Tag Archives: appetizer

Turkey Bacon Sliders

13 Feb

So originally, this post was supposed to make it in time for the Superbowl. But I had a crazy busy week at work this past week. Its been great that my job is going well enough that I’m working every day, but it also leaves me less time to blog! So onto what you are here for, a recipe!

Sliders are one of my favorite things to order with a crowd at bars/restaurants. They offer a mini bite without committing to a giant burger sure to create a mess. So I thought, how hard can these be to make at home? For this recipe, I used ground turkey and turkey bacon (a Dish Dash Dime staple) to make them a little healthier than the ground beef restaurant alternative. And did I mention how EASY this dish is? I bet you could use what you already have in your pantry and put your own spin on it too!

First, for two people, and eight sliders, shape ground turkey into two patties.

And since all meat needs seasoning, add a dash of pepper, salt, and garlic salt, to your personal preference.

Be sure to season both sides evenly. And then, sear them on a hot frying pan. I also love a fresh burger off the grill, so take it outside if you like too!

While waiting for your pan to heat up, or while your significant other is grilling, throw some bacon on the stove for some added flavor, texture, and crunch on the sliders.

Turkey bacon comes fully cooked, so it just needs to be heated up. I still prefer using the stove top, although I guess you could try the microwave too. If you’ve never had turkey bacon before, know that it despite the obvious flavor difference, the texture and the overall crispiness is much different. Even if you were to char your turkey bacon, it will still have some flexibility to it. Its more chewy than regular bacon, but it also has good flavor, and over 50% less fat (look at nutritional labels to see the exact difference as it varies by brand). I’ve been using the Jenne-O turkey bacon as a substitute for so long, I don’t even see a difference! But if you have picky eaters, better save the healthy bacon for your own personal BLT.

Next, let’s get our rolls ready. When making sliders, nothing beats a sweet Hawaiian roll. I bought the sub rolls as opposed to the actual Hawaiian rolls since they were much less expensive. Not sure why, but I happily grabbed this deal.

If you haven’t yet, place your patties into a frying pan. If you are using extra lean turkey meat, spray a tiny bit of oil into the pan first.

In my fridge, I only had shredded cheddar. And since I’m a big fan of using what you have instead of making a trip to the store, shredded cheddar is what I used. For a yummy treat, slice up 8 pieces of Tillamook extra sharp cheese.

Then slice each patty into fourths. Try to make each cut as even as possible so you end up with eight similar mini patties. Then place them on the bottom parts of each bun.

And then add bacon!

Then add the top bun and assemble on a plate. For an appetizer, serve them with toppings on the side so guests can add their favorites. Slice up Roma tomatoes for the perfect size. To keep the burgers together, secure each of them with a toothpick.

 

For a meal, serve these with Seasoned Potato Wedges for a meal that any family will devour.

For recipe lovers:

For eight sliders:

1 package Kings Hawaiian Rolls or Mini Sub Rolls
1/2 lb extra lean ground turkey
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
6 slices turkey bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheese OR 8 small slices of cheddar cheese
Tomato, Lettuce, Onion, Pickles, optional

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Superbowl Extravagaza: Sweet BBQ Chicken Bites

5 Feb

I love wings. Not the burn your mouth, sweat like a pig, be a man, kind of wings. I’m talking about the saucy, crispy, hot wings that you order with your pizza, or at a bar. Sometimes I go for a little heat, and sometimes I go for something a little smoky and sweet. But making any kind of wing at home can be a mess, and a challenge. So I found two ways to make it easier, one, cheat and use a jarred sauce, and two, instead of deep-frying, use a light coating, and a quick toss in a pan.

So what inspired this recipe (haha, more like steps to assemble than a gourmet recipe here!)? When I stumbled upon this great find, at a great price, I knew I was going to make a homemade version of “boneless wings.”

But since I used chicken tenders for my meat, I call them bites. I cut the tenders into bite sized pieces. You could use any boneless chicken cut for this recipe.

I mixed the chicken with some salt, pepper, and a dash of franks red hot (or just plain hot sauce works too).

And then using a 2 parts flour to 1 part cornstarch mixture, coat the chicken by tossing it together in the bowl.

If you want a true, crispy breading, then dip your floured chicken into a scrambled egg mixture, and then coat with flour again.

Next, using your choice of pan (I used a sauce pan since it was clean, haha!) Heat 1/2 inch of canola or vegetable oil on medium high. Be careful that your oil doesn’t get too hot, otherwise the outside will burn before the chicken is fully cooked.

Fry the chicken in batches. If you throw all the chicken in at once, the temperature of the oil will cool down too much and cause the chicken to cook poorly, and absorb excess oil.

Let each side of the chicken cook about 2 minutes. Check a piece after your first batch, since your oil temp, pan, and size of your bites will impact the time you need to cook them.

