Category Archives: Appetizers

Barbecue Chicken Flatbread with French’s Fried Onions

 

BBQ chicken

Flatbreads are the perfect solution for quick weeknight dinners, snacks, or entertaining.

It only takes about 15 minutes to  whip up a delicious flatbread, so I keep ingredients on hand all the time for these creations.  I use naan for my crust and it freezes well. You can make a basic flatbread with sauce and cheese,  but I prefer innovative bites.  Any one of my recipes this week would make great Super Bowl party fare.

I made an amazing Barbecue Chicken Flatbread. I love barbecue style pizzas and flatbreads but there are a lot of mediocre ones out there. This one is topped with thick Kansas City style sauce, chicken, corn, bacon, a hint of onion, cheese and it’s all topped  off with French’s Fried Onions- which makes the dish. The smoky bacon, sweet corn, and crispy onions make this flatbread stand out. It was wonderful and great party option. I can’t wait to eat it again.

You can also use leftover pulled pork or brisket.

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Barbecue Chicken Flatbread

Makes 1 flatbread

1 small plain naan

3 tablespoons Kansas city style BBQ sauce

2/3 cup sliced chicken breast or rotisserie chicken

2/3 cup shredded  Monterey-Jack cheese blend

2 slices of cooked bacon

1 ½ tablespoons canned corn, drained

1/2 cup French’s Fried Onions (or more)

1 tablespoon minced red onion

Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread barbecue sauce over the pizza.  Chop chicken breast and spread it over the sauce and then top with cheese.

Crumble the bacon and spread it over flatbread, along with corn. I drained the corn and dabbed it with a paper towel to make sure there was no more moisture. Top with both sets of onion.

Bake 7-9 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro, optional.

BBQ chicken slices

 

Transform Boiled Eggs into Five Delicious Appetizers

 

array of toastsI am already up to my ears in boiled eggs.

In my household, we get an early start dying eggs so by the time Easter rolls around, I’ve been through three of four dozen. I have to get creative with ways to use them.

Since small bites, crostini and toast appetizers are so popular, I thought I’d transform my boiled eggs into a variety of those for Easter. You can serve these as appetizers or make them after Easter for a casual dinner.

I have several suggestions because they are so easy.

Most of these recipes were made with a loaf of pre-sliced Italian bread; I simply popped the slices in the toaster instead of using the oven. It was so quick and easy. The serving sizes assume you use an Italian loaf; a baguette would yield more portions.

If you read my column last week, you saw my deviled eggs with Yum Yum sauce. Those were so divine I wanted to transform it into an egg salad. I served it on toasted bread as an appetizer, but you can serve it as  a sandwich, too. For low carb eaters, serve it on a slice of cucumber or daikon.

I love avocado toast so that was a must on the menu. It takes half an avocado for a piece of toast so this recipe only makes two slices. I simply topped the avocado toast with chopped eggs, bacon, diced grape tomatoes and salt and pepper. It was so simple and delicious. This is a great breakfast option.

A very popular choice was the simplest recipe of all: I toasted Italian bread, smeared store bought pimento cheese dip on it, topped it with sliced eggs, salt and pepper and a sweet and spicy pickle. It was a huge hit.

Be sure to add salt and pepper to your eggs once the egg is one the bread.

Another simple recipe was one I topped with onion and chive cream cheese, sliced eggs and tomatoes, salt and pepper and drizzled it in balsamic vinegar.

Lastly, I chopped eggs, bacon and tomatoes and tossed it all in a store bought honey mustard dressing. Then I topped the toasted bread with romaine lettuce and served the egg concoction in the middle. It was fantastic.  You could make it low carb by serving it in lettuce like lettuce wraps.

Hopefully this gives you plenty of options to use your eggs this Easter.

