Brie Bites with Fig Jam

Brie and figs…my two favorite things! The cheesy sweetness of this appetizer goes so well together and is such an easy last-minute dish to put together. I bought already cooked phyllo shells, and didn’t melt the brie cheese to make this even quicker. Next time I will put it in the oven for a bit to melt the cheese and I bet it will be that much tastier!

Brie Bites with Fig Jam

baked brie bites

Ingredients
1 package of already cooked mini phyllo shells
6 oz. brie cheese, about 1 wedge
¼ cup fig preserves
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Place a cube of brie cheese in each shell. Add a dollop of fig jam on top of the cheese. Sprinkle each shell with some walnuts. Put on a pretty platter and serve!

Recipe Source: http://phyllo.com/2013/11/07/baked-brie-phyllo-shells-with-fig-preserves/

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

I took my favorite healthy comfort food and turned it even more healthy! These lettuce wraps are the best way to add healthy to your diet while still getting the protein and yumminess you deserve.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

buffalo chicken quinoa lettuce wraps

Ingredients

1 head of Boston, Bib, or Butter Lettuce
1 cup quinoa (measured uncooked)
2 cups water
3/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
1/2 cup Sambal (or any hot sauce)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups shredded carrots
2 Avocados
1 tsp salt
Chives-chopped (optional)

Directions

In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and then turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed. It usually says on the quinoa package how long to cook it until.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the buffalo sauce. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and salt. I usually use Sambal chile sauce for my  “hot sauce,” so feel free to use any hot sauce you like. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and add chicken to saute until cooked through. Add half of sauce mix, saute for two minutes and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. For me, its easier to cook the chicken breast whole first, then after its cooked cut it up.

Now its time to assemble! Take 1 piece of lettuce, add the quinoa to the center, and a couple pieces of buffalo chicken on top of that. Then add a little shredded carrots and a couple pieces of avocado. Top with chopped chives if desired, roll up and serve!

Recipe source: http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/08/02/chicken-quinoa-lettuce-wraps-with-peanut-sauce

Reuben Dip

I love reuben sandwiches so when I came across this reuben dip my jaw dropped. The dip is just as good as the sandwich, especially when served along side of little slices of rye or pumpernickel bread 🙂

Reuben Dip

reuben dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound diced corned beef (have the deli cut a large chunk for you, or I have found it packaged before)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, combine corned beef, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, sour cream, ketchup and mustard. Spoon into a greased, 1-quart baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with rye bread.
  • I added more cheese on top afterwards because I wanted it to be more cheesey 😉

Recipe source: http://noblepig.com/2008/09/reuben/

Crab and Lemon Aioli Bruschetta

My favorite new appetizer!! I love having crab in the summer, there is just something so light but meaty about it! Mixing the crab with the lemon aioli definitely makes this app what it is!

Crab and Lemon Aioli Bruschetta

crab and lemon aioli brushetta

Ingredients

Toasts:
1 ciabatta loaf, cut into 12 (1/2-inch thick) slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Crab:
8 ounces lump crabmeat
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Aioli:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 large lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the toasts: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle both sides of the bread with the oil. Season with salt and bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 1 minute, and then rub the toasts with the cut side of the garlic.

For the crab: In a small bowl, gently combine the crab, lemon juice, chives, and salt.

For the aioli: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon zest, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Mix the crabmeat with the aioli mixture and place on top of the toasts.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/crab-and-lemon-bruschetta-recipe.html

Avocado-Pesto Stuffed Peppers

I made this finger food at my last girl’s night for a healthy twist on our typical wine and cheese night. The mix of avocado and pesto might be my new favorite combo!

Avocado-Pesto Stuffed Peppers

avocado pesto stuffed peppers

Ingredients

  • mini sweet bell peppers
  • ripe avocados
  • tablespoons of your favorite pesto
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Cut the stems off of the peppers and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  2. In a bowl with a fork (or in a food processor) mash up the avocados and pesto until creamy. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Using a big ziplock bag with the corner snipped off (the stronger freezer bags work the best), pipe the mixture into mini sweet bell peppers and enjoy!

Recipe source: http://food52.com/recipes/22340-avocado-pesto-stuffed-peppers

Bloody Mary Dip

My best friend used to love bloody marys but ever since she got pregnant she hasn’t been able to enjoy them. I thought I would make this dip for an upcoming party so she could enjoy it just as much as everyone else!
This dip turns your favorite alcoholic beverage into a classy non-alcoholic dip.
Bloody Mary Dip
bloody mary dip
Ingredients
8 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce of choice, such as Tabasco
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, liquid squeezed out
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1 teaspoon juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
1 head celery, cut into 4-inch sticks
Directions
Put the mascarpone in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, salt and celery seeds. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the dip is smooth, about 1 minute.

Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and serve with celery sticks for dipping.

Recipe source: http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/recipes/1286/bloody-mary-dip

Beer Cheese Dip

This easy dip takes 5 minutes to make and is jam-packed with flavor! The longer you let the ingredients marinate, the bolder the flavor, which is why I prefer to let mine stay in the refrigerator over night.

Beer Cheese Dip

beer cheese dip

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1 package of Dry mix –  Ranch Dressing (like Hidden Valley)
  •  1/2 -3/4 can of beer  (A lager, or full bodied beer, as opposed to a light beer will give you a better flavor)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pretzels for dipping

Directions

  1. Mix cream cheese, dressing, and beer until you reach your desired creamy consistency.
  2. Then mix in 1/2 cup of cheese, leaving the remaining cheese to sprinkle on top.
  3. Refrigerated overnight to let the flavors marinade or at least 3 hours before.
  4. Serve with pretzels.

Recipe source: http://beautyandbedlam.com/beer-dip-recipe/

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

I love spinach artichoke dip! This recipe is a smaller, bite size, version of spinach dip! It is spinach dip wrapped in bread…what is better than that!?

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Ingredients
13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, I used Simply Pillsbury
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup light sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper (I used Chili Powder)
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Garlic Salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt (I used Kosher salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.

3. As the spinach and garlic cool down a bit, spray 10 regular muffin cups (can also use mini muffin tins) with non stick cooking spray.  Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice into about a 3 inch round, I did this by pressing in between my hands.  Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup.  Set aside.

4.  Mix cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls.  Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes until just turning brown on edges.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.

Recipe Source: http://picky-palate.com/2011/01/31/baked-spinach-dip-mini-bread-bowls/

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip

This recipe is such a great alternative to hummus. It contains minimal and simple ingredients to create such a healthy dip. The best part about this dip is that it doesn’t brown. Most avocado dishes will brown the next day, but this dip stayed green! If it does brown a tiny bit, your best bet is to add a little lime juice and mix.

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip

creamy-avocado-yogurt-dip

Ingredients
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Pita chips, tortilla chips, cut up veggies-for serving

Directions

1. Place the yogurt, avocados, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and cumin in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

2. Scrape dip into a serving bowl and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or cut up veggies.

Recipe Source: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/creamy-avocado-yogurt-dip/

Noodle-Bowl Lettuce Wraps

When you think of lettuce wraps, you think of an appetizer. You can easily make this recipe into an appetizer; however, while this recipe includes pork and noodles, it quickly turns into an easy and healthy meal! The best part about this recipe is that you can turn it into a bowl, instead of a lettuce wrap. You can use chicken, or tofu, instead of pork. You can also omit the noodles if you are watching carbs (although I think the noodles are what make this dish unique and filling). You can make this recipe your own!

The best part about this noodle-bowl recipe is that it is quick and easy! The filling is also just as good the next day!

Noodle-Bowl Lettuce Wraps

noodle bowl lettuce wraps

 Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound prepped vegetables, such as cucumber, bell pepper and mushroom slices (really any veggie you want)
2 small heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
One 3-ounce package instant ramen (discard seasoning packet)
1 tablespoon oil (any kind) plus 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
8 ounces 1/2-inch-thick boneless center-cut loin pork chops, sliced 1/8 inch thick on an angle
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
Asian-style salad dressing, such as sesame-ginger, miso or sweet chili (I used sesame ginger)

For more ingredient options click here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/shortcut-noodle-bowl-lettuce-wraps.html

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Slice the cucumber rounds and bell peppers into bite size pieces. Any other vegetables you have, also cut into bite size pieces. Add all the vegetables  into a large serving bowl, or arrange on a large platter.

Add the ramen to the boiling water and cook, stirring once or twice to separate, for about 90 seconds. Strain, transfer to a small bowl, toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and add to the bowl or platter with the vegetables.

Toss the pork with the hoisin sauce in a medium bowl, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium nonstick skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the pork and stir-fry until the hoisin sauce chars a bit, about 45 seconds. Transfer the pork to the platter  or bowl with the vegetables.

To serve, have everyone fill their lettuce leaves with noodles, pork and vegetables, and top with a splash of dressing.