Currently viewing the category: "Appetizers"

I know that I’m a little late getting this post out because summer if almost over and fall is sneaking up on me, but the past few months haven’t been that easy. Taking care of a newborn is hard work!! No one told me it was going to be easy and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy breezy. The past month has come and gone and I kind of have felt like a hermit. We’re getting out of the house some but it’s mostly to church on Sunday and maybe a quick trip out once during the week. Last weekend we visit my mom and dad, it was really good to get out of the house and from doing the same routine. The best part was seeing how excited they were to see Callen and to hold and love on him. It made me smile!

Bruschetta is one of our favorite dishes!! The first time I made bruschetta we didn’t even make it to the table. We ate it right over the stove as soon as the bread came out of the oven! We had to give it a taste and we couldn’t stop eating!

You MUST get good balsamic vinegar that has been aged for at least 15 years. We go to a local store called Stuarto’s Olive Oil Company.

You can have the bruschetta for an appetizer, but normally we like it as a side dish! We grill some chicken seasoned with garlic and italian seasoning. Pour some extra balsamic over top of the chicken, add some shredded basil and enjoy! The tomatoes can be your vegetable, even though it is botanically a fruit.

Hope you enjoy!!

Bruschetta

Ingredients

2 – 3 Roma Tomatoes

3 – 4 tbs. Balsamic Vinegar, just eyeball it

4 – 5 Basil Leaves, shredded

1 – 2 Garlic cloves, minced

Salt

Olive Oil

French bread

Directions:

Dice tomatoes discarding seeds, place in small bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss in garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar and let set for 10 minutes to marinate.

Cut bread into thick slices, drizzle with olive oil and toast in oven.

Serve toasted French bread and enjoy!

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I love a good tomato sliced and salted.  The best tomato I have ever ate came from my grandma’s garden. I use to think I didn’t like to eat tomatoes by themselves. Had to be on a sandwich or in a salad before I would eat a tomato. That was until I married my husband and he talked me into having a bite of his just to show me how good my grandma’s tomatoes were. I caved and took a bite. To my surprise I liked it.

I had a caprese sandwich for the first time when we were in Boston three years ago and that was the best tomato sandwich I had ever ate. I like caprese sandwiches better but I thought I would try to make this salad since my grandma gave us tons of tomatoes. You don’t have to have yellow tomatoes for the salad. But it does make it look prettier. I would also suggest using fresh mozzarella cheese. I had a square block on hand but get the round fresh mozzarella, it makes it so much better.

Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top and some garlic olive oil and you’ve got yourself a delicious salad for two.

Enjoy! Happy Summer!

Caprese Salad

1 or 2 large beef steak or heirloom tomatoes sliced

5 basil leaves

1/2 mozzarella cheese ball sliced thin

Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

Garlic or Plain Olive Oil

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This past week we were vacationing at St. Pete Beach Florida. This was our view from our living room and our bedroom. We have friends, who are amazing, that own the beach house and they were very nice to let us stay for a week. Since we haven’t had a real relaxing vacation since our honeymoon about four years ago, it was really nice to relax and not have anything on the calendar to do. Especially since in less than three months we will have a little one that will demand our attention 24/7.

Since summer bring lots of fresh fruit I thought fruit salsa would be a great snack for during the day. I love to eat fruit but I get tired of washing and cutting up the fruit everyday. It will last about a week in the refrigerator. You can use any kind of fruit you like. I used fresh mango, fresh strawberries and some frozen mixed berries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I already had the mango and strawberries and then when I decided to make the salsa I just grabbed whatever was in my freezer. I thawed the berries before adding them to the food processor. You can do whatever kind of variety of fruit you like.

I used whole-wheat tortillas for the chips because that is what I already had, you can use regular flour tortillas if you like. Spread on some butter and sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar and bake until crispy. This is a great way to use fruit that might be going bad.

Enjoy and have a blessed week! Thanks for dropping by!