I hope you enjoy the recipes.

egg salad appetizer

Yum Yum Egg Salad

Makes 8-10 pieces

5 large hard boiled eggs

2 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup minced celery

2 tablespoons shredded carrots

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½ cup Yum Yum sauce

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

¼ cup almond slivers

Mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted bread.

 pimento eggs

 

Pimento Toast with Sweet & Spicy Pickle

Makes 4 pieces

4 slices of French or Italian bread

Prepared pimento cheese spread

2 boiled eggs

4-8 slices of sweet and spicy pickles

Toast the bread. Peel and slice the eggs. Spread a generous amount of pimento spread on each piece of toast. Top with eggs. Add salt and pepper. Top with one or two slices of sweet and spicy pickles.

 

avocado toast

Avocado Toast with Bacon, Eggs & Tomato

Makes 2 pieces

2 slices of toasted bread

1 avocado

1/8 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 boiled egg

2-4 grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon real bacon pieces

Peel avocado and smash it with a fork. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Divide it between two slices of toasted bread. Chop egg and tomatoes. Divide between avocado toast and top with bacon. Serve.

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Honey Mustard Bacon and Egg Spread

Makes 4 pieces

2 boiled eggs

5 grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons real bacon pieces

2 slices Romaine lettuce

Toast or French bread

¼ cup or more honey mustard dressing

Peel and chop eggs. Set aside. Chop tomatoes and toss with eggs and bacon. Add honey mustard dressing and toss to coat. Add more, if desired. Spread a piece of lettuce over the toasted bread. Top with egg filling and serve.

cream cheese eggs

Chive Cream Cheese Crostini with Tomato & Egg

6 slices of toasted bread

Chive & onion cream cheese

Sliced heirloom grape tomatoes

2 boiled eggs

Balsamic vinegar drizzle

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Toast the bread and then top with a very generous smear of cream cheese. Slice the boiled eggs and divide the slices between the bread. Add sliced tomatoes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

vertical array

Deviled Eggs with Yum Yum Sauce

eggs on platterI don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, deviled eggs made with Yum Yum sauce. Yes, you know the delicious pinkish sauce you get at Japanese steakhouses? The one you drown your shrimp in.

I’ve written a food column for more than 15 years, which means 15 years of Easter stories.  After that amount of time it’s easy to get in a rut, so this year I challenged myself to rethink deviled eggs.

And this is one of the results.

I created Asian  inspired deviled eggs that are easy and amazing. I used Yum Yum sauce for the base and skipped mayonnaise or mustard.

I topped it with wonton crisps for crunch (you can find these with salad condiments), and a little green onion. If desired, add some chopped cilantro. These are fantastic. I will definitely serve these again outside of Easter. They were my husband’s favorite, too.

As a side note, after filling the eggs I had leftover yolk mixture and spread it on a piece of toast for breakfast. It was lovely.

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This is the new deviled egg recipe to try. It’s awesome!

Asian inspired Deviled Eggs

6 large  boiled eggs

1/4 heaping cup Yum Yum sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Wontons crisps

1 green onion

Cilantro (optional)

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Slice eggs in half, and place egg yolks in a bowl and smash with a fork until the yolks are crumbs. Then stir in Yum Yum sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

Take a green onion and slice the green part only- don’t use the white because it will be too strong. Fill the eggs with the yolk mixture, top with wonton strips, green onion and if desired, cilantro. Serve. If you are not serving these immediately, leave off the wontons until the last minute.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

What’s not to love about a deviled egg?

These little snacks are easy to prepare, inexpensive, high in protein, and cool on a hot day. I love to just pop one in my mouth.

 

This deviled egg combines some of my favorite flavors, smoked salmon, capers, red onion, and horseradish with a deviled egg.. I put horseradish sauce into the yolk mixture. If you use pure horseradish, then you definitely want to scale it back. I use Woeber’s Horseradish sauce which I find is the perfect balance of heat.

Everyone has their own method for boiling eggs, and if you have one, follow yours.

