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Appetizers Recipe Index

African Bean Dip
Baba Ghanouj
Barbeque Bean Cups
Chickpea Spread
Cold Spinach Dip
Cranberry Salsa
Eggplant Antipasto
Fried Eggplant
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fruit and Nut Cheese Ball
Four Layer Mexican Dip

Homemade Spring Rolls
Jalapeno Cornbread
Mushroom and Pistachio Pate
Spiced Pecans
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Spinach Balls
Sweet Potato Croquettes
Watermelon Rind Pickles


Fried Green Tomatoes

This Southern classic is great as a side dish or appetizer.

2 large green tomatoes
¾ cup flour
1 organic egg, beaten or 3 tbsp. egg whites
2 tbsp. reduced fat milk
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup canola oil

Choose firm, green tomatoes. The one on the right is actually not green enough.

Green tomatoes in the pan

1) Beat together egg and millk. In separate bowl, stir together flour, cayenne and pepper.

2) Heat canola oil over medium heat in large skillet. Slice tomatoes about ½ inch thick.

3) Once oil is hot, take each slice of tomato and dip it first in the egg and then the flour. Do both sides. Place in the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pan and your tomato, you can probably fry one tomato at a time. Fry on one side until it is brown and crispy (a few minutes). Flip and fry the other side.

4) Remove and set on a paper town to drain excess oil.

Four side servings.

The finished product


Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This dip recipe came from a friend who is a good cook. It is the best spinach artichoke dip I have tasted!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 6 oz. bag of baby spinach
1 10-12 oz. can of non-marinated artichoke hearts (very important to use artichoke hearts in water, not the marinated kind)
1 large pinch of grated reduced fat Monteray Jack cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 splash of milk
1 tsp. of Vegenaise or low-fat mayo
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced onion
2 tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1) Finely chop spinach. Cut artichoke hearts into quarters.

2) Stir together all of the ingredients, except spinach and artichoke hearts, in a large bowl.

3) Add the spinach and artichoke hearts and mix. Use a wooden spoon and stir carefully so you don’t mush up the artichoke hearts.

4) Firmly pack dip mixture into small-to-medium size casserole dish.

5) Cook for 35-45 minutes or until top is bubbly brown.

6) Serve hot with crackers. Dip should stay warm for about an hour.


African bean dip

Treat your friends with this delicious and healthy dip at your next party.

2 cans white beans (cannellini or great northern), drained & rinsed
¼ cup olive oil
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
dash of Cayenne pepper
½ cup vegetable stock
Salt & pepper

1) In medium sauce pan, add olive oil and cook onion on medium-high heat for about 5 – 8 minutes.

2) Add garlic and sauté a couple more minutes.

3) Add vegetable stock and other seasonings and stir.

4) Put about ½ the beans in a blender and add half of the stock mixture. Blend. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

5) Pour into a bowl and stir in remaining olive oil. Serve with good bread, crackers or tortilla chips.

Serve at room temperature.


Cindy's Spiced Pecans

Serve these as an appetizer or pack them as a snack for a long car ride.

1 egg white
2 cups pecan halves
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1) Beat egg white until foamy. Add pecans and toss until well coated.

2) Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the pecans and toss to coat.

3) Spread in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned. Stir once while cooking.

4) Cool before serving.

Yields 3 cups.


Patti O's Spinach Dip

This dip is similar to that on the Knorr vegetable package, except it is free of ingredients you might not want, like MSG. Use it as a dip or as a spread in a sandwich.

½ cup veggie flakes (available in the spice aisle)
1 cup low-fat mayo (or vegenaise)
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 small container of plain yogurt
1 can of diced water chestnuts
¼ cup onion, diced fine
1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1) Mix all ingredients together.

2) Serve with your favorite crackers or pumpernickel bread.



Delicious and easy to make.

