because what is life without good food?

Appetizers

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon

Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

My latest creation … please go over to my blog’s new “home” www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com for the recipe!


Chipotle Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.

I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware.  I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:

  • Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
  • Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
  • Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.

So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant  pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.

You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream in Swiss Diamond International Crepe/Omelet Pan

 Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

For each quesadilla:

  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
  • 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
  • Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
  • About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!

Directions:

  1. First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
  2. Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
  4. Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.

This recipe was shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresGala Dinner PartyFit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
  • Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
  • Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread

Directions:

  1. To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
  2. Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
  3. You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth Monday, Manic MondayTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Baba Crostini

Baba Crostini

This is a super simple, but super fun and delicious recipe. You can make this up as a big sandwich if you like too, using a bun or a ciabatta roll instead of the toasts. I did that for lunch one day with ciabatta and totally loved it. I was originally going to post this recipe as a sandwich … but I do so love little toasts.

Baba Crostini

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift to me from Dofino Cheese. I have always loved their Havarti, but I really really love  their smoked Havarti. The tomatoes and the eggplant for the baba ghanoush were from my mom’s garden.

Baba Crostini

I’m not giving amounts here because you can make a few up for a snack (like I did!), or a bunch for a crowd … whatever suits you!

  • Ciabatta bread, sliced thin and lightly toasted
  • Baba Ghanoush (It’s easy to make! … here’s my recipe for Baba Ghanoush)
  • Smoked Havarti cheese, sliced
  • Slices of fresh garden tomato, cut to match the size of the bread slices
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Spread the ciabatta toast slices with a thick layer of baba ghanoush, top each with a slice of havarti, and set on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F. for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top each crostini with a slice of fresh tomato and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Baba Crostini

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayManic MondayTrick or Treat Tuesday and Thursday’s Treasures.


Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

I dreamed of this tart for days but I was too busy to make it … I could picture it in my mind: a lovely summer tart filled with garlic and herb-infused Ricotta and Asiago cheeses, topped with rows of beautifully overlapping garden fresh tomato and tender little purple eggplant slices. Finally I could not stand it any longer. I had to make it. It was nearing twilight, so I rushed to finish it in time to have enough light to photograph it. I was using these lovely little purple eggplant from mom’s garden and some of those little tomatoes that pretty perfectly matched the diameter of the eggplant.

Purple eggplant for the Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

It turned out beautiful …  but the cornmeal crust I had thought would be so good was just awful (re-confirming my irrational fear of pie crust). It looked perfectly lovely … I tried eating it, but ended up eating the topping and leaving the crust … I stuck the tart in the fridge overnight while I considered what to do … the next night I went and bought some puff pastry at the store, scraped the topping off the old crust, roasted some more eggplant and re-made the tart, again rushing to beat the impending darkness. This time, it turned out MUCH better, taste-wise, but not quite as pretty. I had used up all the tomatoes that matched the size of the eggplant so I couldn’t get that perfect layered effect. I used one of the darker Japanese eggplant in hopes that it would match the size of the larger tomatoes, but it didn’t at all. And this tart was square, not round. I don’t think I allowed the puff pastry enough time to thaw because the crust really wasn’t as puffy as it should have been. But despite all that, it tasted oh so wonderful. Almost as good as my dream tart.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Crust:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (or a pie crust would work if you are not afraid of such things like me)

Topping:

  • About 2 small, tender eggplant
  • Several small tomatoes (with a diameter that roughly matches the eggplant)

Filling:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese + a few extra tablespoons for the top
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Several sprigs of fresh tarragon and basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Thaw your puff pastry or prepare the pie crust.
  2. Slice the eggplant thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) and place on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and dust with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Bake eggplant at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant slices are tender. (These little tender eggplant don’t require any peeling or salting.)
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes thinly and set them aside.
  4. Mix the ricotta, asiago, garlic and about half of the chopped herbs.
  5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out the puff pastry (or place the pie crust in your tart pan). Spread the ricotta filling almost to the edge of the crust, then arrange alternating layers of the eggplant and tomato slices on top. If you are using puff pastry, roll up the edge of the pastry just a bit and pinch the corners. Sprinkle with a little asiago cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so or until the pastry has browned on the edges and the cheese is all melted.
  6. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh herbs. Slice and serve immediately.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

This recipe was shared with Weekend PotluckScrumptious Sunday, Manic MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, and Cast Party Wednesday.


Baba Ghanoush: a smoky, wonderful dip

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy wonderful garlic eggplant dip

If you have never had Baba Ghanoush, you should try it. It’s a creamy, garlicky, silky smooth dip somewhat akin to hummus in flavor, but lighter and smoky tasting and oh so wonderful. It’s made of eggplant, but if someone didn’t tell you it was made of eggplant, you would never guess.

I used the smaller, thinner long skinny Japanese eggplant for this Baba Ghanoush. If you use the larger, globe-style eggplant, you will want to adjust the other ingredients because you’ll end up with more pulp. After grilling your eggplant, measure the pulp and multiply the rest of the ingredients by the number of cups of eggplant you have.

