Vegetarian Appetizers

Meatless starters, yet tasty


Indian Vegetable Patties

Makes about 16 three-inch patties

Cumin, cilantro and jalapeño chili pepper give a mildly exotic kick toordinary vegetables in these fresh-tasting and healthful patties, whichare popular at James Madison University. The mixture is easiest toshape into patties as soon as it is placed in the pan. Serve with minted yogurt or chutney.

2 cups frozen cut corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (1 to 2 medium carrots)
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed and drained
2/3 cup diced onion
2 cups fresh spinach, stemmed and cut into julienne (very thin strips)
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño chili pepper (or to taste), seeded and minced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons grated ginger root
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons cooked oatmeal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except for the oatmeal andvegetable oil. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of thecooked oatmeal and stir, adding more to bind if needed. Cover themixture and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oiland swirl to coat the pan. When it is sizzling, drop 1/3 -cup portionsof the mixture into the skillet (you’ll have to do this in batches)and, using the back of a spoon or a spatula, immediately flatten theminto 3-inch rounds. Cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side.Repeat, using the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Drain on paper towels.Serve hot.

Apple Cheddar Quesadillas
Makes 24 appetizers

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
2 cups peeled and cored thin apple slices
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon sugar-cinnamon mixture; set aside.

Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Add apples; cook over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture, raisins and rum extract. Top each tortilla evenly with cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. Spread apple mixture over cheese. Spray medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, filling side up, and heat 1 minute. Remove from skillet; quickly fold in half. Cover and keep warm while heating remaining quesadillas.

To serve, cut quesadillas into 3 wedges. Sprinkle with reserved 1 tablespoon sugar-cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle quesadillas lightly with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

Microwave Directions Top tortillas as directed. Place 1 to 2 tortillas, filling sides up, on waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 30 to 60 seconds until warm. Remove from microwave; quickly fold in half. Cover and keep warm while microwaving remaining quesadillas. Serve warm.

Chile Con Queso
by Todd Wilbur
The Anaheim chile has a mild spiciness, so we’ll toss a jalapeno in therefor an extra spicy kick. If you can’t find an Anaheim pepper, use anymild green chilies that are available, as long as you get about 1/2 cupof diced pepper in the mix.

16-ounce box Velveeta
3/4 cup whole milk
1 green Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons minced cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (freshly ground is best)
pinch of salt
pinch of dried thyme
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2/3 cup)

1/4 cup ranchero cheese, crumbled
tortilla chips for dipping

1. Combine Velveeta and milk in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir often as cheese melts. Be careful not to burn it.
2. When cheese is melted add the remaining ingredients, but not the tomatoes. Continue to cook over medium/low heat for 7 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Stir in tomatoes and remove queso from heat.
3. Pour queso into a serving dish, top with crumbled ranchero cheese and serve with tortilla chips for dipping. (

Makes about 2 cups.

Tidbits: Ranchero cheese is a crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found near the cream cheese in your supermarket.

Cheesecake Factory Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

Salsa Verde
2 tomatillos, chopped (remove papery thin)
1 4-ounce can mild green chilies
1 green onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Southwestern Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon water
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
dash salt
dash garlic powder

Tomato Salsa
1 medium tomato
1 tablespoon minced Spanish onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 small fresh jalapeno, minced
dash salt
dash ground black pepper

Tamale Cakes
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn masa (corn flour)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1. Prepare salsa verde by combining all ingredients (tomatillos, green chilies, green onion, cilantro, sugar, cumin, salt, and pepper) in a food processor on high speed. Cover and chill.
2. Prepare tomato salsa by combining all ingredients (diced tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl. Cover and chill.
3. Prepare southwestern sauce by combining all ingredients (mayonnaise, vinegar, water, sugar, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder) in a small bowl. Cover and chill.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Prepare the tamale cakes by chopping 1 cup of the frozen corn in a food processor until it’s coarsely pureed. Combine pureed corn with softened butter, sugar, and salt. Blend well with electric mixer until smooth.
6. Add masa and flour and blend well. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels by hand.
7. Measure 1/2 cup portions of the mixture and form it into 3-inch wide patties with your hands. arrange the patties on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cakes are browned on the bottom. Carefully flip all cakes with a spatula and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until other side is browned.
8. While the cakes are baking, spoon a portion of the salsa verde onto a plate or platter (you may want to heat up your plate in the oven for a bit to help warm the sauce). You’ll need to use enough salsa verde to coat the entire plate — it should be about 1/4-inch deep. Arrange the tamale cakes side-by-side on the salsa verde. Spoon a dollop of sour cream onto each tamale cake. Drizzle the southwestern sauce over the cakes in a criss-cross patter (use a squirt bottle if you’ve got one — see “Tidbits”). Spoon some tomato salsa over the cakes, followed by the chopped avocado. Finish off the plate by sprinkling the coarsely chopped cilantro leaves over the top.
Serves 4.

