Last weekend I went to Ravinia with some friends to see Carrie Underwood. Lawn seats at Ravinia are all about food, wine, music and friends. I definitely wanted to make sure the food part was covered, so I brought the following appetizers with for the concert…roasted red pepper hummus, stuffed mini bell peppers wrapped in bacon, and spinach dip.
ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained (found in the international isle)
- 1/3 C tahini (Buy a large jar because it lasts over a year and is cheaper)
- 1/2 large jar (16 oz) roasted red peppers, drained
- lemons (1-2)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 2 T Extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- salt to taste
- paprika for garnish
1. Add chickpeas, tahini, red peppers, juice of 1 lemon, one clove of garlic, oil and 1/2 t salt into a food processor. Pulse until smooth.2. Taste to see if it needs more lemon, garlic, salt or oil. (It depends on how you like your hummus)3. When serving, spread onto a platter or place into a bowl. Drizzle a small amount of oil on top and sprinkle the top with paprika.
Observations/Analysis: Make sure you taste and keep tasting until it is just right. I like lemon and garlic flavor, so I always end up adding more of those ingredients. This is pretty easy recipe to throw together. You can serve it with pita chips (Stacey’s are the best!) or raw veggies (bell peppers are my favorite). You could also make this plain (without roasted red peppers). This is a great make-ahead appetizer too if you are short on time or need to plan food in advance.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers Wrapped in Bacon
- mini bell peppers
- goat cheese
- bacon cut into thirds
1. *Pre-heat broiler. Cut the tops off the mini peppers and take out the seeds and membrane. Cut into small enough pieces for a bite size (or enough to hold a teaspoon or 2 of goat cheese.
Observations/Analysis: The broiler cooks VERY fast, so make sure you keep an eye on them. I wouldn’t recommend turning them because the goat cheese will spill out and burn. If a little spills out it’s okay. By using the broiler, the entire appetizer gets cooked and browned evenly. I normally make this appetizer with dates instead of the bell pepper. The peppers tasted just as good. They were slightly cooked, but still had a nice crunch to them. If you use dates, you can stuff them with either goat cheese or banana. Use the same technique with bacon, and wallah! Let’s be honest, anything with bacon or cheese is delicious.
- 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 and 1/4 cup of sour cream
- 1/4 C mayo
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning
1. If you’re using a food processor, pulse the spinach alone a few times. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. If not using a food processor, stir to combine the ingredients in a bowl. That’s it!
Observations/Analysis: This was incredibly easy to make, and is a great make-ahead appetizer. I had added a little bit too much mayo, so for the recipe above, I put 1/4 C instead of the 1/3 C i had used. I don’t think I will ever buy spinach dip at the store ever again. This had such great flavor, and I was able to control what went into it. You could use low fat ingredients if you are counting calories. Every ingredient is most likely in your pantry or fridge except for the spinach. I put a couple teaspoons of spinach dip on endive and topped it with tomatoes. It was awesome!