Recipes, Small Bites

Fresh Eggplant Bruschetta

Bruschetta is easily one of my all-time favorite appetizer!

It’s eggplant season! I love this pretty, versatile vegetable and coming up with new ways to use it. Once you make this bruschetta, it will become an easy go-to for using up summer tomatoes and eggplant for years to come.

If you’re looking for a more substantial meal add this as a topping to your favorite pasta!

INGREDIENTS

  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Two 1-pound eggplants, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely shredded
  • One pint cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 loaf French bread, 1/2 inch slices
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. 

Add in the diced onion and eggplant and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and basil leaves half way through cooking.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the eggplant. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. 

Cover the pan, wait for the tomatoes to burst for about ten minutes. Squish any whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon and let the tomatoes thicken, about 1 minute. 

Stir in the capers and stir to combine. 

Taste and add the salt & pepper if needed. 

Heat the broiler. 

Brush the bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese on both sides. 

Char the bread on both sides.

Spoon the bruschetta onto the bread and top with grated Parmesan and remaining basil leaves. Dig in!

Small Bites

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

These bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers are baked instead of fried! Who can resist fresh jalapenos stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked to crispy perfection? Not me, that’s for sure. This is the ultimate party snack!

The jalapenos are sliced in half and the seeds and ribs get removed. Removing the seeds and ribs removes most of the heat from the peppers; if you like it spicier, leave some of the seeds and ribs in. The peppers are stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and spices. Then wrapped in bacon before baking in the oven. 

I like to serve my bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers with a side of ranch for dipping, but honestly they’re great as-is too.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
  • 12 slices bacon

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix cream cheese, seasonings and cheese together in a bowl until evenly blended. 

Fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture. Put halves back together and wrap each stuffed pepper with a slice of bacon. 

Arrange bacon-wrapped peppers on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until bacon is crispy, about 15 minutes.

Recipes, Small Bites

Short Ribs Egg Rolls

Raise your hand if you love egg rolls! I sure do! Here’s a twist on your traditional egg rolls. These homemade egg rolls are filled with beef short ribs and vegetables, all wrapped up and fried to crispy perfection. The perfect make-ahead appetizer for any event!

HOW DO YOU MAKE HOMEMADE EGG ROLLS?

The filling for these egg rolls is shredded beef short ribs, shredded cabbage, carrots and some seasonings like garlic, honey and paprika. I used  a pre-shredded coleslaw mix to make life easier and cut down on prep time.

After your filling is ready, it’s time to stuff your egg roll wrappers! Egg roll wrappers are most commonly found in the refrigerated section of the produce area at most grocery stores. Most egg roll wrappers have a helpful chart on the back to show you exactly how to fold egg rolls.

I served these short rib egg rolls with a side of Spicy Mustard Barbeque sauce and Barbeque sauce. They are the perfect complements to these savory smoky eggrolls.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound beef short ribs, cooked and shredded
  • 1 bag coleslaw
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Egg roll wrappers

Spicy Mustard Barbeque Dipping Sauce

  • ¾ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch or more of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of hot sauce

Instructions

Heat the 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and red onion then cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the coleslaw mix and green onions. Cook until cabbage is wilted, about 3-4 minutes. 

Stir in the seasonings, worchestire sauce and honey. 

Stir your shredded short rib meat,  then remove from heat.

Spoon approximately 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto each egg roll wrapper and fold according to package directions, using water to seal the edges of the wrappers as you go. 

Pour 2-3 inches of oil into a deep pot. While oil heats up, make the spicy mustard dipping sauce. 

Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Fry 3-4 egg rolls at a time, turning occasionally, until browned all over, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, then serve with spicy mustard sauce and barbecue sauce.

Spicy Mustard Barbecue sauce:

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add to a small pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.

Recipes, Small Bites

Portobello Fries with a Lemon Garlic Aioli

The first time I had portobello fries, I was in downtown Tampa at a restaurant called Gin Joint. After my first bite I was in love and knew I had to recreate them! 

Soaked in buttermilk and lightly fried in a beer batter and then dipped in a tangy aioli… They are seriously a dream! 

You can have them as an appetizer or use as a Taco Tuesday filling, either way you will crave these! And yes, you can bake them instead of frying and they will taste just as good!

The Lemon Garlic Aioli is a magical creamy sauce with a bright lemony tang and a savory garlic flavor that you will want to dip everything in from chips to veggies to any meat.

Ingredients

Portobello Fries

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms, about 1 pound, stems and gills scraped out, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 can beer (preferably lager or pale ale)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white cornmeal
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 ½  cups)

Lemon Aioli

  • ½ cup Mayo
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 zest of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

Make the aioli: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until blended. Set in the refrigerator.

Prepare the mushrooms: In a shallow pan, soak the mushroom strips in the buttermilk, about 1 hour.

Make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, beer, flour, parmesan cheese, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne. 

Fill a skillet with the vegetable oil; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F or drop a crumb in and it sizzles.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. 

