From My Carolina Home

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Appetizer Meals

Are you planning to watch the game on Sunday?  Certainly it is a good time for appetizer style meals and serving finger foods that are easy to eat with a variety to keep the menu interesting.  It is fun to just graze sometimes, and I have several favorite things to make for football games, racing days, and perhaps the Olympics and awards season too.  One problem about game day foods is that much of it is not very healthy.  Still, it should be tasty, so I try to figure out how to include veggies, and lower the fat content of the dishes while minimizing the carbs.  Having a crudité platter with a low fat ranch dip instead of chips is one way to do this, so we might have some blanched broccoli and raw carrots along with our hot apps. I like bruschetta too, with lots of fresh tomatoes, chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese topping thin slices of French bread toasted and drizzled with just a bit of olive oil.  I have a new recipe for you to make for the weekend and save for future events, along with a link to one from last year and a tweak to an old favorite.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

So, let’s start with the chicken wings. I have made these several times now, trying different ways of baking, and things for coating to get the crunch of fried without the fat.

Parmesan Chicken Wings at From My Carolina Home

Use a rack over a baking pan to allow the fat to drain off while they cook for less grease.  Flavor is essential, so I season with lemon pepper and garlic salt, you can use whatever you like.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Top the wings with some panko bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan.  Spritz with just a bit of no-stick spray to assist the crumbs in browning.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Bake one hour at 350º to golden brown, crunchy deliciousness.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Parmesan Chicken Wings

1 pound (or however many you want) Chicken wings cut into sections
Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs
Shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

Place wings on rack over a baking pan. Sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Top with panko bread crumbs, spray lightly with cooking spray. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Parmesan Chicken Wings at From My Carolina Home

Next, let’s tweak the old standby sausage balls, making a reduced fat version and only half the recipe for just us two. Instead of the full cup cup of full fat Bisquick called for in the original recipe for a pound of sausage, use only 1/4-cup of reduced fat Bisquick and eight ounces of sausage.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

I also use a 2% milk sharp cheddar to reduce the fat further, and reduce the amount in the recipe to 4 ounces for 8 ounces of sausage.  Using the sharp adds more flavor with less cheese.  Adding some chopped green onions kicks it up a bit too.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Mix well, into a ball, then use an ice-cream scoop to make the sausage balls uniform in size. This makes them a bit smaller as well, reducing portion size a bit, while increasing the number of appetizers.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Place on a baking sheet sprayed with no-stick cooking spray, and bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Remove from the baking sheet immediately, or they stick to the pan. Drain on paper towels.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Another favorite hot appetizer is one I frequently use as a side dish, Baked Spinach. This is my recipe from National Garlic Day in 2015 using Roasted Garlic.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

It works really well as an appetizer served on crackers, and is wonderful to take to pot luck parties.  I revised the recipe to use just chopped garlic for this hot spread.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

Baked Spinach Hot Appetizer

1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 medium-large mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
small pat of butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon-pepper
1 10-oz pkg chopped spinach
3-4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
2-3 oz shredded Parmesan cheese

Saute onion, chopped garlic and mushrooms in olive oil with a small pat of butter until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened. Remove pan from heat, add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add next two ingredients stirring until well blended, then stir in spinach and onion/mushroom mixture. Pour into baking dish, top with mozzarella. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with crackers as a hot appetizer, or as a main meal side dish.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

The day I did all three of these for the divisional playoffs, I put the wings in first for one hour, then the sausage balls and spinach dip went into the still hot oven together for 30 minutes. I kept the wings warm covered with foil.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

For Super Bowl Sunday, I have several books on Small Plates and I think I’ll try something new. I put some Amazon affiliate links below if you want to check out some of small plate books I have, and the next recipes I am thinking of trying.

Small Plates books at From My Carolina Home

Mushroom and Marscapone Tartlets and Thai Lettuce cups from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Small Plates

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Bundles,and Cheese and Herb Batons in Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals

Lime Drizzled Shrimp and Crab Tartlets from Tapas: 40 Delicious Traditional Spanish Recipes (Contemporary Cooking)

More small plate ideas Small Plates – Appetizer Meals

What’s your favorite appetizer for party time?

