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Tag Archives: appetizer

Candied Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

The holidays can be such a chaotic time with all the activities, shoot sometimes I get sensory overload from all the bright lights alone. And planning, hosting, and delivering on family parties and potluck a is often no exception, so when I came across a recipe that simply doused a block of plain old cream cheese in caramel sauce, I knew it was perfect. (And not just because I can never get enough cream cheese; you know my feelings about cheesecake and dips.). ​When in doubt keep it simple. This is going to be my new go-to party spread.

 Candied Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

According to Buddy, the elf, ‘the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.’ And while we whole-heartedly agree, tasty treats are always a close second for spreading warmth and comfort to family and friends anytime of the year.

Serve this cream cheese spread and watch everyone cheer. We’ve topped it with Heath candy bits, but you could opt for plain toffee bits, or even nuts like pecans or walnuts for a less sweet, more rustic feel. Either way, it invites guests to dig right in.

Candied Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

Candied Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread 2
8 oz cream cheese
caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
crushed Heath bar candy, toffee bits, or nuts such as pecans or walnuts for topping
sliced apples, pears, pretzels, or graham crackers for serving

Directions

  1. Place the cream cheese on a serving dish. Pour as much caramel sauce as you want evenly over top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle with a generous helping of your topping of choice.
    2. Serve with sliced apples, pears, pretzels and/or graham crackers.

recipe adapted from She Wears Many Hats

Pomegranate, Feta, and Chive Pinwheels

Everywhere we go everything is decorated. And while there may be a whole spectrum of ‘holiday’ colors, red and green are by far the stars of this show. One thing I don’t see a lot of? Festive dishes.

Hold on, let me stop you right there. I’m not talking about the traditional holiday favorites. Or even all the cute ones made to look like Holiday favorites, like our Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread or our Christmas Tree Pancakes. Those are a given. I’m talking about ‘decorated’ festive dishes made specifically with Christmas colors in mind. My Mom used to say that at least half of her enjoyment in a dish wasn’t just taste or even presentation, but about the colors and whether or not they spoke to her. She loves a vibrant presentation, and I can honestly say that I’ve come to appreciate one as well.

Pomegranate & Feta Pinwheels 2

Red pomegranate arils and bright green chives stud a bed of snowy white feta and whipped cream cheese, and it’s all wrapped up into perfect pinwheels. Talk about the total package! Visually engaging with a mouth-watering flavor combination, these just beg to be included in your Christmas buffet or at any holiday party.

Pomegranate, Feta, and Chive Pinwheels

Pomegranate & Feta Pinwheels

8 oz whipped cream cheese
5 oz crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup chives, chopped
⅓ cup pomegranate arils, rinsed and gently patted dry
4 fajita size tortillas

Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, stir together the cream cheese, feta, chives and pomegrante arils.
    2. Spread the cream cheese out evenly over all four tortillas.
    3. Roll each tortilla tightly (like you would a Swiss or jell roll) and wrap the roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the filled tortillas for at least one hour, or overnight if making ahead of time.
    4. Use a serrated knife to slice each tortilla into 12 pinwheels before serving.

recipe adapted from Melanie Makes

Crusty, Fool-Proof Baguettes In 30 Minutes Flat

Quick & crusty baguettes in 30 minutes flat. Say that five times fast. How many of you thought you’d ever be able to say that at all, let alone believe it? This recipe is like the best (not anymore!) kept secret on the planet. It’s so easy, it’s been called fool proof. It’s perfect for beginner bakers and as an easy introduction to from-scratch bread making. Plus, it only uses five (yes, 5) everyday ingredients you probably already have in stock.

Baguettes for Beginners 2

Soft and flaky on the inside, crisp and crusty on the outside. They’re perfect for tearing into and chewing alongside your favorite pasta, your favorite cheese, your favorite soup, or for something as simple as slapping on a slab of your favorite butter. These baguettes are perfect. And they can be made last minute. Goodbye pre-planning and hours of rise time. I won’t miss tip-toeing around the house or trying to time nap time so heavy foot steps and little running feet wouldn’t make my dough fall, that’s for sure!

Baguettes for Beginners 3

This recipe makes two loaves, and we love to enjoy one fresh out of the oven with our favorite spices in a little olive oil for a quick and easy appetizer to tide us over while our main meal cooks.

