Archive for Appetizers

Heavy hors d’ouevre party for 35

We had the opportunity to provide a heavy hors d’oeuvre catered party for 35 a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun to work with the hostess on the menu. The party was a wedding shower and the bride-to-be was gluten-free so we wanted to make sure she could enjoy everything we made. 


The somewhat Spanish themed menu consisted of the following:

Heavy charcuterie and cheese platter with lots of ‘extras’ including a custom-made 5 foot long reclaimed wood board as the focal point. It seemed to be the talk of the party! The platter did not just end at smoked meats, cheeses and crackers. It also had grapes, spiced candied pecans apricots, stuffed peppadews, Habanero and apricot jam, and candied bacon (which there may or may not have been a fight break out over…just sayin’).


Braised Short Ribs on Polenta Round with Cilantro and Pickled Onions

Roasted vegetables (curried cauliflower and okra, squash and zucchini with lemon and basil oil)


Garlic Shrimp – Gambas al Ajillo


Moorish Chicken Kebabs


Quinoa Salad with Orange-Lime Dressing and Avocados

(not pictured)


Dessert was from Alon’s – Chocolate Louise which is Gluten Free and decadent!




Baked Egg Rolls

Pork Egg Rolls

My family loves Chinese food, and who doesn’t love a good egg roll? The only thing I’m not a fan of is that they are fried and greasy. So…I decided to try my hand at baked egg rolls to see how they would taste. Delicious! You will not even miss the fat or clogged arteries!!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 30min; Cook Time – 18-20 minutes


1 package egg roll wrappers

1 lb. ground pork sausage

4 scallions, chopped

2 zucchini, shredded

Stir Fry Sauce (just use your favorites)

1 egg

Soy Sauce for dipping

Preparing Baked Egg Rolls:

Brown pork in medium skillet until no longer pink. Add scallions and zucchini. Saute for 3 minutes. Add stir fry sauce and mix well. Remove from heat and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Crack and beat the egg in a small bowl.  Take an egg roll wrapper and place it on a work surface on the diagonal. Place about a tablespoon of mixture on the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush with the beaten to moisten slightly. Roll from the bottom, making sure you pinch in the sides as you roll.  Place on a pan and repeat with remaining ingredients. Brush the outside with the egg as well. 

Pork Egg Rolls

Bake for 18-20 minutes (oven temperatures and times will vary). Turn at 9-10 minutes for even cooking. Dip in your favorite soy sauce. 

Pork Egg Rolls


Put whatever kind of filling in here that you like. Try this chicken filling that I have used for lettuce wraps if you don’t want to use pork.


Feta Cheese Rolls

Feta Cheese Roll

An aunt of mine found a similar recipe for feta cheese rolls years ago in the Atlanta Journal. I’ve always been afraid to work with egg roll wrappers because I thought it was difficult. If I had known how easy it was, I would have made this years ago!! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Cook Time – 5 min.


1 egg plus one egg yolk

1 egg white

1 1/2 c. Feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 c. flat leaf parsley (if desired)

10 egg roll wrappers, cut into triangles

fresh herbs, if desired

Olive oil for frying

Preparing Feta Cheese Rolls:

Using a fork, beat together the egg and egg yolk. Mix in the crumbled feta and parsley. 

In a separate bowl, place the egg white. Beat gently. Get out a pastry brush (OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush – Small
Watch this quick how to video on easy feta cheese rolls.

Place a triangle of the egg roll wrapper on your work surface with the long part toward you. Place about 1 T. of the cheese mixture on the wrapper toward the edge. 

Feta Cheese Roll

Gently roll the wrapper in a log form until the cheese is covered. Gently tuck the left side under, followed by the right side.

Feta Cheese Roll

Feta Cheese Roll

Once both sides are tucked in, there should be a bit of a triangle left. Brush that with the egg white and finish rolling the wrapper.

Feta Cheese Roll

Feta Cheese Roll

Set aside and finish the rest of the wrappers. 

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Using a pair of tongs, add the feta cheese rolls.

Feta Cheese Roll

Turn after about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan when all sides are golden brown and drain. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh herbs as desired.

Feta Cheese Roll


Mexican Spinach Dip

My sister and I are always looking for new appetizers to make. She turned me on to a very similar version of this Mexican Spinach Dip a few months ago. I’ve made it a couple of times and it is always a huge hit! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 30 min.


1 10 oz package of chopped spinach, thawed & drained

1 8 oz. package of light cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. chopped white or sweet onion

1/4 c. seeded, chopped jalapeño

2 cans Original Rotel, 1 drained, 1 undrained

14 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/3 c. sour cream

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 package of tortilla ships

Preparing Mexican Spinach Dip:

Preheat 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Turn into a baking or casserole dish. Bake 30 min. or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortillas chips. 