I like my eggs a little firm so I place eggs in a pot covered with cold water (always use large eggs).  Make sure the eggs are in a single layer and the water is at least 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil and then boil 12-14 minutes (12 will do the job).  Then immediately drain off the water,  place the pot under the tap with cold water running and add 2 cups of ice cubes to the pot. When eggs have cooled down, refrigerate until time to use.

Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

6 large boiled eggs

3 tablespoons Miracle Whip

1 tablespoon horseradish sauce

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 -2 ounces smoked salmon

18 capers

Slice eggs in half, and place egg yolks in a bowl and smash with a fork until the yolks are crumbs. Add the Miracle Whip, horseradish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Top each egg with a slice of smoked salmon.  Sprinkle each egg with red onion and add 3 capers to each egg. Serve.

I made these and kept them for myself, served with a side salad for lunch. It was a high protein, low fat dish.

 

How to reuse olive brine, oil from sundried tomatoes and more (and transform it into fabulous fare)

The next time you eat the last olive out of the jar and go to wash the brine down the sink, stop! You are about to pour flavor down the drain.

My kitchen motto is “think before I toss.” I can’t stand wasting food so I am constantly looking for ways to reuse ingredients and save items people normally throw away- like brine or the oil in sundried tomatoes. Those ingredients are incredibly flavorful.

Olive brine is great in marinades (just use it instead of vinegar in your recipe); mix a tablespoon into mayonnaise when making potato salad; mix brine, olive oil and Italian seasoning and use it to marinate vegetables; add a dash to a dirty martini or Bloody Mary; or make my Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes.

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I don’t eat potatoes very often because once you add all the flavorings like butter or cream, they are so fattening. This is a fat free recipe that uses olive brine, rosemary and chives to flavor the potatoes. I came up with it this week and considering it is fat free, I think it’s great.

As for the oil in a jar of sundried tomatoes- that’s my favorite leftover ingredient. You can mix it with balsamic vinegar for an instant salad dressing; use it to dress orzo or other pasta; use it as the oil when you make goat cheese omelets;  use it instead of olive oil when you make croutons or crostini; or make my Warm Bruschetta. This is my favorite recipe and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. I simply slice grape or cherry tomatoes, warm some of the oil in a pan, toss the tomatoes in with basil and cook for 1 minute. Salt to taste and serve.

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You can also save the oil from artichokes and use that in marinades or salad dressings.

Pickle brine is another item you can reuse. It’s good in marinades, but I often refill the jar with other items like cucumbers or carrots and reuse the brine. I have a recipe below for Spicy Dill Carrots which is simply carrots, onions and jalapenos in dill pickle brine.

Brine from hot peppers is good in marinades, barbecue sauces, or add a touch to deviled eggs (but use sparingly).

Beer is another item I can’t stand to waste. A couple of days ago, I tried a new beer and I hated it. There was no way I could drink it, so I put it in the fridge to use in the future. The next day I made Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken.  You can also make beer bread, beer cheese dip, or use leftover beer to boil brats (add onions to the beer and finish the brats on the grill).

There are so many items we throw away every day that we can reuse. I hope this inspires you to think before you toss. Enjoy.

Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes

1 pound microwave in a bag red potatoes

¼ cup olive brine

¼ cup chopped chives

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes according to package directions. While the potatoes cook, chop the chives and rosemary.

When the potatoes are ready, empty the bag into a serving bowl and smash them down.

Pour the brine over potatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Then top with chives and rosemary. Toss and serve.

You can also substitute basil in this recipe if you don’t like rosemary.

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Warm Bruschetta

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, assorted colors

1 ½ tablespoons oil left from the sundried tomato jar

10 basil leaves

Salt to taste

Slice cherry or grape tomatoes in half. Set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with basil and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

This dish is delicious over couscous or with French bread, but I also like it alone as a side dish.