4 ripe avocados
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 purple onion, diced fine
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced fine
½ tsp. cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper

1) Peel avocados and remove pits. (Note: avocados should have a slight give when you press them. Typically I buy them about 2 days before using them.) Mash with potato masher or fork until only slightly lumpy.

2) Blend in other ingredients.

3) Serve with your choice of tortilla chips.


Chickpea Spread

This appetizer is delicious and good for you too.

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ red pepper, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. Vegenaise or reduced fat mayo
1/3 cup olive oil
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper

1) In large bowl, mash chickpeas. Can be chunky, but there should be no whole chickpeas left. I used a potato masher.

Delicious with blue corn tortilla chips 2) Add diced red pepper and stir.

3) In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture and blend together.

4) Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or your favorite crackers.

Tip: Leave out the mayo if serving at outdoor tailgate or picnic, and the dip can be left out for a long time.




Eggplant Antipasto

My cousin, who is a fabulous cook, sent me this recipe. In her words: “When I lived in New York, I could have lived off this stuff. It is ridiculous! Serve it with crusty bread, Italian cheeses, and/ or roasted red peppers or tomatoes-- it is a fantastic antipasto….YUM. A little labor intensive, but TOTALLY worth it…”

3 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3- by 1/4-inch sticks
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups white-wine vinegar
3-4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
About 1 cup olive oil, plus a bit more to cover

1) Toss eggplant with 1/4 cup salt and drain in a colander set over a bowl, covered, at room temperature 4 hours.(Eggplant will turn brown.) Discard liquid in bowl.

2) Gently squeeze handfuls of eggplant. Bring water and vinegar to a boil in a medium pot. Add eggplant and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in colander, then set colander over a bowl and cover eggplant with a plate and a weight (such as a large heavy can). Continue to drain, covered and chilled, 8 to 12 hours. Discard liquid in bowl. Gently squeeze handfuls of eggplant to remove excess liquid, then pat dry.

3) Stir together eggplant, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 cup oil in a bowl.

4) Transfer to a 1-quart jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid and add just enough olive oil to cover eggplant. Marinate eggplant, covered and chilled, at least 4 hours.

5) Bring to room temperature before serving. Gets better over time, and keeps for a month or more (if you can make it last that long!)



Mushroom/Pistachio Pate

A friend I recently met in a cooking class shares this recipe. She is a creative vegetarian cook.

Two containers of fresh mushrooms
One large yellow onion (or two small), sliced or chopped
About four cloves garlic, minced
One package of shelled pistachios (unshell them)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) In a large frying pan, sauté the onions on medium heat in a healthy splash of olive oil. When the onions are translucent, add mushrooms and garlic and sauté a few minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients.

2) When the batch is warm and bubbling and the nuts are soft, remove from heat. Let the mixture cool till just slightly warm and then pour it into a food processor and puree. Unless….the mixture is still really wet. If this is the case, transfer first to a baking dish and heat in the oven till it becomes a spreadable consistency.

Good on crackers or used as a spread in sandwiches.


Four Layer Mexican Dip

This is my “go to appetizer” when I need to bring a dish to a party and don’t have a lot of time. Ready in 5 minutes. You won’t have any leftovers!

1 or 2 avocados, ripe
1 cup low-fat sour cream or Vegan sour cream
1 jar salsa
1 ½ cups reduced fat, shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

1) Mash avocado (buy about 2 days before you need to use it) and spread into 9” X 9” casserole dish.

2) Spread sour cream onto avocado. Then add salsa. Finally top with cheese.

3) Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.


Cranberry Salsa

Your friends will ask you for the recipe. Deliciously different.

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sectioned and chopped
2 tsp. grated orange rind
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1-2 jalpeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (dried ok if no fresh on hand)
1/8 tsp. salt

1) Mash cranberries with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until cranberries are coarsely chopped.

2) Stir in remaining ingredients.

3) Cover and chill at least two hours.

4) Serve with sweet potato chips or your favorite tortilla chips.



