Greek Style Nachos

Greek Style Nachos

Super Bowl Sunday is next week, so how about an appetizer that’s unexpected such as these Greek-Style Nachos. These are so easy to make, and your guests will be wowed. There is minimal preparation time (just 30 minutes of chill time). I used Gaea Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the P.D.O. region of KALAMATA in the southwest Peloponnese, overlooking the Ionian Sea is a vast olive grove and the land that gave birth to the most sought-after world famous “Koroneiki” olive variety. Enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday or anytime of the year as a wonderful appetizer to start a meal of chicken, seafood or pork.

Super Bowl Appetizer and Party Tips: Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

One week from today is the Super Bowl, one of the most fun sporting events of the year. I filmed a Super Bowl television cooking segment for NBC “Daytime Alabama” which will air next week, making four easy appetizers. This 5 ingredient recipe for Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil is a cinch, taking only 20 minutes to prepare. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl tips for hosting your upcoming party.

Super Bowl Hosting Tips:

-Think “green” and make it easy. Send out E Invites or call or Facebook your friends

-Set up as many televisions as possible if you’re having a large party

-Plan simple and easy food to put out and refill. Also, think about servings foods that are easy to pick up and eat in your lap.

-Have one room planned for television watchers and another for those who just want to talk (okay…some of us women)

-If you’re inviting guests with children, have video games, movies, coloring pages, crayons and puzzles to keep them busy

-Offer healthy foods: such as serve fresh fruit and vegetables with hummus

-Have plenty of beverages and a variety for everyone

-Ask guests to pitch in and bring food (give them a task)

-Have a “faux betting pool” set up and a few prizes for the winners

Pretty Five Ingredient Appetizer: Goat Cheese-Beets Appetizer

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This appetizer features three of my favorite ingredients: Goat Cheese, Beets and Blackberries. It’s a delicious combination and too easy for words. It comes out looking like a work of art, and the flavors are fabulous together.

20 Minute Appetizer: Apricot-Glazed Brie

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With spring parties, graduations and celebrations this month, I thought I would share the simplest recipe for Brie that you can prepare in under 20 minutes. It’s so easy to prepare and makes a pretty presentation. Feel free to serve with some of your favorite fruits, crackers and breads. You may substitute your favorite nuts for the walnuts and other dried fruit. Just be sure to watch it carefully in the oven so you don’t over-melt it.

See me preparing easy, budget-friendly skillet meals today on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama today at http://www.nbc13.com/vtm/daytime/

Great, Simple Guacamole for Cinco De Mayo

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Guacamole is so easy to make, but I have many friends and college student blog fans always asking me for an easy really good guacamole recipe. This one works great and is just in time for Cinco De Mayo next week. In 15 minutes, you will have wonderful, fresh guacamole. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. I love the new multigrain tortilla chips with flaxseeds and sea salt made by Garden of Eatin’.

Low-Fat Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

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Sometimes figuring out what appetizer to serve is the most difficult part of entertaining, especially during holidays or when you’re having special guests over. I appreciate all the sweet notes from newly married couples as well as college students that are trying my recipes and have asked for appetizer suggestions. I try to serve appetizers that are healthy, but of course, flavorful. These stuffed mushrooms fit that description well. The combination of feta cheese, green onions and parsley create a fresh combination. This recipe is only five ingredients (not counting salt and pepper), so it’s also very economical and extremely simple, perfect for new cooks. Enjoy these Feta-Stuffed Mushrooms when you’re entertaining or anytime of the year.

New Year’s Resolution: Low Calorie, Low-Fat, Low-Carb Beef Empanadas

How about a low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb appetizer to start the New Year? Is it really possible? Yes, it is… With bowl games going on and the Superbowl on its way in a few weeks, I thought I would share this appetizer recipe I developed recently for Laura’s Lean Beef Company. Each Empanada only has 85 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 8 carbs, so you can indulge without breaking your New Year’s resolution. Using wonton wrappers and baking them in the oven is the key to their ease and delicious success.


Beef Empanandas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

1/2 pound lean ground round

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup canned low-salt yellow corn, drained

1/3 cup salsa

1 tablespoon tomato paste

20 wonton wrappers

Cooking spray

Salsa, low-fat sour cream (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Cook ground beef, onion and next 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet 5 minutes or until beef is browned; drain. Add corn and next 2 ingredients and cook until heated through. Remove and let cool.

3. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 1 tablespoon beef mixture into center of each wrapper. Bring 2 opposite corners together and pinch the points to seal, forming a triangle. Place wrappers on a wire rack and repeat procedure with remaining wrappers and beef mixture.

4. Place empanadas on lightly greased baking sheets and coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning once or until golden. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired. 

Easy Holiday Appetizer-Fresh Basil Dip

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Since now is the time for holiday parties galore, I thought I would answer a question I get so often this time of year: What type of easy appetizer can I bring or make for a holiday get-together? The options are endless, and I could write a book on this topic, but with all the heavy holiday foods, I like something light. This dip is fresh, healthy and refreshing made with fresh basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Serve it with fresh vegetables for a pretty presentation, and you can feel great about digging in.


Fresh Basil Dip  

This dip is also great served alongside cooked salmon, shrimp or scallops.

Prep: 15 minutes

Yield about 1 1/2 cups 

Ingredients

1 clove garlic 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup light mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Fresh Vegetables, crackers

Preparation

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and next 7 ingredients: process until smooth. 

2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh vegetables and/or crackers.