Category Archives: Appetizers

Easy Guacamole

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Who is ready for a fiesta!? 

I have to confess, I planned to have a recipe for Chicken Parmesan today, however it was over 90 degress yesterday, and I couldn’t bear to turn on my oven and make a heavy dish like that.

So instead, you get a fast and easy guacamole!

Want to know the secret to the easiet guacamole you will ever make?

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Salsa.  That is right!  Just plain old salsa.  This is more of a ‘pico de gallo’ type salsa, and I think that is really important.  I find this in the produce section of my grocery store, and it is kept refridgerated. 

It is full of chopped tomatoes, red onions, and peppers.  Normal jarred salsa is very ‘saucy’ and this is more chunky.  Try to find it in your store! 

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Cut your avocados like I’ve shown above.  Slice them in the peel in one direction, then the other, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

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Just add some salsa to your chopped avocado, spritz a little lime juice and sprinkle in some salt and you have a delicious and fast gaucamole! 

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Fast and Easy Guacamole

makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo type salsa
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Cut avocados in half.  Twist to remove one half from the pit.  Remove the pit from the other half.  Leaving the peel on, slice avocados in one direction, and turn and slice in the other direction.  Use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
  2. If you prefer very smooth guacamole, mash the avocados before adding other ingredients.  If you prefer chunky guacamole, dd remaining ingredients and mix well. The avocados will slightly mash, but you will be left with larger chunks as well.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Filed under Appetizers, Vegetarian

Deviled Eggs

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Any body else eat too many chocolate bunnies yesterday?  Personally, I enjoyed a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.  They are the best ratio of peanut butter filling to chocolaty coating.  Much butter than a regular old Reese’s cup.

 

Anyhow, now that Easter has come to an end, I’m sure you have an abundance of leftover Easter eggs to use up.  And while plain eggs with salt and pepper are great, sometimes you just want something a little different. 

That is where Deviled Eggs come in.

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Let’s talk about boiling eggs for a minute.  I don’t know about you, but my Facebook wall was blowing up over people’s inability to boil an egg.  I didn’t know this was such a problem!  I listen to my girl, Martha, when it comes to things like this.  She says to place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water.  Slowly bring the eggs to a boil.  Once the water’s boiling, turn off the heat and cover the eggs.  Let them sit for 12 minutes, then run them under cold water to stop the cooking.  This make perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs, and you won’t get that greenish ring around the outside of the yolk. 

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So, cook and peel your eggs.  

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Slice your eggs in half long ways.

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Separate all the yolks from the whites. Place all the yolks in a bowl, and the whites on your serving platter.

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Mash up the yolks until they are very fine.

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Add some mayonnaise, mustard, celery salt and pepper.  I like my filling to be pretty firm.  My mom always said “You can add more, but you can’t take it back out.” so go slowly when adding these ingredients, because you can always add more to get to your desired consistency.

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To fill the eggs, I like to use a plastic bag.  You can be really fancy and use a piping bag with a tip in it to create a really pretty look, but the plastic bag works just fine for me.   To fill the bag, fold it over a bowl, then put your filling in.  When you unfold the bag, the filling is inside with no mess!

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Push the filling towards one corner.

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Then snip off the tip.

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Then pipe your filling into the egg whites.  Be sure not to overfill the eggs.  You want to make sure you have enough filling for all of them.

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I do what my mom always did, and top the eggs with some paprika and a slice of green olive. 

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This screams 1970s to me, but it is the way I’ve always had deviled eggs served, so I wouldn’t dream of doing these classic eggs any other way.

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Deviled Eggs

makes 24 egg halves

Ingredients

  • 12 peeled hard boiled eggs (see directions above for the perfect hard boiled egg)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 pimento stuffed green olives
  • paprika

Directions

  1. Slice eggs long ways (from the small end to the larger end).
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites, placing the yolks into a bowl and the whites on to your serving platter.
  3. Mash up the yolks until they are very fine (resembling sand).
  4. Add mayonnaise.  Begin with 1/3 cup and add more (up to 1/2 cup total) until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Add mustard, celery salt and fresh pepper (2-3 grinds).  Mix well.
  6. Fill a plastic bag, or piping bag with tip, with the yolk mixture.  Pipe the filling into the egg whites.
  7. Slice the olives in half.  Top each egg with an olive slice.  Sprinkle the tops with paprika.

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Baked Pork Egg Rolls

Happy birthday to my wonderful Dad!  I know it has been a hard couple of weeks, but you have been ver strong.  I love you, and I hope today is a happy one!

I would show you pictures of his birthday cake {Marble Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting}, however when I was icing it, it was pretty much just falling apart.  It still tastes great, it just looks like a big old mess.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right?

Anyway, on to today’s recipe!

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Nearly every night, some version of the following conversation happens in my kitchen:

Chris: “What’s for dinner?”

Becky: “_____________” {fill in the blank with what ever meal we are having}

I get one of two responses, either “Do I like that?” or “Oh, I like _____________.”

Last night was an “Oh, I like that.” night.  How couldn’t if have been?  We were having baked pork egg rolls!