 

Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken

6 chicken thighs, legs, or breasts

1 tablespoon barbecue rub

1 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon jerk seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Half an onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 almost full bottle of beer

1 bottle of KC style barbecue sauce

White rice for serving

Lay chicken in a 13 by 11 inch pan. Sprinkle with all the seasoning. Slice the onion and garlic and sprinkle both over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour beer in the side of the pan being careful not to wash off the seasonings. Pour half the bottle of barbecue sauce over the chicken and then stir about a fourth of the bottle into the beer. You will use about ¾ a bottle.

Bake for 1 hour (check it after 50 minutes because cooking times vary depending on the size of the piece of meat and what you cook. Breasts cook faster than thighs).

Serve over rice and spoon the sauce over rice before serving.

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Spicy Dill Carrots

2 cups leftover juice from dill pickles

1 ¼ cups carrot slices (I buy the precut carrot chips)

2 jalapenos (or to taste), sliced in half

Half a red onion, thinly sliced.

When the jar of dill pickles is gone, simply fill it with carrots, jalapeno and onion. Refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Consume within 10 days.

If you add the jalapeno seeds, it will be significantly spicier.

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Watermelon Caprese Salad

It’s going to be a sweltering week. If slaving over a hot stove doesn’t appeal to you, then whip up  this cool and delicious  Watermelon Caprese Salad.

Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and it represents the colors of the Italian flag. I decided to replace the tomato with watermelon and I actually prefer it over the traditional version.

Caprese is often drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar but I had pesto so I scraped the oil off the top of the pesto and dressed the salad with that and it was spectacular. The salty pesto was a great balance to the sweetness of the fruit.

It’s a gorgeous, delicious, healthy, refreshing salad that takes 5 minutes to assemble.

 

Watermelon Caprese Salad

Serves 1

3 (2 1/2-inch) slices of watermelon

2 (2-inch) slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

3 large basil leaves

1 teaspoon pesto (or to taste)

Slice watermelon and mozzarella. Drizzle half of the pesto on the mozzarella. Place one slice of melon on a plate, top with cheese, a basil leaf and repeat. Drizzle the remaining ½ teaspoon of pesto (using mostly the oil on top) around the plate. Serve.

Optional: you can also drizzle this with good quality balsamic vinegar.

Lighter Artichoke Dip- 1,000 calories and 100 grams of fat lighter! But still delicious!

I adore bubbly, gooey delicious artichoke dip slathered on French bread.

It’s my weakness at any party. And  I make an incredible version but it is so unhealthy- it contains 1 cup of mayonnaise and 3 cups of cheese.

artichoke dip up close

I knew my recipe was unhealthy but had no idea how bad it was until recently when I wrote a food column about it ran the ingredients through a database and my jaw dropped: it contains 2,092 calories and 203 grams of fat.

Ouch. I calculated for the entire dish instead of per serving because you never know how much people will eat.

I’m determined not to gain weight this holiday season and that means that dip is out. I am at an age where weight doesn’t come off like it used to so I am going to be more careful which means revamping some of my favorite recipes.

So I lightened up the dip and the results were AMAZING. AMAZING. I am so proud of it. I can’t believe it saves that many calories and that much fat and still tastes this fantastic. Look how gooey it still is

artichoke cheese

.   Just by switching from artichokes packed in oil to canned ones packed in water, I saved 36 grams of fat. Then, I used light mayonnaise which slashed 39 grams of fat and 460 calories. I cut out 1 ¼ cups of cheese, too. Whenever you remove fat, you have to add extra flavor so I sprinkled it with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and garlic salt. Also, I used Parmesan because that’s a flavorful cheese.  The new dip has 1,130 calories for the entire dish which is made in a pie pan and 84 grams of fat (that’s 119 grams less of fat).

 

 

I hope you enjoy it.

Light Artichoke Dip

1 (14.5-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, thoroughly drained and patted dry

2/3 cup Duke’s light mayonnaise (or your favorite brand)

1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ heaping teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the first five ingredients until combined. Place in a shallow pie pan. Top with Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serve warm with French bread or crackers.

artichoke dip on crackers