The first FND of 2013 was SO. MUCH. FUN. This was Callie’s last dinner with us before she goes back to California so we let her pick the theme and she decided on “tiny foods”. Personally, I love tiny food and bite-sized things. Everything just looks so much cuter when it’s small. I highly encourage you to make a dinner like this; Google and Pinterest have tons of great ideas for you to try out and I’ll be posting the wonderful things we made too for you to test your culinary skills on 🙂
Dinner this week was full of lots of delicious food, fun people, laughter and some not-so-philosophical questions. If you were to describe yourself as a dessert, what would you be and why? As we all found out, that is not an easy question to answer but we did come up with some pretty awesome desserts to describe each of us. I think it was decided that I would be a Victoria Sponge Cake or my Grandmother’s Coffee Cake because they are both quintessentially British, like me! 😉 We know each other so this obviously wasn’t an “icebreaker” question, but if you ever need one this would be great.
Okay, back to the actual dinner. We had so much food. Not even kidding, it was hard to find enough counter/table space for everything. As you know, for these dinners we all make something and bring it. This week? Not so much. Callie originally had intended to make min caprese salads (yum!), but the Basil was bad and the tomatoes were soggy, so instead she brought mini quiches. From Costco. It’s the thought that counts, right? Actually, this is what Callie has to say about it: “yeah. so costco. but the important part is that you have to cook them in a kitchen with lots of love, laughter, and good friends”. So, so true. Mary is a working lady, so she didn’t have time to make anything either. She brought mini peanut butter cups, rice balls from Trader Joe’s and as she so eloquently put it “myself, because I’m small!” It was a truly wonderful night and a great way to start off 2013 (that’s so weird to type). Without any further ado, here are our fabulous recipes for you to try out!
Vegetables and Ranch Dip:
- Any vegetables you like, sliced
- Nonfat cottage cheese
- Nonfat sour cream
- Nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 packet Ranch seasoning
- 1/2 lemon
- Combine the cottage cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, ranch seasoning and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
- Serve with veggies!
- 2 5 ounce cans of tuna
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Serve with crackers, bread, etc.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup parmesan
- 1 14oz. can artichoke hearts, cut up
- Mix together and serve with crackers, bread, veggies, etc.
Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers:
- Mini bell peppers
- Chive cream cheese
- Core bell peppers and stuff with cream cheese.
Pigs in a Blanket:
- 2 cans crescent dough
- Pack of mini hot dogs
- Unroll the crescent dough. Place one hot dog in each triangle and roll. Place on a cookie sheet.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Pizza dough (our was from Trader Joe’s)
- Tomato or marinara sauce
- Olive oil
- Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Roll out dough and place on baking pan, then spread just enough olive oil on dough to cover it.
- Spread tomato sauce, and sprinkle on the cheese. Add any other toppings you want.
- Cook at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate:
- 1 small head cauliflower (1 pound florets, i.e. stems and leaves removed), cut into generous 1 to 2 inch chunks
- 1 large egg
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Few gratings of fresh lemon zest
- 3 oz. crumbled feta (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes; less if using regular red pepper flakes, which are hotter
- 3/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- Olive oil, for frying
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Handful of pomegranate arils
- Cook cauliflower in simmering salted water, uncovered, until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes, until firm but tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well. Spread on towels to dry as much as possible.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together egg, garlic and lemon zest. Add cauliflower florets and mash with a potato masher until they’re crushed into an average of pea-sized pieces (i.e. some will be bigger, some smaller, but most will be little nubs). Sprinkle in feta and stir to combine egg mixture, cauliflower and feta. In a small dish, whisk flour, salt, pepper and baking powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle over cauliflower batter and stir just until combined.
- Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a tray inside. On the stove, heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Once hot, add a good slick of oil, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot (you can test it by flicking a droplet of water into it; it should hiss and sputter), scoop a two tablespoon-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula. Repeat with additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each. Once brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, about another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain, then the tray in the oven to keep them warm until needed. Once all fritters are cooked, mix yogurt with cumin, salt and pepper. Spread fritters on serving platter. Dollop each with cumin yogurt and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries:
- 2 cartons strawberries
- 8oz. package softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 graham crackers
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Wash the strawberries and cut off the tops.
- Core the strawberries with a small knife (The easiest way to core the strawberries is to hold the entire berry in your hand [wrap your fingers around it] and literally just core out the center. Get as deep as you can without breaking through the bottom).
- Beat the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Crush the 3 graham crackers.
- If you have a piping bag, place the cream cheese mixture in it; if not, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off one of the corners. Fill the strawberries, leaving a little bit coming out of the top. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.
- If you want to use the chocolate chips, melt them, place in a ziploc bag with a corner snipped off and drizzle over strawberries.
Happy eating, everyone!