Tag Archives: appetizer

Chicken Pot Stickers

I don’t know about you but whenever I go to an event or a get-together and I see pot stickers, I lunge for them (if they are vegetarian or chicken, that is).  When I think about the appetizers my friends most go for, pot stickers or any kind of Asian dumplings are usually the first to go.  Making these Chicken Pot Stickers seem like a slam dunk to me.

A simple mixture of ground chicken, cooked cabbage, garlic, ginger, scallions, and sesame oil are wrapped up in wonton wrappers, browned slightly, and steamed until cooked to perfection.  I don’t think I’ve ever bought a head of cabbage before and as I cooked this cabbage, I realized that the vegetables in the vegetables and rice I get from the food cart outside work is made with cabbage (I thought it was bok choy this whole time!).  I now realize I’m a huge cabbage fan and will incorporate it into all of my stir-fry recipes from now on.  But, I digress…these pot stickers are fragrant and gingery and I honestly can’t rave about these enough.  They are the perfect little bite to dunk into salty soy sauce or any other of your favorite Asian dipping sauce.  I dare you to stop at one.  Or two.  Or three.  Seriously.  They are that good.

The ingredients:

Shred or chop the cabbage and add it to a skillet with vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the cabbage until slightly brown, adding the water a tablespoon at a time.

Move cabbage to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add ground chicken, scallions, ginger, garlic, salt, sesame oil, and egg white to the cabbage and mix.

Spoon a tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the middle of a wonton.  Using your fingers, moisten the edges of the wonton with water.

Bring 2 opposite corners of the wonton to the center and pinch to seal.  Bring the other 2 corners to center and pinch all 4 edges together to seal.  Place wontons on a baking sheet covered in cornstarch or parchment.  Cover wontons with a wet papertowl to prevent them from drying out as you prepare the remaining pot stickers.

  

Place 1/2 of the wontons into a skillet coated with vegetable oil and cook until brown, about 3 minutes.

 

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and cover, allowing wontons to steam for 3 minutes.

 

Move steamed wontons to a plate and repeat procedure with remaining wontons.  Serve with your favorite Asian dipping sauce.

Omissions:  None

Additions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Layered Bean Dip

Dips are usually a necessity for game day and in the middle of winter, what’s better than a baked, warm dip? This Layered Bean Dip will appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It has layers of refried beans, black beans, sour cream, salsa, and Mexican cheese and baked until bubbly. This recipe calls for reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar cheese but obviously you can use whatever full-fat ingredients you want (I mean, at a party, who cares?!).

If you are heading to a friend’s house, this is an easy dip to assemble at home and bake later. Serve this with corn chips, tortilla chips, baked chips or pita chips (I made my own pita chips out of leftover whole wheat pitas cut into small wedges and baked for 10 minutes at 375°F). Kids will surely love this too!

The ingredients:

Mix the refried beans and drained black beans in a bowl.

Spread bean mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 or 8x6x2 baking dish.

Top bean mixture with sour cream.

Layer on a cup of your favorite salsa.

Sprinkle Mexican cheese over the salsa and cover in foil.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite chips.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bites

The Super Bowl is this coming weekend and even though my team isn’t playing, I’ll still be watching and wanting to munch on snacky-snacks. So, I’m dedicating this week to munchies, appetizers, and snacks that you can enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday!

Most people love buffalo chicken so these Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bites are a perfect bite to serve guests or to take to a friend’s house for the big game. I made these spicy, cheesy, crunchy apps with chopped precooked chicken but rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts will work as well. The chicken is mixed with buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and scallions and rolled in layers of flour, egg, and bread crumbs. These bites were baked to help save some calories but they could easily be cooked in a skillet with some oil for a crunchier coating. I loved the light, slightly crispy coating and the creamy, oozy filling of these bites. Serve these with your favorite blue cheese or ranch dressing. I guarantee they’ll be a hit!

The ingredients (I forgot the scallions):

Chop up the chicken into small pieces and place in a bowl with the buffalo sauce, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and scallions. Mix well.

