Easy Beet Pesto Cucumber Bites

Beet Pesto Cucumber Bites

Make these easy, healthy, festive appetizers for your holiday table with just minutes of prep time.

So much of holiday food is heavy, fatty and so unhealthy that I find myself craving fresh and healthy food this time of year.

I have discovered a new thing in my kitchen: BEET PESTO. It is so flavorful and delicious that I am putting it on lots of food these days. I smear it on sandwiches, chicken breasts, toast, etc., etc., etc. You will love it on these bites, but you will love to use it in so many other ways.

These are perfect for your holiday table – because they are made of  bright holiday colors.

Happy, Happy Holidays to all!

Beet Pesto Cucumber Bites

BEET PESTO CUCUMBER BITES

Makes about 18 appetizers

2 medium beets
1/2 cup diced toasted walnuts
a few sprigs of parsley
3 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber
4 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes or so, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Peel beets and chop beets. Place in food processor with walnuts and parsley. Pulse until very small bits while drizzling in olive oil. When mixture is in small bits. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice cucumber into rounds that are about 1/3 inch thick. Place about 1 tablespoon of beet mixture on top. Crumble goat cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Beet Pesto Cucumber Bites
 
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Easy, festive, healthy appetizers for your holiday table!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 2 medium beets
  • ½ cup diced toasted walnuts
  • A few sprigs of parsley
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes or so, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Peel beets and chop beets. Place in food processor with walnuts and parsley. Pulse until very small bits while drizzling in olive oil. When mixture is in small bits. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Slice cucumber into rounds that are about ⅓ inch thick. Place about 1 tablespoon of beet mixture on top. Crumble goat cheese on top. Serve immediately.

 

Slow Cooker Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Garlic and Mint

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Bruschetta

Meet your new favorite summer appetizer: Slow roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Mint. Bonus: made in your slow cooker.

It takes just about zero prep time to put this appetizer – just some slow roasting in your slow cooker. But. SO worth the wait!

The sidewalk in my yard is bursting with mint this time of year, so I look for any way I can to use it up.

Slow roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic are extra delicious together – and a toss in olive oil and a sprinkle of S & P are all it takes to get this fun summer appetizer ready to roast.

Stir in the mint for freshness at the very end and your have the perfect flavors and textures.

I like to use crunchy baguette slices so sop up all the goodness. And a smear of goat cheese completes the summer appetizer perfection.

Put out some shallow bowls of this and then gather around the table for some good conversation and shared deliciousness.

Slow Cooker Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic with Olive oil and Mint

3 cups cherry tomatoes, large tomatoes cut in half
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Small bunch of mint leaves, chopped

Toasted baguette slices
Softened Goat cheese

Toss tomatoes in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer in a slow cooker. Cook for one hour on High.

Stir in garlic cloves and cook uncovered for about another 30 minutes, until tomatoes are softened and lightly browned, and garlic is soft and light brown.

(NOTE: If the tomatoes are not brown enough for your liking after the slow cooking, brown them under your broiler for a minute or two.)

Stir in mint leaves right before serving.

Serve with toasted baguette slices and goat cheese.

Slow Cooker Cherry Tomatoes Bruschetta with Garlic and Mint
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, large tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
  • Small bunch of mint leaves, chopped
  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Softened Goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer in a slow cooker. Cook for one hour on High.
  2. Stir in garlic cloves and cook for another 30 minutes, until tomatoes are softened and lightly browned, and garlic is soft and light brown.
  3. (NOTE: If the tomatoes are not brown enough for your liking after the slow cooking, brown them under your broiler for a minute or two.)
  4. Stir in mint leaves right before serving.
  5. Serve with toasted baguette slices and goat cheese.

Other Lazy Summer Days appetizers:

Easy Summer Starters, Dinner A Love Story
Layered Summer Veggie Appetizer, Farm Fresh Feasts
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomato Appetizers, Simple Bites

Easy Bloomin’ Onion with Almond Flour Crust

Easy. Healthy. Low Carb. All you ever wanted in a Bloomin’ Onion recipe!

Low Carb Bloomin Onion

Finally! An easy, healthy version of a homemade Bloomin’ Onion worth eating.

Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion, has more than 800 calories, 58 grams of fat and 22 grams of saturated fat, plus 1,520 milligrams of sodium. These numbers don’t include the dipping sauce, which is also loaded with fat, calories, and sodium. But. You gotta admit, it’s yummy.

I set out to make a version that was lower in calories, carbs, fat and sodium. And, with a minimum of fuss and mess. No deep frying. My version has about 400 calories and much less fat.

I took the best techniques from several food blogger’s recipes and combined them. I liked that the Tex Mex Bloomin Onion by Girl Verses Dough was baked. I loved the Baby Bloomin Onions from Spoon Fork Bacon, too. And of course the copycat version of Outback Bloomin Onion from Stephanie at Copykat Recipes.

