Appetizer Recipes

Kale & Walnut Pesto

This Kale & Walnut Pesto recipe is a great twist on the classic. My dear friend Jeanne made this recipe for me, and I was blown away! Enjoy this recipe tossed with your favorite cooked pasta or serve with crackers.

-Curt

Prepare time: 30 minutes (approx.)

 INGREDIENTS:

½ cup walnuts
1 bunch kale, leaves torn. Discard thick stems.
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 small clove garlic (additional to liking)
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes. Cool.
2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add kale and cook until bright green. Drain and cool.
3. In a food processor, combine walnuts, kale, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and process until finely chopped.
4. Add olive oil through top feed and mix through.

Toss with your favorite pasta. 

 

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Karma curried dip recipe for roasted vegetables. Made of yogurt, grape seed spread, curry, and spices

Karma Curried Dipping Sauce

This sauce recipe is easy to whip together and is perfect to dip roasted vegetables in.

-Curt

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup grape seed spread (This can be found in health food stores with the name Vegenaise.  It is a vegan Mayo.)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 ts ground ginger
½ ts tumeric powder
½ ts chili powder
½ ts sweet hungarian paprika
¼ ts salt

 

MIX: In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and yogurt. Stir in spices and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

 

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roasted vegetables recipe seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, and italian seasonings

Oven Baked Herbed Vegetables

When I first tasted these delicious potato wedges I literally went bonkers over them.  I devoured a whole plateful and begged my friend Nina for the recipe.  She graciously shared it with me and it has become a regular in our home.  This is a great side dish for parties or when company comes over.  It is very easy to prepare and takes very little time.

-Curt

 

MAIN VEGGIES
Potatoes (red, white and russet)
Red Onion
Yams

OIL AND SEASONINGS
Olive Oil or Grape seed Oil
Sea Salt
Italian Seasonings
Optional: Be creative. Try lemon pepper or any commercial mix’s.

 

OPTIONAL VEGGIES
parsnips
carrots
green beans (whole)
turnips
rutabagas
winter squash
peppers (green or red)
whole cloves of garlic
eggplant
asparagus
beets

 

PREHEAT: Preheat oven to 450°.
PREPARE: Clean veggies and cut into wedges and place in a large mixing bowl. After the veggies are together, drizzle olive or grape seed oil over the tops of them. Add seasonings and salt to your own tastes and with a large mixing spoon stir well, making sure each veggie slice is lightly coated with oil and seasonings. The oil will keep the seasonings coating the wedges.
BAKE: Layer on baking sheet coated with a bit of cooking spray and bake in oven at 450° for 40 minutes or until tender and browned.  At the very end, if needed, turn the oven to BROIL for around 3 – 5 minutes or until you get a desired roasted color.  Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing or dip of your choice.  They are especially good with my Karma Curried Dipping Sauce (check it out in the sauces/condiments section). Or they are great alone!

 

Note: Don’t get hung up on exact measurements of seasonings or the oil. Just add enough oil to lightly coat the volume of veggies you are baking. Then add seasonings and salt to your taste. This is a fun easy recipe, be CREATIVE!

 

 

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zingy bean salsa recipe with beans, pepper, tomato, corn, onion and cilantro

Zingy Bean Salsa

This hearty salsa recipe is full of flavor and with its many colors is as fun to look at as it is to eat it!  It is also extremely versatile.  Try it as a dip with corn chips, as a filling in a tortilla wrap, as a topping on a veggie burger, or as a perfect pot-luck salad (see note).

-Jessica

 

1 15-oz can black beans
1 15-oz can pinto beans
2 cups corn
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup minced red onion
1/3 cup minced cilantro

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice (or red wine vinegar)
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional- for an extra zing!)

 

COMBINE: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving for maximum flavor.  Though flavorful, this salsa is very mild.  If you prefer a spicy salsa, feel free throw in some minced hot peppers- but start with just a little, you can always add more.  Serve however you’d like!  (see ideas at top of page.)

 

Note: This salsa can be converted into a delicious salad – a perfect side dish to bring to a pot-luck dinner or to simply enjoy in your own home.  To the already prepared salsa, add:

4 cups prepared quinoa or brown rice
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp lime juice (or red wine vinegar)
½ tsp salt (or to taste)

Quick shrimp ceviche recipe with avocado, shrimp, lemon & lime, cucumber, red onion, and serrano chiles

Shrimp Ceviche

Who loves sea food? Oo, I do! Here is a quick and easy shrimp ceviche recipe from my good friend Ali at lemonpoppycake.com.  She cuts down on preparation time by using precooked frozen shrimp. Serve this healthy & tasty appetizer with tortilla chips. You better snatch a bite before serving your crowd, cause this will go quick- I promise!

