Category Archives: appetizers

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Game Day Dip

Game Day is finally here, it’s two days away. If you’re looking for a delicious dip , this is it. This recipe belongs to my daughter Jenn, she always makes it and it is always delicious. It goes perfectly with any kind of chip , or you can toast pita bread and cut into triangles. I know it’s fattening, but what the hell ? Superbowl comes but once a year right? This is a Super Snack, and if you like you can use Lite Mayo and Lite Sour Cream, just not fat free, it won’t work out well at all. This is just a great dip to make anytime of the year, and ingredients are super easy to obtain. Just make sure you squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.

Ingredients:

1 box or bag of frozen chopped spinach * (defrosted)  drained and squeezed out of all liquid, this is the most important thing here is to get the spinach as dry as possible.

1 Can Artichokes drained and coarsley chopped ( if you can buy them quartered already do so)

1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Sour Cream ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (not grated)

* In order to get spinach as dry as possible, I put it in colander to defrost, or leave it out for a few hours. I then literally squeeze it out to get all the liquid out of it, you don’t want it wet, the liquid will ruin the dip. So first defrost, then drain it, then wring it out with your clean hands.

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and put in a nice oven proof dish that you’ll want to serve it in and bake at 350 degrees till brown and bubbly , about 30 – 35 minutes.

Triple Berry Crisp–Gluten Free

IMG_7716 IMG_7709 (2) IMG_7702 IMG_7698 I love sugar as much if not more than the next guy but this was an opportunity to make a berry crisp without any white sugar or flour.  I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the million blogs, sites and posts I see spouting Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. I am not a paleo eater nor am I gluten free but it can’t hurt to have a recipe that is light on the sugar and fairly healthy to boot. If you would like it a little bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar or a packet of stevia, I didn’t and I liked it just the way it was.  It intrigued me since I love a crisp but hate the amounts of sugar that go into it, even though I do love eating it.

I had some fresh blueberries, some fresh blackberries and a few random raspberries that were going to go uneaten . What better time to try this? You can make this with just blueberries, or any berry or fruit you like. Berries are in abundance now and super delicious. This recipe took me all of 1/2 hour to put together. Use cooking spray on ramekins and baking sheet or use parchment paper for easier clean-up.  I used 4 ramekins but you can stretch this to 6 for sure.

I just sampled and can say that while they are not cloyingly sweet they have a bit of sweetness and crunch and you can really taste the tartness of the berries. I wouldn’t mind topping with some  ice cream or yogurt but I guess that would be defeating the purpose. There are some wonderful dairy-free ice creams out there and I suppose they would work just fine.

Just an addition– I ate it for breakfast this morning!!! with a little greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

app. 2 pints of berries — as I said you can mix them or use any one you like best. I used black, blue and raspberries. This can be made with apples, peaches, strawberries , nectarines and any combination of the above. I like making them in individual ramekins as a way of having portions already prepared which I think is very nice for dessert but equally nice made in a larger baking dish and you may need to double up on ingredients.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond flour–available in most supermarkets today ( Whole Foods)

*1/2 cup slivered almonds–obviously can be made without nuts but I love the crunch

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. maple syrup ( use pure maple not the artificial one)

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the berries with the lemon juice. Divide between the ramekins ( spray ramekins first) you can also bake this in one large baking dish of course.

You can use the same bowl or a new one, and mix together remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon the almond mixture over the berries. Bake for app. 30 minutes , until bubbly and golden brown. Mine were done in 25 minutes so check your oven after 20 minutes to see where they’re at.

Let it cool slightly before serving.

Seven Layer Dip

Winter cont'd 021Seven Layer Dip 005This is a super easy and beautiful dish to entertain with. It’s great in a glass bowl where you can see all of the layers. I prefer to make this without meat but if you would like make one of the layers ground beef or ground turkey. Just drain the meat before adding and make sure that the meat has cooled before adding all the other ingredients. Feel free to play around with ingredients, whatever works for you. This recipe is best served at room temperature, I’ll usually make it earlier in the day and take it out of refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Another thing I would suggest is to go to a local Mexican restaurant that you like and buy your refried beans, guacamole and salsa there. It’s usually the best. Sometimes I will make my own guacamole etc. If you’d like to you can double down on all the ingredients. This will probably serve 12 as an appetizer..

Ingredients:

16 oz. refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 cup sour cream, I used light not fat-free

1 cup guacamole

1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

4 ounces black sliced or chopped olives

1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if adding meat use app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey and make sure it is drained and cooled down before adding it to dip.