Tait’s Spinach Balls

These spinach balls make a yummy appetizer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 boxes frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained well
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
2 onions, chopped
5 organic, free range eggs, 3/4 cup of egg whites
¾ cup melted butter or butter substitute (Smart Balance)
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, diced

1) Combine all ingredients.
2) Make into balls, about the size of a golf ball.
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes.



Barbecue Bean Cups

My mom makes these appetizers for special family gatherings.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 can of 10 biscuits (not Grands, just regular size)
1 can of pink beans or pinto beans, drained and slightly mashed
½ cup ketchup
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Vinegar, cider or white
½ tsp. chili powder
2 cups grated, low-fat cheddar cheese

1) Mix all ingredients together, except beans, biscuits and cheese. Add a little of the cheese to the mixture, about ½ cup.

2) Spray a muffin pan that with no-stick cooking spray and then press each biscuit into a muffin cup.

3) Add ¼ cup of the mixture on top of each biscuit and then top each with cheese.

4) Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.


Fruit and Nut Cheese Ball

This cheese ball is easy to make and tasty with crackers at your next party.

2 8 oz. containers of low-fat cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 tbsp. onion, finely diced
2 tbsp. bell pepper, your choice of color, finely diced
½ cup of walnuts, chopped
½ cup of pecans, chopped

1) Stir all ingredients together, except set aside half of the nuts.

2) Roll mixture into a ball.

3) Stir together remaining ¼ cup walnuts with the ¼ cup pecans. Roll cheese ball in these nuts.

4) Refrigerate over night.


Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj is similar to hummus but I like it better. Equally delicious as an appetizer or spread in a sandwich.

3 large eggplants
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1) Piece eggplants with fork. Wrap in foil and bake for about 45 minutes in 425 degree oven.

2) Once cooked and allowed to cool till you can handle them, cut the eggplants in half and remove filling. Discard seeds and skin. Put eggplant filling in a colander and drain any excess liquid. Press the eggplant to squeeze out any extra liquid.

3) Mash eggplant with a potato masher (or use a food processor). Add remaining ingredients and mix well.


Homemade Spring Rolls

The hardest thing about making these is chopping the vegetables. They are worth the effort!

Serving suggestion

¼ cup broccoli, chopped
¼ red pepper, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup of extra-firm tofu (approx), patted dry with a paper towel and cut in small pieces
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ large carrot, cut in small pieces
1 or 2 tbsp. canola oil (stir fry) plus
¼ cup canola oil (frying spring rolls)
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
½ tsp crushed red pepper, if desired.
8 egg roll shells

Egg roll wraps. Available in produce section usually.

Place filling in center of eggroll shell

Roll up the sides.

They cook fast!

1) Heat 1 or 2 tbsp. canola oil and soy sauce and crushed red pepper (if desired) in wok on medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté a few minutes.

2) Add broccoli and cabbage and 1 or 2 tbsp. of water.

3) Add carrot and red pepper and stir fry together.

4) Add mushrooms and tofu last. Stir fry mixture together until vegetables are tender. Remove to bowl.

5) Heat remaining canola oil in large frying pan to medium heat. Place ¼ cup (approx) of filling in the center of each egg roll shell. Roll bottom up and then each side and then top portion up to form the roll. Place in hot oil seam side down. Fry until brown on the bottom (a couple of minutes). Flip with tongs and cook the other side.

6) Remove to paper towel to drain and dry. Serve with dipping sauce, if desired.

Makes 8 egg spring rolls.

Drain on paper towel





Sweet Potato Croquettes

These are a tasty treat! A yummy side dish to a meal or fabulous appetizer. They are crispy and golden on the outside and smooth and creamy in the middle. My suggestion: make extra Mashed Sweet Potatoes one night and the next night use the leftovers for Sweet Potato Croquettes!