Crusty, Fool Proof Baguettes In Under 30 Minutes Flat

Baguettes for Beginners

2 cups very warm water
1 packet yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3-4 cups of flour

Directions

 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes. Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft, but not sticky. Knead the dough until elastic.

2. Cut the dough into four even pieces. Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes. Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf. Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf. Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry), or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.

4. Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice. Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes (the steam for the ice is what creates the crunchy outer crust). Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

5. Serve warm with butter or with a dipping sauce of your favorite seasoned olive oil.

Crispy Mini Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

As if a classic case of the Mondays wasn’t hard enough to to beat already, it’s also rainy. And it’s supposed to be rainy for most of the week. Talk about a lack-luster start to the week. But I’m not letting that stop me from bringing you this snack recipe.

I know, I know, such dedication. I mean it, I’m putting off my nap for it 😉 I kid, kinda.

Mini Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls 2

These are everything you love about jalapeño poppers, but cleverly tucked into a mini fried egg roll shell. Talk about having a surprise hidden inside!

Mini Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls 3

They’re creamy, they’re cheesy, bacony, and spicy with just the right amount of crunch. These are great party appetizers, and they’re also great grub for game day.

Crispy Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Mini Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 package wonton wrappers
canola oil, for frying

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or medium-large pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees.
    2. Stir together the cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeño peppers, garlic powder and green onions until evenly combined.
    3. Place each wonton wrapper diagonally (like a diamond) and add 1 tablespoon of filling. Brush a little bit of water on the edge of the wrapper and fold in half pinching to seal. Fold the sides in and roll the egg roll ensuring it is completely sealed.
    4. Drop each egg roll into the hot oil for about 3 minutes, or until brown and crispy.
    5. Remove the fried eggrolls to paper towels to drain. Let them rest about 5 minutes before serving.

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

Like this idea? Be sure to check out these other fun egg roll ideas!

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls 7

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

Ham Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls 2

Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls with Ham or Bacon

Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Wonton Chips 2

Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Crispy Wonton Chips

Crab Rangoon

These little fried ‘dumplings’ are an American ‘Chinese’ take out favorite. They’re stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and flaky crab meat. Real or imitation meat both work just fine, depending on your inclination and your budget.

crab rangoon 2

We love these little appetizers, especially since we discovered that they can be deep fried or baked, giving us some options convenience and calorie-wise.

Crab Rangoon

Best of all? We can get all the same flavors we love from our favorite take out, but whipped up at home in under 30 minutes, and that’s a generous estimate– in reality it’s more like 20 minutes.

This is everything you’ve ever imagined in an incredibly creamy crab filling that you can easily seal up into a triangle (or square) of delicious wonton wrapper casing.

The finished crispy wontons are loaded with cream cheesy crab goodness that’s sure to be an irresistible hit at any dinner or dinner party.

Crab Rangoon

crab rangoon 3

1 block, 8 oz, cream cheese, softened
2 oz crab meat or 2 sticks imitation crab meat, finely diced
1 tbsp confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
20 wonton wrappers
Oil, for deep frying

Directions

  1. Mix all the cream cheese, crab meat, sugar, and salt in a bowl, stirring to evenly incorporate. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Dab some water on the outer edges of the wonton wrapper and fold the two ends of the wrapper together. Fold the other two ends to make a tiny parcel pictured below. Pinch to seal tight and make sure that there is no leakage.

2. Heat up a pot of oil for deep-frying and fry the crab rangoon until golden brown. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the crab rangoon on a dish lined with paper towels. Let the crab rangoon cools down a bit before serving them with sweet and sour sauce.

Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Wraps

Where are all my fellow football fans at?

<Fist Bump>

Now, I freely admit, while I love the game and can in fact follow along and all the rest, my favorite party about game day is the food. Hey, there’s no shame in my game 😉

And who doesn’t love a good excuse to make an entire meal out of appetizers, assorted snack foods, and chips and dip?

Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Wraps

I love serving wraps because they’re simple to assemble and easy to throw together a the last minute. Like under 5 minutes quick. Who wants to be stressed out on game day? Or make that any more stressed out if your team didn’t bring it that day.