 

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon & Sugar Chips

Cooking time: 8 – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Salsa:

1 cup fresh strawberries, halved

1 cup fresh mango

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, thawed

1 – 2 tbsp sugar

Chips:

2 – soft tortillas

butter

cinnamon

sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread butter on one side of tortillas and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You decide how much you like. Cut into triangles pieces. Place tortilla triangles on cookie sheet and back for 8 – 10 minutes or until crispy.

Combine all fruit (whatever fruit you like) in a food processor, sprinkle in sugar, and pulse until desired consistency. Taste, add more sugar if needed.

Refrigerate 1 – 2 hours.

Serve with cinnamon & sugar chips.

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My husband gave me a gift card to Wild Thyme Cooking to go to a cooking class for my birthday (in January). I just cashed it in two weekends ago. We went to a summer grilling series and learned a lot. We grill out at least one a week, if not more during the summer and I thought this class would be perfect for us. We went not knowing what we were going to do or learn and we were surprised on what all they had on the menu for the night.

First they made Hummus. I was not a fan of Hummus until I tried it there. I had tried a store-bought hummus long time ago and didn’t like it. It was grainy and didn’t have much flavor. I gave it a try with grilled pita bread and loved it. My husband and I are now hummus fans.

Next, they grilled organic roman lettuce, topped it with yellow heirloom tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and candied walnuts that she grilled in aluminum foil before topping the salad. She made a blue cheese dressing, but since I can’t have blue cheese she made a light vignette for me. It was delicious!

Steaks! Look at those big steaks!

She wilted spinach in a pan on the stove top and grilled onion for the greens and top the steak with a blue cheese butter. I had mine without the blue cheese butter but my husband said it was awesome!

For dessert she rubbed some oil on slices of pound cake and grilled it for a few minutes to get a char on the outside but still moist on the inside. It was delicious with berries and homemade whipped cream.

We really enjoyed being at Wild Thyme and will defiantly be going back. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend going for a fun night. Check out their website here, click on the calendar to see list of classes that are offered. They have hands on classes, where you’re doing the cooking, and some where you watch and learn.

This past week I had to make hummus for my husband. We have two dishes of hummus in our refrigerator right now, one for me (more lemon) and one for the hubs, which has more cayenne pepper in it. He likes his more spicy, I like mine with just a kick of spice. You can tell the difference in color in the picture. Mine is on the plate and his is in the bowl, which has more of an orange color because of the cayenne.

Below is the recipe that I adapted to our taste. If you’ve never had hummus or have tried it and didn’t like it, you gotta give this a try. You can adjust the taste by adding more lemon juice or more heat with cayenne pepper. It taste good and its good for you! Serve it with grilled pita bread or any veggie you like.

Enjoy!

Hummus

Ingredients:

1 – 25 oz. can of chick peas/garbanzo beans

1 lemon, juiced or 1/4 cup lemon juice

2-3 tbsp Tahini Paste

 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

4 tbsp olive oil, to reach correct consistency

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

In a food processor blend the first four ingredients together until smooth. Next, mince the garlic so there’s no chunks of garlic and add in cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to reach the creamy consistency that you prefer. Add more lemon for a more citrus taste or add more cayenne for more spice.

Serve with toasted/grilled pita bread or fresh vegetables.

Adapted from Wild Thyme Recipe

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Summer is close and I’m loving all the fresh veggies at the grocery store. This is one easy pasta salad that I love to make during the summer. You can still make it anytime of the year, but it’s always so good to use fresh summer tomatoes and fresh basil.

With only five ingredients it couldn’t get any easier to make. And it’s good!! It’s great for a picnic or to take for a gathering. All you need is pasta, mozzarella cheese round, grape tomatoes, italian dressing, and basil.

Don’t over cook the pasta. You want the pasta al dente, still a bit firm to hold up in the salad with the tomatoes. Start with only 1/2 – 3/4 of the bottle of italian dressing. You can add more if needed after tasting. I like mine with just a bit of flavoring from the dressing but not too much. Stick the mozzarella ball in the freezer for a bit to make it easier to cut into pieces.