 

1 lb frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and cut in half

1/2 t. salt

3/4 C lime juice (about 4-6 limes)

3/4 C lemon juice (about 2-3) lemons

1 cup diced red onion

1-2 cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed and diced

2 -3 serrano chiles, chopped

5-6 tomatoes, diced

cilantro, chopped (1/2 bunch)

1-2 avocados, peeled and cut into small chunks

 

  1. Place shrimp in a medium glass bowl. Add lemon & lime juice. Mix in onion, cucumber, and chiles. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Mix in tomato, cilantro, avocado, and 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt into the shrimp mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.
Quick mango salsa recipe with cucumber, cilantro and red onion.

Mango Salsa

The words mango and salsa in the same sentence get me all giddy inside. Yep, this sweet mango salsa recipe is a real winner. Serve with tortilla chips and voila, you’ve got an amazing appetizer your guests will go nuts over.

 

3 mangos, cut small

2 cucumbers, cut small

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

juice of one lime

salt to taste

 

Directions: 

Combine the mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and lime juice; mix well. Season with salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

 

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Spinach Kale Tortilla Triangles

This is one crazy fast recipe that is healthy and incredibly tasty. Don’t get hung up on exact measurements here. All you need for the filling is spinach, kale and some good cheese grated up. That’s it. The secret is to chop up the kale and spinach pretty fine. In about half inch sections. It seems to stay on the tortilla better that way. Anyway, chop up the greens, then mix in whatever cheeses you want. Kale is considered possibly the most healthy green vegetable in the world. So it’s this dish packs nutrients! Serve with some good salsa, or top with chopped tomatoes and red peppers. It is so fast and your friends will be amazed! – Curt

 

1 Cups finely chopped kale
2 Cups finely chopped spinach
1 Cup grated Cheese of choice (I like Gouda and Jarlsberg)
4 multi grain or whole wheat tortillas
Olive Oil
Chopped tomato and red pepper (optional topping)

 

1. HEAT SKILLET: Heat a cast iron skillet (or any skillet) to medium high temp.

2. KALE, SPINACH & CHEESE: Chop spinach & kale up fine, and grate cheese. Then mix together for the filling.

3. COOK: Add a bit of olive oil on the skillet and spread around. Add tortilla and then pile the spinach/kale mixture on HIGH. It will shrink, so add a lot. Top with another tortilla. Cover with a lid to keep heat on. Gently flip when tortilla is browned. I add a tablespoon of water and cover with lid. This creates a steam chamber which cooks the filling really well. When done, just remove and cut into quarters and top with salsa or tomato topping (not essential but tasty).

 

Note: Once you experiment a little with these you will see how fast and easy these are to make. They can be made quite quickly and I’ve served these to a pretty large group right off the skillet one after another. They are devoured very quickly! 

Hummus recipe with chick peas, tahini, and seasonings

Simple Hummus

If you have never made your own hummus recipe, you have got to try it.  It is SO easy!  And it is fun making something so easy that turns out just as well (if not better) than as when you buy it.  Hummus contains lots of health stuff – protein, fiber, and healthy oils.  Use it as a dip for vegetables or pita triangles or spread it on a veggie sandwich.  Sure beats mayo!  – Jessica

1 cup dry garbanzo beans or chick peas (makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.  If you prefer to use canned, use almost 2 cans)

1/4 cup tahini sesame seed paste (optional)

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 tsp minced garlic

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste (start small)

1/4 tsp cumin (optional)

2-4 Tbsp olive oil

 

  1. COOK:  Cook the dry garbanzo beans in a small slow cooker with 4-5 cups of water.  Turn it on in the morning and several hours later, check back to see if they are soft.  There isn’t an exact time here.  Drain the water.  You should have about 2 1/2 cups beans, now.  If you would prefer to use 2 1/2 cups canned beans, that is fine, too.
  2. BLEND:  Place the cooked garbanzo beans along with all the rest of the ingredients besides the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend.  If it is too thick, add more water little by little and stir it down to the bottom before blending again.  (I find that it is easier to use a food processor than a blender for this recipe because there is more room around the blade.  Once I blend it in the food processor, I transfer it into the serving bowl and then blend it again with an immersion blender to get it super smooth.)  Taste, and adjust salt and cayenne to how you like it.
  3. FINISHING TOUCHES: Spoon the hummus into a bowl and pour olive oil on top.  Garnish with another sprinkle of cayenne and a parsley sprig.

