Archive for the ‘appetizer’ Category

Baked Crab and Cheese Wontons

August 14, 2010

These were delicious! I have a bit of an addiction to the crab rangoons served at Chinese restaurants, so I made these to go with my homemade chicken fried rice.…they were a perfect pairing!

These don’t taste exactly like my rangoons, but they’re just as addicting!

Baked Crab and Cheese Wontons

(Health for the Whole Self)

Makes about 20 wontons

Wonton wrappers (about 4×4” in size)
4 tbsp cream cheese, softened
6 oz. can of crab meat (4 oz. drained)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped


– In a small bowl, mix together the crab, cream cheese, pepper, garlic powder, and chives.

– Dollop a heaping teaspoonful onto the center of each wonton wrapper, then wet the edges and fold into a “hat” shape (per the directions on the wonton wrapper package).

– Place the wontons on a baking sheet lined with foil or sprayed with nonstick spray. Spray the wontons liberally with more spray (I used Olive Oil spray).

– Bake at 400º for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Grilled Herb Shrimp

June 27, 2010

These were fantastic — too bad this recipe is arriving on the heels of there being basically no Gulf shrimp because of the oil issue! Sad 😦 But if you aren’t a seafood snob like I am, and don’t care where your shrimp are from — try this! 🙂

It’s delicious. And easy 😉

I served it with Parmesan risotto with peas and green beans. Delish!

Grilled Herb Shrimp

(Barefoot Contessa, by way of Pink Parsley)

2 pounds shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined, but tails left on

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium yellow onion, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 teaspoon sugar


– Combine all the ingredients and toss to coat the shrimp.  Allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Prepare grill.  Thread the shrimp on skewers, and sprinkle one side with sugar.

Grill the shrimp, sugared side down, for about 2 minutes, then flip skewers and grill until cooked through, an additional 1-2 minutes.

Sometimes….you just need nachos for dinner

January 10, 2010

And so that’s what we did!

– 3/4 lb. ground venison

– taco seasoning

– 1 can fat-free refried beans

– 1/2 bag baked blue corn chips

– 1/2 bag baked chili lime chips

generous sprinkling of mexican shredded cheese

and then we added…

– low fat sour cream

– fresh guacamole

– fresh salsa

yum yum!

Won Ton Appetizers

December 6, 2009

This comes from my DH’s mom…but everybody seems to love them! They’re fried, and I’m tempted to try them baked…but haven’t yet!

They’re not really very Asian, but that just means more people will eat them. LOL


(My MIL)

1 roll Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage

1 bag baby spinach, finely chopped

1 package won ton wrappers

Sm bowl of lukewarm water (to help seal won tons)

Vegetable oil for frying


Fill a stockpot 1/2 full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to about 360 degrees

–  In a medium bowl, mix together the sausage and spinach; remove won tons from wrapper

– Take one won ton wrapper and place approx 1 tsp of filling in the center of it. Dip your finger in the water and run your finger along two sides of the won ton so you can seal it (you’ll be folding the won ton into a triangle)

– Fold the won ton wrapper over the filling and seal it into a triangle, using the wetted edges to keep it shut. Gently wet the two ‘longer’ edges, then fold them in onto the won ton to seal (helps keep filling in while frying)

– Place the won tons in the hot oil 5-6 at a time, and let them cook until golden brown and floating.

– Remove won tons from oil, and lay them on a paper towel to drain/cool

Makes approx 50 won tons (will depend on the amount of filling you put in)

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

November 8, 2009

YUM! These were delicious. My only regret was not making a double batch — the boys watching football on the Sunday I made these had them gone in 10 minutes!!



I made some changes to the original recipe — which calls for a significantly fancier “ham” than I used, so please check out the link below for the original recipe.

We also were not impressed with the suggested mustard recipe at the link below, but others may enjoy it. I think next time I’ll just serve them with a variety of standard mustards — yellow, brown, spicy, etc.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

(adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided

1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped ham (I used a brown sugar ham)

1/3 to 2/3 cup finely chopped sharp Cheddar, divided

6 cups water

4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 to 2 tablespoons pretzel salt or coarse salt


1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeños

1 tablespoon mild honey


– In a large bowl, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water. Let it stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

– In a small bowl, stir remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar into warm milk until dissolved.

– Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to yeast mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary.

– Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in upper and lower thirds. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

– Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin.

– Gently press one fourth of ham and cheese into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces, and transfer to a sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with remaining dough, ham, and cheese and cut into pieces, transferring to sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

– Bring water to a boil in a 4-to 5-quart saucepan. Reduce heat until the water is gently simmering, and stir in baking soda. Add pretzel bites to the water in batches, turning once, until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to sheet pans.

– Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

– Meanwhile, stir together mustard, jalapeños and honey.

– Brush warm pretzel bites with butter, and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with jalapeño mustard for dipping.

Note: Pretzels can be made 2 weeks ahead and frozen (once cooled). Thaw 30 minutes, then reheat in a 400 degree F oven about 10 minutes.


Best Fruit Dip. Ever.

September 13, 2009


Seriously. It’s the best fruit dip I’ve ever had.

My family has made it for years…no idea where it originated!

You can make it any color you choose…it just looks friendly in pink 🙂

Fruit Dip

(Family Recipe)

1-3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding

1 cup milk

1 tsp almond extract

1-8 oz. cool whip

4-5 drops food color – any color


– whisk the milk into the powdered vanilla pudding in a medium-sized mixing bowl

– add almond extract and whisk to incorporate

– fold cool whip in gently

– add food coloring and stir to incorporate color

– refrigerate until serving; serve with fruit tray or fruit salad!