I apologize for this next picture, but I was obviously moving very fast when I made these! When they are finished, they’ll have a light, crispy, golden brown skin. Let them drain on a paper towel for about 5 minutes. This is a great time to prep any celery or carrots you want to serve with your bites.

To sauce your bites up, you’ll need a bowl about 3 times the size the amount of chicken you have. If this isn’t possible, you can always toss them in batches.

Using any sauce you like, or in my case, the Frank’s RedHot Wings Sweet BBQ flavor, pour a generous amount over the wings, along with 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Not very healthy, but so very yummy!

First the butter:

Then the sauce…and toss!

These delicious bites are best served immediately. However, you can make the chicken bites ahead of time, and then pop them in the oven at 250 for about 20 minutes. Once hot, toss with the sauce and serve. (You will lose too much texture with the microwave).

Serve with a cool side of ranch dressing and crispy celery sticks. Enjoy!

 

Superbowl Extravagaza: Simply Potato Skins

4 Feb

So I wanted to make potato skins as one of my appetizers. I had them at a restaurant about two weeks ago and thought, “how simple is this recipe?” I decided to re-create potato skins for the Superbowl in the most effortless way possible. There are ways to make this recipe more gourmet, and take longer, but I honestly was going for quick and simple in this easy appetizer. Did I mention that this version has fewer calories than your restaurant favorite, too?

You’ll yield two potato skins for each potato. For two of us, I made 8 skins, and we devoured them all, as part of a dinner.

First, bake the potatoes using either the oven or microwave. Either way, scrub them beforehand. Unlike other recipes with potatoes, you’ll actually eat that skin, so make sure its nice and clean (without soap, of course!). Then rub them with olive oil. They’ll need about five minutes in the microwave, or about an hour in the oven, at 400 degrees. Don’t forget to poke them with a fork before you use either method.

When the potatoes are finished baking, slice them in half. Let them cool a bit before you start digging out the insides.

Using a pot holder, I carefully removed the insides of each half, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in every skin.

Then place your potatoes on a cookie sheet, or in my case, a piece of my favorite stoneware.

In a normal recipe, you would stick these back in the oven with additional oil and salt too. But to avoid the extra time and fat, I went straight for the cheese.

I didn’t want to have a heaping mound of cheddar on the skins, I first added some sour cream to the skins, so they wouldn’t come out too dry. I use fat-free sour cream – definitely one of my favorite fat-free foods!

Then on top I added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

At some point while making this, I discovered that I didn’t have bacon. So I substituted with some finely diced ham. I first gave it a quick fry in the pan before adding it to the potatoes.

And then into the oven they went for about 15 minutes at 350.

These potato skins are best served immediately. I also topped them with green onions and served them with a side of sour cream.

Superbowl Extravagaza: Healthy Guacamole

3 Feb

You might think that guacamole is one of the more fatty dips to avoid during a diet. But then you hear that avocado is good for you – a healthy fat, they say. Then why is this delicious go-to party/game dip such a calorie-laden waistline disaster? A little avocado, good for you. Heaping servings of guacamole and 15 tortilla chips…not so much! So I have learned a trick, thanks to some help from others, that will reduce the fat and calories too! Wanna know the secret?

Early Young PEAS! If you are anything like me, I know that right now you are thinking, “GROOOOSSS, what an awful thing to pair with avocado!” But I can promise that you will barely even taste it. Here’s my version of pea & avocado “guac” dip.

If you have some built up frustration, go ahead and start mashing the drained peas with the back of a spoon. Or, you can toss them in a mini food processor and push a button. I did a little of both to get the smooth consistency that I wanted for the peas.

I like my guacamole to have actual bits of avocado in it. So instead of scooping the entire avocado in at once, I mashed the peas together with one half the avocado and then added my seasoning.

For my guacamole seasoning, healthy version, or full calorie-loaded treat, I use: 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp onion powder. If I have fresh minced garlic on hand, I throw that in too.

Next add your veggies. I usually add both finely chopped yellow onion, and diced roma tomatoes. I love tasting the individual veggies, but if you prefer a smoother taste, leave them out, or mince both veggies to enhance the overall flavor.

Lastly, add your second half of avocado into your dip. Incorporate it with all the ingredients and then grab a chip. I know you’re skeptical, but don’t worry. You won’ taste the peas – unless you’re really searching for them.

Go ahead, have your friends at the party try it. Maybe make one without and one with to see the difference. Yes, there will be one – mostly in a slight color change, but who would have thought PEAS would be the trick? I estimate that you’ll cut calories by half and cut your fat by almost 75% less than an all-avocado version.

If you are making this in advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and use the pit to keep the guacamole a bright green color. This recipe is best served after being in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

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