You may also like:

 

 

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Tortilla filled with spinach and melted cheese recipe

Spinach Tortilla Wedges

This is a super tasty recipe that cooks up very quickly. The key is finding a good multi-grain tortilla and some quality cheese. You can use any cheese you want. I usually use Jarlsberg and Gouda. But any will do depending on your tastes. I load it full of finely chopped spinach and grill it in a light dab of olive oil to make it super healthy. Top it with your favorite salsa and this is a sure winner. – Curt

MAKES 2 TORTILLA PIES

3 Cups finely chopped Spinach 1 Cup grated Cheese of choice (Jarlsberg, Gouda, sharp cheddar,

mozzarella)

4 multi-grain or whole wheat tortillas

olive oil

Salsa


1. Heat a cast iron skillet (or any skillet) to medium high temp.

2. Chop spinach up fine, and grate cheese. Then mix together for the filling.

3. Add a dab of olive oil on skillet and spread around. Place first tortilla on skillet.

4. Pile spinach mixture on the tortilla high. It will shrink in cooking. Place other tortilla on top. Then add a tablespoon of water to the skillet and cover the skillet with a lid. This creates a steam chamber that will cook down the spinach. Cook for a minute or so till the bottom tortilla is brown, but not burned. Remove lid and flip tortillas and brown the other side. I usually add a tablespoon of water again and cover to continue the oven like steam chamber process. When done, remover and chop into wedges, and top with your favorite salsa!

NOTE: There is no exact recipe for this as far as this being a perfect science. You have to be creative and just make them as you like them. The key is to chop the spinach very fine, and mix in a little grated cheese. The ratio is about 3 parts spinach to 1 part cheese. The spinach will reduce greatly when cooked. So I load a ton of spinach mixture in between the tortillas as it does cook down in volume. You can also add mushrooms or other vegetables. Just have fun and experiment. I like cooking on a cast iron skillet, but any skillet will do. Covering the skillet with a lid of some sort and adding a touch of water during the cooking will really help the spinach to cook down and the cheese to melt.

cinnamon sugar chips with sweet fruit salsa (kiwi, strawberries, apples, raspberries or blueberries)

Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips with Fruit Salsa

Our Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips with Fruit Salsa recipe is a fantastic way to satisfy a sweet tooth while still getting a healthy dose of whole grains and fruit.
Great party food!

-Jessica

2 whole wheat pitas or tortillas, each divided into 8 wedges
2 Tbs butter, melted (can also use a lightly flavored olive oil or cooking spray)
2 Tbs sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

 

Mix:  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Coat:  Brush top of the wedges lightly with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Next, sprinkle them with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Bake:  Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for 5-8 minutes, depending on how chewy or how crunchy you like yours.

 

Fruit Salsa

This is our suggested recipe, but feel free to use any fruit you wish!

1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
4 oz. raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
8 oz. strawberries, diced
2-3 Tbsp 100% fruit preserves, any flavor

Combine:  In a medium sized bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but best when used fresh.

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Guacamole Perfection easy avocado recipe

Guacamole Perfection

Avocados made into this Guacamole recipe are just amazing. I believe a good easy guacamole recipe with some hearty tortilla chips can be a meal in itself. Or, the perfect compliment to a good healthy well made Mexican main course. We make ours with fresh avocado mashed just enough, but leaving nice chucks of raw avocado. The additional flavors of cilantro, tomato, green onion and lime juice achieve guacamole perfection!  Adjust the following ingredients to make your own excellence in guacamole creation!

-Curt

 

4 medium avocados
few tablespoons of fresh minced cilantro
1 tomato finely chopped
1 stalk of green onion finely minced
lime juice from one lime
garlic salt to taste

 

PREPARE: Cut avocados and spoon out into a mixing bowl.  Mash just enough, but leaving some nice chunks of avocado.
MIX: Chop remaining veggies and gently stir in along with lime juice and garlic salt. Mix in the amount of ingredients to your tastes. There is no right or wrong – just variations!

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fresh basil pesto recipe with basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, olive oil, and parmesan cheese

Basil Pesto

This intensely flavorful sauce is delicious on pasta, pizza, and as a spread for toasted baguette.  A little bit goes a long way with this recipe!  Pesto can even be frozen for later use, which makes for an especially easy meal.

-Jessica

 

3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ cups olive oil
1/3 cups freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese

 

BLEND: Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until basil leaves are fairly small.   Add in garlic, salt, olive oil and cheese.  Continue to  pulse until well blended, but with some texture remaining.

 

Note: Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days if tightly covered.  It can also be frozen for long-term storage.  The easiest way to freeze pesto is to put it into ice cube trays.  When frozen, remove from the trays and store the pesto cubes in a freezer bag.  When you want to use, it will be ready to thaw in individual portions!