Easy Bloomin Onion Appetizer

Easy Bloomin’ Onion with Almond Flour Crust

1 large onion
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut about 1 inch off the stem end of the onion, leaving the root end intact. Place on a cutting board, cut side down. Make cuts all the way around the onion, about 1/4 inch apart from root end to stem end – making your cuts go to the center of the onion.

Whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Stir together the almond flour, cheeses, parsley, salt, paprika and pepper.

Place the onion root end down in a bowl. Carefully pry the slices of petals apart, being careful not to detach them from the root end. Your onion should resemble a large mum. Spoon over the onion the buttermilk mixture, being careful to get all parts of the onion coated. Sprinkle generously with the almond flour mixture.

Transfer the onion to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spray with oil again. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Easy Bloomin' Onion with Almond Flour Crust
 
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Make it yourself version of the classic Bloomin' Onion!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅔ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut about 1 inch off the stem end of the onion, leaving the root end intact. Place on a cutting board, cut side down. Make cuts all the way around the onion, about ¼ inch apart from root end to stem end - making your cuts go almost to the center of the onion.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Stir together the almond flour, cheeses, parsley, salt, paprika and pepper.
  4. Place the onion root end down in a bowl. Carefully pry the slices of petals apart, being careful not to detach them from the root end. Your onion should resemble a large mum. Spoon over the onion the buttermilk mixture, being careful to get all parts of the onion coated. Sprinkle generously with the almond flour mixture.
  5. Transfer the onion to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spray with oil again. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

 

No Fuss Garlic Roasted Artichokes

Ten minutes of prep for the best artichokes ever.
Roasted Artichokes

I am normally not a fan of artichokes. But these artichokes are stunning – drop dead delicious. Garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper and ten minutes of prep are all you need.

This time of year artichokes are piled high on the tables in the produce section of my favorite store. They just scream “Spring!” to me. So, I gathered up a few of them and headed home to try to simplify the artichoke hassle.

The garlic and olive oil make the petals so rich and meltingly good – so no need to dip them in mayo. It’s simple, really.

The key is to add the ingredients to the chokes in the right order so that they all sink down between the leaves. The garlic just perfumes the whole choke – and the lemon juice adds a little sharpness.

The perfect artichoke.

NO FUSS GARLIC ROASTED ARTICHOKES

Serves 4 as a first course.

4 large artichokes
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 lemons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut stems off the artichokes so that they will sit flat. Cut the top 2 inches or so off of the artichokes. Cut a large square of of aluminum foil for each artichoke. Set the artichokes in the center of the foil squares.

Spread the garlic on top of the artichokes and then using a knife, open the petals so that the garlic falls down among the petals. Squeeze the lemon juice and open the petals while you sprinkle the salt and pepper down into the artichokes.

Brush the olive oil over the tops of the artichokes.

Wrap up the artichokes in the foil and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 60 minutes. Open up the foil and pry the petals apart by smashing down on the artichokes so that they open up. Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Remove the center petals and the choke portion of each artichoke, exposing the hearts of the artichokes.

No Fuss Garlic Roasted Artichokes
 
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10 minutes to the best artichokes you have ever eaten.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. *reheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut stems off the artichokes so that they will sit flat. Cut the top 2 inches or so off of the artichokes. Cut a large square of of aluminum foil for each artichoke. Set the artichokes in the center of the foil squares.
  3. Spread the garlic on top of the artichokes and then using a knife, open the petals so that the garlic falls down among the petals. Squeeze the lemon juice and open the petals while you sprinkle the salt and pepper down into the artichokes.
  4. Brush the olive oil over the tops of the artichokes.
  5. Wrap up the artichokes in the foil and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes. Open up the foil and pry the petals apart by smashing down on the artichokes so that they open up. Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove the center petals and the choke portion of each artichoke, exposing the hearts of the artichokes.

 

Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs

Avocado replaces the mayo for these flavorful updated deviled eggs!

Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs

This is the most delicious deviled egg I have ever put in my mouth – and that’s saying something. I love, love LOVE deviled eggs.

These little beauties are mayo free, Whole30 and low carb. But most importantly, they are just YUM.

The mayo is replaced with a soft, ripe avocado – healthy fat. And then paper thin slices of crispy Proscuitto add salt, umami and crunch. Seriously, these are jaw-dropping good.

When deviled eggs are on a buffet, I can fill half my plate with them. I am kind of known as a deviled eggs fanatic. So my girlfriend made some of these and brought them to my house. I am a deviled egg snob, so I was skeptical. No mayo? They just won’t be creamy – said I.

