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Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

I have now made this dip twice. It is beyond incredible! Creamy, garlicky, cheesy, rich and loaded with shrimp. If there is anything left over you can use it as a topping on baked fish as well, which I did! Still incredible. If you don’t like shrimp or garlic stay away. Once you start eating this you can’t stop either so be prepared. The first time I made it we had a friend over for cocktails and snacks, this friend is a chef by the way. He was blown away by it. So it’s officially my new dip. It is best served with tortilla chips or pita chips. Even thin crostini would be great or crackers. I used greek yogurt cream cheese the first time I made it. It’s a mix of greek yogurt with cream cheese and fewer calories than regular cream cheese. But it’s just as good with regular cream cheese which I used the 2nd time. The recipe also calls for a shallot, which I didn’t have the first time I made it so I used 1/2 of a Vidalia sweet onion. I also used light mayonnaise but feel free to use regular.

Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

INGREDIENTS:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese of choice (cut up into cubes)

10-12 oz. medium cooked shrimp, chopped into chunks. (2-3 chunks per shrimp)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped

2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (feel free to use more cheese also)

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (more if you like a lot of garlic!)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Basil leaf for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the shrimp, spinach, shallot, and garlic.

Stir gently until the shallot is translucent and the spinach is wilted. This should take about 5 minutes, making sure all the ingredients are heated through.

Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and the cream cheese and mix well.

Put mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. 8×8 or larger. Anything is good as long as it’s large enough to hold it all. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and bubbling.

Garnish with a basil leave. Serve hot/warm!

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Shrimp Egg Rolls

Today is all about me venturing into the realm of the large wonton wrappers! Yes I have now graduated from the small ones to the big ones! I have to admit, I was a little scared of not rolling them right, or having the filling ooze all over the place. But my fears were for naught!

 I had seen this recipe on an episode of Hungry Girl and I figured it looked easy enough so I tried it! They were such a success I made them two nights in a row for dinner! Yes, they are usually an appetizer but who says they have to be? Now this recipe calls for scallions and bean sprouts. I was out of both of them so I left them out in this batch. Still came out awesome! The best part of this recipe is that they are baked, not fried! Saves a ton of calories (each roll is about 100 calories) and they still come out crispy and yummy! 

I ended up using the whole package in two days so I have to restock my supply of large wrappers. Remember you can find them in the produce department in the Asian section. Even Walmart’s produce section has them! They are so easy to make and you can substitute anything you want in them. Not a fan of shrimp? Use chopped cooked chicken or chopped cooked pork. These are great for getting rid of leftovers in the refrigerator! Just make them into an egg roll!

I doubled the original recipe (it was an accident actually so I made it work) therefore, this makes a lot of filling. I got about 20 egg rolls out of it. No leftovers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag coleslaw mix (12-16 oz.)

8 oz. cooked and chopped shrimp

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

½ cup bean sprouts, chopped

4 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced widthwise

3-4 tablespoons reduced-sodium or lite soy sauce

2 teaspoons crushed garlic (I used 4 cloves)

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

Several dashes black pepper

sesame seeds, optional

20 large square egg roll/wonton wrappers

Sauces for dipping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Put slaw mix into a large microwave-safe bowl with 4 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Drain any excess water. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the wrappers of course). Mix well and set aside. You can set it in the fridge to marinate for about 20 minutes for a better flavor.
  3. Using a large baking sheet spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Using a clean, dry surface place a wonton wrapper. Evenly distribute about ½ cup of the mixture onto the wrapper, just below center, in a row.
  5. Moisten all four edges of the wrapper by dabbing your fingers in water and running them around the edges smoothly. This will help the wrappers stick better.
  6. Fold the sides of the wrapper about 3/4 inch towards the center. This keeps the mixture from falling out of the sides. Next, roll the bottom of each wrapper up around the mixture and continue rolling until you reach the top. Seal the outside edge with another dab of water. Go slow at first till you get the hang of it. It’s actually pretty easy.
  7. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have made enough rolls. Keep the surface you are working on, dry and clean.
  8. Spray the tops of the egg rolls with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. I baked for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve!