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy, smoky wonderful dip

Baba Ghanoush

  • 3 Japanese eggplant (yielding about 1 cup of pulp after roasting)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hot chili pepper (optional … baba ghanoush doesn’t usually have hot pepper in it, but I roasted these beautiful hot peppers last night and thought it would be a good addition … and it IS! I love the kick it adds to the dip!)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. To get the smoky flavor, you need to grill the eggplant, so start up your grill and if it’s one of those gas grills, throw some rosemary or apple wood chips or something like that on the coals to make a good smoke. Poke your eggplant all over with a fork and set it on the hot grill and roast it for quite a while … until the skin is charred and dark on all sides and the eggplant has gone totally limp and cooked down. Let it set for a few minutes to cool down enough to touch it, then pull off the peel, saving the soft wonderful roasted interior. It might not be the prettiest thing to look at at this point, but don’t worry. It will taste wonderful!
  2. If you are lucky enough to have a hot chili pepper around, roast that on the hot grill too till the skin is black and charred and bubbly on both sides (this won’t take long! only a few minutes on each side), then pull the peel off of the pepper. It should slip right off.
  3. In a food processor or handi chopper, add the roasted peeled eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, the peeled chili pepper and the parsley and blend until the dip is totally smooth and silky. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature (or a little warmer) with little toasts or crackers or vegies for dipping. Baba Ghanoush also makes a great sandwich spread and goes very well in a wrap too.

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy, smoky wonderful dip

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Friday, and Totally Tasty Tuesday.


Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

My dad decided to try a different variety of tomatoes … some that would mature earlier so he would have tomatoes earlier on in the season … great idea, but this summer has been so hot that his “early” tomatoes only ripened about a week before the rest of the tomatoes.

These little tomatoes are prolific and delicious, if a little small. They are a little bigger than grape tomatoes, yet smaller than regular ones. Mom has boxes and boxes of them … so I took a little box of these little ones because I thought they would make lovely appetizer tomatoes, stuffed with cheese. I took a picture so you could see how big they are …

Mini Tomatoes

And what do you know? I was right! It took me a couple tries, but you can stuff them up, bake them briefly (only briefly or they get over-soft and fall apart and the cheese falls out!) and then munch. They taste simply delightful!

For this recipe, you could certainly use cherry or grape, roma or even full-size tomatoes. Just make sure they are tomatoes from the garden (or farmer’s market) because those grocery store tomatoes are just pale shadows of REAL garden tomatoes.

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

I was making these just for me, so this makes a small amount! Please double or triple the recipe if you have a crowd to feed! The smoky cheese tomato stuffing is also lovely all by itself, simply spread on toast …

  • Several small tomatoes (I stuffed 6 lil tomatoes for lunch, but had about half the filling left …)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato pulp (from the center of the tomatoes you’re stuffing)
  • About 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • About 1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat is good!)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh tarragon, chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • About 1/2 oz. shredded smoked Havarti cheese (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • A couple tablespoons of roasted, shelled pistachios, chopped roughly
  • For garnish: basil flowers and/or leaves
  • For serving: thinly sliced baguette, toasted, or other small toasts

Directions:

  1. Take the tomatoes you want to stuff and set them out on a flat surface. Notice how they “sit” the best. It might be on their side. Mine all wanted to sit sideways. Cut off the top “side” (the opposite side from the side each tomato wants to sit on), then carefully scoop out the center part of the tomato, being careful not to cut the outside shell. Once you have all your tomatoes hollowed out, set them on a baking tray and chop up the tomato pulp you pulled out of the tomatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the tomato pulp with the cream cheese, bread crumbs, tarragon, basil and Havarti cheese, reserving some fresh basil leaves for garnish. Carefully scoop some of the filling into each of the hollowed out tomatoes, filling it to the top. Press a couple pieces of pistachio on top.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly on top and the tomatoes just begin to sag a little bit. Don’t bake them too long or the tomatoes will get too soft and won’t hold their shape.
  4. Set the tomatoes carefully on a serving plate, garnish with basil leaves and/or basil flowers and serve immediately, hot out of the oven. You can pop them into your mouth just like this … or I found they go rather nicely on toasted baguette. I would caution against wearing a white shirt while eating these … they do sometimes squirt juice when you bite into them. You can avoid this by popping the whole thing in your mouth at once, but those of us with little mouths have a little trouble with that!

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday and Scrumptious Sunday.


Zummus {A zucchini-lima twist on hummus}

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

It’s funny how a recipe evolves sometimes. The other night I was talking to my yoga instructor/artist/foodie friend and she was telling me how she had made Baba Ganoush (a middle eastern eggplant dip) with zucchini, and she had done the zucchini on the grill so it had this wonderful smoky flavor and I was thinking to myself “I gotta try that” … especially because I have several lovely zucchini left that my sister brought me and I love Baba Ganoush ALMOST as much as I love hummus.

Then the next day, I got onto facebook and two of my foodie friends (Katrin from Running with the Deviled Eggs and Terra from Cafe Terra) had both done a hummus with lima beans. Lima beans? Seriously? Wow. They both looked totally yummy … but the really funny part about this was Katrin was challenging me and another of our friends to do this too.