One at a time, dip the mushroom strips in the batter, then carefully lower into the hot oil. (Do this in batches if necessary-do not crowd the pot.) Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turning with tongs. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. 

Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the garlic lemon  aioli.

Recipes, Small Bites

Festive Italian Dip

Creamy, spicy, addictive sausage dip that takes just minutes to throw together.

This dip is so good, it will be the hit of the party! Honestly you can even serve this dip mixed with pasta and have a hearty pasta dinner! There is so much packed into this dip, from the spicy Italian sausage to the gooey cream cheese!

The base for this dip is Hot Italian sausage. Don’t worry if spicy food isn’t your thing, this sausage honestly isn’t very spicy, it adds a nice flavor punch. Plus, paired with the cream cheese, it all balances out perfectly. I started by cooking the sausage in a large skillet. Once the sausage was cooked, I transferred it to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up some of the grease. Cutting out some extra fat. 

Next, I wiped the same skillet clean, getting rid of some of the sausage grease but not all of it. Sauté up some onions, red peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Oh and add in a little Italian seasoning for good measure. And don’t forget the… WINE! I used Scout and Cellar Field House Chardonnay. It adds a zesty flavor!

Roughly chop up some baby spinach, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Honestly I just grab a handful from the bag, throw it on the cutting board and run my knife over it a few times, making sure there are no huge pieces. I used the whole 6 ounce bag of baby spinach. 

Then grab the cream cheese. I cut mine into four squares so it melts quickly. Make sure to grab the shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese too. Add all that cheese right into the skillet and stir. 

At this point I strongly encourage you to grab a spoon and taste! Mmmmmm!

Now, pour the mixture in a casserole dish. Sprinkle some more cheese on top, cover the whole top!

Bake it to perfection until the cheese is golden brown and the sides are bubbly. Your kitchen will smell like heaven! Serve with a baguette or crackers.

So let’s get cooking! 

Ingredients 

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound hot Italian ground sausage
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 6-oz package fresh spinach, rough chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. 

In a bowl, mix together the two cheeses and set aside. 

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage. Once cooked, remove from the skillet and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. 

Using a paper towel, wipe the skillet clean and saute the onions and red pepper in the same skillet, for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. 

Stir in tomatoes, and Italian seasoning; cook for 1 minute. 

Add the cooked sausage back to the skillet and stir to combine, cook together for 2 minutes. 

Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost completely evaporated.

Stir in spinach and salt, and cook for 2 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. 

Reduce heat to medium; add cream cheese and 1 cup of the shredded cheese mixture. 

Cook and stir mixture until cheese is melted.

Pour mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with the rest of the cheeses.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or cheese is bubbly and golden brown. 

Serve with crostini or crackers.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen.
Recipes

Springtime Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Yogurt & Chimichurri sauce

Today’s recipe is all about a vibrant Chimichurri sauce and creamy garlic yogurt that perfectly complement these flavored meatballs. You can serve this as an appetizer for Easter or as a light dinner. Trust me you are going to love this recipe!

I love making meatballs, it always brings me back to being a little girl, watching my mom and grandma, Meme in the kitchen. I loved helping roll the meatballs and watching them sizzle when they were added to the pan with hot olive oil.

First, you want to make the yogurt sauce and the Chimichurri sauce. The longer these two sauces have to marinate the better.

The garlic yogurt sauce is super easy. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper. That’s it! 

For the Chimichurri sauce, you are going to want to use your food processor, no worries if you don’t have one, a blender will get the job done too. If you do not have either of those, a sharp knife and some muscle will work too.

To the food processor or blender, add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. 

I absolutely love this sauce, I have a small jar of it in the refrigerator at all times. It compliments just about anything from these meatballs to an omelette or as a dip with some chips.  

Now for the meatballs!

Chop ½ of a yellow onion,4 cloves of garlic and one cup baby spinach. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and slowly add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt, cook until the spinach is wilted. Next sprinkle in the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix with a rubber spatula. Make well in the middle of the chicken mixture and crack one egg into the middle of the well. Here’s the fun part, using your hands mix the egg and chicken mixture until well combined. Using your hands, roll into golf ball-sized balls. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In the same skillet, heat up a ½ inch of olive oil. Add the meatballs to the hot olive oil but make sure not to overcrowd the skillet, and brown the meatballs on each side about 6 to 10 minutes total. The meatballs should be a nice golden brown. Remember you are not cooking them all the way through, we will finish them off in the oven. 

Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 6 minutes, take the skillet out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the skillet. Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes.  

You can serve these meatballs as an appetizer or the main dish with a side of jasmine rice or even on a salad with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking meatballs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds 
  • 1 pound ground chicken 
  • 1/2 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 large egg
  •  ¼ cup white wine

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • Crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix. Roll into golf ball-sized balls.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with about 1/2 inch of oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet, 6 to 10 minutes total. 

Place the meatballs in the oven, and set a timer for 6 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the pan.

Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Serve with Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Yogurt Sauce

Add the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix to combine.

Chimichurri

To the food processor or blender , add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and some salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. Taste and adjust the seasoning.