Mexican Spinach Dip


If you want to add some extra heat, use more jalapeños or a spicier pepper. You can also use “hot” Rotel!

Got Leftovers?:

This dip actually heats up very well. 

Smoked Salmon Appetizer

After making the Smoked Wild Salmon on the Big Green Egg the other day, I had some leftovers. I decided to make a little appetizer with the smoked salmon. Yum!

I actually ate this for a snack lunch but it would be great to serve to guests too.

smoked salmon appetizer with cream cheese and horseradish

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10min (smoked salmon already prepared); Chill time – 15min+


2 cups smoked salmon, chopped

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

2T mayonnaise

2T Greek yogurt

2T prepared horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

parsley or chives for color (optional)

Quality cracker like the 34 degrees savory crisps (whole wheat shown)

Preparing Smoked Salmon Appetizer

Take your leftover smoked wild salmon and flake it apart.

Mix the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt and horseradish until well mixed. Add the salmon and stir until just combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a great cracker and add some parsley or chives for color.



Add some capers to the mix and you’ll love the pop of vinegary saltiness!

Eggy Bear’s Sweet Tea Brined Chicken Wings on the Big Green Egg

big green egg chicken wings

Denise has a friend, Eggy Bear, who is essentially one of the masters of the Big Green Egg cult.  He recently hooked Melissa up with her own BGE and she is quickly learning the ropes on this incredible smoking device and is hoping to be indoctrinated into the BGE following soon.

big green egg chicken wings

One of the many fantastic things that Eggy Bear cooks on the BGE is sweet tea brined chicken wings. These things are amazing. The perfect combination of sweet, salty and savory. They are tender and juicy and finger licking good sticky.

Melissa cooked them for lunch on the 4th of July as we waited for the long slow smoke of the BBQ pork butt. Everything was just like Eggy Bear’s recipe except since she doesn’t own 5 BGE’s like Eggy Bear (actually, not sure how many he has, but a lot more than 1), Melissa had to cook them using indirect heat. They still turned out fantastic!

Check out the recipe on Eggy Bear website here. While you are there, check out more about the Big Green Egg. Maybe it is time for you to join the cult too!!

These wings truly are addicting. Our neighborhood must have eaten about 200 of them when we had our Eggfest last month!! ~Denise


Tomato Bacon Bites – Mini BLT Explosions

mini BLT appetizer

For Baconfest The Sequel, Denise asked me to do some items on the ‘lighter’ side just in case everything was uber bacon heavy. I opted for a traditional spinach salad with hot bacon vinaigrette and these little tomato bacon bites. I don’t know what they should be called but I usually describe them as mini-BLT explosions in your mouth, even if there is no ‘L’.

These things are always a hit but I will admit…they are a complete pain in the A#* to make. The key is to make them for a small crowd. I’ve done them twice. Once for 70 people and this time for about 30 people. This is great if you do for less than 10. Count on at least 4 tomatoes per person so do the math and you’ll quickly understand why they are a pain but oh so good!!

Level of Difficulty:Difficult (just because of time)
Time Required:Prep Time – depends on how many; Cook Time – 15 minutes

Ingredients for 10 people:

1/2 pound of bacon

40 grape or small cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 T horseradish

2 T chopped chives plus more for garnishing 

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Patience….that’s it. See if you can find a can on Amazon. Good luck.

Preparing Tomato Bacon Bites:

Cook the bacon and try not to eat any of it. I always cook a pound of bacon when I’m cooking it because I have no will power over fried pork belly….another one of my ‘issues’.

bacon and tomato

Now for the fun part. Make a teeny tiny cut to remove the top and the bottom of the grape tomato. You will use the top cut to remove the insides for stuffing and the bottom so that it stands up.

mini BLT

Then, using a small knife or some kitchen gadget of your choice, cut the insides of the tomato out. You are not trying to hollow out the entire thing, just enough room to stuff it with a bit of the bacon filling. I usually squeeze a bit to help get the seeds and tomato water out.

tomato bacon bites

Turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel as you complete them to let them drain. You don’t want all the tomato water in your bite.

mini BLT

After all the tomatoes are hollowed out and are drying, you can mix the filling together. Take your cooked bacon and chop it relatively fine (it has to fit in that little hole). Place in a bowl and add the mayo and Greek yogurt and horseradish and chives. Stir and give it a taste. Add more horseradish or salt and pepper if needed. You can even add a shake or two of hot sauce.

Now, use a small spoon and try to stuff the mixture in the tomatoes. Set on a platter and add some chives for garnish.

bacon tomato bites