Now I have never in my life cooked with lima beans, but I thought, what the heck, I’ll take your challenge. I stopped and got lima beans on my way home from yoga. As I went into the kitchen to begin making it, the idea struck me to combine these two ideas and make some sort of baba ga-hummus thing … see then I could have the best of both worlds all in one! … but with zucchini and lima beans in lieu of the eggplant and chickpeas.

I was trying to think of a good name for this crazy creation, mixing baba ganoush, hummus, lima beans, zucchini … I settled on “zummus” … mostly because I have a thing for the letter Z and hey, we are totally on a zucchini kick here lately. By the way, it’s every bit as good (or better) than any hummus or baba ganoush you’ve ever tasted. You would never guess it’s made with zucchini and lima beans. It’s got that yummy hummus texture and the garlicky tahini taste with a hint of smokiness. I totally love this stuff.

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

Zummus

This makes a small amount.  If you’re making it for a crowd, double or triple the recipe. You’re gonna need it … trust me.

  • About 1 cup of zucchini pulp
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • 2 – 5 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you want it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of 3/4 of a lime

Directions:

  1. Cut a large zucchini lengthwise and using a grapefruit spoon or other such instrument that’s good for digging into summer squash, hollow out some of the pulp inside. It’s quite alright if it’s seedy because this is all going to get roasted and blended into a puree. Chop the pulp into chunks. (Save the zucchini shells for stuffing …)
  2. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray, set the zucchini pieces on it in a single layer, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the zucchini is completely tender. The zucchini cooks down as it roasts, so you should end up with about 1/2 cup of zucchini after you’re done roasting.
  3. Now, measure out your lima beans and put them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of water, cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring about halfway through, or until all the beans are nice and tender. (If you’re making a bigger batch, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time to get all the beans to cook.)
  4. Put the roasted zucchini and the lima beans (complete with cooking water!) in a food processor or handi chopper and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until everything becomes a lovely paste. Add water to get it to the consistency you desire. I like it a little thick, so it’s spreadable.
  5. Serve with toasted pita wedges or flatbread or vegies. It also makes a great spread for sandwiches, wraps and little toasts.

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

Check out the other lima bean hummus recipes:

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious SundayManic MondayThursday’s TreasuresFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Share It Saturdays.


Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

So in case you haven’t noticed, the ingredient of the week (month?) is zucchini at my house. My sis brought me several zucchini, some beautiful stripey Italian zucchini and some plain green ones, some big, some little. I love zucchini season because it makes me get really creative in the kitchen, trying to think of different ways to use this plentiful, mild-tasting vegetable. Zucchini is so good for adding to so many dishes because it takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with, so it can be sweet or savory, and it can take on many different textures too depending on whether it’s shredded, chunked, sliced, or ribboned, raw or cooked.

For this quesadilla, I used one of the smaller green zucchini, but I think the Italian ones would be nice in a quesadilla too. I was just making a small one for me for lunch, so I didn’t want to cut into one of those big guys. Honestly I really wanted some shredded chicken on this quesadilla, but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a rush to make lunch so I went with a vegie version. I think if you had some leftover chicken around (perhaps from the grill?), you may want to toss that into the mix. Beans would be fun to put on here too. But then again, it’s nice just like this …

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

  • 17 – 20 thin slices of a small/medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ancho chile (or other hot chile pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 Tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt
  • juice from a wedge of fresh lime
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • shredded gouda cheese (sorry I forgot to measure how much I used! You can eyeball it, though. Enough to cover the zucchini in a thin layer.)
  • 2 medium-sized tortillas (not the tiny taco-sized ones, but not the huge burrito-sized ones either … whole grain/whole wheat is good!)
  • For serving: your favorite salsa!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and lay the zucchini slices on the pan in a single layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for just a few minutes more until the zucchini rounds are tender.
  2. While the zucchini are cooking, mash up the avocado in a bowl, then mix with the cream cheese, garlic, yogurt, and lime juice. Take one of the tortillas and spread it with this creamy green mixture, then when the zucchini are done, arrange them on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
  3. Top with shredded gouda cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer … I like gouda because it has a good flavor and it melts well … and then put the other tortilla on top.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slide the quesadilla carefully onto the skillet, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to see if it’s golden brown yet.
  5. When it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over to brown the other side. (To help you flip it, you may want to slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a flat cutting board, then flip it over and slide it back into the pan. The bottom side will be crisp, so this isn’t as hard as it may sound.)
  6. Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, slide the quesadilla onto your cutting board, cut it up and serve with salsa.

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends Friday, Scrumptious SundayRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Manic Monday.


Zucchini Chickpea Mock “Crab” Cakes

Zucchini Chickpea Mock Crab Cakes

When I saw these zucchini “crab” cakes over at My Kitchen Addiction, I so very badly wanted to try them. I love crab cakes. I love zucchini. I loved the idea of making a crab-cake-like thing with zucchini. I couldn’t wait till my sister brought me some zucchini so I could try them! She brought me these gorgeous striped Italian zucchini, along with some regular green ones. I used one of the pretty Italian ones for this dish.

