Category Archives: Appetizers

Dips, chips and hors d’oeuvres.

Roasted Peppers and Shaved Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Personal Pizzas

Pizza is one of my favorite comfort foods, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy.  For dinner last night I made two personal pizzas from scratch in 30 minutes.

The pizza on the left (above) is one that my mom always made for us as a snack.  The red sauce is substituted with basil pesto, which is then layered with thinly sliced red and yellow sweet peppers.  We use feta cheese because it compliments the pesto.  I’m not exactly sure why to be honest, but I like the creaminess of the cheese with the herb flavors from the pesto.

Recently I have started to slowly go gluten free.  This is not for weight loss, but there are many other health benefits to reducing your gluten intake or going completely off gluten.  This is a highly controversial argument that I do not want to get into now, but for this reason I have substituted a traditional pizza crust with sprouted corn tortillas for both pizzas.  If you love flatbread than this is the move for you.  The crunch is phenomenal.

The pizza on the right (above) was inspired by my newly discovered love of brussels sprouts.  I think this is rather ironic because two months ago I would not touch the stuff.  I mean,  come on, they smell a little on the sulphuric side if you catch my drift (pun intended).

If you’re not a brussels sprouts fan yet, you must try shaving your brussels.  This is a fancy term for slicing them thinly.  I only used about 4-5 brussels because the tortilla is relatively small.  Since brussels sprouts (the “s’s” keep throwing me off) take longer to cook than peppers, I sautéed them in coconut oil over medium-low heat until they were a little brown, about 10 minutes give or take.

I also used pesto for the sauce on this pizza because  I love pesto, and who knew, but brussels taste amazing with pesto.  Here, I layered on the feta cheese before the other toppings because there are no rules when you are making a pizza.  Next, the brussels sprouts go on top.  Try to spread them out as much as possible so they roast in the oven a little more.  That will give the sprouts a nice caramelized look and flavor.

Once you have assembled your pizzas, pop those babies into the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Every oven is different so you will want to look for more brown on your sprouts and softened peppers.  The next time I do this, I think I would roast the peppers a few minutes before assembly because they were not done roasting when the sprouts were, although the pizzas were still both delicious.

The final step is to drizzle the brussels sprouts pizza with a little balsamic, and eat!

If you have any questions about the gluten free diet or options feel free to contact me.  I love a good foodie chat.

Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa

Spring is in the air in Wisconsin. The forecast for Sunday says 60 degrees, and I fully plan on celebrating the return of the sun. What a better way to ease back into warmer weather with a refreshing salsa made from blueberries?

There are signs of spring in Madison, WI
There are signs of spring in Madison, WI

I love this recipe because it really hits the trifecta of flavors combining sweet, savory and spicy in one dish.

This recipe was originally inspired from Meg from A Dash of Meg, but I tweaked the ingredients a little bit.

You will need:

1 1/2 c of fresh blueberries

1/2 lime

1/2 jalapeño

1 clove of garlic

3 T minced onion (or to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Normally chunky is good, but last night I was in the mood for something a little more smooth so I decided to chop all of the blueberries.  Meg advises to leave some blueberries whole.  I thought it might be challenging to keep a whole blueberry on a chip, but in retrospect my problems would have easily been solved with Scoops (the ultimate party chip).

I think the next time I make this recipe I will leave some jalapeño seeds in for added spice, but originally I deseeded and finely chopped 1/2 a jalapeño.

Next, add 1 clove of minced garlic, the onion and the juice of 1/2 a lime.  Lastly, add salt to taste.

These measurements may need to be adjusted to personal preference.  It was difficult to balance out the sweetness of the blueberries, the spiciness of the jalapeño and the savory combo of the lime juice and salt.  However, your hard work (of taste testing) will pay off because this is one of the most addicting and refreshing salsas I have ever tried.

If you don’t love blueberries as much as I do you can also substitute some berries with diced peach or mango.  Imagine this on top of your next fish taco. Yum. I might have to make fish tacos now.

 

*** Recipe serves two people

Savory Baked Yams and Roasted Asparagus

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As a full-time college student, sometimes I find myself in a vegetable root.  Between late nights studying in the library and rushing from class to class, I just want comfort food, especially in the depth of a Wisconsin winter.

How exactly do you define “comfort food”?  I would say hot — because it’s about ten degrees outside —   cheesy, creamy and buttery.  Yes that definitely covers it.

What if I told you this dish has all the comfort without the extra fat of traditional cheesy, creamy and buttery foods?

Here is what you need to recreate this comforting winter snack or appetizer:

Baked Yams

  • 1 yam per person
  • Foil

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus per person
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Feta cheese (or preferred topping)

I love looking at a short recipe list, and this dish is as simple as it appears.

  1. Turn the oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the yam to remove dirt and pierce a few times with a fork.  Wrap in foil so the top of the yam is still exposed.  Place the yam on the middle rack.  Set the time for 80 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the white end of the asparagus (by snapping off the hard end) and toss the leftover heads in olive oil.  Arrange the asparagus heads on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. When the yam has about 20 minutes left, put the asparagus in the oven as close to the middle rack as possible (beneath the yams).
  4. Let cool for about ten minutes before serving.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and feta cheese, then serve.