Spicy Buffalo Onion Rings and Blue Cheese Dip
Recipe courtesy Zoom

Yield: 6 servings

Vegetable oil, for frying
4 eggs
5 cups 2 percent milk
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix (recommended: Paul Prudhomme’s)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 2/3 teaspoons salt
3 extra-large yellow onions
Blue Cheese Dip, recipe follows
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced

Fill a large heavy saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of cooking oil and heat over medium-high heat. The oil temperature should be at 350 degrees F when you start frying.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs and milk; then add the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly with a hand-held mixer. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps. Add more milk if you want a thinner crust. In a small bowl, mix the Cajun spice mix, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, dry mustard, and salt. Add this spice mixture to the batter. Cut the onions into thick slabs, dunk them in the batter, and fry them, in batches, in the oil until golden brown. Serve the onion rings with the Blue Cheese Dip, sliced carrot, and celery.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Blue Cheese Dip:
2 cups sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups blue cheese
1 tablespoon minced serrano chile peppers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the sauce in a side bowl for dipping.

Tree-Shaped Crescent Veggie Appetizers
Veggie trays, move over! This colorful tree-shaped appetizer will addan interesting twist to your appetizer buffet.

2 (8-oz.) cans Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups finely chopped assorted vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, carrot,cucumber and/or green onions)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove dough from cans in rolled sections (2sections from each can); do not unroll. Cut each section into 8 slices(16 slices from each can).
2. Place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheets to form trees.To form each tree, start by placing 1 slice for top; arrange 2 slicesjust below, with sides touching. Continue arranging row of 3 slices, thenrow of 4 slices, ending with row of 5 slices. Use remaining slice fortrunk. Refrigerate one tree.
3. Bake one tree at 375°F. for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen with pancake turner and slide onto wirerack to cool. Bake and cool second tree.
4. Place each tree on serving platter. In small bowl, combine cream cheese,sour cream, dill and garlic powder; blend until smooth. Spread mixtureover both trees. Decorate trees with assorted vegetable pieces. Garnishas desired. Refrigerate until serving time. To serve, pull apart slicesof tree.

2 trees; 32 appetizers

Easy Pesto Pinwheels

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal.
2. Spread pesto over each rectangle to within 1/4 inch of edges. Sprinkle with roasted peppers.
3. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 6 slices; place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

24 appetizers

Pecan and Blue Cheese Crescent Bites

1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1/4 cup plum jam
4 oz. Cambozola cheese, cut into 24 small slices
24 pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll dough into 1 long rectangle. Gently press perforations to seal. Stir jam to soften; spread over dough.
2. Starting with one long side, roll up dough jelly-roll fashion. With serrated knife, cut into 24 slices; place, cut side down, on paper-lined cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 375°F. for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; place on wire rack. Cool about 2 minutes or until slightly cooled.
4. Top each with slice of Cambozola cheese and pecan half. Serve warm or at room temperature.

24 appetizers

Blue Cheese Crescent Spirals

1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 oz. (1/4 cup) crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup red plum jam
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Crumbled blue cheese
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from can; do not unroll. Cut rolled dough into 12 (1/2-inch) slices. Place on sprayed cookie sheet. Brush top of each slice with butter. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon blue cheese and 1 teaspoon pecans.
2. Bake at 375°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine sauce ingredients; mix well.
4. Arrange spirals on serving platter. Top each with about 1 teaspoon sauce. Garnish with blue cheese.

12 appetizers

Olive-Feta Pinwheels

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 tablespoons cream cheese spread (from 8-oz container)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or parsley

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough and separate into 2 long rectangles; press each into 12×4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
2. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese over each rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with feta cheese, olives and oregano.
3. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices; place cut side down on cookie sheet.
4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

16 appetizers

Stuffed Cranberry Sauce
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (16-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce, chilled

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until creamy. It needs to be spreadable. Add pecans and mix well. Slice cranberry sauce in 1/4-inch rounds and spread cream cheese mixture on 1 round and place another round on top, sandwich style. Cut each round in half like a sandwich and place in shallow container, covered. Keep in refridgerator until time to serve.