These “crab” cakes have no crab in them at all … they are made with zucchini, breadcrumbs, spices and chickpeas. They don’t really taste like crab, but they are pretty yummy. They have that same soft, gentle texture that crab cakes have, which I really love. I think, though, the next time I make these I will tone down the Old Bay seasoning or replace it altogether with other seasonings. I love Old Bay seasoning on seafood, but it seems a little strong when there really isn’t any seafood present. (Or maybe, just maybe, next time I should toss in some real crab along with the zucchini! Now that would be fun.)

This time, however, I had some tzatziki on hand so I thought instead of tartar sauce, I smeared on some tzatziki and topped with slices of mom’s first fresh garden tomatoes. Oh yes, that was the perfect topping in my book. I also think they would be fun as sliders, served in little buns. I suppose most people would classify these as appetizers, but I think they make a nice little meal.

I was in a rush to eat so I didn’t salt and drain the shredded zucchini like she did … I just set it on a clean kitchen towel, covering it in the towel, and pressed to remove the excess moisture. I also added extra breadcrumbs and some chickpeas to mellow out the flavor a bit and give it some extra protein.

Zucchini Chickpea Mock Crab Cakes

Zucchini Chickpea Mock “Crab” Cakes

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction. I think I got about 15 – 18 2-inch patties from this batch. It was hard to count because I kept munching on them as I cooked.

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 – 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (I used 1 teaspoon, but I think that was too much. I recommend starting with a little bit and tasting it, then add more to taste.)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (again, start light and add to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • a sprig or two of fresh terragon, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 heaping cup of chickpeas, finely chopped until they are almost a mush in a handi chopper or food processor
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For frying: 2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • For dipping/serving: tartar or tzatziki sauce (my recipe for tzatziki is here), fresh tomato slices, little buns if you like

Directions:

  1. Set the zucchini on a clean kitchen towel, cover and squeeze out the excess moisture. Put the zucchini in a large mixing bowl and toss it with the breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil and mix well. Form into patties.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the cakes to the pan.  Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. If you have more cakes yet to cook, add a Tablespoon more oil and wait till it heats up, then cook the rest of the cakes. Put the cakes in a clean towel to keep them warm until you’re done frying.
  3. Serve warm, topped with your choice of toppings. They can be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) at 400 for about 5 – 8 minutes.

Zucchini Chickpea Mock Crab Cakes

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday and Manic Monday.


Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

{a guest post for The Black Peppercorn}

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

My friend Steve over at the Black Peppercorn is off on vacation, so I’m helping tend his blog while he’s away!

Steve is a great blogger who has some great recipes and beautiful photography. I’m proud to count him as one of my foodie friends.

So pop over to the Black Peppercorn for the recipe!

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip Recipe

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, and Weekend Potluck.


Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Of all the things I made for my first blog-iversary party, I think these meatballs were the biggest hit. My friends were asking me if the recipe is up on the blog. Now it is!

I was really excited that my daughter tried them … she said they were good, but a little too spicy for her taste. (My girl does NOT like spicy food at all.) She was wishing her friend who loves Asian food had been able to make it to the party because she thought she would have LOVED them.

These little meatballs really aren’t very spicy, in my opinion, but if you or your party guests are sensitive to “heat”, you could use less of the hot chili sauce and more hoison in the meatball sauce. I was worried the meatballs wouldn’t be salty enough because there is no salt in the balls, but slow-cooking them in the sauce made them just perfect. I have to thank SouthernCookingLight for the awesome recipe. I had intended to make feta-stuffed greek meatballs (which would have been awesome too), but when I saw these beauties with all that yummy ginger in there, I just HAD to make them.

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Adapted from SouthernCookingLight

For the meatballs:

  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or venison (I used venison)
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the garlic, water chestnuts and onion into fine bits. Mix with the remaining ingredients till well blended. Form 1” balls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes, until done.

For the sauce:

  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce (you can use bottled hoisin or make your own … recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tblsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup Thai Chili Sauce

Combine ingredients for sauce and pour over the meatballs in a crock pot, then cook at low heat for 6 hours. (Or you could heat up the sauce and meatballs in a saucepan on medium heat till heated, about 20 minutes.)

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Hoisin Sauce

Recipe from CDKitchen

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter or black bean paste
1 tablespoon honey or molasses or brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
20 drops chinese hot sauce, habenero or jalepeno
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl till well blended. At first it might not seem like the peanut butter is going to mix with the rest of the liquids, but keep whisking, it will.

That’s it! Store in a covered container in the fridge. It keeps pretty much indefinitely and is a great sauce to have on hand.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny BloghopScrumptious SundayEveryday Mom’s Meals, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

I joined a new cooking challenge group called Eating the Alphabet. Each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, or bean/legume from a different set of letters. This month’s letters are K & L. Kale or Lemon was the first thing that popped into my mind. I asked my son and he gave me all sorts of K’s and L’s, and it’s funny I can’t even recall what they were now, but it was great fun thinking of them.