I’m looking forward to the summer but I’m really looking forward to meeting our little baby boy in August. We have lots to plan for and lots to do before our little one gets here. We started registering and it’s a little over whelming. I’m wondering what I really need and can’t live without. There’s a lot of things that go with a baby, but do you need everything? To all the mom’s out there, what is your MUST have with a newborn?

Happy Spring!

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 box Rotini Pasta

1 bottle Italian Dressing (to liking)

1 pint grape tomatoes

10 – 12 basil leave shredded or 1 tsp dried basil

1 mozzarella cheese round diced

Directions:

Cook pasta as directed on box and drain. Mix pasta with 3/4 of the bottle of italian dressing.  Start with using half of the bottle and then add more if you want more. Cut tomatoes in half add to pasta. Add cheese pieces, basil and toss to coat. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Chill for up to at least an hour before serving.

 

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It wasn’t until last summer I gave guacamole a try. I was one of those people who judge the food by this looks. It was green and I just knew that I wouldn’t like it. My husband was the same, but he gave it a try when he was at dinner with his co-workers. He loved it and came home and told me that we were wrong and I HAD to try it!



I had seen a recipe come up on one of the food bloggers I follow and we gave it a try. I love it! It’s amazing what you find out what you really like if you just taste it just once. After making it many times and adjusting the recipe to our liking we make it almost every time we have fajitas.

Enjoy!

Guacamole

Serves: 3 – 4

Ingredients:
Guacamole:

2 ripe avocados

1 ½ tablespoon lime juice

½ tsp seasoning mix

¼ cup white onion, chopped finely

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped finely

1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced

Guacamole Seasoning:

2 teaspoon chili powder


2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Seasoning: Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container and shake well to mix.

Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Scoop out middle into a small bowl. Add in lime juice and smash. Add in ½ teaspoon seasoning and lightly mix. Add in the last four ingredients and mix. Serve with tortilla chips.

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There’s only three more weeks until Christmas! But it’s not time to freak out yet. Three weeks is a lot of time but my calendar is filling up fast! I know there will be last minute Christmas parties and cookie exchanges to go to and I still have a few more presents to buy.

With all the holiday parties to go to this Christmas I never know what to take. I came up with these avocado cups from Multiply Delicious picture of her Chicken Salad. I haven’t tried her chicken salad recipe, so I can’t recommend it. But I thought it was really cool how she used the avocado as her cups. She didn’t scoop out the avocado like I did, I would think it would be harder to eat if it wasn’t scooped out.

This is a great recipe to take for gatherings this Christmas, just serve with tortilla chips. Each person can have their own avocado cup or you can serve inside hard shell tacos. We had this for dinner as tacos with some cheese on top. My hubby topped his with hot sauce, cheese and sour cream. This is one dish you can have multiple ways, whatever you fancy.


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One of my celebrity chef icons (and would love to meet someday) is Alton Brown. I loved his show Good Eats and always thought that he was different from other celebrity chefs. That was made clear when I read this article, The Miracle of Food. This article made me realize that food isn’t something that taste good or something we need it to survive. It made me look at food and cooking and serving others in a new way. I liked what Alton said,

“I believe first and foremost that God made the food. He made it delicious. So my entire approach to food in general is this: Do no harm. To me, the most honor I can do to what He created is to not mar or in any way malign the creation. I try to honor that prayerfully. I pray, “God, don’t let me mess up the food. Let me prepare it and serve it in Your honor.” That’s my lampstand—the light that I can shine. Because He’s given me a gift to do that.”

I’m always scared when I create new recipes (like this one) but instead, I should pray that God will use my gifts to His glory. I am thankful that I can cook and bring honor to God by  sitting down together as a family to eat and pray together.

I pray that this Christmas season will be a season of joy and great meals around the table.