Fried Mozzarella Bites
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Yield: 32 mozzarella bites

Olive oil, for frying
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, buy a piece wrapped, not packed in water
1 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, found in the specialty cheese case
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk, eyeball it
2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 stems or large sprigs each fresh parsley, sage, thyme
Fine salt
Arrabiata – In A Hurry Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, moderate to hot heat level, eyeball the amount
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt
Bamboo skewers, 6-inch, or party picks, for dipping

Heat 2 inches olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Cut each pound of mozzarella and smoked mozzarella into 16 cubes. Set up a breading station: flour, 2 eggs beaten with 1/3 cup milk, Italian bread crumbs mixed with a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. Reserve the chopped parsley. Roll fresh plain mozzarella in flour, dip in egg, then coat in bread crumbs. Bread all the plain mozzarella, then add chopped parsley to the bread crumbs. Coat the cubed smoked mozzarella in flour, egg, then Italian bread crumbs mixed with parsley. The chopped parsley will allow you to distinguish between the fresh and fresh smoked cheese once fried. Place herbs into hot oil and fry 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to stand over pan, the oil will spatter a little because of the water content in herbs. Remove herbs with a slotted kitchen tool and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Season immediately with fine salt. Fry the mozzarella bites in batches in a single layer. Cook until evenly deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool mozzarella bites on a paper towel-lined surface. Let stand and cool a few minutes so that the cheese will not be too runny when bitten into.
For dipping sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Saute garlic and hot pepper 2 or 3 minutes, and add tomatoes. Season with salt.

Quickle Pickles

Yield: 4 servings

1/2 cup white vinegar, eyeball it
2 rounded teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove cracked garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, chopped or snipped
1 bay leaf
4 kirby cucumbers, cut into 1-inch slices on an angle

Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving.

Bruschetta Appetizer Tart

Bring the fresh tomato and basil flavors of summer into your kitchen in an appetizer made easy with Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust.

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
1 cup chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (3 medium)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Remove pie crust from pouch; unroll on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except cheese.
3. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spread tomato mixture over crust; sprinkle with cheese.
4. Return to oven; bake 7 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Use kitchen scissors to “chop” the fresh basil in this recipe. It saves preparation and clean-up time.

Vegetable Sushi
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 1/4 pounds sushi rice (2 3/4 cups)
3 cups water
1/4 cup mirin, plus additional for moistening nori
5 sheets nori (1 package)
4 teaspoons wasabi powder, mixed with 2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 carrot, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 scallion, julienned (green part only)
1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and julienned
1 (10-ounce) jar pickled ginger

Sushi Dipping Sauce:
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/4 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced pickled ginger
1 teaspoon minced scallion (green part only)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons good soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Place the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water is fairly clear, about 5 minutes. Shake the water out and allow the rice to dry in the strainer for 15 minutes.
Put the rice in a pot with exactly 3 cups of water and cook covered over high heat until it starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mirin. Replace the lid and allow the rice to steam for 15 minutes. Place in a bowl and cool to room temperature.

To prepare the sushi, place a bamboo sushi roller flat on a table with the bamboo reeds horizontal to you. Sprinkle lightly with water. Place 1 nori sheet on top, smooth side down, and moisten lightly with mirin. With damp hands, press 1 1/4 cups rice flat on top of the nori, leaving 1 1/2-inch edges on the top and bottom, but pressing all the way to the sides. Make sure the rice is pressed even and smooth.

Spread 1/4 teaspoon of wasabi paste in a horizontal stripe near the lower edge of the rice. Over the wasabi, lightly sprinkle the red onions in a horizontal stripe. Place strips of carrots in a horizontal stripe, on top of the wasabi and onions, and follow by piling the red and yellow peppers, scallions, and cucumbers on top, making a tight, straight bundle of vegetables. Place 1 layer of pickled ginger slices on top.

