Category Archives: Appetizers

Parsley Pesto

Parsley Pesto

Surprisingly, I still had a massive garden of fresh parsley piled up outside that had not yet frozen. Quickly snipping it all, I rushed inside to make pesto before my poor bunch decided to freeze.

Glad I did this as two days later we had a giant cold spell freeze the remainder of my kale and carrots.

I must say my carrots were a weird bunch this year as they grew and grew but never decided to sprout out of the ground, I had the looks of growing carrots, but never actually produced a single one. I was pretty bummed about this. :(

Anyway my parsley is the main topic right now as I made this delicious pesto from the fresh parsley hanging on by a thread fighting the bitter cold.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
  • 3 handfuls of fresh Italian Parsley (or basil if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Avocado olive oil (or EVOO)
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/3 cup + extra for topping, fresh Parmesan cheese

In a food processor add your parsley (I did not chop nor stem my parsley)
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Add in almonds, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. 

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Blend on high until fully mixed and parsley is minced. 

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Top with Parmesan cheese for an appetizer or stir in if using for a spread.

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Homemade pesto is extremely easy and not worth the $4 you would spend at the store for a tiny jar. Make your own and you can freeze batches of it as well for future use.

Sausage Cabbage Wraps

As usual my brain can’t always come up with creative ideas that aren’t boring and original. I wanted something and pasta kept coming to my brain as we haven’t had pasta in awhile. I wasn’t in the mood for pasta either but couldn’t think of anything else. Than I took a version of pasta cream sauce and flipped it around to make some yummy sausage cabbage wraps.

It turned out very good and had just enough spice without being overbearing.

Try it for yourself and see… let me know your thoughts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 1 cup kale
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 cup red, green, yellow or orange peppers, diced

Sauce:

You will make 2 batches of this sauce. One for the vegetables and a second for the wraps as a dipping sauce. (See note below)

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp Brown Sugar*

In a medium sauce pan, add celery peppers and sauce excluding brown sugar. Heat over medium heat until tender. Set aside.

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In a separate large skillet, add meat and cook through.

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Add in cream cheese

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Stir in Kale and turn off burner.

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Kale should wilt slightly.

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And lastly, turn heat off and stir in cheese

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And milk. Let it rest on the burner to help heat through. The cream cheese and milk help offset the spice.

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To serve, take a large leaf of cabbage and layer with veggies, meat and Chinese noodles. Drizzle additional sauce on top. IMG_4943

*For the sauce on top of the wrap I use the same sauce as above, doubling the recipe and add 1-2 tsp of brown sugar to make for a great dipping sauce.

Or for appetizers simply use a smaller piece of cabbage and roll up and close with toothpicks.

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Pizza Pockets

“WHAT??” Pizza pockets are incredible but when you buy them from the store you probably are eating 50 delicious ingredients that may not be so delicious for your body. I love a good pizza pocket and they will forever remind me of driving to Central Washington with my sister. We used to drive the long drive and stop at the half way point at a truck stop. This truck stop had the best pizza pockets to date. I don’t know how to express the incrediblness (not that that is a word) of this pocket without you actually trying it. You may be asking, how can a pizza pocket actually be delicious when it comes from a truck stop? Well, let me tell you. “It is the best I’ve ever had!!!” I’m confident my sister could verify that. :)

My sister called me on her drive to visit my parents a few weeks ago as she stopped to embark on this incredible pocket. She was reminding me of our journey together, years past. It’s probably been about 4-5 years since I actually have had it! I miss them, oh do I miss them.

Today I made a delicious pizza pocket but considering I do not hold a truck stop at my house, they are nothing alike, but they are worth making. :)

Ingredients:

  • Pizza Crust or Pie Crust (Homemade or store bought)
  • Pepperoni
  • Cheese
  • Onion, finely minced
  • Salami
  • Olives (optional)

For the crust, follow the instructions for preparation on the link above.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once the crust is made, roll dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle.

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Slice dough into rectangles.

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Top with cheese

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Pepperoni, salami, onions or any additional toppings.

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Once you’ve added all your toppings, fold over and begin to braid the edges to hold together.

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Place on a greased foil lined baking sheet.

IMG_4685Bake at 400 degrees for 11-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

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Cool on a wire rack.

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Serve as a delicious snack with blackberry lemonade. :)

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OR make additional and individually wrap and freeze. Place in toaster oven when ready to eat until nice and crispy. :) My husband loves these as snacks in his lunch. 

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Kale and Basil Pesto

This pesto is great for anything. It would make the best chicken or shrimp pasta, to a great appetizer or Pesto polenta shrimp bites (recipe here).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt

Add all ingredients for the pesto into a food processor.

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IMG_4139Puree until well blended (add more oil if needed).

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Serve as an appetizer or with pasta.

Great flavors call for repeated meals. :)

 

Polenta with Shrimp and Kale Pesto

Oh- my mouth is watering just thinking about these incredible polenta shrimp bites with pesto. I made these last night and couldn’t get over how incredible they were. This is the PERFECT appetizer or pair this with a delicious smoothie for a great healthy dinner.

