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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Green Bean Fries Recipe with Spicy Fry Sauce

September 15, 2013 in Appetizers, Side Dishes

Yes, green beans are delicious fried!

Green Bean Fries with Famous Fry Sauce

Green Bean Fries with Famous Fry Sauce

Crispy crunchy outside and with a garden fresh green burst of flavor inside – these are a whole new level of fry deliciousness.

When green beans are piled high on tables at the Farmer’s Market, I just can’t resist taking a paper sack of them home with me. And I wanted to try them in a whole new way, but keep that garden fresh string bean goodness. (( WARNING:  Green Bean Casserole Season is fast approaching – Thanksgiving Day us just a few weeks away. YIKES.)

This way of cooking green beans is my favorite of all time. The cornmeal coating gives a nice crunch, and the beans are perfectly cooked inside by the time the outsides are crunchy golden brown goodness.

I just can’t say enough wonderful things about these “fries.” They are so amazing that I ate a whole plateful before The Hubs got home and had to whip up a new batch for him. He also swooned, BTW.

And, when I moved to the Rocky Mountains, I discovered a new French fry condiment – Fry Sauce. I agree with Sweet Basil blogger Carrian – Utah is all about the Fry Sauce. Basically, mayo and ketchup mixed. But I added a dash of sriracha for heat and smoked paprika for smokiness. This dipping sauce is perfect with these green bean fries.

The downside to discovering these babies: How can I ever eat boring old potato fries again???

Happy end of summer All ~

– posted by Donna

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Savory S’mores Recipe

August 25, 2013 in Appetizers

S’mores go SAVORY!

Savory S'mores

Savory S’mores with Zucchini, Sundried Tomatoes and Fontina

S’mores Go Savory! with this spin on the classic campfire dessert: grilled zucchini slices, sun dried tomatoes and fontina on crackers.

S’mores have always been one of my very favorite dessert-y snacks. I hate to admit this but s’mores is the one thing that will get me to go camping. My feeling is that camping is fun for everyone but the Mom in the family. Moms have to everything they normally do, but they have to do it in the dirt. With no running water. And smell like smoke the entire time. Not my fave, unless s’mores are added into the equation. Many a memory is made sitting under the stars singing silly camp songs and roasting marshmallows for s’mores.

And, since I am the biggest s’mores fan on the planet, it falls to me to create the first SAVORY version of s’mores. Yes, I know. You’re welcome.

I have been working on this recipe the whole summer. I have tried lots and lots of combos ((I do sacrifice for my art!)) with grilled veggies and cheeses to resemble the classic melty marshmallow and chocolate combo. This, my foodie friends, is the perfect combo for a savory version of s’mores. The grilled zucchini slice makes the cheese melt – and fontina is the ultimate in smooth melting cheese. Then, the diced sun dried tomatoes provide a richness – a role that chocolate plays in the dessert classic.

The one caution I have is that these have to be eaten right after they are assembled, or the bottom cracker becomes soggy and the whole thing falls apart. But, Hey!, that’s the fun of s’mores, after all – gathering around the fire, roasting and assembling on s’more while you are making another. And another. And, well, you know how this ends – too many s’mores for your own good.

Here’s the entire recipe: Get out two large crackers, cut a slice of zucchini a little less than1/2 inch thick and roast or grill it, drain a few slices of sun dried tomatoes in oil and put them on the bottom cracker, place charred zucchini slice on top, place a slice of fontina on top, put top cracker on. Now enjoy just as you would classic s’mores, licking the goo off your fingers as you go!

Perfect Backyard Party Starter!


Why eat just one? They're S'MORES!

Why eat just one? They’re S’MORES!

– posted by Donna

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