Sunday, November 10, 2013

Holiday appetizers that excite!

It's hard to believe the holiday season is approaching fast! Here are three simple and surprising appetizers that pack a huge flavor punch and will have your guests talking.

Roasted Grape Crostini with Rosemary and Pinenuts
Makes 12 toasts

All you need:
1 pound red, seedless grapes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed
1 multigrain baguette, cut on a bias into 12 slices
6 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pinenuts
Honey, for drizzling

All you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the grapes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and rosemary. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the skins are slightly golden. Remove and set aside.

2. Place bread slices and pinenuts in the oven to toast for 5 minutes.

3. To assemble the crostinis, smear each toasted bread slice with 1 tablespoon cream cheese. Spoon warm grapes onto each piece of toast, sprinkle with pine nuts and finish with a drizzle of honey.


Spanakopita Dip
Makes 2 cups

All you need:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. fresh dill
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. finely chopped sundried tomato
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped

All you do:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, onion, mayo, dill and onion powder for 15 seconds.

2. Add spinach, feta cheese and yogurt and process for 1 minute longer, or until combined.

3. Add sundried tomato, lemon juice and fresh parsley and stir to combine. Serve with crackers or pita chips and fresh veggies. (Also works well as a sandwich spread!)


Black Bean Truffles with Orange and Sea Salt
Makes 32 (1 oz. pieces)

All you need:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 3/4 cups cashew butter (or any nut butter)
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1 3/4 cups dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
Sea salt and cocoa powder, for garnish

All you do:
1. Place black beans in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

1. Add cashew butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and orange zest and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 3 hours.




3. Form small balls using a 1 oz. scoop. Sprinkle with sea salt and roll in cocoa powder. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.






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