Italian Pinwheels

January 3, 2009

We attended our first ‘neighborhood’ party this evening, and had a lot of fun meeting neighbors. I was requested to bring a side dish, appetizer, or dessert, and since I’m still riding the cookie high from Christmas, I went with an appetizer.

And an easy one, to boot!

Italian Pinwheels

Makes 24 appetizers

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg yolk
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls or ‘recipe creations’ dough sheet
1 egg white, beaten

– Heat oven to 375 degrees F
– In a small bowl, mix cheese, pepperoni, oregano and egg yolk
– If using crescent rolls: unroll dough, separate dough into 4 rectangles and firmly press preforations to seal. If using dough sheets: unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles
– Spread each rectangle with about 3 tablespoons pepperoni mixture
– Starting at the short side, roll up each rectangle, pinching the edges to seal
– Cut each roll into 6 slices and place, cut side down, about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet
– Brush with the beaten egg white
– Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown
– Serve warm

Buffalo Chicken Dip

November 7, 2008

If you’re a hot wings fan, then you’ll adore this dip.

It’s been passed around — fondly discussed as “crack dip” — with my friends for many years. However, I don’t like hot sauce, so I never made it.

DH andI had a “reunion” to go to last weekend (basically, it was DH’s 10-year high school reunion, but he and a bunch of his buddies didn’t want to go to the REAL event — so they held their own!) and I knew it would go over well with the boys.

Plus — we had just moved in the week before…so my crockpot was about the only thing unpacked I could cook in!

You could also heat this dip up on the stovetop, or even toss it in the oven until it’s bubbly, but if you leave it in the crockpot, it stays warm and ready to serve all day long.

Oh, and P.S. — I’ve discovered it isn’t nearly as spicy when it’s cold…and I really like it cold!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
(Kelly’s Recipe)

2-8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2-10oz. cans of chicken, shredded
1 cup ranch dressing (You can also use bleu cheese dressing if you prefer. It does change the flavor of the dip)
3/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

– Toss all of the above into a crockpot; keep on low for your party, stirring occasionally.
– Serve with tortilla chips (or some people serve with celery as well)

Admittedly, it doesn’t exactly photograph well…

Corn Fritters

August 18, 2008

DH loves corn fritters. Personally, I’d never had or even heard of one until I met him — and I am still kind of take-it-or-leave-it on them.

But, we had 4 ears of corn that needed to be used up, and DH was out fishing — so I got creative with it.
I used the recipe on A Taste of Home Cooking’s blog — it seemed pretty standard, and the addition of a little heavy cream was sure to make it yummy!
All-in-all, these were good. I rebelled against the rules for frying, using Canola oil instead of a corn or vegetable oil, and DH said he could tell. He told me I need to use veggie or corn oil next time!
Farmstand Corn Fritters

(Makes 12 fritters)
1 1/2 lbs. fresh corn (2 large or 3-4 medium ears), husks and silks removed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. cornmeal
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 small shallot, minced (I never keep shallot — I used some regular onion)
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil, as needed
-Cut kernels from 1-2 ears of corn (depending on size) and place in a large bowl (you should have about 1 cup of kernels)
– Grate the remaining ears of corn on the large holes on a box grater (you should have a generous 1/2 cup of grated kernels)
– Add the grated kernels to the bowl with the whole kernels
– Using a butter knife, scrape any remaining pulp from all ears of corn into the bowl
– Stir in the egg, flour, cornmeal, cream, shallot, salt and cayenne
– Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering
– Drop 6 heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan, and fry until golden brown (took me about 4-5 minutes per side)
– Transfer fritters to a plate lined with paper towels to drain
– If necessary, add more oil to the skillet and reheat; fry remaining batter
– Serve immediately

Mine look a little dark — bad lighting!

Turning Failure into Deliciousness

August 17, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve had my first bread failure.

Seems like everyone’s been making pita bread lately — I saw it here, and here, and here, and here — and a dozen other places, it seems!
So I dove in. Things progressed nicely — I felt the dough was a little sticky, but nothing to make a fuss about. I let it rise. Rose beautifully. I rolled it out — worked fine.
But when I covered it and let it proof, nothing happened. The recipe I was using said 20 minutes of proofing should produce a slight “puff” — and I had no puff.
A few hours into the process at that point, I wasn’t turning back. It rose, everything worked, except the proof…and I still have no idea why.
So I tossed it in the oven, and hoped for the best.
The end result was flatbread. Since I didn’t get “puff” in my proofing stage, I didn’t get “pockets” in my pita. But I did make a mighty tasty flatbread!
Admittedly, I’m still irritated at it — mostly because I don’t know what was wrong. I may try again, but not until my hatred for pita settles down.
Left with 8 slabs of flatbread, I had to figure out what to do with it. I fed several to DH — in a variety of forms — for lunch.
And with spaghetti on Friday, I finished them off as garlic breadsticks. A quick mix of oil and minced garlic (yes, from the jar — I loves me some pre-minced garlic), brushed on the flatbread, then a sprinkling of italian blend shredded cheese, and some lovin’ from the broiler….
And man — they were JUST as good as Papa John’s, or Domino’s or whoever!
(DH tells me I need to screw up pita more often!)