients.  Next, I swapped out garlic mashed potatoes for some pureed cauliflower with garlic.  The consistency is different than mashed potatoes, but not by a whole lot.  Plus, cauliflower is high in calcium, and one serving (2 slices) of this flatbread provides half of the amount of calcium you should consume in a day!  I added a bit of olive oil and goat cheese to the cauliflower mixture to make it taste a little creamier, then mixed in chopped rosemary to give it great flavor.  It looked a little bland, so I threw a few kalamata on the top, and added some extra goat cheese.  If you wanted to cut back on some of the calories, you could leave off the last bit of goat cheese, but it only saves you about 40 calories, and I think its worth it.

This dish would make an excellent starter, would pair well with a salad or bowl of soup, and makes an excellent dinner.  Even if you ate the whole thing all at once, not that I would know (I would totally know).

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, & Goat Cheese
Serving size: 2 pieces
Serves: 2

 

8” flatbread pita
1 c. cauliflower florets
1 clove garlic
2 t. olive oil, divided
2 oz. goat cheese, divided
1 t. fresh rosemary
3 kalamata olives, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a microwave safe bowl, add cauliflower and garlic, cover with water and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain, and place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor.  Add half of the olive oil, and pulse until mostly smooth.  Remove from food processor, and mash in half of the goat cheese and all of the rosemary.  Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet and top with the cauliflower mixture, spreading it out to cover.  Top pizza with the olives and the rest of the goat cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the goat cheese just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and cut into quarters.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

 

Estimated calories:  484 cal/serving

Print it: Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

2 Aug

I LOVE lamb and am lucky enough to have a pretty good supply of it in my freezer.  Right now, I have quite a few packages of ground lamb and they are practically burning a hole in my apron pocket.  Last week, I gave lamb burgers a try.  While I found the flavor delicious, they did not hold a nice flat patty shape, and instead puffed up like giant meatballs.  They were tasty, but a little hard to eat.  So this week when I decided to give it another go, I thought dude, why fight it.

Let them be meatballs.

This recipe is super easy, takes just a few minutes of prep, and only a few more to cook.  I served the meatballs with a some sides – pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives – and a healthy serving of Herbvocado Sauce.  The meatballs make a tasty dinner but would also be great to serve as appetizers.  Everybody loves meatballs!  Well, not my kids, but that might have more to do with the MEATBALL OVERDOSE OF 2007 more than anything else.

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 5 or 6 meatballs + 1/4 c. sauce
Serves: 6

MEATBALLS
1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SAUCE
6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine together ground lamb, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, until the herbs and garlic are evenly distributed.  Form meatballs about the size of a small superball (little bigger than a quarter in diameter).  This should make about 30-32 meatballs at this size.

Over medium heat, place meatballs in a large skillet and partially cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes and turn.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then turn.  Cook for another 1-3 minutes until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.  Take care not to overcook or they will get a bit dry.

Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set on a paper towel covered plate to soak up some of the grease.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice.  Pulse until starting to blend together.  Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.  Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  204 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme

15 Jul

Last night I joined my neighbors for their annual Beer and Cheese party.  I knew I wanted to bring something featuring homemade cheese, but I also knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to putter around with anything complicated.  In trying to figure out what to make, I may have stumbled on my new go-to appetizer recipe.

Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme – you are tasty and make me look fancy.

Honestly, it just does not get much easier than this recipe (especially if you skip making the ricotta from scratch).  With four ingredients and a few minutes of time, you can have a beautiful plate of slightly sweet appetizers. Bite-sized, these cups are easy to eat, low in calories, and full of delicious flavor.  They would be great as appetizers, a nice brunch addition, or served with some fruit for dessert.  And, they look really, really beautiful on a plate.

For this batch, I made my own ricotta.  I can see at least one of you rolling your eyes from here (hey mom!).  It is worth noting that you absolutely do not need to make ricotta from scratch for this recipe; store-bought ricotta will be perfectly fine.  However, if you’ve had any interest in making your own cheese, I would highly recommend starting with ricotta.  Of all the cheeses I’ve made so far, ricotta is the easiest and requires the least amount of equipment, patience, or special equipment.  I’ve used a recipe from Cooking Light with great success.  This time, I used whole milk instead of the 2% that the recipe called for.  The cheese was much drier than I’ve made in the past, so next time I’d stick with the 2% as I preferred the consistency and would rather save those calories for something else.