 

Avocado Chicken Salad Cups

By: Aromatic Delights

Ingredients

3 Chicken Breast

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Red Pepper

4 Avocados

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Jalapeños, diced finely

¼ Onion, diced finely

3 tbsp Lime Juice

3.5 cups Chicken Broth

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ cayenne pepper

½ tsp coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

¼ tsp pepper, plus more for seasoning

Olive Oil for drizzling

Chopped Parsley for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and drizzle with oil, set aside. Cut peppers in half and clean out the seeds, just leaving the sides of the pepper. Place on baking sheet skin side up. Bake peppers for 15 – 20 minutes. Once the skins are brownish-black, remove from oven and place into a large ziplock bag. Close and let sit for 15 minutes or until cooled enough to handle. Peel skins off and cut into big chunks. Set aside.

While peppers are cooking, bring a 3 qt saucepan of 3.5 cups of chicken broth mixed with 3.5 cups of water to boil. Salt and pepper chicken breast and place in pan. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending on how thick the chicken is. (Cut breast in half if need to). Turn heat off and let set in broth until peppers finished cooking, 5 – 10 minutes. Drain and shred chicken with two forks. In a medium mixing bowl mix together carefully chicken peppers, onion, and jalapeno. Set aside.

Now you’re ready for the avocados. Don’t touch the avocados until you’re almost ready to serve because they may brown. Cut avocados in half and discard of pit. Carefully slice the avocados three times top to bottom and 4 times across so you will have perfectly diced avocado pieces when scooped out. In a small mixing bowl scoop out avocados, add lime juice and mix together breaking up the avocados but not too much, leaving it a little chunky. Add in chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add to chicken mix and toss to coat. Spoon mixture into avocado cups and sprinkle chopped parsley on top and your ready to serve.

You can also serve without the avocado cups and serve as tacos with cheese and sour cream on top, if you prefer.

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Last weekend my husband and I, along with Tyler and Katie, went to Evan’s Orchard to find some good pumpkins, and of course to get some good apple cider. Katie had never carved a pumpkin before so she was really excited. It was really fun to go out into the pumpkin patch to pick our own pumpkin. It was a very windy day, but so beautiful!

We started carving the pumpkins whenever we got home. I took that picture above…. I’m very proud of myself.

This one is mine, the eye broke. :( Sad.

Pumpkin line up: Katie’s happy pumpkin, Justin’s Storm Trooper, and my evil pumpkin. We didn’t get a picture of Tyler’s, he did the Ray’s logo. Sorry Tyler, you did a great job!

And when you carve pumpkins you can’t just throw away all those wonderful pumpkin seeds. So I took all of our seeds and roasted them.

 Don’t those just look good? This recipe just adds a little heat not very much and makes a great snack. Happy Fall and Happy Carving!!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

By: Aromatic Delights

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Warm over to 150 degrees. Separate the seeds from all the stringy pumpkin guts and rinse the seeds with water and toss to get most of the pumpkin off the seeds. Drain and measure out 3 cups of seeds. Place seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 150 degree oven to dry for 15 – 20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. When seeds feel dry take seeds out of oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss seeds with oil. In a separate bowl mix together chili powder, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over seeds and toss to coat. Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes or until seeds are dry.

 

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These sausage logs are great for gatherings. I made these for a friends baby shower and they were a big hit. Very easy to make and you can adjust the spiciness by using regular or spicy sausage. These would be great for breakfast as well!

You can use puff pastry or crescent creations. Puff pastry would give it a more flaky crust.

I always have trouble deciding what bring to gatherings. This recipe will be my go to recipe when I can’t decide. Tell me, what is your go to recipe for pot-luck gatherings? Share please!

Sausage Logs

by Aromatic Delights

1 lb bulk pork sausage regular or spicy, cooked

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tsp minced basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp paprika, plus more for topping

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 crescent creations or puff pastry

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Unfold pastry on work surface. Cut pastry into 8 even squares. Spoon sausage mixture down the center of each square. Fold pastry over and press edges together to seal. Place logs on baking sheet seam side down. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

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