Roasted Asparagus Dip with Spring Crudites

April 18, 2014 in Appetizers

A spring veggie platter is a spectacular edible centerpiece.

Spring Veggie Platter

Spring Veggies never looked so pretty. Asparagus dip is a bonus!

When spring veggies are piled high in the produce section, it brings my heart joy. I literally do a little shopping cart dance when asparagus is in abundance. I am desert born and raised, after all, and warm sunny weather makes me feel that all is well in the universe!

So I wanted to make a platter of crudites (raw or slightly blanched vegetables for dipping) that is really a work of edible art. This spring platter fits the bill, especially if you add some roasted asparagus dip in the center of a cabbage bowl. I created the dip with the same flavors of the warm artichoke dip/spread, on lightened up. The dip is delicious – like roasted asparagus with a hint of briny artichoke hearts.

Use whatever veggies you like – but I recommend blanching the tougher vegetables a bit to soften them – I did mine in the microwave oven.

Put this on your buffet or table at your next spring feats and you will get rave reviews – guaranteed.

Happy Spring All ~

– posted by Donna

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Beet Deviled Eggs

April 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays, Side Dishes

Double duty beets: flavor inside and color outside deviled eggs.

Beet Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, flavored and colored with beets.

Beets add sweetness and flavor to the classic deviled egg – and a bonus: soak your peeled hard boiled eggs in beet water to add a rosy hue to the outsides of the eggs!

Once a year in early spring I become a deviled egg fanatic. I have tried all kinds of mix-ins to the yolks, and I have to say that it was a surprise how delicious the sweetness of the beets was mixed into the yolks. They are delicious mixed with a little Dijon to balance the sweetness.

There are lots of food bloggers doing naturally dyed eggs – so beautiful! I just added my beets in two places!
See How to Dye Easter Eggs the Natural Way, Simple Bites
Tea Stained Easter Eggs, Yummy Mummy
Vegetable Dyed Eggs, Weelicious

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Kale Hummus Cucumber Bites

March 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays

 Green bites of kale hummus goodness in honor of St Pat.

Kale Hummus Cucumber Bites

St Patrick’s Day approved bites of healthy green goodness!

Lots of folks have added lots of things to hummus – including a few tweaks of our own: Asparagus Hummus; Hot Pink (Beet) Hummus;and Black Bean Hummus, to name a few. But I was searching for green hummus, in honor of the second biggest holiday of the year at the Kelly house: St Patrick’s Day.

I found lots, but none with kale, and so I gave it a whirl- literally – in my food processor and this is now my new favorite hummus! If you saute the kale in a little coconut oil first, it softens and adds flavor to the kale. This dark leafy green adds so much depth and flavor to plain hummus – your taste buds will be amazed! Then, just whirl it into your favorite hummus recipe – or use our recipe below – and you have even more healthy hummus and GREEN to boot, in honor of St Pat’s.

My Irish foodie wish I wrote for all:

May your souffles rise to meet you,
May your colcannon be first rate,
May you find joy in every Irish stew, and
May nothing but deliciousness be found on your plate!
Happy St Pat’s All ~
– posted by Donna

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Asian Lacquered Sticky Chicken Recipe

February 21, 2014 in Appetizers, Entrees

Sweet and sticky Asian style chicken. Finger licking required.

Asian Chicken

Barbecued chicken is something I could eat most every day in the summer. And now I have found a new favorite winter chicken obsession: Asian sticky chicken.

The sauce in this dish is absolutely magical – it is the perfect blend of sweet and hot and sticky. It clings to the chicken and forms a clear glaze that is beautiful and rich looking. These are very messy to eat, but well worth licking your fingers.

Asian Sticky Chicken

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Superbowl Spectacular: Round-Up of Ready-to-Roll Recipes

January 31, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays

  A round-up of easy snacks and appetizers for game day!

Savory S’mores for Superbowl Sunday 

While it may be true that neither one of your intrepid bloggers here at Apron Strings is a huge football fanatic (this accurately illustrates where Anne’s knowledge stands), we both love any excuse to get together with friends and family – especially when food is part of the celebration.  Whoever you’re rooting for, or even if you’re not rooting for anyone at all, we hope you’ll find some great snack and appetizer ideas here, starting with the Savory S’mores above.

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Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

January 27, 2014 in Appetizers

Stuffed mushroom bites – pizza edition.

Mushroom caps with a pizza filling.

Mushroom caps with a pizza filling. Just think of these as Mushroom Pizzas – but all mushroom and no crust.

I learned to cook in the 80′s. Remember the 80′s? Big hair, florescent fashion. Hammer pants and stuffed mushrooms were all the rage. Classic stuffed mushrooms were typically made with bread crumbs, cheese and sometimes crumbled sausage, and as the fabulous Elise from Simply Recipes declares – every home cook should be able to make this recipe as a go-to appetizer.

With all the couch time coming up in the near future – Hello: Superbowl, Olympics – I decided a twist on the classic 80′s appetizer was in order. I was inspired by Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen, who made fabulous portobello mushroom pizzas. Mine are in handy little bite-size form.