Directions:

Layer in this order

1. refried beans mixed with 1 package of taco seasoning – I remove 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning for the sour cream, if you don’t it’s no biggie I just do it to give the sour cream a little punch

2. 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

3. 1 cup guacamole

4. 1 cup salsa

5. 1 cup Mexican cheese

7. 1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if using meat just heat up a little bit of olive oil in pan and cook meat and drain meat after cooking. You’ll want to cool meat down completely before adding to dip.

* if you like cilantro you can sprinkle on top or sliced green onions are a nice touch

*lime wedges are a nice touch as well

Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and remove about an hour before serving. Serve with chips for dipping and have a spoon handy to help serve it.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Game Day Dip

Game Day is finally here, it’s two days away. If you’re looking for a delicious dip , this is it. This recipe belongs to my daughter Jenn, she always makes it and it is always delicious. It goes perfectly with any kind of chip , or you can toast pita bread and cut into triangles. I know it’s fattening, but what the hell ? Superbowl comes but once a year right? This is a Super Snack, and if you like you can use Lite Mayo and Lite Sour Cream, just not fat free, it won’t work out well at all. This is just a great dip to make anytime of the year, and ingredients are super easy to obtain. Just make sure you squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.

Ingredients:

1 box or bag of frozen chopped spinach * (defrosted)  drained and squeezed out of all liquid, this is the most important thing here is to get the spinach as dry as possible.

1 Can Artichokes drained and coarsley chopped ( if you can buy them quartered already do so)

1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Sour Cream ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (not grated)

* In order to get spinach as dry as possible, I put it in colander to defrost, or leave it out for a few hours. I then literally squeeze it out to get all the liquid out of it, you don’t want it wet, the liquid will ruin the dip. So first defrost, then drain it, then wring it out with your clean hands.

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and put in a nice oven proof dish that you’ll want to serve it in and bake at 350 degrees till brown and bubbly , about 30 – 35 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

photo 4 (3)photo 1 (4)

My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.

ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil plus more for sheet pan

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!

Enjoy!

Triple Berry Crisp–Gluten Free

IMG_7716 IMG_7709 (2) IMG_7702 IMG_7698 I love sugar as much if not more than the next guy but this was an opportunity to make a berry crisp without any white sugar or flour.  I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the million blogs, sites and posts I see spouting Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. I am not a paleo eater nor am I gluten free but it can’t hurt to have a recipe that is light on the sugar and fairly healthy to boot. If you would like it a little bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar or a packet of stevia, I didn’t and I liked it just the way it was.  It intrigued me since I love a crisp but hate the amounts of sugar that go into it, even though I do love eating it.

I had some fresh blueberries, some fresh blackberries and a few random raspberries that were going to go uneaten . What better time to try this? You can make this with just blueberries, or any berry or fruit you like. Berries are in abundance now and super delicious. This recipe took me all of 1/2 hour to put together. Use cooking spray on ramekins and baking sheet or use parchment paper for easier clean-up.  I used 4 ramekins but you can stretch this to 6 for sure.

I just sampled and can say that while they are not cloyingly sweet they have a bit of sweetness and crunch and you can really taste the tartness of the berries. I wouldn’t mind topping with some  ice cream or yogurt but I guess that would be defeating the purpose. There are some wonderful dairy-free ice creams out there and I suppose they would work just fine.

Just an addition– I ate it for breakfast this morning!!! with a little greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

app. 2 pints of berries — as I said you can mix them or use any one you like best. I used black, blue and raspberries. This can be made with apples, peaches, strawberries , nectarines and any combination of the above. I like making them in individual ramekins as a way of having portions already prepared which I think is very nice for dessert but equally nice made in a larger baking dish and you may need to double up on ingredients.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond flour–available in most supermarkets today ( Whole Foods)

*1/2 cup slivered almonds–obviously can be made without nuts but I love the crunch

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. maple syrup ( use pure maple not the artificial one)

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the berries with the lemon juice. Divide between the ramekins ( spray ramekins first) you can also bake this in one large baking dish of course.

You can use the same bowl or a new one, and mix together remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon the almond mixture over the berries. Bake for app. 30 minutes , until bubbly and golden brown. Mine were done in 25 minutes so check your oven after 20 minutes to see where they’re at.

Let it cool slightly before serving.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

photo 4 (3)photo 1 (4)

My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.

ingredients:

vegetable oil

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!

Enjoy!

