Category Archives: Appetizers/Snacks

Veggie Tortilla Pinwheels

Tortilla pinwheels are great for a summer snack or appetizer–they’re easy to make and, best of all, you don’t have to use your oven to make them! I try to make no-bake things on hot days to help keep things cool inside.

Let me just say that it does take a little practice to get nicely shaped pinwheels. The two most important things to remember are to roll up the tortillas tightly and refrigerate at least several hours. They’re much easier to slice and they keep their shape better when you do these two things.

VEGGIE TORTILLA PINWHEELS by NancyC

Makes about 4 dozen pinwheels

  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 (4.25-ounce) can chopped black olives
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 (8-inch) or 5 (10-inch) flour tortillas (flavored or plain)

In medium-size bowl, mix softened cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese until well blended. Add in chopped green onions, red bell pepper, green chilies, and black olives, blending everything together. Stir in parsley flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spread mixture in a thin layer over one side of each flour tortillas. Roll tortillas up tightly, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

(You’ll probably have some extra cream cheese mixture left over–you may be able to make another tortilla roll with it, or save it to use as a spread on some bread).

Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and place each tortilla roll seam side down. Cut into slices about 1/2″ thick (a small serrated knife works best for slicing). Arrange on a large tray or platter and serve.

Just about everyone loves these pinwheels, so you can’t go wrong making these for a potluck or party. Have you make tortilla pinwheels before?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday

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Basil Pesto

I’ve grown basil every summer for many years–sometimes in a garden, but lately in a large pot, since I don’t have space for a garden right now. I love making homemade pesto with my basil! It’s really easy to make and there’s nothing like cutting fresh basil from your own garden or pot to make it. What probably takes the longest time in making this recipe is picking the basil leaves off the cut stems…but even that task is enjoyable because you get to sniff the wonderful aroma of fresh basil while you’re doing it! Here’s a simple recipe I use…it’s a good starting point, and you can adjust the amount of certain ingredients (like the garlic, for example) to suit your taste. You can use a food processor or blender–a food processor probably works best, but a blender will work, too.

BASIL PESTO by NancyC

Makes 2/3 to 3/4 cup

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves. packed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. pine nuts (I often substitute pecans or walnuts, because they’re less expensive)
  • Dash or two of salt, to taste (optional)

In a food processor or blender, add the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic; blend or process until smooth (the mixture is on the thick side, so if you’re using a blender, you may have to stop the blender and stir with a spoon to help it along). Add the Parmesan cheese and nuts (and salt, if desired) to the basil mixture, and blend well. Spoon it out of the blender or food processor into a small bowl (or covered container if you’re going to use it later).

I mostly eat pesto spread on a thick slice of crusty bread. It’s also really good on the Asiago cheese bagels you can buy at Panera Bread or Atlanta Bread Company. If you’re a sourdough bread fan like I am, it’s good on that too!

Do you grow your own basil too? What do you like to make with it?

Sharing at Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me MondayFiesta Friday

Red Beet Hummus

Beets were never on my list of favorite foods as a kid, but I’ve grown to like them. And I especially like that they are so healthy and good for you. I make recipes with beets every so often–probably not as often as I should–and I had the perfect opportunity to make a beet recipe when I received a complimentary package of Gefen’s Vacuum-Packed Beets, which are organic and also pre-peeled, making them very handy and convenient to use.

These beets work great in everything from salads to smoothies. I decided to make Red Beet Hummus. I love trying different hummus recipes and hadn’t tried one with beets yet. I really like this hummus! It doesn’t have a super-strong beet flavor, since it just has about 1 medium-size beet in it. I think the mild beet flavor goes nicely with the other hummus ingredients, and adding beet to the mix makes this hummus so healthy! If you don’t happen to have any Gefen’s beets on hand, you can use precooked beets or roasted beets instead.

RED BEET HUMMUS by NancyC

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (also called chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, cooked (or roasted), peeled red beet (about 1 medium size beet)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove minced garlic (you can use 2 cloves if you want a stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of paprika

Add garbanzo beans, chopped beet, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Add sea salt, pepper, and paprika and blend everything together. Add more seasoning to taste if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies or use as a spread on bread or bagels.