The only trick is getting the water out of the mushroom caps so they won’t be soggy when cooked with the pizza stuffing. So, I brushed the caps with a little oil and roasted them in a hot oven for about 8 minutes. They filled up with water, and I just took them out of the oven and turned them all upside down and let them cool to room temperature. Then, I flipped them back over and stuffed them with pizza fixin’s and gave them a second roast. Perfect!

I just love love LOVE mushrooms – in any way, shape or form. Check out the Mushroom Channel for other mushroom delights.

I bought cute little mini pepperoni slices and used little round slices. Then, I made small round slices from a mozzarella cheese stick. And of course, sliced olives are a must. I made a variety of toppings so you get a different classic pizza bite with each mushroom cap.

Happy couch time everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Homemade Deviled Ham Bites on Sweet Potato Chips

December 20, 2013 in Appetizers

Deviled Ham – The Upgrade. Make this 50′s classic at home in just minutes with delicious results.

Deviled Ham and Sweet Potato Bites

Have you ever made your own deviled ham? So worth it.

Ham and sweet potatoes are a match made in heaven. Delicious together in any combination. So why not in an appetizer? If you need a quick yet different appetizer for your holiday party, this is it.

Making deviled ham spread at home is a win/win situation: five ingredients in less than five minutes flat. And then, just spoon a little onto sweet potato chips and you have instant flavorful appetizers.

Remember back when you were a kid and you ate deviled ham from those little cans wrapped in paper with the dancing devil logo? Underwood deviled ham is the oldest still existing food trademark, just FYI. Well, this is like that, only about a million per cent tastier. Just buy some deli-sliced ham and whirl it in your food processor with a few other things and you have an instant party spread – or sandwich spread you can stash in your fridge because it keeps for a few weeks.

I wish you Happy Season’s Eatings!

So cinchy, it’s almost not a real recipe.

– posted by Donna 

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Christmas Chicken Meatballs with Cranberry and Jalapeno: 5 Ingredients

December 9, 2013 in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Holidays

Five Ingredient Ground Chicken Meatballs with Cranberries and Jalapenos – Fast and festive is the name of this game.

Five ingredient Christmas Chicken Meatballs with Cranberries and Jalapenos

My inspired co-blogger had the most excellent idea of featuring  some 5 minute and/or 5 ingredient recipes this holiday season. I’m happily jumping on board, as we all could use a few simple AND festive ideas this time of year. Some of mine will take a longer cook time, but even for this one, 5 minutes is all you need for the prep – the rest is inactive. And only 5 ingredients, not counting, water, salt and pepper (which, to me, is like including gravity and oxygen – just consider them all a given).

My first offering: these ground chicken meatballs. These could be either an appetizer on toothpicks OR an entree paired with some hearty sides. Either way, a fabulous (and healthy) recipe, perfect for when your holidays are getting hectic.  Read the rest of this entry →

Five Minute Christmas Eve Shrimp Salad

December 6, 2013 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Holidays

Five-minute five-ingredient festive shrimp salad. Instant Christmas Eve on a plate.

Christmas Eve on a Plate

Festive Shrimp Salad: Christmas Eve on a Plate

Christmas Eve is a time to go festive with food, I say. And this Christmas Eve Shrimp Salad is a “5 in 5″ recipe – five ingredients in five minutes, yet so festive it really is Christmas Eve on a plate.

I do think the “cuteness” factor can go too far. I am old enough to remember the popularity of the Christmas Candle Salad, The 60′s was a decade of tacky food, even at Christmas. Now it makes me laugh out loud to see a photo of this very weird salad. Did people not see how lurid this salad was? Ho Ho HO!

But still, food can be pretty without being weird, don’t you agree?

For many years, the Kelly family did shrimp cocktail as a first course on Christmas Eve. The kids clapped when I brought the fancy crystal glasses to the table – with cocktail sauce in the glass and shrimps draped around the edge of the glass. It was so fun for them to dip the shrimp and the presentation started off the meal on a fancy note. But now that the kids are older, this is a more grownup way to fancy-up the meal.

It takes about 2 minutes to cut jicama slices into stars, but you can just dice it if you like – saving even more time!

Happy Healthy Christmas, All!

– posted by Donna

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Turkey Cheese Ball Bites

November 17, 2013 in Appetizers, Holidays

Tiny little cheese ball bites – dressed up like turkeys. The cutest Thanksgiving appetizer ever!

Won't these cuties look great on your Thanksgiving table?

Won’t these cuties look great on your Thanksgiving table?

I am a firm believer that food should be festive. Take these turkey cheese ball bites for example.

They are so easy, flavorful and look so pretty on a platter. The perfect nibble before the big meal.

When my kids were little, I kept them occupied on Thanksgiving Day by doing things like making home made butter. ( Which, BTW, It’s so easy and fun – and, most importantly, keeps them out of your hair while you’re cooking! See my demo on You Tube.)

Can’t wait for Turkey Day, can you?

– posted by Donna

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