Place 1/2 cup of the flour onto a plate, 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs on another plate, and the eggs into a shallow dish. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop chicken mixture into the palm of your hand and roll into balls. (If the mixture doesn’t stick together, try adding some more cream cheese – I used an extra ounce of cream cheese). Roll each ball into the flour first, then the egg, then the bread crumbs and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Add more flour and bread crumbs to the plates as needed.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350ºF oven.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • 1/3 Less-fat cream cheese
  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Panko bread crumbs

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Macaroniandcheesecake.com

Asian Lettuce Cups

Have you ever eaten lettuce wraps at an Asian restaurant and thought, “I want to make these”? Or at least, “I wish someone would make these for me”? Well, here you go. These Asian Lettuce Cups turned out exactly how I wanted them to and didn’t disappoint at all. For some reason, I expected lettuce cups to be difficult, or at least annoying, to make but they were so easy!

You brown mushrooms and ground turkey with garlic and ginger over the stove and move it to a bowl. In another bowl is mixed a simple sauce of hoisin, soy, vinegar, and hot chile sauce. These tasty cups have a slight sweetness from the hoisin, a subtle saltiness from the soy, a real kick of spice from the chile sauce and a delicious crunch from the butter lettuce and celery. The recipe calls for water chestnuts which I don’t really care for so I used celery instead but I think carrots would be great too. I think you could use ground beef or chicken here too so use whatever you like! One serving is two lettuce cups but trust me, it’s difficult to stop at just two!

The ingredients:

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and cook mushrooms until soft. I chopped mine up a bit because I don’t like big chunks of mushrooms but feel free to leave the caps whole if you prefer.

Once mushrooms are soft, move them to a large bowl to cool. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil, turkey, garlic, and ginger. Cook until turkey is fully browned.

Move turkey mixture to the bowl with the mushrooms and add scallions and celery (or water chestnuts). Mix well.

In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and hot chile sauce.

Spoon two tablespoons of turkey mixture into one lettuce cup and top with a tablespoon of sauce. Enjoy!

Additions:

  • Celery

Omissions:

  • Water chestnuts

Substitutions:

  • Dried ginger for fresh ginger

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Spicy Chickpea Samosas

When it comes to spicy food, lately I can’t get enough. If my tongue or the back of my throat doesn’t burn just a touch from whatever it is that I’m eating, I’m just not satisfied. Usually I can get my kick by adding a little bit of cayenne pepper here and there so when I come across a recipe with “spicy” in the title…I may as well melt!

These Spicy Chickpea Samosas not only have a slight kick but they are full of other delicious flavors like garlic, ginger, cilantro, and scallions. Samosas are a typical Indian street food which are fried but here they are baked which makes them a healthy appetizer, snack or light lunch. These are made with phyllo dough which usually uses tons of butter to make them flaky and decadent but the dough here is sprayed with non-stick spray which lightens it up while still keeping the layers crispy and flaky. I love the fact that these are vegetarian, as most traditional samosas are, but feel free to swap out the chickpeas with ground meat if you choose. This chickpea mixture is so good by itself, I could just sit and eat it with a spoon!

I served my samosas with a side of sweet, tangy mango chutney but this recipe has instructions to make a cucumber raita that can be made which will help tame that spicy heat. But I say bring that heat on!

The ingredients:

In a large skillet, cook carrots in canola oil for 3 minutes until carrots are slightly softened.

Add in scallion, ginger, and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add in tomato paste, cumin, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook for 1 minute.

Stir in peas, water, and chickpeas. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add in cilantro and lemon juice. Allow mixture to cool.

Unroll the thawed phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel or paper towel to keep it from drying out. Take one layer of the phyllo, lay it on a flat surface and spray with non-stick spray. Carefully place another layer of phyllo on top of the first one and spray with non-stick spray as well.

Fold phyllo dough layers in half lengthwise and flatten with your hand. Place a spoonful of the chickpea mixture at one end of the dough. Carefully fold one corner of the phyllo over the mixture into a triangle.

