Tag Archives: appetizers

Comfort quesadillas

So here I have the easiest of recipes for you. So easy the ingredient list consists of you opening your fridge and taking a gander at just what is hiding (and perhaps languishing) in there. These are my go-to comfort food, especially when it’s a solo dinner, and they are so crammed full of all those favorite veg that I always, always over buy. In my mind everything can go into a quesadilla fresh mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – heck yeah. Maybe you found that jar of banana peppers you’ve been meaning to use up, or those green chilies looking for a vehicle to your tum, or maybe its those last two delish olives taking up all that space. Yup, they all belong in there too. And I suppose, you could even throw some meat in there. You know, if you had to.

As a comfort food, they can’t be beat. Easy, delish, and the avocado on top will melt away the worst of days. And I’m putting that to the test. Someone made a rather large mistake, certainly not the end of the world, but I am a pretty harsh critic when it comes to this gal. But you know, I did find out I’ve got an audience. A big one. So there’s that, right?

That said, at least I have tons of fun to distract myself from all of that (and before you start gnashing your teeth wondering, “what the heck did you do, Jess?!” It was a typo. A small typo. But on a big stage). But yeah, fun! Next week marks the start of my summer hours. Yeah, you read that right, summer hours! So that’s pretty rad. But even more immediate is getting to watch my brother cross the finish line at Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday and then another trip to the bear bar! Yeah, bears. In real life.

In the meantime, let’s go comfort ourselves with quesadillas. Quesadillas oozing with cheese and dripping with salsa. Yeah. That.

Enjoy!

Comfort quesadillas from thePenandthePan

Comfort quesadillas

per quesadilla
1 tortilla (the size is up to you, how much comfort are you feeling?)
¼ cup or less shredded cheese
assorted vegetables, raw or cooked
butter for tortilla

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Butter one side of your tortilla and place in pan. Add vegetables to one side of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over entire tortilla.

Just as cheese starts to melt, fold tortilla in half. Continue to cook, flipping frequently, until both sides are lightly browned.

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Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

You know what’s amazing and awesome and about to happen to this very gal?! Getting to see your favorite band, in your favorite venue, with your favorite sibling! I’ll be real honest here, I can’t focus on a whole lot else right now. Tomorrow immediately after work, I’m hopping in the car for a solo camera venture across the state, landing in Minneapolis just in time for dinner with friends and then a night full of ROCK! All that excitement to be followed on Saturday by lunching with some favorite ladies, a little retail therapy, and another scenic route home. Just me, visits with rad people, and exactly zero pressure.

It did cross my mind to stay for a second day, but on the way into work this week, I looked around at all the peeps coming to vacation in this town, and I thought, “Huh, do I really want to miss out on a fine weekend afternoon in what will surely be the shortest of summers?” The answer was an emphatic no. That coupled with the fact that the ever talented Himself is willing to work on my car on Sunday, and it’s a def no-brainer, not a single moment wasted away from my north woods paradise.

That said, I’m crazy excited to go, and have exactly zero interest in planning elaborate meals this week. So, because I’m a grown up, it’s appetizers for dinner! Boom! Cause I can. I love this recipe because you can fancy it up for your friends, or do what I did and use leftover bits and pieces languishing in my sad fridge. Intentional ingredients, happy accidents with leftovers, either way, these little bites are so yummy. Think a potato skin with more potato and less grease and guilt.

I’ve copied over the original recipe from Closet Cooking in case you’re ready to wow your friends, but if you just want a little comfort snack, you’ll get the gist of it and adapt away.

Enjoy!

Smashed potatoes from thePenandthePan

Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

1 pound new potatoes (about 1-1 1/2 inches across), washed
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 strips bacon (optional)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, sliced

Bring the potatoes and enough water to cover them by an inch to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until a fork can easily be pushed into them, about 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, before draining them.

Place the potatoes on a greased baking sheet and ‘smash’ them by pressing down on them with something like a potato masher, the bottom of a glass or bowl, etc.

Brush the potatoes with oil, season with salt and pepper and bake them on the top shelf of a preheated 450F oven until golden brown and crispy on top, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook and crumble the bacon.

Sprinkle the cheddar onto the potatoes and optionally broil for a minute to melt the cheese.

Top with the sour cream, bacon and green onions and enjoy as a side or as an appetizer!

Option: You can cook and smash the potatoes a day ahead of time.

Samosa wonton cups

You guys! I just want to go outside so badly. Me and everyone else in this town. It’s been rainy and cold, and we just can’t take it any more. Well, ok, there are some things about the rain that are sorta ok. There are few things that smell nearly as amazing as rain in the wet and muddy pines.

Problem is, while I could totally handle the cold in February, it’s April (imagine me saying that last part in the whiniest voice you ever heard). Now I just want to be outside. The birds and animals are all returning despite the cold, and I want to enjoy it too.

Just check out this wolf we spotted on the way to work on Monday. Granted, I don’t want to run into this dude outside, but with zero woodscraft, he’d hear me coming and be gone long before I reached him.

Wolf_Deer River-2

Can’t really blame this guy for coming around, though, check out all these deer (look closely, my friends). We’ve been seeing crazy amounts (16 at a time!) in the field across the way. Yayyy nature!

Deer a-grazing

Oh well, this time indoors hasn’t been put to good use. Just check out these samosa wonton cups I made. This appetizer isn’t really a wonton and it isn’t really a samosa. But what it is, is super crazy delicious, and it’s my blog, so I’m calling them samosa wontons. So there.

There are a lot of steps, but they’re super easy. Though, you can also make the filling and wonton cups ahead of time. Just wait to fill the cups until ready to serve. Either way they’re delish!

Enjoy!

Samosa wonton cups

Samosa wonton cups

24 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced to ½ inch
½ tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
½ cup fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon curry powder
pinch cayenne pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350º. Separate wonton wrappers and place in ungreased mini muffin to create a cup. Bake unfilled wrappers for 5 minutes. Set aside

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil potato pieces until just tender, no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook an additional two minutes more.

In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mint, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Add potatoes, onion mixture, and peas.

Fill each wonton with potato mixture. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped clinatro. Serve hot.

Greek turkey meatballs

Ok, don’t freak out, but I went and put cinnamon in your meatballs. You’re gonna like it, I promise. Even better, I just gave you a meatball recipe you can change into burgers and wow everyone at the next cook out. You’re welcome.Greek meatballs

All kidding aside, this is an easy meal to throw together. It’s fresh and simple. And simple is what I need these days. Bonus points, no special equipment required. Since my kitchen now consists of paper plates, one cookie sheet, one mixing bowl, one knife, plastic utensils, two wine glasses, and two regular cups, it’s a good thing this comes together simply.

When it comes to chopping up teeny, tiny capers, the idea was no one wants a big ol’ bite of capers in the meatball. What you’re looking for is all the flavors to meld together. So grab your tablespoon of capers, smoosh ‘em, and roughly chop.

This will likely be the last regular post for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for pictures, but closing is next week, and the big move happens Saturday and Sunday. The journey is just beginning!

Greek turkey meatballs

1 lb ground turkey
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
1 Tbsp roughly chopped capers (you could also substitute chopped kalamata olives)
1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
½ Tbsp cinnamon

Place all ingredients into one big bowl. Don’t be squeamish, get in there with your hands and mix it all up. Form into small balls for appetizers, bigger if that’s your game.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Makes 32 appetizer sized meatballs.

Let cool just enough to handle. For appetizers, slice cucumber and place meatball on top, securing with a toothpick.

For a meatball sandwich, chop cucumber roughly, smear pita with hummus, and place 3 – 4 meatballs in each pita.

Enjoy!

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