I’ve learned that beets are a great source of of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and essential minerals. I really need to get more beets in my diet! Do you make any dishes with beets?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Dark Chocolate-Almond Trail Mix

chocolatealmond-trail-mix-nancyc

Trail Mix is such a great snack and so easy to make! I just made a mix with some healthy ingredients I had on hand and also added in some new Lärabar Bites that I had recently larabarbitesreceived as complimentary samples. These are truffle-like bites made from real food like fruits and nuts, just like Lärabars. The bites come in 4 different flavors: Cherry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Macaroon, Double Chocolate Brownie, and Mint Chocolate Truffle. I really liked all the flavors, which is not surprising, since I love chocolate so much! But you can feel good about eating these bites, since they’re made with healthy ingredients and fair trade certified chocolate chips. They’re also gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and dairy-free.

I thought these Lärabar Bites would be perfect in this trail mix I came up with, which you can make in no time. It’s perfect when you want a healthy sweet snack! This makes 2 1/2 cups, but if you want a larger amount, you can always double the recipe.

DARK CHOCOLATE–ALMOND TRAIL MIX by NancyC

Makes 2 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped Lärabar Bites, cut into fourths (I used the Double Chocolate Brownie bites) or, substitute 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds

Add all ingredients to a medium-size bowl and mix. Store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

It’s nice when a snack is both yummy and healthy, isn’t it? What healthy snacks do you like to keep on hand?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

Blue Cheese Dip

Blue Cheese Dip @ NancyCIf you like thick, creamy dips and blue cheese, you’ll have to try this! This Blue Cheese Dip is made with plain Greek yogurt (or you can substitute light or fat-free sour cream). I like to use fat free Greek yogurt. I know not everyone is a fan of blue cheese–in fact, people seem to either really love it or hate it. I’ve always liked it. Actually, I can’t think of any kind of cheese that I don’t like! 🙂

This is a good recipe for summer, if you want to have a snack with fresh veggies. It’s good with crackers or chips, too. And it would also be yummy with something spicy like buffalo chicken wings. It’s super quick and easy to make and if you have time, you’ll want to make it a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it–for some reason, this dip seems to taste better when made ahead!

BLUE CHEESE DIP by NancyC

Makes about 1 2/3 cups (tastes best when made a day before serving)

  • 4 oz. finely crumbled blue cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream (or 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste; you can also add in some garlic or onion powder too, if you like!

In medium size bowl, mix blue cheese crumbles with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Add in the lemon juice and mayonnaise, blending everything well. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Spoon mixture into serving bowl and serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve–it tastes best if you make it the day before serving it!

Serve with crackers, veggies, or chips. Also tastes great with spicy foods like Buffalo Chicken Wings!

So are you a fan of blue cheese too? Do you have a favorite blue cheese recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Show and Share.

Strawberry Fruit Dressing and Dip

Creamy Strawberry Fruit Dip @ NancyC

The weather feels very summery where I live, and when it’s warm outside, I tend to eat more fruit because it’s so refreshing. And when you serve fruit with a dressing or dip, it makes a great warm-weather dessert! This Strawberry Fruit Dressing and Dip is big on strawberry flavor and really good served with strawberries or a mix of fresh fruit chunks–pineapples, sliced bananas, apple wedges…whatever fruit you like.

I call this recipe a dressing and a dip because it’s thin enough to use as a creamy dressing, drizzled over your fruit, but you can also dip your fruit in it, if you don’t mind the thinner consistency. I think it’s best when you make it a day ahead and refrigerate it–it gets a little creamier the next day and thickens slightly more.

This recipe is really easy to make–just add all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and you’ll have a delicious strawberry dressing or dip to enjoy with your favorite fruit!

STRAWBERRY FRUIT DRESSING AND DIP by NancyC

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese, regular or light
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup strawberry jam, preserves, or fruit spread

Make your block of cream cheese extra soft by heating it in the microwave in a small microwave-safe bowl for 40 to 50 seconds. Then add all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend well (the mixture is on the thick side initially, so you may have to help stir it along several times if using a blender).

Keep fruit dip refrigerated until ready to serve–it’s best if you can make it a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight. You can serve the dip in a small bowl with a large platter of fruit or serve the fruit and dip together in individual small bowls or cups. You can also serve the fruit on individual small plates with the dip drizzled over the fruit.