To roll the sushi, pick up the near edge of the bamboo roller and hold it with the nori, then pull them up and over the vegetable bundle until the nori reaches the rice on the other side. Press the roller to make a round bundle, then roll the bundle to the far edge of the nori and press again to make a round bundle. (The nori should totally enclose the rice and vegetables in a round tube, but the ends will have rice and vegetables sticking out.) Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Keep the rolls under a damp towel and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, slice off the ends with a very sharp knife and slice each roll into 8 equal pieces.

Meanwhile, for the sushi dipping sauce, combine the wasabi powder and water to make a paste. Mix in the red pepper flakes, ginger, scallions, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve the sushi at room temperature with the dipping sauce.
Yield: 40 appetizers

Mini Veggie Taco Salad
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (19-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1 bag Tostitos Scoop chips
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded finely
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into small chunks
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (16-ounce) jar Tostitos Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa
Sour cream

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until onion softens and the spices become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and heat through, until beans break down slightly, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl. While still warm, add the cheese and stir, melting the cheese slightly. Cool.
To assemble, arrange as many Scoop chips as possible on working surface. Spoon a little of the bean mixture into each Scoop. Top with shredded lettuce, avocado, scallions, and a spoonful of salsa.
Cut the tip of 1 corner of a storage plastic bag. Spoon some sour cream into the bag and push it towards the cut tip. Gently squeeze the bag to make tiny dollops of sour cream on top of each mini taco salad.
Serve immediately.
Yield: 50 little appetizers

Broccoli Stuffed Tomatoes
6 Medium tomatoes
1 Pkg. frozen chopped broccoli — (10 oz.)
1/2 C. shredded cheese of your choice
1 C. soft bread crumbs
1/4 C. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Wash tomatoes; cut tops from tomatoes, scoop out pulp,
leaving shells intact. Reserve pulp for other use. Sprinkle
cavities of tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cook broccoli.
Drain well. Combine broccoli, cheese, bread crumbs, mayonnaise
and onion. Mix well. Stuff tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan
cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spinach and Cheese Cakes
Recipe courtesy Rachel Ray

2 packages frozen chopped spinach, 10 ounces each 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 for onion, 2 tablespoonsto fry cakes 
1 small onion, chopped 
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, 3 handfuls 
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 handfuls 
1 egg, beaten 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it 
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 

Defrost spinach in microwave. Wring spinach dry by nesting in kitchentowel and twisting towel over garbage bowl or sink until spinach has givenoff all of its liquid. Place spinach in a medium mixing bowl. Heat a nonstickskillet over medium heat, add oil and onion and saute the onion until soft,5 minutes. Add onion to spinach in bowl and return pan to stove top. Turnoff heat. 

Add remaining ingredients to spinach: bread crumbs, cheese, egg, nutmeg,salt and pepper. Combine mixture with a fork, then form into 3-inch patties.Set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons oil to spinach cakes pan and set cakes in to cook.Work in 2 batches if necessary. Cook cakes 3 minutes on each side.

The Barefoot Contessa
 Yield: 3 Cups

4 ripe Haas avocados 
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon) 
8 dashes hot pepper sauce 
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion) 
1 large garlic clove, minced 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of
their shells into a large bowl. (I use my hands.) Immediately add the
lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and
toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl
until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste forsalt
and pepper.

Guacamole 2
Recipe courtesy Food Network Kitchens

1/2 small yellow or 1/4 red onion, minced 
2 cloves garlic 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 ripe Hass avocados 
1 lime, juiced 
2 to 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
1 ripe plum tomato, cored and diced 
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno (with seeds), minced

Soak the onion in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to alarge bowl. 

On a cutting board, lightly sprinkle the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon ofsalt and smash it into a paste with the side of a cook’s knife. Transferthe paste to the bowl with the onion. 

Using a knife cut the avocados in half, rotating around the seeds. Removethe seeds but place in bowl. Using the knife, carefully make several slashesin the avocado flesh. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into the bowlwith the onion and garlic. Repeat with the remaining avocado.  Keeping the pit in the bowl with the cut avocado will help lime/lemon juiceto prevent the avocado from turning brown.

Add the lime juice, cilantro, tomato, and jalapeno, to taste, to theavocados. Using a rubber spatula or large fork, mix until just combined,keeping the guacamole chunky. Season with salt, to taste. Serve immediately. 

If storing for use later on the day, cover with plastic wrap with theplastic directly on the surface of the guacamole preventing any oxidation. Be sure to dig out the pit before you serve.