Sweet Potato Croquettes

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (See recipe listed with the sides. Each sweet potato makes about 1 cup of mashed sweet potato.)
4 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup Panko* Japanese bread crumbs
2/3 cup Canola oil

Croquettes in the Pan

Turn the croquettes with tongs til golden brown all over

1) Refrigerate mashed sweet potatoes over night or a couple of hours.
2) Add flour to mashed sweet potatoes in medium-sized bowl and stir til blended.
3) Put Panko into small bowl.
4) Heat Canola oil in large, deep frying pan on medium-high heat.
5) Form sweet potato dough into small balls, a little smaller than a golf ball. Roll each ball in the Panko. Place each ball into the hot oil. Fry a couple of minutes until golden brown, then turn with tongs and fry the opposite side. Continue turning until each part of ball is equally brown.
6) Remove to plate covered with paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Serve warm.

*Panko breadcrumbs are available in almost every grocery store. Use Panko rather than regular breadcrumbs because they give it a light crunchy coating on the outside.



Jalapeno Cornbread

This cornbread is spicy and savory. Serve as either an appetizer or as bread with a meal.

1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
2 eggs
4 tblsps. self-rising flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk

1 onion (grated)
1 small can cream-style corn
1/2 lb. low-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped Jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1) Mix together the first 7 ingredients. Then stir in the onion, corn, cheese and jalapeno peppers.

2) Method one: To make as an appetizer: Slightly grease a miniature muffin pan. Pour batter into muffin cups (about half-full) and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Method two: To make as bread: Pour half the batter in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread the peppers and cheese on this layer and then pour the second half of the batter on top. Bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.



Mary’s Watermelon Rind Pickles

Don’t throw away those watermelon rinds, recycle them into delicious pickles. Note: This recipe has a lot of sugar in it, so avoid it if you are on a low-sugar diet.

4 quarts peeled and cubed watermelon rind
1 lemon, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 tbsp. pickling lime
2 quarts cold water
2 tbsp. whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon
7 cups sugar
1 quart white vinegar
1 quart water
2 pieces ginger root

1) Trim dark skin and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind and cut rind into 1 inch pieces.

2) Dissolve lime in 2 quarts of water; pour over rind. If needed, add more water to cover rind.

3) Let stand 2 hours. Drain, rinse and cover rind with cold water.

4) Cook until tender and drain.

5) Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag. Combine spices with remaining ingredients and simmer until transparent. Add boiling water if syrup becomes too thick before rind is clear.

6) Remove spice bag. Pack, boiling hot, into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/8 inch space at the top.
7) Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims. Cover jars with metal lids and scre on metal bands.

Yields about 7 pints. Pickles will be sweet and crispy.


Jalapeno Cornbread

This cornbread is spicy and savory. Serve as either an appetizer or as bread with a meal.

1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
2 eggs
4 tblsps. self-rising flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk

1 onion (grated)
1 small can cream-style corn
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped Jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1) Mix together the first 7 ingredients. Then stir in the onion, corn, cheese and jalapeno peppers.
2) Method one: To make as an appetizer: Slightly grease a miniature muffin pan. Pour batter into muffin cups (about half-full) and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Method two: To make as bread: Pour half the batter in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread the peppers and cheese on this layer and then pour the second half of the batter on top. Bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.



Fried Eggplant

Fried eggplant can be used in eggplant parmesan, as a tasty side dish with any meal, or as an appetizer with a dip.

2 medium-sized eggplants
¾ cup of flour
2 organic eggs, beaten or ½ cup of eggbeaters
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
Salt & pepper, to taste
¼ cup Canola oil

Frying eggplant

Fried eggplant

1) Slice eggplant. Slice a larger eggplant in about 1 inch circles. Slice a smaller eggplant length-wise. Leave the skins on
2) Mix flour together with all seasonings.
3) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
4) Dip each slice of eggplant first in the egg mixture and then in the flour mixture. Do both sides. Place in hot oil.
5) Fry for about 5 minutes until crispy on one side. Flip and cook the other side.
6) Remove to plate with a paper towel on it and allow excess oil to drain into the paper towel.
7) Serve as desired.


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