Fajita Stuffed Potato Bites

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Slightly spicy with plenty of cheese, these appetizers are always a hit!  Instead of the usual cheese and bacon combo, bell peppers and green chiles turn a classic appetizer into an exciting new dish.  I like to use small golden potatoes for this, they make the perfect two-bite appetizer.  However, if you would rather turn this into a meal the recipe can easily be adapted for russet potatoes.  If using the golden potatoes please just take extra care when scooping them up, the skin is much thinner than other potatoes.

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12 golden potatoes

¼ red bell pepper, diced

¼ green bell pepper, diced

1 ounce diced green chiles

4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

6 ounces sour cream

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 ounces shredded pepperjack cheese

Bake the potatoes at 350 for 40-50 minutes, or until cooked completely.  Once cooled, halve all potatoes and carefully scoop out the potatoes.  The skins of these potatoes are much thinner than russets, so I like to leave a little potato intact to make it a little more sturdy.

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Mix the potato, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, green chiles, cheddar cheese, sour cream and garlic together in a bowl.  Carefully spoon the mixture into the potato skins.  Top with shredded pepperjack cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.

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Spinach and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

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Stuffed mushrooms are a staple of any family event, but they are never as exciting or flavorful as I would like. Instead of just filling the mushrooms with bread crumbs and butter, this recipe full of flavor. The feta cheese gives it just enough bite and the mozzarella melts perfectly to make a smooth and delicious filling. If you want to make this a little healthier, just swap lower fat versions of cream cheese and sour cream- you won’t even be able to tell the difference!

I like the use the mini-portabella mushrooms for this, it creates a pretty hearty appetizer. However, if you are looking to make this into a meal it could easily fill 2 or 3 full sized portabella mushrooms.  These are pretty rich so if you are planning on serving them as a main dish you may want to pair the mushrooms with something light like a salad.

6 ounces fresh spinach

8 ounces cream cheese

3 ounces sour cream

2 ounces feta

3 Tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning

2 cloves of garlic, minced

6 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided

6 mini-portabella mushrooms

Place spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, feta, bread crumbs, Italian seasonings, garlic and 3 ounces mozzarella in food processor and blend until smooth.

Wash mushrooms, remove stems and gills.

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Fill each mushroom with a generous amount of filling and top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

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Quick and Easy Caprese Bites

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Is there anything better than fresh mozzarella? This recipe is insanely easy….and so addictive! Whenever I serve these at a party they are gone in the blink of an eye! During the summer I make these at least once a week, it’s so simple but so delicious. Keeping them bite size makes this a really easy dish to serve and eat, no fork or knife needed!

Ingredients:

1 container cherry tomatoes

1 container pearl mozzarella

1 bunch basil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

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Directions:

Halve the tomatoes and mozzarella. Tear basil into bite sized pieces. Layer tomato, basil and mozzarella- skewer with a toothpick. Easiest recipe ever!

Serve with balsamic vinegar. You can either drizzle the vinegar on top of the bites, or serve it on the side so people can serve themselves.

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Slimmed Down Spinach Dip

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Last week I needed a quick and easy dish to take to a pot luck, this recipe instantly came to mind! In less than 20 minutes I had a great dip that everyone loved, the bowl was scraped clean before I could even enjoy a bite myself.

Spinach Dip is a staple at any party, but between the mayo and sour cream the calorie count is pretty high. To slim it down I swap out greek yogurt for the mayo and add some light sour cream and cream cheese to the mix. The trick is to use light sour cream instead of fat-free to keep the great flavor that everyone knows and loves. You can serve this in a sourdough bread bowl, but I find it’s great in a regular bowl with plenty of raw veggies to dip with!

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat greek yogurt

1 cup low-fat sour cream

2 ounces light cream cheese

1 10 ounce package of frozen spinach (thawed)

1 bunch green onions

Juice from ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon herbs de province (to taste)

Fresh cracked pepper

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Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, chill 30 minutes and serve. Since the ingredients are low fat the consistency may be a little thinner than other dips, refrigerating it for at least 30 minutes will help to thicken it up. If you like your dip extra thick, add an extra ounce or two of cream cheese.

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Two-Bite Brie Puffs

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I have a horrible confession, I love cheese. Brie is by far my favorite, I could probably eat it every day and never get sick of it. I made this dish countless times over the holiday season and it always got rave reviews. It’s perfect for a girls night in, super bowl party, or really any event. I love to serve this right out of the oven when the puff pastry is still fluffy and beautiful, but you can also make this ahead and serve it room temperature.

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Ingredients:

1 wheel of brie

1 package of puff pastry dough, cut into 24 rectangles

1 jalapeno sliced

1/3 cup apricot preserves

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Take the puff pastry dough out of the freezer and let it thaw for about 30 minutes, or until it is easy to handle. Slice the dough into 24 rectangles, place 12 on baking sheets. If your dough starts to crack just put it back in the freezer for a few moments to firm it up.

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Layer a Tablespoon of apricot preserves, a slice of brie, a slice of jalapeno and a few slivered almonds on each piece of dough.

Wet the edges of the dough and cover with another piece of puff pastry dough, crimp the edges with a fork.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden and fluffy. As you can see from my pictures some of delicious filling seeped out when baking, don’t get too concerned about crimping the edges of the pastry- some of the filling may seep out when baking.

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I like to serve these warm, but they are also great room temperature! I’m enjoying a plate of these tonight while I catch up on Downton Abbey.

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