Appetizer

Michael Wurm, Jr.

Arugula, Asparagus, and Pea Bruschetta

I don’t know about you, but during these hot months I’m always looking for easy, flavorful recipes. I like things that I can quickly fix for myself or use for simple, no-fuss get-togethers with friends. As you can imagine, when I saw this recipe for Grilled Arugula Bruschetta, I was thrilled.

Not only could this work as an easy summertime meal / snack for one, but it would also be a great little treat for entertaining.

I took a few liberties with the original recipe and gave it a twist using ingredients I had in my refrigerator. To start, I roasted some asparagus tips with a little olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Just before they were ready to come out of the oven, I threw in a cup of frozen peas.

Once this mixture was cooled, I tossed in the fresh arugula listed in the recipe. I’m all about eating as many veggies as I can, so when I saw the opportunity to add a few more to this recipe, I went for it.

I also opted to prepare the bruschetta in my oven. Since my grill was out of propane, it was the best option. I simply set the oven on broil. So simple!

As I was sampling my creation, I realized that you could vary this recipe and have a lot of fun by using the same base, but topping it instead with your favorite veggies or any leftovers from your fridge. You also could up the protein by adding some diced chicken.

You can get the full recipe here, but remember the options and flavor combinations are only limited by your imagination and what you have access to.

Happy Cooking!

Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Watermelon Bites

Inspired by this BHG Watermelon Salad, I decided to make an appetizer version perfect for an outdoor summer gathering. Just stack cubes of feta and watermelon on a toothpick with a leaf of fresh mint! Simple, refreshing and delicious. Summer in a bite!

Try to cut the feta and watermelon cubes the same size:

You can mix up the order of the 3 items however you like! However, for thin toothpicks I prefer to put the feta on the bottom as I think it keeps the items from falling off the tooth pick. This could also be served as a salad skewer by putting about 3 watermelon cubes, 3 feta cubes and mint leaves on a longer kebab stick.

I served them at a party recently and they were a hit:

The recipe for these watermelon bites was based on the ingredients in this Watermelon Salad. Happy summer entertaining!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a food blog and cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods in California.

 

 


Kelly Senyei

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Skip the forks in favor of skewers with this quick and easy recipe for Five-Spice Beef Kabobs that can be cooked on the grill or on the stove. 

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Nothing says “it’s almost summer” quite like food on a stick, from fruit-filled popsicles by the pool to crispy corndogs at the State Fair. And with May right around the corner, I could think of no better way to usher in warmer weather than with grilled Five-Spice Beef Kabobs.

This finger-friendly appetizer or main dish stars marinated flank steak that’s seared and then served hot with a tangy yogurt dipping sauce. I’ve added a few twists of my own to the original recipe, so read on for step-by-step instructions, plus tips for how to skip the grill in favor of a grill pan.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

I’m a big fan of bold steak marinades, so I’d recommend kicking up the original marinade recipe with my simple updates and additions:

  • Increase the soy sauce to 1/4 cup
  • Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Add 2 teaspoons honey

I opted to marinate the skewers for two hours, which guarantees a bigger flavor contribution from the soy sauce and garlic.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

The secret to extra-tender beef skewers is to lightly flatten the steak with a meat tenderizer. This added step ensures the skewers will cook evenly and at the same rate. And rather than grill the skewers on an outdoor grill, I opted to use a grill pan right atop my stove. Simply sear the kabobs for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they reach your desired degree of doneness.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

A beef kabob just wouldn’t be a beef kabob without a dipping sauce to match. Cool off the heat from the skewers with this simple yogurt dip, and up the crunch factor by stirring in 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers for a refreshing bite.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Ready to dip and dunk? Celebrate spring with this quick and easy recipe for Five-Spice Beef Kabobs.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Artichoke Flatbreads

I’m always on the hunt for finger-friendly appetizer inspiration, so when I came across this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread, I knew this easy, cheesy dish would be making an appearance at my next dinner party.

Artichoke Flatbread

Sure enough, this recipe delivered big on flavor and on ease of preparation, which is critical when it comes to entertaining a room full of guests without breaking a sweat.

Flatbread, much like its culinary cousin pizza, leaves the door wide open for customization. You can keep it as simple or as complex as your palate desires. I used this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread as a starting point, but decided that it wasn’t quite warm enough yet to break out the grill. And thus, oven-toasted flatbreads all around!