Continue folding the dough in triangles until you reach the end. Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter or spray with non-stick spray and keep covered with a damp towel. Repeat with remaining layers of phyllo.

Bake the triangles in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Butter (I used non-stick spray instead)

Substitutions:

  • Ground cumin for cumin seeds
  • Dry mustard for brown mustard seeds

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Gorgonzola

This recipe for Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Gorgonzola stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. The original recipe uses blue cheese but as you may know, I’m not a blue cheese fan so I took a leap of faith and used gorgonzola (which I’d never had before) instead. This appetizer did not disappoint. It’s sweet yet savory, tart yet fresh. Slices of french baguette are toasted and topped with pears (cooked with shallots and dried apricots), toasted pecans, gorgonzola crumbles, and fresh thyme. I really loved the contrast between the sweet Bartlett pears and the tangy cheese. The addition of apple cider vinegar in the pear topping provides the slightest hint of bitterness which cuts through the sweetness of the pears and adds to the layers of flavors in this dish. The toasted pecans bring a delicious nuttiness and the thyme provides and herby freshness. I left out the chives from this recipe only because I didn’t have any but it doesn’t matter. I can’t rave about this bruschetta enough just the way it is!

Thanksgiving leftovers used: pear nectar, pears, thyme, shallots

The ingredients (I forgot the gorgonzola here):

Cook chopped shallots in olive oil until soft.

Add in chopped pears, dried apricots, sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, broil baguette slices in the oven until toasted. In a small pan or skillet, add pecans and toast on a low heat until fragrant.

Top toasted baguette slices with pear topping, gorgonzola crumbles, chopped toasted pecans, and fresh thyme.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Chives

Substitutions:

  • Gorgonzola cheese for blue cheese

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Turkey, Cranberry, and Pepper Jack Quesadillas

I made my own cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving and I will never buy canned or premade cranberry sauce again because mine turned out perfect (see note below for the link to the recipe I made). Unfortunately, of the six people who came to my house for dinner, only my aunt and I ate any of it which meant that I basically had an entire bowl leftover in my fridge. I figured, what a better way to take care of some leftovers than to throw them in a quesadilla? As a result, I came up with these Turkey, Cranberry, and Pepper Jack Quesadillas. Cranberry sauce, turkey, sliced apples, scallions, parsley, and pepper jack cheese are sandwiched between whole wheat tortillas and grilled until toasty brown. One thing I love about quesadillas is that they can be an appetizer, snack, or a light meal in a pinch. These quesadillas are sweet, tangy, and spicy and you’d never know they are from leftovers.

Turkey, Cranberry, and Pepper Jack Quesadillas (makes 2 quesadillas or 4 servings; 2 wedges per serving):

  • 4 6-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 McIntosh apple, sliced (or any apple of your preference)
  • 1/2 cup prepared cranberry sauce ( I made Basic Cranberry Sauce from Cooking Light)
  • 1 cup turkey breast, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese

Place two tortillas on a flat work surface. Spread 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce on each tortilla; top with apple slices. Layer chopped turkey and 1 tablespoon each parsley and scallions on each tortilla. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese. Top cheese with remaining tortillas. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat (or heat panini maker to 350°). Place one quesadilla in the pan and cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side until lightly browned (top with another pan to flatten quesadillas as they cook, if necessary). Remove quesadilla from pan and repeat procedure with the remaining quesadilla. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with sour cream if you like.

Thanksgiving leftovers used: turkey, cranberry sauce, apple, parsley

The ingredients:

Place two tortillas on a flat work surface. Spread 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce on each tortilla; top with apple slices.

Layer chopped turkey and 1 tablespoon each parsley and scallions on each tortilla.

Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese. Top cheese with remaining tortillas.

I used my beloved Cuisinart Griddler® to make my quesadillas (heated to 350°).

Remove quesadilla from pan and repeat procedure with the remaining quesadilla. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Me 🙂

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