In the end, I went with Lemon because, well, lemon is so lovely and I needed a good dip for my Blog-iversary party last night. I think artichokes and lemons go splendidly together, and after making and sampling this creamy dip, well, I had a hard time saving it for the party.  I had to hide it from myself in the back of the fridge and wait till the day of the party for the photo shoot. The lemon flavor really shines through and compliments the artichoke really well.

I lightened up the recipe by using light cream cheese, light mayo, and nonfat greek yogurt and adjusting the proportions–I also added a bunch of sweet onions and some herbs for extra flavor. I don’t think you’ll miss the extra calories.

Eating the Alphabet: Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Adapted from WebMD. WebMD says to bake it and serve it hot, but it was so hot last night, I decided to just serve it cold. It’s delicious either way.

  • 1 – 14.75 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • About 2 Tablespoons of the marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons gourmet prepared mustard (I used green peppercorn garlic, but dijon would be good too)
  • 1 teaspoon wortcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup (very loose) finely shredded Dubliner cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Asiago)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine
  • The zest & juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic and sautee just briefly, then add a couple tablespoons of the marinade and cook until the juice from the marinade has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Mix the hot onions with the cream cheese until well blended. (The heat soften the cream cheese and make it easier to mix.)
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. At this point you can cover and store it in the fridge till serving time. It
  4. If you want to serve it hot, put it in a square baking dish or pie pan and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly. If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, this dip is great cold, too. (Admittedly, though, it IS better warm!)
  5. Serve with pita chips … or slice up a baguette into thin slices and toast them.
Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip
Eating the Alphabet Challenge

This post was created for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge.

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Click here to see all the wonderful recipes in this #EatingAtoZChallenge…

This recipe was also shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny Bloghop, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious Sunday and Manic Monday.


4th of July Fruit Kebabs with Dipping Sauces

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

After the rainbow fruit kebabs we made for my daughter’s birthday, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to do a 4th of July version with red, white and blue. We were having trouble figuring out what to use for the white, though. Are there white fruits? I suppose you could use apples or bananas … at the time, we couldn’t think of any … so we ended up going with angel food cake for the white … you could also use marshmallows.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

But then if you have cake, you want a dipping sauce, right? Something wonderful to dip it in or to drizzle over it to make it more dessert-like.

Three options occurred to me:

  1. Whipped cream: so you have a berry shortcake on a stick
  2. Strawberry (or blueberry) yogurt: a healthier option for dipping. You could even mix your own using plain yogurt and  crushed strawberries and honey
  3. Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce: oh yeah! the take-it-over-the-top, make-it-flippin-amazing option (this was my favorite … can you tell? The way the sauce soaks into the cake and contrasts with the fruit is just oh so wonderful.)

I am guessing you probably don’t need a recipe for #1 and #2, so I’ll just give you the recipe for #3. These 4th of July kebabs are a great project to do with kids … it’s a good pattern recognition exercise for little ones.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

Red, White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce

The sauce is, incidentally, the very same dressing I used on my Red, White & Blueberry Salad.

  • Blueberries
  • Angel Food Cake, cut into squares
  • Strawberries, washed and cut in half
  • Wooden skewer sticks

for the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge.

Skewer the fruit and cake on the wooden skewers to make a red, white and blue pattern. My daughter says the way to do it is to start with blueberries, then cake, then a strawberry so that you end up with a strawberry on top.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.

Fourth of July Fruit Kebabs with a Honey Lime Ginger Yogurt Sauce

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

Calling this a shrimp dip is a little misleading because it’s got SO much more than shrimp in it … there’s bacon, and asparagus, and grilled corn cut off the cob, sweet onion, Havarti, Gorgonzola and cream cheese, greek yogurt, some seasonings of course… and then, to give it a little summer heat, some Sriracha sauce. It’s like a taste of summer in every bite.

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip with Bacon, Asparagus, Corn & Sriracha

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

  • 1/3 cup roasted asparagus, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup cooked corn (I cut the kernels off a cob we had cooked on the grill, but thawed frozen corn would be fine too)
  • 1/3 cup cooked, chopped shrimp (tails removed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t happen to have any, you can make your own with this recipe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooked, chopped lower-fat bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or more (add more or less according to how spicy you want the dip)

Directions:

  1. Heat a frying pan up over medium heat till it’s hot, spray with cooking spray, and sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and soft. If the mixture gets dry or starts to “burn”, add a splash of wine, then cook until the liquid from the wine has disappeared.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the onion/garlic with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all thoroughly mixed. I started with the cream cheese because the heat from the onions will melt the cheese and make it easier to blend with the rest of the ingredients, then added the other things one by one.
  3. When I started cooking, I really meant this as a hot dip, but I ended up eating it cold because it’s SO hot outside … but really more because I was soo hungry by the time I finished it that I didn’t want to wait for it to bake. So hey, if you want, you could put this in an oven-safe baking dish and bake it up till it’s all hot and bubbly … or serve it cold with toasted pita chips, crackers, baked bagel chips or tortilla chips. Or vegies. Vegies always make good dippers.
  4. Garnish with a shrimp and some snipped green onion or chives.
(By the way, thank you Patti and Tara and all my Boho tribe friends for helping me name this one!)