I am happy to report that I was wrong: Perfect creamy texture – and more flavor than just mayo would give. Just so, so good.

These also look beautiful on a platter – and very foodie-ish. You will not regret making these for your spring or Easter feast, guaranteed.

Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs

Tricks to a Perfect Hard-Cooked Egg

Bring water in a medium saucepan to a boil. Carefully add eggs to the boiling water. (NOTE: the shock of the boiling water softens that membrane right under the shell, so your eggs will be easy to peel.) Let boil for exactly one minute. Remove pan from heat. Cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Crack eggs and run under cold water, to let water seep under the shells. Peel and enjoy!

Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs

Makes 12 deviled egg halves

6 large hard-boiled eggs
1/2 ripe Haas avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
3 paper-thin slices of Proscuitto
A little cooking oil
Smoked paprika for garnish

Cut eggs in half down center lengthwise and then place yolks in a mixing bowl. Add avocado, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until very creamy. Fill the holes in the egg halves with this mixture and place on a platter.

Cook the Proscuitto in a skillet over medium high heat in a little oil until browned and crispy – it will take less than a minute per side. Remove to paper towels and let drain. Crumble and place on tops of eggs. Sprinkle with a little smoked paprika. Serve.

Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs Recipe
 
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Dairy free deviled eggs made with avocado - so creamy and delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 12 deviled eggs
Ingredients
  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ ripe Haas avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 paper-thin slices of Proscuitto
  • A little cooking oil
  • Smoked paprika for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half down center lengthwise and then place yolks in a mixing bowl. Add avocado, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until very creamy. Fill the holes in the egg halves with this mixture and place on a platter.
  2. Cook the Proscuitto in a skillet over medium high heat in a little oil until browned and crispy - it will take less than a minute per side. Remove to paper towels and let drain. Crumble and place on tops of eggs. Sprinkle with a little smoked paprika. Serve.

Other remarkable deviled eggs out there:

Bacon Blue Deviled Eggs, How Sweet Eats
Sriracha deviled Eggs, Life’s Ambrosia
Avocado Sriracha Deviled Eggs, Cookin Canuck
Mayo-free Deviled Eggs, Give Recipe

Five Minute Christmas Tree Appetizer

An impromptu party appetizer – ready in just five minutes!
Cream Cheese Appetizers

Holiday gatherings are the best thing about the holiday season.They can be large or small, with or without gifts and elaborate events filled with gourmet foods and Martha-like decor or simple foods that you put together mostly from your pantry. I love them all.

Impromptu parties can be the most fun of all – especially when you keep ingredients on hand to make things festive even when thrown together at the very last minute.

I will be serving this Christmas tree appetizer made with just three ingredients that looks so pretty on a platter. All these years I never knew that you can turn a block of cream cheese into a Christmas tree with one simple cut: you slice it from corner to corner diagonally and then put the two straight sides together on a plate and then add toppings. So easy and flavorful and fits you holiday gathering theme – in five minutes or less.

Let the holiday party season begin!

Five Minute Christmas Tree Appetizer
 
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Surprise guests? No Problem at all with this 5 minute appetizer!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Christmas
Serves: 10 to 12 appetizers
Ingredients
  • 1 block (8 ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 2 medium sized pickles (I used garlic dill)
  • 2 tablespoons sun dried tomato pesto
  • Assorted crackers for serving
Instructions
  1. Cut the block of cream cheese down the middle diagonally. Flip one side over and place next to the other side, forming a tree shape.
  2. Cut pickle lengthwise into thin slices. Lay diagonally across the cream cheese tree. Spoon on the sun dried tomato pesto.
  3. Insert a cinnamon stick at bottom to form a trunk for the tree. Serve with crackers.

Other bloggers do easy holiday appetizers:

Quick and Easy Holiday Appetizer, Always Order Dessert First
 Cucumber Feta Rolls, Good Life Eats
Easy Healthy Holiday Appetizers, Mother Rimmy
Rosemary White Bean Dip, Good Life Eats
Holiday Easy Cheese Appetizers, Cafe Johnsonia

Slow Cooker Spiced Nuts

2 minutes of prep time for spicy mixed nuts at your fingertips!
slow cooker spiced nuts
The spiced nuts are usually the first thing to go on a holiday party buffet. I always find a crowd gathering around the food table within grabbing distance of the spiced nuts.

You might want to make a few batches of these to keep on hand during the holidays – they are sure to be a hit at any holiday party and they also make a nice last-minute gift in a pretty glass jar tied with a ribbon.

I love the use of the slow cooker for this recipe, because using a skillet, or even the oven is risky. I mean, nuts can go from toasty and perfect to burnt in just a matter of minutes. And nuts have a strong bitter taste when they are even a bit burnt – too risky for nuts which are not cheap. The slow cooker is gentle heat and works perfectly for this recipe – your nuts can go for a few minutes early or late, and they will still be perfectly toasty and flavorful.

