Tag: party

Wagon Wheel Pizza

We had a fun weekend, complete with a train themed birthday party for my littlest nephew.  I’ll have the story of his birthday cake and some cute pictures ready tomorrow, but in the meantime, let’s start with some of the food.

Consistent with the train theme, my sister served food from the Wild West including BBQ Pork, Chicken, Wagon Wheel Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Beans (recipe coming Wednesday!), and Cole Slaw.  We also made these Wagon Wheel Pizzas which turned out to be a fun option for both the little kids and big kids.

They’re really just typical mini- bagel pizzas which use strips of red pepper for ‘spokes’.  The cheese goes underneath the topping so that they’re more visible.  It’s a great way to add some veggies in too.  We also tried this with strips of meatloaf, but the visual effect wasn’t quite as good.  The pizzas are easy to make in advance, and then you can just pop them into the oven when the train of guests arrives!

 

 

Wagon Wheel Pizzas

Mini-bagels
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Red Pepper Strips

Spread a spoonful of sauce on each mini-bagel.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Place red pepper strips in a spoke fashion.  Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

Chunky Blue Cheese and Yogurt Dip

Along with the Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits, I also brought this Chunky Blue Cheese and Yogurt Dip to the dinner party.  You may remember I made a Stilton Walnut Dip over the winter; I thought this version would be a bit lighter for summer.  I tend to prefer dips that have a varied texture, so I didn’t put the ingredients in a food processor and just mixed them in a bowl instead.

Although the dip tasted fairly sharp at first, the flavor quickly mellowed.  I served the dip with carrots and Triscuits, both of which complemented the taste well.  However, the dip ended up having a fairly thin consistency.  Next time I would add some sour cream or perhaps more cheese to make it thicker.  But there’s something about any blue cheese dip that always makes me go back for just one more scoop.

 

 

Chunky Blue Cheese and Yogurt Dip

1/4 c. chopped shallot
1 t minced garlic
2 T lemon juice
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
1/2 c. crumbled gorgonzola
1/2 t black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Allow to chill for at least 2 hours.

-Adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa

Spinach Basil Hummus

My extended family has an annual summer picnic complete with swimming and bocce, and I was assigned to bring chip and dip.  There is some seriously good food at this picnic, including several traditional recipes like my favorite Zucchini Appetizer, my Mom’s Potato Salad and Lemon Squares, and even Pizzelles.

I wanted to bring something relatively simple but flavorful.  While I am definitely not the first person to put spinach in hummus, I threw this dip together without working from a specific recipe.  I think it came out pretty well, although it had to compete with a lot of other great appetizers.  But with fresh basil, this dip would be good for any summer party.

 

 

 

Spinach Basil Hummus

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 T minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Puree all ingredients in a food processor.  Chill and serve.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Ginger and Sea Salt

Sometimes it’s tough to be a food blogger.  I have to ask difficult questions like, “can brownies be too fudgey”?  Because these are the most fudge-like brownies I’ve ever made.  I used Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips, cocoa powder, and Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Dark Chocolate.  That’s some serious chocolate power!  These brownies not only have a rich texture, but they also have an interesting flavor with the addition of crystallized ginger and sea salt.

I was not entirely sure that I was happy with how the recipe turned out.  Of course, that didn’t stop me from bringing them to a party.  It also didn’t stop me from eating the brownie edges.  (You know, the pieces that weren’t suitable to bring to the party.)  These are not classic brownies, but rather like squares of ginger and sea salt fudge.  Once your taste buds know what to expect, they’ll be happy indeed.

 

 

 

 

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

Oh my, I fell off the blogging wagon again, thanks for being patient.  But I am getting pretty tired of eating cereal for dinner so I better find my cooking motivation!

I made this asparagus wrapped in prosciutto for my cooking club, and it turned out pretty well.  First, I blanched the asparagus spears in boiling water for about 3 minutes, and then rinsed them in cold water.  I’d recommend reducing the cooking time to keep the asparagus a little more crunchy.

Once the asparagus was cool, I spread a thin layer of herbed cheese (like alouette) on a slice of prosciutto, and used it to wrap 3 spears.  I saw some recipes online that called for wrapping each spear individually, but that seemed time intensive.  I think this ended up being the right amount.  It was a great make-ahead appetizer, and I’ll keep this one in my annual rotation for asparagus season!

 

Spicy Baked Potato Fries

All this rain makes me want comfort food, and these Spicy Baked Potato Fries from Budget Bytes really fit the bill!  This is the kind of thing you’d order at the dive bar down the street (at least the dive bar down my street!)  These are still french fries after all, but I did measure the oil and used reduced fat cheddar cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt.  The key here is the spice mixture with lots of chili powder which gives the fries so much flavor.  Who needs a dive bar when you can make these fries, serve them with cheap beer, and crank up the music?

 

 

Vegetable Egg Rolls

The last time I posted about egg rolls was over 2 years ago, when I made Hungry Girl’s Sassy Veggie Egg Rolls.  I’ve surely indulged in plenty of egg rolls since then, including some from the Chinese takeout place down the street.  But, I have been meaning to make these Vegetable Egg Rolls from Budget Bytes for ages.  The recipe promises that you can bake the egg rolls right away, or freeze them to bake later.

If you don’t have garlic ginger paste, feel free to substitute freshly minced garlic and ginger.  I found a jar of garlic ginger paste at an ethnic grocery store a while back, and it’s come in handy quite a few times.  I took one other shortcut and bought pre shredded carrots but as someone pointed out, a food processor could do all the dicing and shredding very easily.  After that, you just spend some time at the stove cooking the mixture.  If you’re intimidated by working with the egg roll wrappers, check out Budget Byte’s post with step by step instructions.  She also has some suggestions for turning the egg rolls in the oven to make sure they brown evenly but I threw caution to the wind and mine turned out fine.

I baked about half the egg rolls right away, and froze the other half in small batches to bake later.  Of course, I tried the filling before I made the rolls, so I knew I was going to like them a lot!  The rolls are crispy but not hard to chew, and the filling is quite tasty.  I can’t wait to bake some of the frozen ones to see how they turn out.

 

 

 

Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 T oil
1 T garlic ginger paste
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 (8 oz.) package mushrooms, diced
1 (8 oz.) package shredded carrot
1 small head cabbage, shredded
2 t cornstarch
1/4 c. soy sauce
20 egg roll wrappers

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add garlic ginger paste and scallions.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add carrots and cabbage.  Cook until mixture is fairly soft, about 20-30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into soy sauce.  Pour into frying pan and stir well.  Remove pan from heat and allow filling to cool.

Place about 2-3 T of mixture in each wrapper, and roll.  Seal the edges with water.  Place on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown.

-Lightly adapted from Budget Bytes