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

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Shrimp Flower Appetizer

With another holiday meal coming up next weekend, I thought I’d share a variation of my Shrimp and Avocado Roumelade appetizer.  I fixed it a bit differently and tweaked the recipe too.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Start by gathering your ingredients. Remember my thrift store score of these parfait glasses? No one says they can only be used for ice cream. They are the perfect thing to create these pretty appetizers, just for us two.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

So, I combined the ingredients for the dressing, and split the avocado, shredded the lettuce and chopped it.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Place the chopped lettuce in the bottom, arrange the avocado like flower petals, add the dressing in the middle.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home<

Then add the shrimp.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

You can stop here, and have a lovely appetizer.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

One thing I like is Bold Smoked Salt. It is a large crystal, smoky flavor salt that goes well with seafood and veggies. You could also do some fresh cracked pepper with sea salt.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Dressed up or served plain, it is a festive appetizer that only takes a minute to prepare. It is perfect for a holiday or to make an everyday meal just a bit special.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Enjoy!!

Shrimp and Avocado Flower Appetizer

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or smoked paprika)
2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
8 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, chilled
1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced into eight slices
1/4 cup chopped lettuce
Optional – Bold Smoked Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

Mix mayonnaise with next three ingredients.  In pretty parfait glasses, place half of the lettuce in the bottom of each. Arrange avocado slices around the edge in a flower shape. Dollop dressing in the center. Add whole shrimp to the top fanning the tails out between the avocado. Optional, top with a pinch of bold smoked salt, or freshly ground black pepper. Two servings.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Here is a download for you! – Shrimp and Avocado Flower

Do you have a quick and easy, special appetizer recipe?

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Ham Roll Up Appetizer

Memorial Day weekend is here, and Sunday (the greatest day in racing) calls for munchie snacks for all day grazing.  Starting with the Formula One race in the morning, followed by the Indy 500, and ending in the evening with the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, it is all day racing!  Even though Nascar has become boring, we can have it on while we share a meal with friends, and just check in now and then.  Along with some other treats like my Homemade Guacamole with Green Onions, and Perfect Deviled Eggs (the last deviled egg recipe you will ever need!) I like these Ham Roll Ups.  I made these for the luncheon too, and I guarantee your guests will eat them up.  Easy and quick, my recipe has a lot of flavor and a little bite.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

I start with four slices of cooked ham luncheon slices, pat them dry on a paper towel. Put softened cream cheese in a bowl and mash with a fork to soften it further.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Add Ranch dip mix, mayonnaise, and horseradish sauce to the cream cheese. Mix well and divide into four portions.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Top the ham slices with the cream cheese mixture.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Spread evenly across the slices. This makes a nice thick layer. If you want less filling in each one, just use more ham slices and spread thinner.  That will make more appetizers too if you need more.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Roll up each one.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Put six toothpicks in each roll.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Cut into bite size pieces between the toothpicks.

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Serve and enjoy!

Ham Rollup Appetizer ~ From My Carolina Home

Ham Roll Ups

4 slices cooked ham
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons Ranch dip dry mix
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce

Pat ham dry and lay out slices. Mix cream cheese with mix, mayonnaise and horseradish sauce. Divide between the ham slices, spread evenly to the edges. Roll up, secure with toothpicks, cut into bite size pieces.  Yield 24 pieces. Enjoy!

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

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Elegant Appetizer for a Holiday Party – Brie with Prosciutto in Puff Pastry

Holidays are so much fun, and I love entertaining around this time.  This appetizer is wonderful for a full appetizer course for a sit down dinner, or smaller bites for a buffet table.  Perfect for Christmas or New Year’s Eve!