Other food bloggers’ spins on spiced nuts:

Curry Spiced Nuts and Dried Cherries, Cookin Canuck
Candied Spiced Pecans, Eat the Love
Buffalo Spiced Nuts, All Day I Dream About Food
Candied Harissa Spiced Nuts, Shared Appetite
3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Spicy Nuts, Simple Nourished Living

slow cooker spiced nuts

Slow Cooker Spiced Nuts
 
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Two minutes of prep time is all it takes to have delicious spiced nuts at you fingertips. And your house filled with savory fragrance.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday Party
Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces raw cashews
  • 8 ounces raw almonds
  • 8 ounces raw pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together and cook on high in a slow cooker for about 2 hours.
  2. Remove and spread on a platter or baking sheet to cool.
  3. NOTE: I have also added minced rosemary to the nuts, and loved this added flavor - totally optional.

 

Healthy Holiday Appetizers: Goat Cheese Brussels Sprouts Bites

Turn Brussels Sprouts leaves into a healthy and festive appetizers with goat cheese and pomegranate arils. 
Goat Cheese Pomegranate and Brussels Sprout appetizer

Brussels sprouts leaves make the perfect tiny cups to hold festive holiday appetizers. This easy healthy app is ready in 5 minutes flat – and that includes the blanching! And, if you blanch Brussels sprouts leaves for one minute in boiling water, they turn bright green and look so pretty on a serving platter.

Holiday food – especially party food – can be so rich and heavy and high-calorie, and so these little bites are bright and light and even healthy! They are a burst of fresh, tart flavor for your holiday table.

I like to think about Christmas colors for food this time of year. As proof, check out my White Bean Christmas Soup and Christmas Eve Shrimp Salad.

Brussels sprouts’ green color is perfectly seasonally appropo. Then, goat cheese is white and pomegranate arils are bright red, hence: Christmas colors. POM has even made it easy for us and now sell little cups of harvested arils. How easy is that?!

These healthy little bites can be ready in just minutes. The blanching takes the most work, and I am guessing you could also microwave the leaves for a few seconds, making prep even easier. I haven’t tried that, but plan to soon.

I like the tartness here, but if you like to balance the tartness with a little sweet, you can add a few drops of honey or agave.

Let the Holiday Appetizer Season begin!

Brussels sprouts appetizers

 

Goat Cheese Pomegranate and Brussels Sprouts Bites
 
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Healthy, easy and festive holiday bites for your party fare.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 24 appetizers
Ingredients
  • 12 large Brussels sprouts
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (plain or with added herbs)
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • Optional: one teaspoon of honey or agave
Instructions
  1. Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Remove 2 outer leaves from each of the Brussels sprouts and cut off excess stem end, forming a round cup shape. Blanch for one minute in boiling water and then remove and place in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Fill each leaf with a little goat cheese and a few pomegranate arils. (Add a drop or two of honey or agave, if desired.)
  3. Serve.

Other bloggers’ healthy apps:

Smoked Salmon Kale Wraps, Taste Food
Spicy Tuna Cucumber Avocado Appetizers, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Hummus and Roasted Pepper Phyllo Bites, Cookin Canuck
5 Easy Healthy Appetizers, Eating Made Easy
Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab, Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Crowd Pleaser Grilled Shrimp Guacamole Tostada Bites

Grilled Shrimp Guacamole Tostada BitesTwo of my favorite things are grilled shrimp and guacamole – combined here in a cute little package. Who wouldn’t want a whole platter of these sitting on a coffee table within arm’s reach on Game Day? Or pretty much any day?

These little bites can be thrown together in just minutes. You could make the recipe even easier if you used purchased guacamole and round tortilla chips. I used flour tortillas cut into circles and then sprayed lightly with oil and baked for a few minutes. Super easy = Super Bowl, no?

And who doesn’t love guacamole? Make our roasted guac, or use your own favorite recipe. Guacamole is one of those things that I rarely make the same way twice. Really hard to mess up! After I made these, the hubs and I ate the WHOLE platter for dinner. These are crowd pleasers, for sure. Consider yourself warned!

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Baked Curly Fries for Superbowl Sunday

baked curly friesI’m hosting my first ever Sportsball Party this weekend, so of course I’m most looking forward to the food. Lucky me, I just got a spiffy new addition to my kitchen gadget collection, the Paderno Spiralizer. Along with making oodles of zoodles, the first thing I looked forward to making was a baked version of a curly fry. The widest setting on the Paderno was perfect for this! It worked with both sweet and regular potatoes, and I plan to experiment with other root vegetables in the future. Perfect lighter fare for your game day plans, whatever other decadence is served alongside them. …

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