Mad for Marcona Almonds

photo (46) photo (45) photo (44) photo (43)Having just returned from a wonderful trip to Spain , I fell back in love with Marcona Almonds. If you’ve had them you know how wonderful they are and if you haven’t you don’t know what you’re missing. I love these almonds and The Barefoot Contessa gave me yet another reason to adore them. I will have these delicious nuts out on Thanksgiving as one of my appetizers. They are wonderful anytime.

Happy Turkey!

Ingredients:

1 lb. roasted, unsalted Marcona Almonds

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh Thyme leaves

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fleur de sel or fine sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an 18 x 12 jelly roll (baking tray) toss almonds, thyme, oil and kosher salt. Roast in oven for anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes. Don’t burn them. Be careful. They should be lightly browned, stir with a spatula every 5 minutes to be sure.

Sprinkle almonds with fleur de sel (sea salt) ,toss to combine. Let the nuts cool slightly . Serve warm or completely cooled. They can be stored for up to one week.

I make a few days ahead and store them .

Perfection!

Roasted Almonds–2 ways Simply and Spicy

photo (28) photo (29) photo (28)I love almonds, raw and roasted. Recently I started purchasing raw almonds and roasting them myself at home. Whole process takes all of 15 minutes and they are so yummy, I keep a little baggie of them in my  bag and eat on the go. Almonds are a superfood loaded with vitamins and they help curb hunger because they are  high in fiber and fill up your stomach. While I’m not a nutritionist ,  I have read a lot of information which states that they will also help  in lowering your total cholesterol.  Can’t guarantee they will help curb your appetite but it will feel good trying. Now you might say that just plain old raw almonds are delish as is and this is definitely true but it can never hurt to turn up the flavor can it?

The second recipe is for a definitely more fattening recipe for sugared almonds with a little kick of cayenne.  I would make these to bring to someone’s house or for appetizers with drinks. These are certainly not as healthy but super good. You decide what you’re in the mood for.

For Simple Roasted Almonds:

1 lb. of raw almonds ( easily divide in 1/2)

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or plain sea salt (divided) if you like them saltier, use a little more salt, I just like a hint of salt. I have been using the flakes for this recipe because I had it in the house and I like the way it looks and tastes. Regular sea salt or kosher salt will give it the flavor just as well.

1 tablespoon olive oil (divided)

Directions:

For 1 lb. you’ll need 2 9×13 baking sheets. Divide nuts into 2 pans. For each tray I use 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes (you may want to add a little more salt if you like them saltier)  Mix with clean hands and roast at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. ( I roasted for 12 minutes) Cool and serve or store till you’re hungry for them. Could this be any easier????

Sweet and Spicy Honey Roasted Almonds:

2 – 2 1/2 cups raw almonds

1/8 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you’d like you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper, because they may stick to the pan without. I use my Silpat liners. If using parchment paper lightly oil the paper.

Combine the sugar and salt in a bowl which will be large enough to accommodate the almonds and set aside.

Melt the honey in a large skillet over low heat. Add the cayenne and the almonds and stir until all the nuts are covered with the spice and the honey.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Let the almonds cool slightly and then toss them in the bowl with the sugar/salt mixture. Remove the parchment paper and let the almonds cool completely on the baking sheet, spread them out.

Transfer to a serving bowl and you’re good to go. They may be stored in an airtight container for at least 4 days.

*original recipe for this was on foodandwine.com

Baked Salami – Again – Great Appetizer

024 (2)023 (2)cookingwithcandioct17 119Without a doubt this is my most popular post.  I can’t really quite figure it out but who am I to argue? It’s truly A-mazing, really delicious and everyone loves it so maybe that’s why.  I have already re-blogged it and decided to re-post it again. Hold on to this one it’s really an Oldie but Goodie.

This recipe is for a small salami, but you can just double up ingredients for a larger one.

Ingredients:

1 Kosher Salami

1/2 cup Marmalade or Apricot Jam

2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Score into Salami, cutting into narrow slices but not completely through to the bottom. Salami will stay intact, just cut almost to the bottom. (see photos)

Mix all ingredients together and spread on salami making sure to get inside the cuts,  place on a sprayed baking sheet or aluminum foil ( make sure you spray well, this will be sticky) and cook for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Serve on a plate with sliced pumpernickel or rye bread . Party Pumpernickle sliced bread is perfect with this since it’s already sliced and comes in a package ready to go, sliced rye bread cut in smaller pieces is also great.  Put a little Honey Mustard or Dijon Mustard or both in ramekins along with Salami.

This is a big hit. Be prepared to have nothing left over.