Note: You can substitute another kind of fruit and fruit jam for the strawberries–you could use blueberries with blueberry jam, pineapples with pineapple preserves, etc. Use whatever fruit you like best. You can use either fresh fruit or drained fruit from a can. I prefer using fresh fruit, but either works.

Do you have a favorite dressing or dip that you like to serve with fruit?

This recipe was featured on Meal Plan Monday.

Linked to Inspire Me Monday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Show and Share, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Cucumber Dill Hummus

CucumberDillHummus@NancyCreative.com

If you’ve ever grown cucumbers in your garden, there’s a good chance you end up with more than you know what to do with! So here’s a recipe you can use some of those cucumbers in. If you’ve never tried making hummus before, this would be a great time to try it out–you can whip it up in a blender or food processor–it’s very easy to make! This hummus has a mild cucumber and dill flavor–if you really like dill, you might want to add in a little more for a stronger flavor.

CUCUMBER DILL HUMMUS by NancyC

Makes about 1 3/4 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • Half of a medium-size cucumber, washed, peeled, and coarsely chopped (about 1  cup)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 Tablespoon fresh dill (for a stronger dill flavor, add a little more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • optional garnishes: a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh or dried dill, a sprinkle of paprika, 1 1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped cucumber

In a high-speed blender or food processor, add the Garbanzo beans, cucumber, and lemon juice; blend until smooth. Add in the olive oil, tahini, dill, salt, paprika, and minced garlic; blend all ingredients until smooth.

Spoon hummus into a small serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh or dried dill, a sprinkle of paprika, and/or some finely chopped cucumber. Serve with toasted pita bread, crackers, or veggies–cucumber slices are great with this! Cover and refrigerate any leftover hummus for up to 5 days.

It’s hard to believe there are just a few weeks left of summer! I’m really going to miss those long, sunny days and the abundance of home-grown fresh fruits and veggies. Have you grown any cucumbers in your garden this year?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Simply Sundays, Sunday Features, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Handmade Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Inspiration Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Treasure Hunt Thursday, Share Your Style, Feathered Nest Friday.

Sweet Pickle Deviled Eggs

Sweet Pickle Deviled Eggs@NancyCreative.com

I’ve made deviled eggs several different ways, but never with sweet pickle relish. I know lots of people make it that way, so I decided to give it a try. The pickle relish gives these eggs a good flavor and the pickle taste is mild, so you don’t need to worry about it being too overpowering. I originally made these deviled eggs for a baby shower and everyone really liked them!

You can spoon the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves or pipe it in–I piped it in and that worked out pretty well for my first time doing it!

SWEET PICKLE DEVILED EGGS by NancyC

Makes 24 deviled egg halves

  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise (you can use a little more if you want a creamier mixture)
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of paprika for egg mixture, and more for sprinkling on top
  • Optional: dash of onion powder and/or garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickle (drain or squeeze out any excess liquid)

Slice the hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks; set egg white halves aside.

In small bowl, mash egg yolks and then add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika, stirring mixture well (if using onion and garlic powder, add these in, too). Add in the sweet pickle relish, blending everything well.

Spoon egg yolk mixture into the centers of the egg white halves (or you can pipe the mixture in). Garnish with a light sprinkling of paprika, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Deviled eggs are great for a summer picnic or potluck, so hope you get a chance to try these out this summer! What special add-ins do you like in your deviled eggs?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday, Inspiration Thursday, Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday.

Watermelon-Peach Salsa

Watermelon Peach Salsa@NancyCreative.com

I enjoy trying different fruity salsa flavors in the summer months. So far I’ve made Peach Cucumber Salsa, Mango-Jalapeno Salsa,  Zesty Watermelon Salsa, Blueberry Salsa, and Savory Strawberry Salsa. I recently found a new one to try at MyRecipes.com. This summery salsa combines watermelon, peaches, basil, and chives, flavored with some lime juice and hot pepper jelly. The pepper jelly makes this quite spicy, so if you don’t like spicy, you could try substituting a peach jelly or jam. The original recipe says to serve the salsa in cups over baby heirloom tomatoes, kind of like a fruit salad, but you can also serve it in a bowl with tortilla chips for more of a snack–just omit the tomato portion of the recipe. Or you can mix the tomatoes right in with the rest of the salsa ingredients. I like it both ways–with or without the tomatoes–so you may want to try both ways, too.