Macho Gazpacho
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

2 (32-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in puree 
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce (for mild heat use 2 tablespoons) 
1/2 European seedless cucumber, cut into chunks 
1 small red onion, cut into chunks 
2 jalapenos or serranos, seeded and coarsely chopped 
2 ribs celery, from the heart of the bunch, chunked 
Handful fresh cilantro leaves 
1 lemon or lime, juiced 
Coarse salt and black pepper 
Lemon or lime wedges, for garnish

Working in batches, combine all ingredients in a food processor andpulse grind into a thick soup. Adjust seasonings. Pour soup into a thermosand chill until ready to serve. Serve in chilled glasses with wedges oflime or lemon for garnish

Easy Cheesy Fondue

Yield: 4 servings 

12 fingerling potatoes, cut in 1/2, 1-inch baby potatoes may be substituted 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some fordrizzling 
1 shallot, finely chopped 
1 jigger dry sherry 
1 cup half-and-half 
8 ounces cream cheese 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups steamed broccoli florets 
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of stems, tips reserved 
2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped or chopped 
1/2 French baguette, cubed 
12 cherry tomatoes 

Cornichons or baby gherkin pickles 
Marinated mushrooms 
Pickled onions

Cover potatoes with water and bring the water to a boil. Salt the waterand simmer potatoes 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender. Drain potatoesand return to warm pot to dry the potatoes. Drizzle potatoes with a littleoil to keep them from discoloring and to shine them up. 

Fill a second skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water. Cover andbring the water to a boil on the stovetop. Salt the water, replace thecover and reduce heat to simmer. 

To a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and thechopped shallots. Saute shallots for 2 or 3 minutes, then add sherry andallow it to almost evaporate, a minute or 2. Add half-and-half to the panand reduce heat to low. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch slices and add itto the pot. Allow the cream cheese to slowly melt into the half-and-half,5 minutes. Add Parmesan and shredded Gruyere or Swiss to the sauce andstir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Stir in lemon juice.Season sauce with, nutmeg and black pepper. Place a candle underneath awire rack or warm a fondue pot. Transfer cheese sauce to fondue pot orplace saucepan over wire rack and burning candle. 

To simmering, salted water, add broccoli and cook florets, covered,3 minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate and add asparagustips. Cook asparagus tips 2 minutes, then remove with tongs to a plate. 

Arrange the items for dipping on a large serving platter. Garnish thecooked potatoes with chives. Set the cubed baguette on the opposite endof the platter, to balance color. Between potatoes and bread, arrange cookedbroccoli, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Set out fondue forks or bambooskewers for dipping. Place small dishes of cornichons, marinated mushroomsand pickled onions near dipping station for accompaniments.

French Onion Soup

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 medium onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped or poultryseasoning
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups vegetable stock
4 thick slices crusty bread, toasted
2 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Heat a deep pot over medium to medium high heat. Work next to the stoveto slice onions. Add oil and butter to the pot. Add onions to the pot asyou slice them. When all the onions are in the pot, season with salt andpepper and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Cook onions 15 to 18 minutes, stirringfrequently, until tender, sweet and caramel colored. Add bay leaf and sherryto the pot and deglaze the pan drippings. Add 6 cups stock and cover potto bring soup up to a quick boil. 

Arrange 4 small, deep soup bowls or crocks on a cookie sheet. Preheatbroiler to high. Once soup reaches a boil, ladle it into bowls. Float toastedcrusty bread on soup and cover each bowl with a mound of cheese. Sprinkleremaining fresh thyme on cheese and place cookie sheet with soup bowlson it under hot broiler until cheese melts and bubbles.

Yield: 4 servings

White Cheddar and Jalapeno Spread

1/2 pound white Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 cup mayonnaise
3 scallions, minced
5 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of salt
Hot pepper sauce to taste

Let shredded cheddar get to room temp while cutting and measuring otheringredients, so that it blends with other ingredients easily. Then, blendall ingredients until smooth. 
Best when allowed to refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes about 1 1/2 cups 



This dressing is delicious served over green salads.
Makes: 1 PINT
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. chopped cumber
2 tsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
Combine all ingredients and chill. 

Tortilla Roll-ups

1 package ( 8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup chunky salsa
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
12 ( 6-inch) flour tortillas

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add salsa, onion, garlic salt and chilipowder. Mix well. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixtureon each tortilla. Rollup each tortilla fairly tightly, jellyroll fashion,and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Chill, covered, at least 2hours. Slice each roll into 4 pieces. Top each with a small amount of guacamole.Makes about 4 dozen. 


