Apricots with Basil, Goat Cheese, & Almonds

apricots-cheese-su-xIngredients

4 ounces fresh goat cheese such as Laura Chenel, at room temperature

About 2 tsp. milk

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

40 dried apricots

40 almonds, preferably Marcona 

2 teaspoons honey

Preparation

1. Mix together cheese, 2 tsp. milk, and basil with a wooden spoon until spreadable. Thin with more milk if necessary.

2. Spread a heaping 1/4 tsp. cheese on each apricot and top each with an almond. Drizzle with honey.

Psst!  You can make this healthy appetizer up to one day ahead.  Refrigerate and then bring to room temperature (30-60 minutes before serving). Drizzle with honey  just before serving.

Easy Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is and italian antipasto  that boasts a  mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil, and garlic, spooned over olive oil brushed slices of toasted baguette or rustic bread. It’s like summer on toast!

You can  prepare the topping  and toast the baguette slices ahead of time if needed. Then you can assemble right before serving.

Easy Bruschetta 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 24 small slices (serves 6-10 as an appetizer)

Ingredients

  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (I like to use 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a little more for brushing the toast)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Prepare the topping: Finely chop the cherry tomatoes (in 6 pieces) and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Set aside to marinate.

3. Prepare the baguette slices: Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil with a pastry brush and place on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Place in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5-6 minutes. Check for doneness and if needed, toast for 1-2 minutes more until lightly browned and slightly crunchy.  Allow the toast to cool.

4.  Assemble the bruschetta:  Place a small spoonful of topping on toasted bread and place on a serving platter. These can be made up to 30 minutes before serving and still be crunchy due to the toasting with olive oil.

You can also serve the toasts plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for people to top their own.

Psst!   Trader Joe’s offers Bruschetta Sauce in a plastic carton in the refrigerator section and is a great substitute for making your own tomato bruschetta mixture when you are in a hurry.

 

Grilled Artichoke Frittata Squares

Grilled Artichoke Frittata Squares

Yield:   16 frittata squares
Cook Time:   35-40 minutes
These tasty protein-rich appetizers are delicious served fresh and hot from the oven but are also great served cooled, or after having chilled in the fridge. They also make a great on-the-go quick breakfast treat for those rushed mornings when made the night before.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. jar Trade Joe’s grilled marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (approx. 1 cup) -Don’t forget to reserve the liquid
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 crispy crackers, (I like Ritz toasted original crackers) crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups of your favorite cheese, shredded (I use sharp cheddar cheese – approximately 8 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus a sprig for garnish

Directions

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Pour 1/4 cup of artichoke marinade into a skillet and set aside. Chop artichoke hearts into roughly 1/2-inch-sized pieces and set aside. Heat marinade in skillet and add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are tender (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until thoroughly beaten. Add crumbled crackers, salt and pepper, cheese, parsley, artichoke mixture and stir to combine.  Pour mixture into a 8×8-inch baking pan prepared with nonstick cooking spray). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set and very slightly browned on top. Allow to cool in pan, then cut into 16 bite-size squares.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pops

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pops

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With Superbowl Sunday just around the corner, I know many of you are looking for HEALTHY appetizers to balance out all the junk food we tend to indulge in while watching the big game.  Here is a repost of a popular one that is both simple, satisfying and guilt free!  Enjoy!Tomato Basil Appetizer

1 dry pint (basket) of cherry tomatoes
1 carton of fresh mozzarella cheese (small balls or you can cut up larger ones)
10-20 fresh basil leaves (depending on size)
good quality extra virgin olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
toothpicks

 Directions

Wash tomatoes and basil and allow to dry; Thread tooth picks with tomato, basil leaf and cheese; Arrange on a serving dish; Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl; Drizzle over tomato skewers.   Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Salad Variation: eliminate the toothpicks and cut the basil leafs with scissors. Toss all ingredients together and serve in a pretty bowl for a yummy, fresh side salad.

 

 

Masala Meatballs with Mango Ginger Chutney

img_8040This easy-peasy appetizer is so simple but the flavor combination is devine.

Masala Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Slowcooker Method
In a  slowcooker, heat the meatballs and simmer sauce for about 2-3 hours on high until heated through.

Oven Method
Preheat oven to 350°. Place meatballs on a jellyroll pan  and cover with masala sauce. Place in oven and let cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through and sauce is hot.

Serve warm alongside a small dipping bowl of Mango & Ginger Chutney.  What could be simpler?

15-Minute Thai Coconut-Broccoli Soup Recipe

Can’t wait to try this yummy goodness!

food to glow

A 15-minute vegan take on the Thai dish, tom kha kai (chicken coconut soup). A green soup in disguise. Hopping from family gathering to party to dinner. Zapping in and out of airports and train stations. Catering like a boss for family and friends. Too.Many.Cocktails. The holiday season definitely takes its toll. Not only on one’s routine and normal diet, but also one’s  motivation to get back to real life – which unfortunately isn’t fruit-spiked mugs of glögg, and 8 a.m. slices of stollen. 

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Ina-Inspired Tomato Soup

IMG_1324Easy Tomato Soup inspired by Ina Garten

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation

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Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

We like heat in our meat and I recently discovered a new kick it up ingredient  called Gochujang that is a chile paste used in many spicy Korean dishes.   I think you’ll like it.  My family does.

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • Pounds Chicken Wings
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Scallion (top green portion)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Glaze
  • 1 1-Inch Piece of Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Gochujang (I like Mother In Law’s found at World Market)
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Black & White Sesame Seeds

Instructions

2. Prepare the ingredients:

Thinly slice the top green part of the scallion (Save the white part  for the bok choy side dish). Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  To make the sauce, in a medium bowl, combine the soy glaze, vinegar, sesame oil,  garlic, ginger and as much of the gochujang as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.

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3. Glaze & finish the chicken wings:

Remove the roasted chicken wings from the oven and evenly brush or drizzle with the sauce. Return to the oven and roast 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned on top. Remove from the oven.

4. Plate your dish (if preparing as main course):

Divide the finished chicken wings between 2-3 dishes. Garnish with the sesame seeds and green top of the scallion. Serve with the seared baby bok choy on the side if you like.  Enjoy!

PSST!  This is a tasty appetizer too.  Don’t forget the napkins though!

Zesty Lime Avocado and Shrimp Salad

Zesty Lime Avocado and Shrimp Salad

Zesty Lime Avocado and Shrimp Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb jumbo cooked, peeled shrimp, chopped*
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 medium hass avocado, diced (about 5 oz)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions:

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