Ham, Pimento Cheese and Spinach Pinwheels


pinwheels

It’s been said that nothing good in life comes easy well here is the exception to the rule! This is a 15 minute appetizer that you can make ahead of time or at the last-minute that looks great on any party table and tastes great too. Share on Facebook if you like this recipe.

 

8 ounce package Neufchâtel cheese or Cream cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup diced pimento

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1 tbsp. dried Italian herbs

1/2  tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine above ingredients to make cheese spread and set aside. (I use Neufchâtel because it has lower fat)

flour tortillas

8 ounce fresh baby spinach

1/4 pound sliced ham

  1. Place flour tortilla on counter  and coat with an even layer of cheese spread.
  2. Cover cheese with a handful of spinach.
  3. Cover with a layer of ham.
  4. Roll up tortilla jelly roll style.
  5. Cut into 1 inch pieces and inset tooth picks.

With practice I think you can make them in 10 minutes – ha ha ha.

 

Easy Mini Spanakopita Pies


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I have been asked by so many of my friends, especially around the Holidays, for a quick and easy appetizer recipe. I chose this dish not only because it is quick and easy but because it tastes so good. I do take some liberties with the traditional Spanakopita recipe by adding mushrooms to the recipe. I first added the mushrooms to the recipe many years ago because my sister told me that my brother-in-law Bob hated mushrooms and she bet me I could not get him to eat them. Do I need to tell you what Bob’s favorite appetizer has been ever since.

 

Yes this is Bob!

Yes this is Bob!

 

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion – diced

4 cloves garlic – diced

1 cup mushrooms – finely minced ( I use a mini food processor) it helped to hide the mushrooms from Bob

 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach – defrosted and squeezed dry

1 splash sherry or white wine

4 ounces Feta cheese – crumbled

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese – grated

2 boxes Athens Brand Filo Cups – 15 cups / box

Pam non stick spray

Parchment paper

 

Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until clarified. Add garlic to pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook  for 5 minutes stirring  occasionally.

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Add spinach and sherry to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir well to combine. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

Add the Feta and Parmesan cheeses to the pan and stir until well combined.

Place Filo cups on a parchment lined baking pan. Lightly spray the tops of the cups with Pam.

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Fill each cup with a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. Any extra spinach mixture can be frozen for another party or used to stuff an omelet…Yummy. Spinach and feta omelet.

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Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus Recipe


roasted red pepper and garlic hummus

roasted red pepper and garlic hummus

I call it quick and easy because I use roasted red peppers from a jar and I use sesame oil and peanut butter in place of the usual tahini because I don’t use tahini often enough to keep some in my pantry. My favorite thing about this recipe is you throw everything in the food processor and whiz it.

1 small head of garlic – top cut off

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 oz. jar roasted red peppers – drain and reserve liquid

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cans garbanzo beans drained – skins removed from the beans makes the hummus creamier (optional)

1 tsp sesame oil

4 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. cumin

2 dashes hot sauce

100_2189Roast garlic and olive oil in a foil pouch for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Set aside to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves to remove the pulp right into food processor along with the remaining oil from foil pouch.

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Add remaining ingredients to food processor except for reserved pepper juice and puree until creamy. (about 4 minutes) Use reserved juice to thin if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve a few garbanzo beans and pieces of red pepper for garnish.

Serve with raw vegetables or pita crackers.

Creamy Butternut Squash and Coconut Milk Soup


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Butternut squash and coconut milk are a wonderful flavor combination.  This is the perfect cold weather soup. The ginger, curry and cinnamon will give you that warm fuzzy feeling down to your toes. Serve with warm crusty bread and you have a quick easy meal.

4 cups butternut squash – 1″ dice

2 carrots sliced

1/2 medium onion diced

1 clove garlic diced

1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

6 cups chicken stock or use enough to just cover vegetables

13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1/4 tsp curry powder (+/-) to taste

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a thick bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are fork tender (about 20 minutes). Allow soup to cool then use a blender to puree soup in batches until it is creamy. (Do not put hot soup into blender). Then re-heat the soup to serve.

Crab Rangoons with Sweet and Sour Sauce


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Did you ever wonder what was in the neon red colored sauce that comes with your order of Crab Rangoons? Today I decided to find out, so I headed out to an Asian market and picked up a bottle of Sweet and Sour Sauce and I started to read. After reading the label and removing all of the ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce I realized how easy it would be to make at home with no artificial colors and no preservatives. Once I was done making the sauce I had a new dilemma, dipping sauce and no Crab Rangoons! So after a little bit of trial and error and a few wasted wonton wrappers I was filling and folding my own. If you love Crab Rangoons, I know you will enjoy this recipe.

Crab Rangoon
8 ounces cream cheese
1 can – 4.5 ounces crab meat
2 sliced scallions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
One egg yolk +1 teaspoon water (beaten)
One package wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine cream cheese, crab, scallions, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and sugar then set aside.

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Remove one wonton skin from package and place on counter so it looks like a diamond.

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Brush edges of wonton skin with egg yolk.

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Place 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on center of wonton skin.

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Bring bottom point to top while sealing edges.

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Alternate folding method:

Pinch left and right points.

imagePinch top and bottom points.

imagePush all points towards the center and seal the top.

imageHeat the oil to 365 degrees. Fry the  Rangoons for  about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

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Sweet and Sour Sauce

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons catsup
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Chill before serving. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Eggplant Caponata


Caponata

Caponata

 

I get many requests from my friends for Vegetarian dishes. This is a Sicilian recipe for a sweet and sour eggplant relish that can be served on crackers or crostini. I also use it as a sandwich spread when I make an Italian Hoagie sandwich. Take one bite and you will feel like  you are in Italy…Ciao Baby!

 

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant (peeled and diced into half-inch cubes) (4 cups)

1 medium onion finely diced

1 stick celery finely diced

4 cloves garlic finely diced

1 – 16 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup of coarsely diced Manzanilla olives

1/4 cup coarsely diced black olives

1/4 cup pine-nuts

1/4 cup raisins

3 tablespoons capers

crushed red pepper to taste

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

Fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

Heat up a large skillet with olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add eggplant in one layer  to pan. Cook for 4 minutes (do not stir). After 4 minutes turn over the eggplant in the pan to brown the other side for an additional 4 minutes. Remove eggplant to a separate bowl and set aside. Add onions and celery to the skillet with additional oil if needed. When the onions have become translucent add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining ingredients to the pan.  Cook at a low simmer for 8 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Serve at room temperature.

Shrimp and Crab Salad


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This recipe is an old family favorite that I will credit to my mother. My mom makes it whenever she invites friends for a party. But it is so good that I find any excuse to make it.

1 lb. cooked shrimp peeled and diced

1 lb. Surimi (flake style imitation crab) diced

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1/4 cup finely diced celery

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp old bay seasoning

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with assorted crackers.