Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Wow!  What a great food week (and it is only Tuesday)!  I had some leftover whole wheat pitas I made and I though, pita chips!  So here I am with fresh baked pita chips wanting something to dip them in.  Kidney and black beans take too long for my immediate need!  Therefore, I turned to red lentils – quick cooking and delicious!  This was a happy accident and really, it turned out so yummy!

  • 1 c red lentils (you can use green lentils but not quite as pretty)
  • 2 1/4 c water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse the lentils well.  Add lentils, garlic and water to a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender.  Add a little water if needed.

Then add:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Simmer for 15 minutes.  Pour into a blender and add:

  • 1/2 c fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Puree` until smooth.  Adjust for what you want to use this for.  At first, I thought, this is a great soup!  Then I reduced it a little and found it to be a fabulous dip for my pita chips.  After that, I had it as a topping/condiment for a Greek meatball (Keftedes) sandwich!  It is a little like a curry but, mild and just so good.  I cannot find the words to describe how yummy this turned out (except YUMMY!).


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Eggplant Something

I found myself a lovely eggplant at the grocer the other day.  As I was reaching for it, hon asks “Are having eggplant this week?
YES!   I think that eggplant is such a lovely fruit.  The creamy, buttery flavor makes my heart melt.  Plus, it is so easy to add into other dishes (such as spaghetti sauce) and no one is the wiser.  This pretty little fruit is full of vitamins like B6, K, Folate, potassium, fiber and a multitude of minerals.  It really is good for you if you don’t fry it in a kettle of fat!

I still had some brown tomatoes so I thought a nice light Italian “salsa’ might be a nice addition. So what we end up with is crunchy (not fried) eggplant discs topped with a dollop of Italian “salsa.  This would be nice as a side dish or an appetizer.

Italian “Salsa”

  • 1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 TB fresh basil, julienned
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Eggplant Discs

  • 1 eggplant, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (you can peel if you want)
  • 1/2 c flour mixed with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg mixed with 2 TB skim milk
  • Fresh bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 c grated Parmesan and 2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Dip the discs in flour, then egg mixture then roll in bread crumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and spritz with cooking spray.  Bake until the breadcrumbs are toasty and the eggplant is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Top with provolone or mozzarella cheese during the last 5 minutes if you like.


Place a disc on a plate.  Top with the Italian “salsa”.  Enjoy!

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Ham Balls

So Superbowl Sunday is coming up next week.  Granted, I am not much of a football fan.  But, I do love the parties, the people, the camaraderie ~ especially the food.  A long table filled with all kinds of yummy bite-size snacks.  A great to spend a Sunday afternoon.  There is the standard fare that you can pretty much expect ~ barbeque meatballs, little weinies, chips and dip.

However, I am offering up something a little different today ~ ham balls.  These little pork nuggets of deliciousness are easily made ahead of time and frozen until you are ready to serve them up.  Just take them out of the freezer to thaw the day before using.  When thawed, stick them in a crock pot on low a few hours before serving.

There is no need for additional salt in this recipe (all the salt comes from the ham).  The water chestnuts give each bite a delightful little crunch.  I like mine with a little spicy mustard or honey mustard, or even an aioli.  For something a little different, stuff a little chunk of Swiss cheese in the middle of the balls before baking.   Yum!

  • 1 lb lean, cooked ham
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 – 8 oz can water chestnuts
  • 5 green onions (scallions), minced
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tsp horseradish
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, add the ham and water chestnuts.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Remove to a mixing bowl.

To the ham mixture, add the ground pork, green onions, pepper, eggs, and horseradish.  Mix well.

Form into uniform sized balls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

The nice thing about this appetizer is that you do not have to cook a big ham to do this.  Just pick up a pound of your favorite ham at the grocer or deli ~ I do recommend smoked ham though. The smoked ham adds such a delicious smoky flavor to the balls.  I used leftover ham in mine because I actually just grilled a ham (see Wham Day Ham).

On a side note ~ my husband called in from the fish house (just put it out a couple hours ago).  He took some of the ham balls and he and his buddy have declared these “damn good’ ~ and they did not take any sauce with them. Good without sauce ~ I am going to take this as a success!

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