My husband prefers this with no avocado but I loved it with the avocado stuffed on top with the shrimp. I thought it was a perfect blend of flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tube polenta (any flavor) cut into 12 rounds
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Pesto:

  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a broiler pan with foil and lay cut polenta evenly throughout pan. Drizzle with EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic salt.

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Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the oven to broil and broil until lightly crispy (3-5 minutes) keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

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For the Shrimp- Once the polenta is cooked, transfer to a plate and keep the broiler pan lined with the same foil. Lay shrimp evenly on foil and drizzle with EVOO, salt, and garlic salt.

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Bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes or until fully pink.

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Meanwhile, to make the pesto add all ingredients for the pesto into a food processor.

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Puree until well blended (add more oil if needed).

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To assemble- spoon pesto atop polenta.

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Lay shrimp with avocado stuffed in the middle of the shrimp. If you want to add a little extra touch sprinkle with sea salt and add chopped chives.

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If you serve this for a gathering, you will be a big hit!

Prepare to be WOWWED!

Mini Corndogs

I made these in a mad rush to get my son to eat something since forcing fluids was not only getting old and time consuming, but I knew my little man needed some nutrients to fill his little tummy. I had the idea to use corn bread mix plus hot dogs that were previously thawed in the refrigerator and see if I could get him to eat this muffin.

It worked, he had a couple bites which was huge for the little man. :) Yay! He made mommy so proud.

Ingredients:

  • Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 3 kosher hot dogs

Mix together the mix, egg and milk.

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Line a muffin tin with paper and fill 1/3 full.

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Cut hotdogs into threes and lay sideways. Batter does not need to cover the hotdog, this will take place automatically when baking.

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Top with shredded cheese for added flavor.

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Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Beware, these are beyond delicious and better for you than corndogs and you would fry a corndog and these are simply baked. :)

Meatball Buns

Meatball buns are a great appetizer for a party or simply for a delicious snack. They are incredibly easy and VIOLA you have a tasty treat. My son loves them as well! :)

Ingredients:

  • Pillsbury Biscuits
  • String Cheese
  • Frozen Meatballs

On a greased cookie sheet separate the biscuits in half (they are took thick if you leave them whole)

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Separated biscuits

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Place meatball in the middle

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Top with cheese and fold up.

Bake in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked.

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Enjoy warm with a side of marinara or by themselves. :)

Almond Pesto

I love Pesto and you all should make it especially this time of year. I bought my basil plant about a week ago and have already made a batch of Almond Pesto. You can make so many different types of pesto and even freeze it in an airtight plastic bag.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large handfuls of fresh Basil
  • ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful of raw almonds*
  • ¼ cup EVOO or Grapeseed Oil (You may need more)

Simply add all ingredients to a food processor.

Pesto goes on anything and everything. For a yummy appetizer serve on Baggett chips. Serve on grilled cheese, or use in anything to create a sauce with terrific flavor.
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*Pine nuts work great in pesto but I like to switch it up from time to time even adding additional flavors to give a bit of a spice!

Artichoke Dip

Sunday we went to some friends to watch the Seahawks game against the 49ers and I took scrumptious artichoke dip as a football side. This dish was probably 60% consumed by ME! I couldn’t stop eating. I consumed cornbread muffins, chips and an amazing blue cheese pecan dip, caramel and apples, salted caramel cookies and this artichoke dip. I was so full I literally had no chili for dinner. My poor tummy.

It was exactly what I think football is all about.

Everyone loved this dish so much so, I figured it should be shared.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can artichokes, chopped

  • 1 cup mayo

  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1 4oz can diced green chillies

Preheat oven to 400

Comine all ingredients reserving 1/2 cup parmesan. Sprinkle with garlic salt and salt and pepper to taste; mix well.

I used a small oval serving dish a bit smaller than an 8×8. Spread dip in dish and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese on top.

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Bake at 400 for 20 minutws or until bubbly.

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Daddy and Cooper enjoy some yummy chili

Cooper and his friend thoroughly enjoyed there playtime as well as all the snack food.

Homemade Pesto

Let’s be honest here…. all week long I’ve been overwhelmingly tired with no excuse. Because of this, I haven’t wanted to step foot into the grocery store. I’ve literally taken anything possible from our empty fridge and turned them into gourmet meals. Okay maybe not gourmet but definitely into something delicious.

 

I’ve not really wanted to cook or bake all week either until yesterday I was on this baking, cooking high and accomplished a lot. I made the granola for the week, homemade pancake mix to have on hand, pita bread, coffee cake and gyros for dinner. I was very productive and it felt good.

 

Tonight was another one of those nights, I decided I would utilize the leftover meat from last night’s gyros and pitas and make homemade mini-pita-pizzas. Pesto is always delicious to me on pizza and I have my fresh herbs out back that would work perfect for this.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh Basil (I used sweet, licorice, and blue spice basil)
  • 1 cup fresh Parsley
  • Handful of fresh rosemary
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Puree in a food processor and store in a mason jar or use immediately. Great for dipping, pizza, and pasta.