Friday, December 30, 2011

Ham Salad

Have you had your fill of ham from the holidays? We sure have! There were plenty of leftovers though (and you can only reheat it so many times) so I was struck with the idea of making some ham salad. I whipped up this ham salad with my sister in mind. I know, that sounds strange...but she was my inspiration because she loves the stuff. I like it, but not nearly as much as she does so I'll be giving her the rest of this batch. I tried to make it similar to the store-bought variety she normally buys but I think it turned out even better! I'm pretty sure she'll like it.

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms but don't have them very often. They just seem like the type of food that you should only have as an appetizer for a party, so they don't really make it onto the everyday menu. And yes, I know I'm posting these just in time for those New Year's Eve gatherings, but they would also be great as a side dish at any dinner. I've omitted breadcrumbs in this version to cut down on the 'fill-you-up' factor and so it can be used in more ways than just a starter. They're, of course, great as an appetizer or a pass around at a party, but why save these scrumptious little bites for a special occasion if you don't have to!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick and Easy Appetizer Ideas

Think the holidays are over? Think again!

There are only four more days until New Year's Eve and more parties so I've compiled a quick list of some super simple appetizer and finger food ideas that are great for serving a crowd. A lot of these can also be partly or fully prepared ahead of time so you aren't spending the whole day in the kitchen.

Tomato Bruschetta

This tomato topped bread is an nice change from all the hot appetizers out there. It's so fresh and crisp that it just screams elegance and simplicity. This bite-sized appetizer has been requested so often that it's become a staple at our family get togethers. It's one of those simple things that is healthy and tastes good! The balsamic glaze isn't necessary, but it adds a sweetness and tang that is a perfect compliment to the garlic and herbs.

Loaded Mashed Potato Bites

Who can resist a mashed potato in finger food form? In my experience, mashed potatoes are one of the best parts of any meal. I got the idea for these Mashed Potato Bites because I was in the mood for the double baked potatoes I make but they weren't fitting for the occasion. We were having our weekly movie night at home and I usually make dinner that is good for eating on the floor picnic-style while we watch the movie. Having a mashed potato in bite-sized pieces seemed like a great idea and would be super easy to eat on the floor, so I whipped up this recipe. They were a big hit!

Jalapeño Bites

I haven't met a person yet who doesn't like poppers. They're so tasty with all that cream cheesy goodness mixed with the hint of spice. I took that idea and formed it into small bites that are perfect for those get togethers when finger foods are a must. These can also be suited for your tastes by adding more jalapeño or less depending on the spice levels you like.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

This is an elegant and easy addition to any antipasto platter. Canned artichokes are simply marinated for a few hours in an oil mixture and then drained and served. The oil mixture adds a slight sweetness to the artichoke hearts that is great for any occasion.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Veggie Pinwheels

The holiday season has quickly approached and menus are well on their way to being finalized. There are so many little details and so many things to do that this time of year can become a whirlwind of food and family and, hopefully, fun. Since things can get so crazy, I like to focus on simple, easy meals to keep stress low and have more time to spend with family and friends.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese: Red Pepper, Onion and Spinach with Spicy Garlic Mayo

The latest in my grilled cheese series is a trio of veggies that are layered with tangy cheese and a spicy mayo. This one was so gooey and good that it seemed almost sinful! I cooked the onion and red pepper for awhile to caramelize them and bring out their natural sugars, but you can just cook them until they're soft.

This sandwich can also be loaded up with a medley of other veggies, too. Give it a try with some mushrooms cooked with the onion and peppers or add a few ribbons of zucchini. Just make sure to cook the vegetables enough to bring out their maximum flavors.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

Ahhh...Christmas time. Or should I say cookie time? It seems like everywhere you look during the month of December, there's a post, a tweet or a blog about who is making what kind of cookie for the holidays. I felt it only fitting that I should share another of mine.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lemon Rice Revisited

I'm revisiting my very first post. It was a story about feel good soup and the past few days definitely called for one of those feel good moments. My little guy came down with the flu the other day and he was just miserable. When he finally got to a point of wanting to eat, I made him his favorite soup: Chicken Lemon Rice. I always forget how much he loves it until it's made and he pretty much inhales it. This past time was no different considering how sick he was.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Cake Pops

I have unintentionally become the cake pop lady at our family gatherings. I didn't plan on making any for Thanksgiving, and to be perfectly honest, they weren't even a thought in my mind. I've only made them three times before but I guess they're a big hit now. They're pretty easy to make after the first few times so when I got the ever-so-subtle request from my cousin, I just couldn't resist.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Yep, I still have apples and I'm really getting tired of them.

In my quest for something else to do with the abundance of apples (that didn't involve a jar or a sauce) I decided to make a batch of apple chips. This was my first time making them and they were really easy to put together! If you have a mandoline slicer, they'll be super easy, but if not, be extremely careful when making thin slices of the apples. They also take awhile to cook in the oven so make sure you won't be needing it for anything else. Besides being a  healthy snack, there is another bonus to making this yummy finger food - you're house will smell fantastic!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Old-Fashioned Butter Cookies

My son was bugging me for cookies tonight. He's almost 3 so I expect it. The only problem is that we didn't have any cookies. I very rarely buy them because I don't usually keep sweets like that around. I ended up finding some that my dad bought for him, but well, those weren't good enough - he wanted to make some. That's never happened before! I always ask him if he wants to help in the kitchen, and he'll do a few little things here and there, but he's never taken the initiative before. It was proud moment for this mommy. And how could I resist his adorable, whiny face?