1 pkg of large flour tortillas, ( 1 pkg. of Sun DriedTomato Tortillas and 1 pkg. of Spinach Tortillas are great)
2 8oz.pkgs. philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 small can sliced ripe olives, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced very thin, use the whiteand about 2 1/2- 3″ of the green.
1/2 cup each of finely chopped red and green bell pepper.

Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Mix olives and onions intothe cream cheese, mayo mixture. Thoroughly cover the tortillas with themixture, spreading out to the edges, not too thick, but enough that theywill hold together when rolled.
Roll up tightly, wrap each roll in saran wrap. Refrigerate for severalhours or better yet overnight. 
Remove the saran, careful not to unroll the tortillas.  Slice about 1/2″ thick with a serrated knife.

Southwestern Black Bean Dip
Recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
8 cups water, plus 1/4 cup
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped, reserving about 1 teaspoonfor garnish
1 small red onion, finely chopped, reserving about 1 teaspoon forgarnish 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
1 small red chile, finely chopped
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Dollop sour cream, for garnish
Serving Suggestion: Tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, let the beans soak in enough cold water to coverfor 1 hour and drain. Return the beans to the pan with the 8 cups of waterand garlic. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer untiltender, about 1 hour. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat.Add the pepper, onion, and cumin and cook, stirring, until softened. 

Drain the beans and reserve 1/2 cup of them. Add the remaining beansto the pepper mixture with the remaining 1/4 cup water, and simmer, covered,until very tender, about 15 minutes. 

In a food processor, blend bean mixture with the vinegar and pulse untilwell combined but not pureed smooth. Season the dip with salt, pepper,and vinegar. Transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in the reserved 1/2 cupbeans. Let the dip cool to room temperature or chill. 

When to serve, garnish the dip with the reserved bell pepper, onion,tomato, chile, cilantro leaves, and sour cream. Serve with the tortillachips.

Cook’s Note: This dip may be made 2 days in advance and kept coveredand chilled

Yield: about 3 cups

Guacamole de Classico
Yield: 4 cups

4 ripe avocados, seed removed
2 green onions (white flesh only), chopped fine
2 Roma tomatoes, diced small
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 


1. Scoop the flesh out of the avocado and into a large mixing bowl,using a fork, coarsely mash avocados, leaving some chunks
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently until well blended.
3. Spoon into serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap directly on thesurface of the guacamole and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with TOSTITOS® GOLD™ Tortilla Chips.

Fresh Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

4 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
2 cups dried black beans, cooked in salted water untiltender, cooled 
1 cup small diced red onions
1 large fresh jalapeno, seed and cut into small dice
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
80 crispy corn tortilla chips

Combine the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Season withsalt and pepper. Add the lime juice and olive oil. Mix well. Spoon intoa serving bowl and serve with the chips.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Lemon Pepper Spread

1 1/2 cups spread 


1  package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1  stick unsalted butter, softened
4  teaspoons lemon-pepper (or to taste)
6  lemon slices
1  sprig fresh parsley
1  box Crackers

1. In medium-size mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter; stirin lemon-pepper. Spoon into serving bowl or mold; cover and refrigerate.

2. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Garnish with lemonslices and parsley. Serve with Keebler® Townhouse® Crackers.

Note: To soften cream cheese and butter, cut into pieces and microwaveon HIGH in microwave-safe container for 15 seconds.

 Fiesta Cracker Spread

3 cups spread 


1  package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1  tablespoon seltzer water
 1/2  cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1  teaspoon dry Mexican or taco seasoning
1  tablespoon salsa
2  tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
 1/4  cup chopped green onion
 1/4  cup corn (optional)
1  tablespoon canned jalapeno pepper (optional)

1. In an electric mixer bowl, mix cream cheese, seltzer water, Cheddarcheese, and seasoning on medium speed until smooth.

2. Fold in the remainder of the ingredients. Cover and chill.

3. To serve, garnish with additional cilantro leaves, red pepper, orjalapeno slice. Serve with  Crackers.

Garden Veggie Pizza Squares

Makes 48 squares (24 servings). 