WATERMELON-PEACH SALSA by NancyC, slightly adapted from MyRecipes.comMakes 6 servingsFor the salsa:

  • 1/2 cup hot pepper or red pepper jelly (if you don’t like spicy, use a peach jelly or jam)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh or bottled
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon lime zest
  • 2 cups seeded and diced watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced fresh peaches (I used a combination of yellow and white peaches)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

For the tomatoes:

  • 3 cups cherry, grape, or baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together pepper jelly, lime juice, and lime zest (if using); stir in watermelon, peaches, basil, and chives. Season halved tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon into cups. Top tomatoes with the salsa mixture and garnish with basil sprigs. Note: if you serve the salsa with tortilla chips, you can omit the tomatoes and serve the salsa in a bowl (you can also mix in the tomatoes with the rest of the salsa ingredients and serve in a bowl that way, too).

Fruit salsa is great for summer snacks! Have you made any fruit salsa this summer?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Inspiration Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday.

Rosemary Focaccia Biscuit Bread

RosemaryFocacciaBiscuitBread@NancyCreative.com I’m not originally from the south, but I’ve grown to love southern food. And that includes biscuits–especially biscuits! I love them hot from the oven with some butter or topped with sausage gravy…mmm! So of course I was excited about reviewing the new cookbook 60239109877540LBiscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen by Jackie Garvin. This book starts off with a little biscuit history and then goes on to share tips and recipes for making all kinds of biscuits…rolled, patted, layered, or cut. Traditional favorites like Buttermilk Biscuits, Baking Powder Biscuits, Cornmeal Biscuits, Angle Biscuits, Sweet Potato Biscuits, and more. There’s a recipe for Gluten-Free Biscuits, too. As you look through the book, you’ll also find some wonderful creative recipes to make with biscuit dough–delicious-looking recipes like Raspberry Biscuit Pudding, Biscuit Donuts, Loaded Baked Potato Biscuits, and Skillet Toasted Biscuits. There’s also a section on Biscuit Toppings which includes recipes for Sausage Gravy, Bacon Tomato Gravy, Chocolate Gravy, and Country Ham and Redeye Gravy. Biscuit-related dishes and desserts for every meal are in this book too-Chicken and Dumplings, Hamburger Pot Pie, Double-Decker Strawberry Shortcake, Blackberry Cobbler, and Peach Raspberry Scones, to name a few. I decided to try the Rosemary Focaccia Biscuit Bread because, in addition to biscuits, I also love focaccia–so what could be better than a combination of both? And it looked like a simple, easy recipe anyone could make. If you’re not familiar with focaccia, it’s an Italian bread often served with olive oil for dipping. This recipe is a delicious, savory version of a biscuit in focaccia form–the fresh minced rosemary flavors it nicely with a subtle hint of garlic from the garlic powder. You will need some parchment paper for lining your pan when you make this. You’ll also notice that the recipe calls for soft winter wheat self-rising flour. Soft winter wheat is a variety of wheat that has a low protein and gluten content, often used in biscuit-making. The White Lily brand is a soft wheat flour and King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour is a soft wheat flour, too. If you can’t find soft winter wheat flour, just substitute regular self-rising flour.

ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BISCUIT BREAD from Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes Makes four 4-inch squares in an 8 x 8″ pan

  • 2 1/2 cups soft winter wheat self-rising flour (or substitute regular self-rising flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Place flour in a large bowl. Stir in rosemary and garlic powder. Add milk and olive oil. Stir until dough is wet. Cover the inside of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Sprinkle dough with olive oil and spread dough evenly over paper. Make indentations over the entire top surface of the dough with your knuckles. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 450˚F preheated oven for 15 minutes or until top in brown and inside of bread is done. Remove and let cool on cooling rack.

This recipe is great for breakfast or brunch when you want to serve something a little different. It’s really good and I’m sure your savory-loving family and friends will love it! And it is super-easy to put together, so there’s no reason not to try it! Are you a biscuit-lover like me and what is your favorite kind of biscuit?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Inspire Me Monday.