Food & Drink
You can use a heart-shaped cookie cutter and make just about anything a festive Valentine’s Day dish, snack or goodie. This appetizer is a perfect example. Just cook up a favorite thin-crust pizza (homemade or frozen, like this California Pizza Kitchen Barbecue Chicken Thin Crust Pizza) and cut it into as many heart-shaped pieces (pressing hard with a heart cookie cutter) as you can get out of it. Kids will love making (and eating) these as well.
Simple, healthy, and delicious.
1 head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut cauliflower into thin pieces. Spread/brush olive oil onto foil-lined baking sheet. Spread cauliflower evenly over oil, and toss to coat pieces with oil. Sprinkle with some Kosher salt. Roast in oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, turn pieces over, and return to oven for another 20 minutes. (Cook a total of 40 minutes). Add more Kosher salt to your taste.
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 cup butter, very soft
Rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons anise extract
3 cups sifted flour (more if needed for firm dough)
3 level teaspoons baking powder
1 cup toasted almonds or walnuts or pecans
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Cream sugar and butter and then add eggs. Add orange rind, orange extract, and anise extract. Add sifted flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Add nuts and white chocolate chips and mix. Spread mixture onto flour board. Add more flour a little a time to make a firm dough. Line cookie sheet with foil. Make three long strips from dough, lay strips on foil lined cookie sheet, leaving space between them. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out of oven and slice these long pieces diagonally, into several smaller slices about 1 inch apart and put bake on cookie sheet with cut side up. Cook under broiler for a few minutes.
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Marina or tomato sauce of your choice
Mix ground beef (or turkey), egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper together by hand. Roll into balls (about 1 inch in diameter). Heat olive oil in a pan on the stove. Add meatballs to pan and brown on all sides. Remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel lined dish to drain excess oil. Then place them in a pot with marina/tomato sauce and simmer on a very low heat for … (until they are cooked all the way through.
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion 1 tablespoon salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 29 ounce cans of Italian tomatoes 1 tablespoon basil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste ½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 ½ cups water
Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil for 5 minutes. Mix in rest of sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about an hour, stirring occasionally.
1 box large pasta shells 2 eggs
2 pounds ricotta cheese 1 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounce) mozzarella cheese, shredded ½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese (Plus ¼ cup more for sprinkling)
1 tablespoon parsley
Cook large pasta shells until just tender. Drain and rinse carefully (trying not to break shells). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan or Romano, eggs, salt, pepper and parsley. Beat with a spoon to blend well. Spoon 1 ½ cups of prepared sauce onto the bottom of two large baking dishes. Spoon about ¼ cup of filling into each shell, and place shells, topside up, in a single layer on pans. Top with more sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano cheese. Bake uncovered for about ½ hour or until bubbly.
Focaccia Bites and Roasted Garlic
1 pound or 1 can premade pizza dough (a refrigerated canned dough, such as Pillsbury, works well)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon of each of the following: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper
Preheat oven to suggested temperature on dough package. Roll out pizza dough on nonstick baking sheet. Brush/spread olive oil on dough. Sprinkle basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper on top. Bake about 10 minutes (or as package suggests), until dough is lightly browned.
3-4 whole heads of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
Large sheet of foil
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut off the very top portion of the garlic heads (about ¼ to ½ inch) and peel away some of the papery skin. Place garlic heads on large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap foil around garlic heads, place on cookie sheet, and cook in oven for about 30-45 minutes (or until garlic cloves are soft).
Cut up focaccia into bite-sized pieces and serve with roasted garlic. Spread roasted garlic on focaccia pieces with a small knife.
2 10-ounce cans of refrigerated pizza dough (such as Pilsbury), or the same amount of other kind of pizza dough
1 package frozen, chopped spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry)
1 whole medium white onion, chopped
2+ cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup canned sliced mushrooms
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup (or 4 ounces) cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce of choice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in skillet, add garlic and onions and sauté until onions are softened (not browned), and then remove from heat. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream until smooth. Then add spinach, 1 cup or mozzarella, garlic salt and pepper, and mix well. Unroll pizza dough and spread out on flat surface. Split each large rectangle of dough into quarters (for a total of 8 smaller rectangles). Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray and place pieces of dough on sheets. On each piece of dough, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce (on one half), and then spoon spinach and cheese mixture, some artichokes, mushroom slices, and sprinkle with mozzarella. Fold the other half over and pinch the ends closed (to seal edges). Bake according to canned dough directions, until dough is lightly browned (about 15 minutes). Top each calzone with sauce and serve. (Makes 8 servings).
Mini Italian Sandwiches
These little sandwiches are a simple yet delicious and cute appetizer or snack. Use the same recipe for Herbed Focaccia Bites (posted 10-13-09), and add your favorite sandwich fillings (such as salami and mozzarella). Top with olives and secure with toothpicks.
Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
No recipe is really necessary here. Just wrap slices of prosciutto around slices (or balls scooped out with a melon ball scooper) of cantaloupe and/or honeydew. It makes a great salty/savory and sweet snack, and is a pretty addition to the table.
Prosciutto is also great wrapped around asparagus, shrimp, breadsticks, mozzarella, dates, figs, and just about anything else you can think of.
Mini Crab Meatballs
2 cans crabmeat
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups prepared tomato/Marinara sauce
Mix first nine ingredients together in a bowl. Form small (about ½-inch) balls out of mixture. Heat oil in pan until very hot. Cook crab meatballs in pan, turning often, to lightly brown all over. Heat tomato sauce in another pot. Add crab meatball to sauce and simmer about 30 minutes. Serve with pasta or on their own as appetizer.
Individual Seafood Cocktails
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
24 jumbo shrimps (cooked, tails on)
3 large lemons
2 cans crab meat
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Wash lemons and cut them in half. Scoop out insides of lemons (keeping peels intact). Set lemon peels/cups aside. Squeeze juice from lemons into a cup. Mix together ketchup, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Add crabmeat and stir together. Chill sauce/crab mixture until almost ready to serve. Scoop sauce/crab mixture into lemon peel cups, place 4 shrimps around each cup, and top with pieces of avocado.
Here is a favorite re-post:
These roll-up snacks are delicious. People seem to love them, and often ask me to bring them to their parties. They are pretty simple to make, although some of the prep (like cooking the bacon) is a little time-consuming. You don’t have to be exact on the amounts of the ingredients, but here is a general guideline.
Package of large flour tortillas
Package of cream cheese
Bunch of lettuce (I like romaine) (washed and dried)
1-2 lb. sliced deli turkey
Package of bacon
2-4 avocados (diced)
Cook bacon to really crispy (I usually cook it in the microwave for maximum crispiness), then line up ingredients in the order that they’re listed above. Spread thin layer of cream cheese on tortilla, place a leaf of lettuce on top, then a few slices of turkey, then a handful of avocado pieces, and then crumbled bacon (I place the majority of ingredients toward one end, making it easier to roll). Roll tortilla starting from one end, then wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Do this with remaining ingredients. Chill for about 2-3 hours. Just before serving, remove plastic wrap and cut into rolls, about ½ to 1-inch thick. Arrange and serve. Note: these are best when you prepare them about 2 to 3 hours before serving them (keeps bacon crispy and avocado green).