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix 
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions


1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2 Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking 
   sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular 
   shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the 
   preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

3 Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese 
   with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amountof 
   dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled 
   crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli andgreen 
   onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately1 
   hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa
Juicy watermelon replaces tomatoes in this salsa that’s simultaneously cool and spicy hot — perfectfor a summer barbeque. Serve it with tortilla chips, or use itas a topping for grilled chicken or fish. 

3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoonchopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


 In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, green bell 
   pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno and 
   garlic powder. Mix well and serve.

Restaurant-Style Crispy Onion Rings

At restaurants, onions can be sliced very thin on a meat slicer. By
cutting the onions in half first, home cooks can get close to the same
thinness with a knife, though it means sacrificing the ring shape.

2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4  tsp cayenne pepper
 vegetable oil for frying

Separate onions into strips or rings.  Mix with buttermilk in alargebowl.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.  Can beprepared 1day ahead if kept refrigerated.

Stir flour, salt, paprika and cayenne in another large bowl.  Drainonions and discard buttermilk.  Add onions to flour mixture andtossto coat.  Pour oil into a heavy saucepan to a depth of 3 inches. Heatoil to 350 degrees F.  Working in small batches, shake excessflouroff of onions and cook in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about2 minutes per batch.  Using slotted spoon, transfer onions topapertowels to drain.

Transfer onions to platter.  Season with additional salt to tasteandserve immediately.

Hot Pepper Cheese Ball

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped pecans


1 In a large bowl, stirtogether cream cheese, Cheddar, sharp Cheddar and PepperJack cheeses, onion powder, garlic powder, mayonnaise, and Worcestershiresauce. Cover and refrigerate mixture 1 hour.
2 Shape mixture into a ball. Roll ball in choppedpecans.

Hot Brie Dip

* 2 tablespoons butter 
* 1 medium onion, chopped fine 
* 2 teaspoons garlic, minced 
* 8 ounces Brie cheese, trimmed and cut into pieces 
* 1 package cream cheese (8 ounces) 
* 3/4 cup sour cream 
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
* 2 teaspoons brown sugar 
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
* salt and pepper to taste

* 1 round loaf of bread (8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Saute onion and garlic in butter untilgolden. Set aside. Put Brie and cream cheese in a bowl and microwave untilsoft. Mix in onion and garlic, sour cream, lemon, brown sugar and Worcestershiresauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Hollow out the middle of theloaf and fill with mixture. Wrap in foil and bake in oven until bubbly,about 1 hour. Dust with paprika, optional. Serve hot with bread piecesor crackers.

French Onion Soup Gratinée

3 lb. Cooking Onions, Sliced
6 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
2 Bay Leaves
2 oz. Sherry (Optional)
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
8 oz. Swiss Cheese, grated

In a Heavy-bottomed Pan, heat Vegetable Oil and add Onions.

Saute for a few Min., then lower heat to medium. Stir to prevent onoinssticking. Continue cooking until rich brown colour (about 10-15 min.)

Add Salt, Pepper, Thyme and Bay Leaves.

Give Onions a good stir to scrape up brown bits at bottom of pot.

Add vegetable Stock, Increase heat to full and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and Simmer for 30 min.

Top with Croutons and 2 oz. grated Swiss Cheese per person.

Brown and Melt Cheese in individual bowls under the Broiler if desired. 

serves 4


1 1/2 T. butter
1/4 C. fine breadcrumbs, toasted
1/4 C. Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 1/2 lb. cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 C. cottage cheese
3/4 C. chopped scallions
4 eggs
3 T. jalapeño pepper, minced
2 T. milk
1 clove garlic, halves

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Mix breadcrumbs and the 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle mixture intopan, turning to coat. Refrigerate.

Put remaining ingredients in blender or processor until smooth. Pour filling into prepared pan. Set pan on baking sheet. Bake1 1/4 hours.

Turn oven off and cool cheesecake about 1 hour with door ajar.

Transfer cheesecake to rack. Remove sides of pan. Cool to room temperaturebefore serving.

Apple Cranberry Salsa


3/4 cup whole cranberrysauce 
1 apple cored and coarsely chopped 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
1/2 cup chopped pecans 
2 tbsp. Chopped fresh cilantro 
2 tbsp. Lime juice 
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes 
salt and pepper 
1. In a medium bowl combine the cranberry sauce, apple, onion, pecans,cilantro, lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Servewith quesadilla or your favorite tortilla chips.
Servings: 1 1/2 cups

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