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Chris even went as far as to say that he thinks egg rolls are his favorite food ever, because he “has never ordered 8 of anything else before.”   I think he would order 8 steaks if I (and our bank account) would let him!

Well, considering that egg rolls are his favorite food, I supposed I should try to make them a little healthier than the fried version from our local Chinese restaurant.  This baked version uses a fraction of the oil that deep fried egg rolls would have, and they pack all the flavor that we’ve come to know and love.

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To begin, brown up 1 lb of ground pork with 1 medium onion.  

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I found this broccoli slaw at Trader Joes.  I actually used a combination of this and shredded cabbage.  You want about 4 cups of shredded veggies total, and you can use all cabbage if you can’t find the broccoli slaw.  

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Add your cabbage and broccoli slaw, a little garlic, fresh ginger and soy sauce…

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And cook until your vegetables are softened.  This took about 10 minutes.   I also covered the pot to get the cabbage to steam and soften faster.

Then you want to set up your rolling station, like so:

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You’ll need a small bowl of water, your egg roll wrappers (found in the produce section of the grocery store), your filling (that has been cooled), and a foil lined, olive oil sprayed baking sheet.  

Lay your egg roll wrapper so it is a diamond shape with one of the points facing toward you.  Put about 2-3 tablespoons of your filling in the middle of the wrapper.

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Dip your finger in the water bowl, and run it along the outsides of the wrapper.  Fold the corner that is closest to you towards the middle  and press down.

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Fold each of the side corners in towards the middle, and roll the egg roll away from you over the far corner, creating a nice little package! 

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Place your egg rolls on your baking sheet, and spray the tops with a little more oilve oil to help get the out sides nice and crispy. 

Bake for 15 minutes, and you will have a  cripsy treat to rival your favorite Chinese take out place.  And these egg rolls are much healthier, so they won’t leave you feeling greasy and weighed down!

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Baked Pork Egg Rolls

makes about 18 eggrolls

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw  (you can use an additional cup of shredded cabbage if you don’t want to use this)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 18 egg roll wrappers
  • olive oil spray (or vegetable spray)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan.  Add ground pork and begin to brown.
  3. After 5 minutes, add onions, cabbage and broccoli slaw. 
  4. Cook this mixture for 10 minutes, or until cabbage has softened.  Cover with a lid to force the proccess along and help steam the vegetables.
  5. When vegetables are soft, add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.  Cook for an additional minute.
  6. Let the filling mixture cool while you prepare your rolling station.
  7. Lay an egg roll wrapper so it looks like a diamond with one point facing toward you. 
  8. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture in the center of the wrapper.
  9. Dip your finger in water and run it around the outside of the wrapper.
  10. Fold the corner that is closest to you towards the center and press down.  Fold each of the two sides toward the center and roll the egg roll away from you, creating a sealed package.  Continue rolling until all filling is used.
  11. Place egg roll on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil or vegetable spray. 
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping egg rolls halfway way through.

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Cucumber, Feta & Dill Dip

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 I was inspired to make this dip while going about cutting coupons from the Sunday paper.  I saw a coupon/advertisement for this, and was reminded of those fast-food type kabob restaurants.  You know, the ones where you can what looks like a piece of poo on rice, but tastes absolutely nothing like that?

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Well, while the kabobs are delicous, can we all agree that the best part of those meals is the fresh, warm pita bread served with tzatziki sauce?  I mean, I can house the whole basket of pita myself!  And the creamy, cool cucumber yogurt sauce?  Delicious!

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 Well, this dip even is better than that.  It is like tzatziki sauce on crack.   It is pumped up with salty crumbled feta cheese and finely chopped dill and severed with grilled warm pita bread.  

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 Who needs those kabob restaurants when you can make something even better at home?!

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 Cucumber, Feta & Dill Dip with Greek Yogurt

makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch fresh dill (about 2 tbsp when finely chopped)
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • Pita bread
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Grate your cucumber into the bottom of a medium bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well until combined.
  3. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.  Because the cucumber is watery, you will need to re mix this dip before serving with grilledp ita bread.
  4. For pita bread, lightly spray or brush pita bread with olive oil.  Place on a hot grill or grill pan for 15-20 seconds each side, or until grill marks appear.  Cut bread into wedges. 

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or Salad)

I normally try to limit the amount of meat that I eat, and now that it is the Lenten season, meat is off limits for me on Fridays.  I made this dish for my lunch on Ash Wednesday (another meatless day).  It makes for a really nice light meal, or can be served with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

This is a “no recipe” recipe, and I’ll bet that you have most of the ingredients in your pantry.  I love quick and easy meals or snacks that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.  Whether you are running late and need a quick meal, or have unexpected company, this salsa (or salad) is a quick, tasty and sure to please.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or Salad)

Makes 20 servings as a salsa, or 3 as a salad

Ingredients

  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies), undrained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or in a bowl alone or over chopped romaine lettuce as a salad.  I think this would also be amazing with some grilled shrimp!

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Filed under Appetizers, Salads, Vegetarian