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Start with four thin slices of prosciutto, a wheel of brie, and a sheet of puff pastry. Thaw the puff pastry in the frig overnight, or on the counter for about an hour until it is easily pliable.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

It isn’t necessary to remove the covering skin on the brie, but I like to do that anyway.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Unfold the puff pastry.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Lay the prosciutto slices on in a cross pattern, overlapping the center.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Put the brie in the middle.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Then fold the prosciutto over the top of the brie.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Bring the corners of the puff pastry up over the top.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Fold up the points and flatten over the top.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Bake until browned.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Serve as you like, some water crackers can be served alongside to capture melting cheese, and a little dijon mustard adds some bite.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Flaky pastry, melting cheese and salty prosciutto, yum!!

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Serve a quarter of the wheel as a first course. Then sit back and enjoy the applause. If prosciutto is too salty for your taste, thin slices of ham would be just as good. Pick a flavorful ham, like a Black Forest deli ham.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Brie with Prosciutto in Puff Pastry

1 wheel brie cheese
4 slices prosciutto (or other ham)
1 sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unfold pastry, arrange prosciutto on top in a cross pattern overlapping the ends. Add brie, fold pastry over and crimp. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown and puffed. Serve hot.

Brie Prosciutto Appetizer in Puff Pastry

Enjoy! Do you like to use puff pastry for special meals?

 

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Christmas Tablescape and an Appetizer recipe

Whether the celebration is on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the perfect menu needs a pretty setting.  This year I set my table with the Lenox Holiday Tartan china I inherited from my mother.  Red placemats embroidered with green holly leaves and cutwork are at each place, with matching napkins in holly berry metal napkin rings.

Christmas Table 2014 - 2

Under everything is a Christmas quilted table runner I made to fit the table.  It is made of blocks that I did as tests for a Block of the Month several years ago.  It was suggested that we use red and green for our practice blocks so we would have a Christmas quilt when we were done.  I liked that idea!

ChrTopper1

There are twelve 8-inch blocks in the center, and two 12 inch blocks on each end.  Three 8-inch blocks and two 12-inch blocks both add to 24 inches, so they fit with each other.

ChrTopper2

Then a border was added with cornerstones.  It looks cute by itself, and looks nice with a solid placemat too.

ChrTopper3

Each place has a dinner plate with a rimmed bowl in the center.  Coffee mugs and small bowls for the salad course complete the setting.  I also have bread plates, but didn’t put those out this year.  I’ll probably be using them for the cinnamon rolls I plan to bake for breakfast.

Christmas Table 2014 - 1

The center decoration has evergreen boughs with glittery birdhouses at each end next to the red candles.

Christmas Table 2014 - 4

Small Christmas music boxes are nestled into the faux evergreen branches. Each one plays a different Christmas song.

Christmas Table 2014 - 3

I used candle rings with gold balls and pine cones around the red candles.

Christmas Table 2014 - 5

I will use the pretty rimmed bowls for the appetizer course.

Shrimp Avocado Remoulade

The holiday menu is elegant yet doable by one slightly obsessive, foodie home cook.

Shrimp and Avocado Remoulade

Prime Rib with Sauteed Mushrooms

Buttery Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions

Pear Salad with Mayonnaise and Cheddar Cheese

Steamed Broccoli

Crusty French rolls with Butter

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Here’s the recipe for the appetizer.

Shrimp and Avocado Remoulade

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 teaspoon paprika (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon horseradish sauce (optional)

12 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, chilled

1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed

lettuce leaves

Mix mayonnaise with next three ingredients, adding horseradish if some heat is desired.  Cut shrimp in half and add to a bowl with cubed avocado.  Add dressing by tablespoon, stir until the shrimp and avocado are lightly covered in the dressing.  The amount is variable by taste preference and size of the shrimp.  Serve on lettuce leaves.  Four servings.  Store the remainder of the dressing in a jar in the refrigerator, it will keep for a couple of weeks.

Shrimp Avocado Remoulade 2

We’ll enjoy our meal with a fire in the fireplace.  The table is set for four, with the end areas holding the serving dishes this year.

Christmas Table 2014 - 9

The library is also in here, and has our Christmas stockings this year. It makes a large, high ceiling room seem cozy.

Christmas Table 2014 - 8

Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday, full of love and laughter, family and friends.

Merry Christmas!!

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