This wrap though has, most definitely, brought it. It’s bursting at the seams with flavor. The creamy (& healthy–shh don’t tell the guys) avocado yogurt sauce pairs perfectly with the tang from the sharp cheddar. They’re rounded out with the addition of some of your favorite sliced turkey and tomatoes. Then we’ve sprinkled on some cilantro leaves and a pinch of Chipotle seasoning for the perfect amount of fresh color and kick.

Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Wraps

2 large flour tortillas, burrito size
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
8 thin slices of cheddar cheese, softened to room temp
1/2-1 tsp chipotle seasoning, or more (to taste) if you’re feeling adventurous
1/2 cup of your favorite chopped tomatoes; Rotel, diced Roma, or even sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems discarded, chopped

Directions

  1. Place the tortillas onto a clean, flat work surface, such as a cutting board or counter top.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, using a fork to mash everything together until evenly incorporated into a thick sauce.
    3. Spread the sauce out evenly, dividing it in half between both wraps, and remembering to leave a 1/4″ bare edge all the way around.
    4. Add the cheese slices (about 4 slices per wrap depending on the size) in an even, flat layer. It’s ok if you need to break the cheese in places to get it to properly cover the whole wrap.
    5. Evenly sprinkle each wrap with 1/2 the desired amount of chipotle seasoning.
    6. Evenly sprinkle each wrap with 1/4 cup of tomatoes.
    7. Evenly sprinkle each wrap with 1/4 cup of the fresh cilantro.
    8. Roll each wrap up tightly and position so that the seam side is facing down. Set the rolled wraps onto a plate and chill in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
  2. 9. Using a serrated knife, slice each wrap into 1-inch slices and serve them immediately to a hungry crowd.

Boston Cream Pie Cookie Cups

Boston Cream Pie, or actually more of a cake, is the dessert that made Boston famous, or is it the other way around? Oh well, chicken or egg. What’s important is that it’s here now, and it’s still so dang good. And Boston doesn’t seem to care either, because it even became their ‘official’ adopted dessert in 1996. This rich, but devastatingly delicious, dessert typically features a layer of thick, creamy custard, sandwiched between soft, buttery layers of cake and topped with a thick chocolate ganache. And it’s one of our favorite desserts to serve at our Holday table to close-out our big meal.

Boston Cream Pie Cookie Bites 2

But we can’t always leave well-enough alone. No matter how good the tried and true is, I just can’t stop there. I just can’t stop myself. I embrace change, well I do in the kitchen at least if not anywhere else. Luckily, with this fun finger food, there were no other feet dragging either.

Boston Cream Pie Cookie Bites 3

Now let me present to you for your upcoming Holiday dinner enjoyment: all the same flavor of Boston Cream Pie, but served in miniature form and in little sugar cookie cups, no less. These make the perfect bite-sized appetizer or dessert anytime of the year, but they will definitely have star-power at any Holiday meal.

Boston Cream Pie Cookie Cups

Boston Cream Pie Cookie Bites 4

uncooked sugar cookie dough, can be the refrigerated kind or from a dry package and mixed according to the package directions
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 3.4 ounce box of instant vanilla, or French vanilla, pudding
¼ cup powdered sugar
Chocolate syrup

Directions

  1. Roll the dough into roughly 1″ balls and place all the balls into the muffin depressions in a greased mini muffin pan. Lightly press a spoon or rounded tablespoon into the top center of each dough ball to create a crater in the middle. Bake the cookie cups at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes. It’s ok if the centers seem a wee bit undercooked as long as they’re not ‘doughy’. Again, use your spoon or tablespoon to lightly push down the center again retain the ‘cup’ form. Let the cookie cups rest for 5 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to continue cooling.
    2. in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream and whip, starting on a low speed, and then as it begins to thicken increase the speed until it has been thickened almost to the consistency of whipped cream. Add the pudding and the sugar. Continue to whip until they’re all evenly incorporated and the mousse is the consistency of thick whipped cream.
    3. Add the mousse to a piping bag, or to a ziplock bag with one corner snipped off, and pipe into petite little piles in the cooled cookie cups. Top the filled cups with liberal drizzles of chocolate syrup.
    4. Serve them immediately or store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

recipe adapted from House of Yumm

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