Archive for: Appetizers

Grilled Eggplant with Ricotta and Balsamic Drizzle

Creamy ricotta cheese, fresh grilled eggplant, and a balsamic drizzle come together in this recipe that will make you want to eat your serving of vegetables! This Grilled Eggplant with Ricotta and Balsamic Drizzle is an easy and healthy side dish. We're nearing the end of eggplant season here, and I wanted to be sure to share this recipe with you before the season ends. Over the past few months we've received a few eggplants in our farm box and I intended to incorporate them into a main dish at some point but it just didn't happen. Instead, I took the easy route and grilled them on my grill pan. Have you ever tried grilled eggplant? With just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, it's a ... [Continue Reading]

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus

Craving something new and healthy for snack or lunch time? This Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus is delicious with fresh, raw veggies or pita bread.  It's an easy appetizer to serve at your next party, too! I am always reminding myself that I need to make hummus more often. It's such a healthy snack, especially if your dippers of choice are fresh vegetables. And my kids love hummus just as much as I do! Which is even more reason to make it on a weekly basis. Julia will eat bell pepper after bell pepper dipped in hummus. (She'll even eat hummus plain by the spoonful!) William likes his hummus with carrots, bell peppers, whole wheat pita or crackers, and even an occasional cucumber. I've ... [Continue Reading]

Olive, Tomato and Feta Pita Crisps with Avocado

These Olive, Tomato and Feta Pita Crisps with Avocado are an easy appetizer or snack, perfect for all sorts of occasions. Made with whole wheat pita, olives and tomatoes, they are healthy and addicting little bites! When I think of olives, I think of pizza, being a kid, and this sandwich that I craved all the time during my last pregnancy.  As a kid, I could not eat enough olives, and the same is true today.  My own children seem to agree, and will eat as many olives as I let them.  If I'm in the kitchen cooking and they see I've opened up a can of olives, there they are, little hands outstretched and asking for some olives please! My family loves California Black Ripe Olives.  ... [Continue Reading]

Artichoke, Leek, and Goat Cheese Dip with Garlic Pita Chips

This creamy dip is a fresh twist on artichoke dip. Made with Greek yogurt and goat cheese, it's a lightened up dip that you won't be able to resist. Especially when there are homemade garlic pita chips to dip! When I entertain, the hardest part of the meal to plan is the appetizers. If I'm able to, I'll pass along the appetizer responsibility to one of the guests. (Thank you to my two sisters who will be bringing appetizers this Thanksgiving!) I'm not sure why I get so stuck when it comes to ideas for pre-meal snacks. Perhaps it's because I put so much energy into the main course, sides, and (my favorite) dessert, that anything more seems overwhelming to think about? If you've ... [Continue Reading]

Strawberry-Basil Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta

Strawberry-Basil Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta and a drizzle of honey is a sweet summer appetizer. Last time I shared how easy it is to make homemade ricotta cheese.  Fresh ricotta is hard to resist on its own, but spread on toasted baguette slices and topped with strawberries, basil, and a drizzle of honey?  These bruschetta are completely irrisistible!  Once you've got the ricotta made, this is an easy appetizer that you can assemble in just a few minutes.  We've even made dinner out of these, along with some fresh fruit or veggies on the side.  Bread, cheese, and juicy summer strawberries... what more could you want? If you're able to share these by bringing them to a ... [Continue Reading]

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Rich homemade ricotta cheese is wonderful spread on a toasted baguette, as a vegetable sandwich spread, or simply enjoyed on it's own with a drizzle of honey. Homemade ricotta cheese... yes, I made cheese, and no, it wasn't at all difficult or time-consuming! Ricotta cheese is a great place to start in homemade cheesemaking, because it is SO easy. I'd estimate it takes 10 minutes (at most) of active time, and about 30 minutes of inactive time until you have fresh ricotta ready to enjoy. Making ricotta cheese requires no fancy ingredients or equipment. If you have milk, salt, and lemon juice, you can make ricotta. An instant-read thermometer, fine-mesh strainer, and some cheesecloth ... [Continue Reading]

Deconstructed Falafel Salad

This Deconstructed Falafel Salad is a lovely mixture of flavors and textures. Chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, and avocado are all tossed in a flavorful lemon-cumin-tahini dressing. Easy, homemade pita chips add a delicious crunch! What do you usually eat for lunch? I tend to make sandwiches, since they are easy and don't require much thought. Sandwiches can get boring quickly, though. I find that when I eat a healthy salad for lunch, I have more energy in the afternoon and am less likely to want to nap! The key to a healthy and filling salad is to have a good balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. This Deconstructed Falafel Salad has all of that, plus plenty of ... [Continue Reading]