The only effort in this recipe is in the assembly, which from start-to-finish is probably under 5 minutes.  The phyllo cups can be filled ahead of time, but I would not recommend doing it more than an hour or so before eating.  The cups soften slightly over time, and the honey soaks into the cheese the longer it sits.  The flavor is still the same, it just looks a little bit prettier when you can still see the honey drizzled on the top.

Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme
Serving size: 2 filled phyllo cups
Serves: 6

12 prepared phyllo cups
1/3 c. ricotta
1 T. honey
Fresh thyme leaves

Thaw frozen phyllo cups at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of ricotta into each up.  Drizzle cups with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Estimated calories:  75 cal/serving

Print it: Phyllo Cups with Ricotta,  Honey, and Thyme

Flashback Meatballs

1 Jun

There are a few party recipes that were very popular when I was a kid, and every once in a while I really crave them.  Sometimes nothing can compare to a big bowl of Chex Mix (the original recipe, not any of the variations), ripple potato chips with french onion dip, cream cheese topped with chili sauce and crab from a can, or meatballs cooked in a sauce made with grape jelly.  It’s this last recipe that I’ve searched for the longest.  When I’ve asked people how to make it, it’s always the same answer – one bottle of chili sauce and some grape jelly (amount varies).  It’s never quite as good as I remember it as a kid, but maybe it’s because now I’m the one making it.  Food always seems to taste better when someone else makes it for you.

I make a lot of meatballs, but the one thing I don’t like about making them is that they can be kind of tedious.  So when I found a recipe last year for meatballs that can be cooked in a crock pot and don’t require any pre-cooking, I was thrilled.  They were pretty good, but the flavor wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  And, the recipe called for 1.5 lbs of ground beef and since the beef in my freezer is in 1 lb. packages, that strikes me as completely inconvenient.  To fit the size of the beef packages in my freezer and to bring back that old grape jelly-laden memory, I made a few changes.

These meatballs are darn easy to make and very tasty.  Throw some on a plate, grab a pile of toothpicks, close your eyes and you’ll feel like you’re back in 1982.

Flashback Meatballs
Serving size: 3 balls
Serves: 10

1 c. grape jelly
1 bottle chili sauce
1 slice white bread
1 lb ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper

In a crock pot, mix together jelly and chili sauce.  Fill the chili sauce bottle about 1/3 full with water and add to the sauce.  Stir until well combined.  Set crock pot to low.

In the white bread to a food processor and pulse into crumbs.

In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper.  Form into small-sized (about 30) meatballs.

There are two methods for cooking the meatballs:

Slow method: Add the raw meatballs to the crock pot and gently stir to coat with sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.

Speed method: Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and cook meatballs for 30 minutes at 350° F, turning halfway through cooking.  Transfer the meatballs to the crock pot and stir to cover with sauce.  Heat on low for at least an hour to allow the meatballs to sauce up.

Estimated calories:  240 cal/serving

Print it: Flashback Meatballs

Lemon Tomato Bruschetta Mixture

8 Jun

 

 

Last week, the kids and I went to the Farmers Market for the first time this season.  It is very early in the growing season, but there were a few greenhouse grown tomatoes on hand.  They were giant, heirloom varieties in beautiful colors.  The tomatoes were packed with flavor, had few seeds, and were perfectly ripe – such a welcome change from the grocery store variety that we’ve been eating for the past few months.  Seasonally available tomatoes are such a treat that I wanted to make something that would bring out the full flavor.

I diced the tomato, added some lemon juice and threw in some herbs from the garden.  Originally made to top asparagus (that recipe will come another time), I was lucky enough to have some of the tomato mixture leftover the next day.  I added a scoop to a pita, topped it with goat cheese, and baked it until the cheese was just melty.  It was delicious. 

This mixture is very versatile – use it as a pizza topping like I did, place it on sliced baguettes for bruschetta, spoon over grilled vegetables, or eat it straight out of the container.  As written, this recipe is both low-calorie and dairy-free, which could change depending on how you use it.

Lemon Tomato Bruschetta Mixture
Serves: Approx. 1-1/2 c.
Serving Size: 1/2 c. 

1 large heirloom tomato (yellow, purple, red)
1 t. lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh chives, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chop tomato into 1/2” cubes and place in bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Let sit at room temperature for 1-3 hours.

Estimated Calories:  55 per serving (tomato mixture only, not including any of the serving ideas)

Print it: Lemon Tomato Bruschetta