Artichoke Flatbread

I swapped peppery arugula for spinach, tossed in a few black olives, added a hearty shower of Parmesan as a garnish, and left the pizza seasonings behind in favor of a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

To cook the flatbreads in the oven, rather than on the grill, simply preheat your oven to 375ºF and then continue with the original recipe by first brushing one side of the flatbreads with olive oil and placing them on a baking sheet.

Artichoke Flatbread

Bake the flatbreads for 5 minutes just until they’re slightly toasted, then remove them from the oven and spread them with the garlic and herb goat cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. You could also use ricotta cheese mixed with chopped fresh herbs.

Artichoke Flatbread

Next comes the fun part and is a great time to get your tiniest of taste testers involved in the making of their next meal. Scatter your choice of toppings over the goat cheese. I used marinated artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes and sliced olives. Return the flatbreads to the oven and bake for 5 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Artichoke Flatbread

Rather than add the greens to the flatbreads prior to baking, I topped the flatbreads with dressed arugula for additional flavor. Simply toss the arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or whatever salad dressing you have on hand), then pile them high atop the toasty flatbreads.

Artichoke Flatbread

And there you have it! All it takes is 20 minutes or less to go from a raw ingredients to this eye-popping perfection. Best of all, this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread is a great way to make the most of leftover odds and ends in the fridge and pantry. Easy and economical? Count me in!

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Michael Wurm, Jr.

Ranch Deviled Eggs

With Easter just around the corner, I decided it was time to start experimenting with some recipes for the holiday. While classically delicious dishes are always served on holidays, I think it’s also fun to throw in a few new items to tantalize the taste buds.

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite little appetizers, especially this time of year. So when I saw this fun recipe for Ranch Deviled Eggs, I couldn’t resist giving them a try. Using some of the egg whites and Greek yogurt in the filling, also makes these eggs a little easier on the waistline.

Even with these few changes, these guys are packed with flavor thanks to the herbs and a packet of ranch dressing mix in the filling. I also love the fact that this recipe takes into account the extra filling you tend to have when making deviled eggs. As you can see in my pictures, I used some small sweet peppers for my extra filling. You could also try Roma tomatoes sliced in half with the seeds removed.

I kept the original recipe pretty much the same, but with one little tweak.Since I’m one of those weird people who’s not crazy about cilantro I substituted fresh basil. I think the flavor combination works just as nicely.

I also sprinkled chopped basil over the top for garnish. These eggs are the perfect little treat to kick off any springtime meal. You can get the recipe for Ranch Deviled Eggs here.

What’s your favorite spring-inspired dish?

Happy Cooking,
Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: The Comfort of Cooking

Well, hello there! Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking here to bring you a fresh, delicious weeknight-friendly spin on traditional pizzas with pita bread, tomatoes, olives and parsley. Pile those all on top of a quick ‘n easy homemade meat sauce, feta and mozzarella, and dinner is served! Doesn’t feta just make it bettah?

Anyway, onto the good stuff…

In my house, we’re always looking for light and easy recipes to carry us throughout the week. The criteria? Big flavor, but no fuss and no big messes to clean up. Enter these Greek Pita Pizzas from BHG’s archive of delicious recipes!

These pita pizzas were fabulous – packed with fresh Mediterranean flavors, simple to make, and so darn pretty to look at. They were just the easy, healthy dose of color and flavor we’ve been needing to add to our dinnertime routine!

What I love about this recipe is how adaptable it is, too! For the sauce, you can use whatever ground meat you like (including lamb, turkey, chicken, or even Italian sausage), or just omit it altogether for veggie-friendly pizzas. And, if you’re really pressed for time, just use a store bought pizza sauce as your base.

If you ask me, though, the sauce really makes these scrumptious pizzas worthwhile! Don’t even get me started on the aroma as it bubbles on the stovetop. Pure comfort.

For weeknights that call for fast, fresh and easy, a batch of Greek Pita Pizzas is the perfect choice. I can’t wait to have friends over for dinner on our deck this spring, where I’ll serve up these pizzas! With a big green salad and a glass of chilled white wine, these would make such an ideal al fresco meal. Even if you’re dining indoors, these colorful and delicious pizzas can’t help giving you that sunshine-y feeling!

Grab yourself some pitas, fresh veggies, cheese and olives, and give these pita pizzas a go this weekend. I know you’ll absolutely love them – we sure did!