Category: appetizers

Roasted Cauliflower Cakes

I’ve been meaning to try these Roasted Cauliflower Cakes for ages. Karen at Gourmet Recipes for One always features interesting dishes, and of course they can be modified easily to serve more. So when my family was coming for Easter, I figured it was a good opportunity to give these a whirl.

The cauliflower is roasted first, and then mixed with Parmesan, breadcrumbs, flour, and egg. The mixture is then formed into patties and sauteed in olive oil. With all of those ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Just about everyone helped with some aspect of this recipe so it was a team effort. And then we all sat down to enjoy them, they were delicious! They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We skipped the garnish of greens and lemon juice but agreed it would have been a nice addition. There will be a next time for sure.

Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

I guess I am on a roll with cupcakes this week! When I first saw these adorable Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes from Giada D., I thought they were totally adorable. They would be a great meal for kids. Then I started thinking about how much adults might enjoy this concept as well, because the vegetables are rolled right into the recipe and the cupcakes holders offer portion control. So I put my own spin on these, and I am very happy with the final result. They are a perfect lunchbox item no matter how old you are.

2 c. dry elbow pasta, cooked al dente and drained

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces and lightly steamed

2 carrots, peeled, diced, and lightly steamed

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. reduced fat Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper


Mix pasta, asparagus, carrots, beans, and cheeses in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray, and lightly dust with breadcrumbs. Fill each muffin cup with pasta mixture. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

Broccoli Cupcakes

When I first went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian, I had no idea that such a wonderful community of dietetic students existed! I’ve only met Carlene via Twitter, but she is also a future dietitian and blogs at Carlene’s Figments. She came up with this creative recipe for Broccoli Cupcakes, complete with Hummus Frosting, and I just had to try it out.

I started with chopped frozen broccoli and thawed it in the microwave for convenience. After that, it was just a matter of mixing everything together. As usual, I couldn’t resist making one small change and I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat. The recipe came together quickly and while the cupcakes were baking I took out my food processor and made some hummus. I have to say, these are the cutest savory cupcakes I have ever made! And they tasted great too, with the fairly strong flavor of thyme and a light texture. The unfrosted cupcakes can be easily transported to wherever it is you need to be. Shhhhh, I even ate one in the library…..

Onion Tart

While I was on Spring Break, I decided to do a dry run of my Food Science final project, which includes making this Onion Tart. The tricky part is the pastry dough, of course. It needs to be tender, flaky, and golden brown. I honestly can’t remember the last time I baked with so much butter! I won’t bore you with all the details, but it’s important that the butter is cold. It needs to be cold when you mix the dough, cold when you roll it out, and cold before you bake it.

The pastry crust is topped with caramelized onions, which are cooked on the stove and seasoned with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. The original recipe calls for adding mixed salad greens and goat cheese as well, but for this experiment we ate the salad on the side. I think this came out looking pretty well for the first try. (My Mom’s kitchen didn’t look quite as good, it was covered in flour.) The tart tasted good as well, but you really can’t go wrong with pastry and caramelized onions, and the salad provided some balance.

But the best part was that while the tart was baking, we went out to the beach to catch the sunset. The sunsets are gorgeous here, and a cowbell rings every night when the sun goes down.

Falafel Burgers

I read a lot of food blogs, and I bookmark a lot of recipes. I could cook for weeks, catching up on the backlog of great dishes I want to try. But sometimes recipes just fly to the top of the list, like these falafel burgers from Oh She Glows. Trust me, you’ll want to make these ASAP. They are just a little spicy with cumin and paprika, and just a little crunchy with sunflower seeds. I left out the tahini, but increased the lemon juice by a bit.

I actually made mini-burgers, and served them on a bed of local lettuce and topped with avocado for dinner. But the burgers will be transformed into a portable lunch when stuffed into a pita, or perhaps dipped into plain yogurt and eaten by hand. There are a lot of possibilities here, and I am sure I’ll be making another batch of these soon.

Garlic Gold Hummus

I also brought hummus and veggies to the Superbowl party, but originally I wasn’t going to blog about it. I make my own hummus all the time, and tweak it according to what I have on hand. But a few people asked about making hummus, and this is my current recipe, based on my new found love of Garlic Gold.

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 t Garlic Gold toasted garlic bits
2 t Garlic Gold oil
2 T lemon juice

Blend ingredients in a food processor. Add more lemon juice if too dry. Serve with vegetables or pita.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

Another fabulous Superbowl party in the books! Really for me, it’s all about the people and the food. Oh, and the impromptu half time dance party to the Black Eyed Peas.The cooking crew pulled together to make quite a feast – BBQ chicken, cole slaw, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, two different kinds of chili, nachos, and of course, the football cookies.

I made these Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites, and really liked how they turned out. I admit, I was intimidated at first because of all the steps. First, you make the dough, let it rise, and shape it into 1″ pieces. Then, you boil 15 pieces at a time for 30 seconds. Finally, you brush the bites with an egg wash and a sprinkle of salt, and bake them for 15 minutes. But you are rewarded well when these come out of the oven and cool for just a minute. They are salty and addictive! And although the game of the evening was football, the taste reminds me of the soft pretzel that you might get at a baseball game. Or maybe I was just wishing that baseball season would get here a little faster. Either way, these pretzels are the perfect project for a weekend afternoon, and make a great snack!

Polenta Stuffed Mushrooms

My other suggestion for Christmas Eve was polenta stuffed mushrooms. I know that sausage stuffing is perhaps more traditional, but as usual, I was looking for something different. There are a lot of recipe variations online, and I tried to combine the best of them. The end result was great and these were flying off the table when I realized I better grab one myself and snap a picture fast!

2 (10 oz.) packages button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 c. milk
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t dried basil

Place mushrooms stem side down in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 1 T olive oil in a saucepan, and add 1 t minced garlic. Cook for a few minutes, being careful not to burn garlic. Add milk, thyme, and nutmeg, and stir for 5 minutes until warm. Whisk in cornmeal, and cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and add cheese and basil. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed. Stuff each mushroom cap with polenta.

Just before serving, bake stuffed mushrooms for 10-15 minutes at 350F.

Spicy Pumpkin Dip

Here’s another great pumpkin recipe, because you’ve stocked up on canned pumpkin, right? I made this on Saturday night as an appetizer. Most pumpkin dips are sweet, but this one is definitely savory. I cut back the cayenne to about 1/8 teaspoon and that was just spicy enough.

It’s been a really crazy week and I am not ashamed to tell you that I had crackers and dip one night for dinner, with a glass of wine of course. Happy Halloween!

Apple Hummus

I really do have a lot of apples to use up, and hummus is one of my favorites. This recipe falls into the category of “very interesting”. There are a lot of flavors combined with the chick peas: apple, lemon, peanut butter, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first – I liked it, but my taste buds were confused! Kind of spicy, kind of sweet….

Oh, and I left the skin right on the apple, which is why there are red spots. This hummus did make a nice sandwich spread, and would be a good addition to a fall tasting plate.