Category Archives: Appetizers

Homemade Cheese with Curried Spinach

This has the most awesome Middle Eastern flavor ! It was spicy without being too hot and the texture of the cheese really went well with the chopped spinach – – it picked up the spices of the spinach nicely. This was my first time making cheese and it was well worth it. It was a definite ‘2 thumbs up’ from the whole family 🙂

Homemade Cheese with Curried Spinach
Homemade Cheese with Curried Spinach

4 servings
302 calories per serving

2 quarts 1 % milk
1/3 c lemon juice
4 t oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground coriander
¾ t turmeric
¼ t salt
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c chicken broth
2 T tomato paste
2 t jalapeno pepper sauce or Asian chili and garlic sauce

Bring milk to a boil (be careful to not let the bottom scorch – be patient and do it on medium or medium high heat rather than cranking it up to high) then remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let stand about 15 minutes so that the curds and whey separate. Line a colander with a doubled piece of cheese cloth, place in the sink, and pour in the milk mix letting the whey drain away. Let sit 20 minutes or so and then pull together the cheesecloth and squeeze gently to remove any more liquid. You can use a light twisting motion and that helps. Then flatten into a disk on a plate and then place a small saucepan on top of it and place an unopened canned good in the pan to create a weight on top of the cheese. I used a large can of crushed tomatoes and it worked great. Do not refrigerate. Let stand 2 hours or until firm enough to cut.

In a large skillet heat 2 t oil and add onion and garlic and cook 7 minutes or until tender and then add the coriander, turmeric and salt. Mix and then add the spinach, broth, tomato paste and pepper sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet. Cut the cheese into ½ inch chunks. Heat 2 t oil in skillet and add the cheese cooking for 4 minutes or until light browned and crusty then gently stir in the spinach and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Here’s a couple more pictures of the cheese making process:

Curds and Whey separating
Curds and Whey separating
Cheese Disc
Cheese Disc

Breakfast Pizza

This breakfast pizza also makes a great appetizer or lunch. You can easily change it up a little by adding different veggies – mushrooms, tri color peppers, even some spinach leaves !

Breakfast Pizza
Breakfast Pizza

6 servings
239 calories per serving

1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
½ lb. turkey bacon slices
2 T butter
2 T flour
¼ t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 ½ c skim milk
½ c low fat shredded cheddar cheese
¼ c sliced bell peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with Pam. Separate biscuits and place on a floured surface side by side. Roll into a 14×10 rectangle and place in sprayed pan patting the edges up side of the dish. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Cook bacon until crisp – cool it – and then crumble and set aside. Melt butter in a pan and stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk and cook on medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is melted. Spread sauce over crust and sprinkle with bacon and peppers. Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Swedish Meatballs (Crock Pot)

I love to make things earlier in the day and then come home to a nice hot meal. The rich sauce makes you barely notice that the meatballs are done with turkey instead of beef.

Swedish Meatballs (Crock Pot)
Swedish Meatballs (Crock Pot)

4 servings
228 calories per serving

3 slices bread, cubed
1 c evaporated skim milk, divided
1 T buttery spread
¼ c shallots, minced
½ lb. ground turkey
¼ – ½ c bread crumbs (optional – to bring mix to a dry enough consistency)
¼ c Egg Beaters
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ c plus 2 T flour
3/4 c chicken broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce

Mix bread cubes and ½ of the milk and let stand 5 minutes. Melt margarine in a pan and add shallots. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add shallots, meat, egg, salt and pepper to bread. Mix well and if you need it to be drier, add the optional bread crumbs, then make equally sized meatballs. Place ¼ c flour in a bowl and roll meatballs in flour to coat. Place in crock and add broth and Worcestershire. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Mix rest of the flour with the rest of the milk. Remove meatballs to plate and keep warm. Stir milk and flour mix into cooking juices and cover and cook on high 10-15 minutes. Put meatballs back in the pot and serve immediately.

Cucumber Rounds

These make a great appetizer or side on a lunch platter.

Cucumber Rounds
Cucumber Rounds

6 servings
50 calories per serving

1 English cucumber, peeled (if you use a regular cucumber, be sure to scoop out the seeds)
1/4 c Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cream cheese, chive and onion flavor
Fresh dill sprigs (optional)
12 little strips sundried tomatoes (blot off oil)

Cut cucumber into 12 slices. Scoop out a bit if the middle of each to make a little ‘cup’ to hold the cheese. Fill each with cheese. Top each with a sprig of dill and a strip of sundried tomato.

‘Who Dat?’ Superbowl Dip

This is a great party dish and I’m serving it up for Superbowl. Unlike most of the other snacks that will be around, this one is low cal and nutritious so I will try and stay on the side of the table with this instead of the KFC wings 😉

'Who Dat?' Superbowl Dip
'Who Dat?' Superbowl Dip

32 servings
42 calories per serving (1 serving = 2 T)

1 can refried black beans
1 T chili powder
½ r cumin
1 c light sour cream
1 c shredded light cheddar cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 c sliced black olives
1 tomato, chopped

Mix the beans, chili powder and cumin and spread on the bottom of a serving bowl or pie plate. Top with a layer of sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese, onions, olives and tomato. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with tortilla chips.

Crock Pot Appetizer Meatballs

Though I usually serve this as a quick and easy appetizer, I sometimes double up the serving and make it a main dish meal. Adding just a few things to bottled sauce can round out the flavors and make it taste much more homemade.

Crock Pot Appetizer Meatballs
Crock Pot Appetizer Meatballs

8 servings
180 calories per serving (3 meatballs)

24 Shady Brook Farms turkey meatballs (Italian spiced)
1 jar Paul Newman’s marinara sauce
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
6 T parsley, chopped
½ c grated parmesan cheese

Place the sauce in a small pan on medium low heat. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper, parsley and cheese. Simmer for 10 minutes.

If you are going to eat soon, pre-heat the meatballs in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then place in crock with sauce and heat on low for 1 hour. Otherwise, place meatballs in crock pot and pour the hot sauce over them. Cover and keep on low or warm setting for up to 4 hours.

Genji Spicy Ginger Miso Dressing

I’m not sure if this is a local product or if you can find it all over – a friend introduced me to it and you can get it at Whole Foods Markets. It makes a GREAT vegetable dip. Served with tri-color bell peppers, it makes an excellent snack or lunch side.

The dressing itself is 140 calories for 2T – – add the equivalent of a whole cut up bell pepper for about 25 calories.

Peppers and Miso Ginger Dressing
Peppers and Miso Ginger Dressing

Stuffed Mushrooms

Great to bring along to a party !

Stuffed Mushroom
Stuffed Mushroom

4 servings
121 calories per serving (4 mushrooms)

16 medium sized button mushrooms, stems removed, but reserved
1 c crumbled goat cheese
4 T chopped flat leaf parsley
16 pieces of sundried tomato packed in oil, drained
1 t cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan with Pam.

Mince the reserved mushroom stems (food processor works great) and place in a bowl with cheese, parsley and cayenne pepper. Mix and set aside. Place caps in the prepared pan and lightly spray the tops with Pam. Fill each cap with the cheese mixture and then top each with a sundried tomato strip. Bake 15 minutes.

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