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip with Bacon, Asparagus, Corn & Sriracha

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious Sundays, KM’s Seafood Bloghop and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

It was also featured at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s Seafood Frenzy Friday.


Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion & Bacon Dip

Yeah, I’m on a dip kick lately. I’ve been feeling kinda down, and I like to munch and dip when I’m sad. My ultimate “comfort” food is potato chips and french onion dip (the kind made with real sour cream), but I have come to realize that eating it just makes me feel worse than before, so I kinda stay away from that store-bought stuff now. Today I tried making my own home-grown version of french onion dip. With bacon. Because bacon makes everything better, right? And the greek yogurt has the same rich texture as sour cream, but it’s good for you, so it makes you feel BETTER after eating it instead of sinking you deeper into depression.

There are a few things that are nagging at me, but I think the biggest one is probably the changes on facebook. Yeah, I know, my life is really easy if all I have to be upset about is the changes on facebook, but you see the social connections I’ve made on facebook are really important to me. I’ve met a lot of foodie friends on facebook (7,264 of them as of this moment) and every single one of them is precious to me. Most facebook users probably aren’t even that aware of the changes or how they impact the pages they “like” on facebook, but what facebook did is cut back the views of our posts unless we pay to “promote” them.  It feels like my fan base that I worked so hard to build was just cut from 7,000 to 700. Ouch.

But the worst part is now when someone tags my page, I can’t see that they tagged me, and vice versa.

We foodie pages used to communicate by tagging each other in our status … we did virtual parties on facebook and the invitations were lists of facebook tags. Everyone would bring a drink or dish … the way we would do this is to go to one of our food photos and tag the person having the party (plus a bunch more pages usually … hey, the more the merrier!). We did “shout-outs” telling our fans about other pages we thought were awesome and you always knew when someone else shared your page so it was easy to say thank you by tagging them back. We shared recipes amongst ourselves and tagged the creator of the recipe. Now, if someone shares my recipe or my page, unless it is directly shared from one of my own posts, I have no way of knowing it. There are no more parties. No more shout-outs. No more thank you’s.

It makes me really sad that I can’t see the posts of my friends unless I take time out to go visit their page. They are my inspiration and joy. Oh, yes, there is an alternative: I can make a “list” of my favorite pages from my personal facebook page, but this has several disadvantages:

  1. I have to leave my page to go there
  2. I can share to my page from my personal page, but it’s cumbersome, tricky and easy to screw up
  3. I can’t comment as my page from my personal page
  4. How the heck am I going to make a list of thousands of people from memory? Okay, not all of my “likers” are facebook pages, but still, there are thousands of them, built up over time. Trying to make a list of all of them is harder than putting together a list of people to invite to your wedding. You’re going to forget someone … and in my case it’s a LOT of someones.

Foodies are a tight-knit group and we are feeling right now like facebook is tearing us apart. I think many of us are turning to Pinterest to fill the gap. At least I can always see my friends’ pins on Pinterest. We have group boards that a bunch of us contribute to, and you can comment and like things just like on facebook.

We’re trying to roll with the punches, but I have to tell you it’s very disheartening. I know this is not personal, facebook is just trying to make some money off of this service they have offered us for free for so long, but can’t they do that without tearing us apart? At least let me know when someone mentioned my page. That’s business networking and analytics 101: you want to know who your referrers are. That’s how you build your network. How can you thank your referrers and help them out in turn if you don’t know who they are?!?

Sorry about the rant, I just needed to get that out … let’s get back to the dip at hand, shall we? It’s a lovely dip with the sweet taste of caramelized onions and the salty, smoky bacon, along with creamy cream cheese and tangy greek yogurt and a few chives for spite (and color). Thinking on it now, I bet some smoked paprika would be nice in this too … I’ll have to try that next time.

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip

Inspired by one of my foodie facebook friends: Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 oz. lowfat cream cheese
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup of fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of lowfat mayonnaise (or plain nonfat yogurt)
  • 2 slices of lean bacon, fried till crisp and chopped up
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat your frying pan up to medium heat and swirl around a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the onions and reduce head to medium, stirring pretty much constantly to keep them from burning. When the onions start to brown, add a bit of the wine and cook some more, stirring the onions till the wine has evaporated, then add a bit more wine and stir and cook some more, and repeat until the onions are brown and sweet and all the wine has evaporated. This might take 20 minutes or so, but it’s worth it, believe me.

Remove the onions from the heat and put in a bowl with the cream cheese and stir. The heat of the onions should melt the cream cheese and make it easier to mix in. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving a few bacon crumbles and snipped chives to sprinkle on top before serving. If the dip is too thick, add a little plain nonfat yogurt (not greek yogurt, the regular thinner kind) or a teaspoon or two of milk.

Serve with crackers and/or vegetables and/or chips. Whatever you prefer. You’ll need a sturdier chip, though, like a kettle chip, if you want to use chips.

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyFull Plate ThursdayIt’s a Keeper ThursdayTastetastic Thursday, and Weekend Potluck.


Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

I was seriously craving spinach artichoke dip yesterday … but alas! I am all out of spinach. Hmm, but I have kale … and it occurred to me … why does spinach get all the attention? Shouldn’t kale get to play in the dip too?

I also had some salmon that we had barbecued the other night that needed using, so I threw that in the dip too. By this time, it was getting pretty tasty, so I skipped the artichokes altogether and threw it in the toaster oven to bake. It totally satisfied my craving, and then some. I’m kinda wishing I hadn’t eaten it all … I would really like some more now … these pictures are making me hungry!

I think this dip would be fantastic with shrimp or crab in place of the salmon …

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This makes a small portion, just right for 2 people snacking (or one hungry muncher). Double (or triple) the recipe if you are serving to several people.

  • 1 heaping up of kale leaves, chopped roughly (about 2 ribs of kale)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Several sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine
  • 3/8 cup of salmon, flaked
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt (or more if you want a creamier dip … I like lots of “stuff” in my dips)
  • about 2 oz. of goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (or parmesan)
  • A bit of shredded mozzarella or Italian blend, for the top

Directions:

  1. Put the kale leaves, garlic, onion, and dill in a food processor or handi chopper and process till the kale is chopped into tiny bits.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with cooking spray, then add the kale mixture and the wine. Stir it around a little and cover to cook for just a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook a minute longer to evaporate the moisture from the wine.
  3. Mix the kale mixture with the greek yogurt, salmon, goat cheese and shredded Dubliner cheese.  Put in a small casserole or oven-safe bowl and top with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Serve with chips, crusty slices of bread, or vegies for dipping.

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysMakin’ you Crave Mondays and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Avocado Artichoke Hummus

Avocado Artichoke Dip from Mia's Domain

Hello my dear visitors! I am so excited about my guest blogger today … Mia from Mia’s Domain has agreed to share one of her precious recipes. Mia ‘s recipes truly inspire me. I can’t remember a single post of hers that I didn’t absolutely LOVE … she leaves me drooling just about every time! In fact, Ally and I are arguing over who gets to go live in Mia’s spare room. If you’re not familiar with Mia’s Domain, go visit her beautiful blog or look her up on facebook or Pinterest and you will see what I mean.

Mia sent over this beautiful recipe for Avocado Artichoke Hummus! I love hummus! I am really wishing I had some of this to munch on today …

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guest bloggers this week. I’m having so much fun seeing what they have to share, I’m wondering if I should come back? … just kidding. I’ll be back in my own kitchen very soon!

In the meantime, enjoy this lovely recipe from my sweet friend Mia.

Avocado Artichoke Hummus

  • 1 cup baby artichoke hearts in olive oil
  • 1 cup avocado
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
Blend artichoke hearts, avocado, almonds, beans, onion, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and parsley, while streaming in oil until you’ve reached the consistency you desire. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Keep refrigerated.
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top to serve.

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

It was the big day, the day the dancers prepare for all year. My girl is in competition dance so she gets so many opportunities to perform, but it all leads up to THIS. The day of the big end-of-the-year dance recital.

I thought I was being clever, but really, in hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to plan a vacation right after recital. That meant I was scrambling at work today to finish up all the loose ends … and on top of that, I had to make sure she got fed and drank enough water and run her to rehearsal and back. And find her lost costumes and the missing jazz shoe (that never did turn up … she had to borrow a shoe from a friend!) … and help her with her hair … and then my family was coming for the recital so I was bugging my son to clean up and wash all the bedding. My mom, dad, and sis showed up at 4 and I hadn’t even showered yet! I quickly cleaned myself up and we rushed off to find some food before the recital …

It all added up to a lot of craziness and stress that really didn’t need to be QUITE that crazy. The show went really well, but I could tell at the beginning of the show that my dancer didn’t quite have her head in the game. I feel a little pang of “mom guilt”, like could I maybe have been a little less stressed and rushed today and had more patience with her?

So you know I had NO time to cook today. But still after scrambling with everything all morning, I really really needed to eat! I found some of the cheese mixture I’d used for my fish quesadillas in the fridge and threw together this quesadilla for lunch today in a few minutes … and it turned out really good. I’m glad I took a short break to make this … I’m wishing now that I had taken the time to make my sweetie girl the waffles that she wanted this morning. Ah well. There is always tomorrow. Finally, some time to just unwind and do as we please …

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

For the cheese mixture:

  • 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
  • 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
  • Green onion (I used two)
  • Garlic scapes (I used two)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses

For the quesadilla:

  • 2 whole-grain flour tortillas
  • A handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Chopped tomato (I used 1/2 of a medium tomato for one quesadilla)
  • Chopped red onion (just a bit)
  • Avocado, part sliced, part chopped (I used half an avocado for my quesadilla)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salsa (I used my dad’s simple salsa fresca)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese. (You can make the cheese mixture ahead of time and store it in a covered container in the fridge.)
  2. Spread both tortillas with a thin layer of the cheese mixture. On one of the tortillas, arrange the spinach leaves, tomato, red onion, chopped avocado and cilantro. Top with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. Put the quesadilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, slide it onto a plate, then flip it over and slide back into the pan and cover to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately topped with avocado slices with salsa on the side.