DIY Hummus: Original and Roasted Red Pepper

Hummus is a healthy snack, high in protein and a great dip for fresh veggies. Lately I've been making a batch of hummus to enjoy as an easy, healthy dinner too. I serve it with a variety of fresh cut vegetables and homemade whole-wheat pita wedges, and we have a casual, balanced meal that includes protein, veggies, and whole grains. The kids love both the hummus (they are partial to the roasted red pepper one) and the pita, and we round out their meal with some fresh fruit. (We're still working on getting them to enjoy veggies other than broccoli and the occasional slice of cucumber.) I've read in a few different places about a secret to making perfectly smooth hummus: peeling the ... [Continue Reading]

Pizza Bites

These pizza bites are the perfect appetizer to serve at a casual get-together. I've made them for both New Year's Eve and Super Bowl parties, and recommend making a double batch if you're feeding a crowd because they disappear quickly! I filled my pizza bites with slices of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, but you can get creative and use your favorite pizza toppings. The pizza bites are great served with some homemade pizza sauce for dipping, too.  Throwing or attending a Super Bowl party?  Then please make some of these pizza bites to enjoy and share.  You'll be glad you did.  :) One year ago:  Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies Pizza Bites Printable Recipe Makes 20-24 pizza ... [Continue Reading]

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

This recipe has appeared on a number of my favorite food blogs, and for a while now I've been meaning to try it myself. For one reason or another, though, it never made it onto my weekly meal plan- until now. If I had known how much we would enjoy these taquitos, I would have made them much, much sooner. The taquitos are surprisingly easy to put together, especially if you have leftover cooked chicken from the previous night's dinner. Plus, they freeze really well so you can make a double batch and have a few more delicious, homemade meals on the table in minutes. Directions for freezing the unbaked taquitos follow the recipe below. As I've mentioned recently, more and more Julia is ... [Continue Reading]

Italian Sausage Skewers

Looking for a fun and tasty appetizer that won't keep you cooking in the kitchen and away from your guests? These Italian Sausage Skewers can be prepared a few hours in advance and then stored in the refrigerator, making them an ideal appetizer for entertaining. Fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella are a classic combination, and these skewers are made even better with the addition of Italian sausage and kalamata olives. Delicious flavors and a beautiful presentation make these Italian Sausage Skewers a perfect choice for your next celebration. One year ago:  Tomato Sauce, Cherry Frozen Yogurt Italian Sausage Skewers Printable Recipe Makes 24 skewers Ingredients: 8 ounces ... [Continue Reading]

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Tart

Sitting outside on the patio, a glass of wine, a crisp green salad, and a slice of this tomato tart... these are the makings of a perfect summer dinner. On Saturday morning Julia and I braved the heat and took a trip to the farmer's market. We bought a variety of berries, peaches, zucchini, and some ripe, juicy tomatoes which were destined to be made into this tart. The tart's crust is seasoned with fresh basil and garlic. I made my crust with half whole wheat flour, since I opened my all-purpose flour canister to find it almost empty. The whole wheat flour worked well and the crust turned out flaky and delicious. I used a variety of tomatoes for my tart- some heirloom and some ... [Continue Reading]

Restaurant Style Salsa

One of my favorite types of food to cook at home is Mexican- it's a rare occurrence that I won't have some form of tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, or enchiladas on our weekly menu. When it is Mexican night, we like to snack on chips and salsa before our meal. For the longest time, I'd just buy a jar of salsa from the store to go with our tortilla chips. Then I saw this recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa on The Pioneer Woman's blog and knew I had to try it. This salsa is so, so much better than the jarred stuff (really surprising, isn't it?). In fact, I'm not sure I'll be able to eat salsa from a jar again. Especially considering that it takes less than 20 minutes to mix up a batch of ... [Continue Reading]

Olive Tapenade

This appetizer is so simple to make, and it has gotten rave reviews from guests every time I've served it. Kalamata olives are combined with garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil, to produce a spread that is unbelievably addicting. The tapenade is delicious on toasted baguette slices, pita chips (which are so addicting on their own), or breadsticks. Olive Tapenade Printable Recipe Makes about 2 1/2 cups Ingredients: 2 cups pitted kalamata olives* 3 cloves garlic, peeled 2 tablespoons pine nuts 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Directions: Place kalamata olives, garlic, and pine nuts in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chopped small. With the ... [Continue Reading]