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

I love pesto. Love love love love it! And Asparagus! Oh I can’t wait for spring every year so I can have asparagus … so last week I ran across this intriguing idea for Kale, Apsaragus & Chickpea pesto from Munchin with Munchkin and I just couldn’t put it down. Asparagus in pesto? and beans? … what a concept …

My pesto isn’t really very much like hers. I mean, I really couldn’t abandon my beloved basil. Or the parmesan … oh please, no, I must have my cheese! And while I love olive oil, I thought if you added asparagus and white beans, well, that would eliminate the need for having so much oil in the pesto. You could reduce the oil and still have a wonderful flavor that would stick to your pasta.

And what do you know? It worked! Beautifully. So get this: in one fell swoop, I upped the nutrition, protein, fiber, AND the flavor and lowered the fat and calories in the pesto. It’s such a wonderful thing! It’s sort of like a cross between pesto and hummus. Not only does it go well on pasta, it’s a great dip, a fantastic spread for a sandwich or wrap … or, um, well anything you could think of that you might do with pesto OR hummus.

Now how about them beans?

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

  • 1 cup raw asparagus, chopped (I used the stem ends of the asparagus, saving the “pretty top parts” for later …)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, drained (save the juice though!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pinons
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a handi chopper or food processor and blend till smooth. If you need a little more liquid to get everything to blend nicely, add a bit of the liquid from the beans.

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

This recipe was shared at Mealtime MondayTuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Fish Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

Next Generation Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

My dad gave me some fresh fish he had caught when I visited last weekend, and he told me I must either cook them up by Monday or freeze them. Fish is SO much better when it’s fresh, so I cooked it up. My daughter loooooves fresh fish, but she wasn’t very hungry Monday night and we ended up with quite a stack of leftover cooked fish, part catfish, part Northern Pike.

Next Generation Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

So what do you do with a stack of leftover fish? Well, I often make fish tacos, but this time I wanted to do something a little different … why not a fish quesadilla? I tried it once. Pretty good, but not great. So I tried it a different slant on it … much better! … you are going to be so glad I waited to blog this because these Fish Quesadillas are SO good!  The white beans and greek yogurt take them to a level beyond tasty. (That’s my own personal opinion.) I’m wanting another one already … gonna have to get some more tortillas!

Next Generation Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
  • 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
  • Green onion (I used two)
  • Garlic scapes (I used two)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
  • Cooked fish fillets
  • Flour tortillas (whole grain is good!)
  • Pineapple salsa (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First, make the pineapple salsa and set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese.
  3. Heat a skillet pan to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. While it’s warming, spread a tortilla with the cheese/bean mixture, then put flakes of fish all over half the tortilla. Fold it in half so the cheesy mixture completely covers the fish flakes. (If you want to make a big full round quesadilla, spread two tortillas with a thin layer of the cheesy mixture, top one of them with flaked fish, then carefully put the other tortilla on top (cheesy mixture down).)
  4. Put the tortilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, flip the tortilla over to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately with the fresh pineapple salsa.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

  • 2/3 cup pineapple cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled orange
  • 1/2 cup chopped green & red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tequila
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lime
  • A small bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for a bit to allow the flavors to blend. Store any remaining salsa in a covered container in the fridge.

Next Generation Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa

This recipe was shared at Potluck PartyFit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s MealsManic Mondays,  Totally Tasty Tuesdays and KM’s Seafood Bloghop.


Asian Dragon Party Mix

Asian Spiced Party Mix

Not too long ago, I ordered a bunch of fun seasoning mixes from Mystic Blue Spice Company. They all smell so good! Yesterday I needed to make some party mix to sell for my daughter’s dance fundraiser and thought an Asian-spiced mix would be fun to try with their Asian Dragon seasoning. It turned out fantastic … Thanks, Mystic Blue.

Asian Dragon Party Mix

  • 6 cups of unsweetened cereal (your choice … I used 4 cups of rice chex, 2 cups of corn chex)
  • 3 cups of pretzels
  • 1 cup of peanuts
  • 2 cups of mixed Chinese rice crackers or Asian snack mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of wheat thins (or whatever other crackers or mix-ins you’d like to include)
  • 1 or 2 packages of Ramen noodles, uncooked (just the noodles) … or chow mein noodles
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • A few drops of sesame oil (or hot pepper oil if you want it to have a little kick)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian Dragon seasoning mix from Mystic Blue Spice Company (or other Asian seasoning mix … don’t use five spice, though … I don’t think that would work)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Mix the cereal, pretzels, peanuts, and crackers or snack mix in a large bowl or big flat baking dish (I used two 13x9x2 inch baking dishes). Crumble the Ramen noodles over top.

Put the butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and seasonings in a microwave-safe mug or bowl, cover and microwave on medium for about 2 minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir to mix it all up together well. Drizzle over the cereal mixture and gently stir to coat more of the pieces.

Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

Asian Dragon Party Mix

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckScrumptious Sundays, Mealtime Mondays, Tuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays,  Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures and Tastetastic Thursday.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


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