Be very careful as they will be extremely HOT! We cut them in half to let steam out before eating. I also made my own sauce using Mikoto ginger dressing and some soy sauce. Delish! Enjoy!

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Hot Won Ton Bites

Well this past week I decided to finally venture into the won ton appetizer realm. I have to say it was a huge success! These little wrappers are so cute! I made two different ones and the were both a huge hit. The main recipe I used was spinach and artichoke. I got the recipe originally from Kraft Foods and tweaked it. It called for red peppers. Everyone knows I don’t like sweet peppers so I used sun-dried tomato as well. If you want the original “Warm Spinach & Artichoke Cups” click and check it out. The second one I made was a sausage/cream cheese combo. I had two large Italian style chicken sausages and just ground them up and added cream cheese. HUGE HUGE HIT!

The won ton wrappers can be found in pretty much every supermarket. Look in your produce section by the Asian foods. The ones I used are the small square ones. Have fun with these because you can put just about anything into them and bake them! Experiment and have fun! I know I’m getting another package next time I go shopping! And make sure you have at least 2-3 mini muffin tins for these. You can use one but it will take longer.

INGREDIENTS:

24 won ton wrappers

(Spinach & Artichoke)

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/3 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, minced (use less if it’s too much garlic for you!)

(Sausage)

2-3 large chicken sausage, Italian style, ground up (I used the food processor)

1 package (8 oz.) light cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 350º.  Place 1 won ton wrapper into each of 24 mini muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure the edges of wrappers extend over the top of cup. Bake 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients.

2. Once the 5 minutes is up remove from oven. Spoon the mixture into the cups.

3. Bake 12-15 minutes or until filling is heated through and edges of the cups are golden brown. They may need an extra minute or so depending on your oven. Just keep an eye on them. Enjoy!

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Mozzarella Sausage Balls

I found this recipe on the label from a package of mozzarella cheese. It looks like a very simple recipe and  if you use part-skim cheese it saves some calories and fat. Not only is the recipe easy but prep time is only about 15 minutes and cooking time is 10-18 minutes so these will be ready in about 30 minutes! These can be a great snack for a brunch too. I’m all about saving time these days as I am going back to work in the real world and I’ll be looking for ways to save time when making snacks and meals. I’ll also be trying to get back to a healthier diet so I can lose some extra pounds. The recipe calls for hot breakfast sausage. If you can find chicken breakfast sausages you can also save some calories and fat too!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound hot/spicy breakfast sausage (your choice)

16 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, diced into small pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 cup biscuit mix (your choice)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until blended. Form into 1″ balls and place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 375ºF for 10-18 minutes until deep golden brown and cooked through.

Makes 12 servings

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Caponata (Eggplant Salad)

Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable. There’s more to eggplant than eggplant parmigiana. Caponata is served cold on pita bread triangles or crusty bruschetta. It can be used in antipasto as well, again many uses! One of the best things about this little dish is that it can also be frozen! So if you make too much it won’t go to waste. Caponata is primarily a Sicilian pheasant dish but there are many other regional varieties. This is also a great vegetarian dish and healthy one as well! Bonus!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large eggplant

½-¾ cup olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped red onion

8 ounces tomato sauce

½ cup kalamata or black olives, chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut unpeeled eggplant into small cubes after washing well. In a large skillet, heat ½ cup olive oil over medium high heat and add eggplant.

2. Saute until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and red pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are crisp and tender.

3. Add more oil, if necessary. Stir in tomato sauce, olives, vinegar and salt. Simmer uncovered, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate.

Makes about 4 cups

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Homemade Pigs in a Blanket

Yet another party snack that nobody can resist. Pigs in a Blanket are a staple at all  our parties and there are never any leftover. I started making my own once I saw how expensive they were to buy already pre-made. It was insane to say the least. So I started making them myself. They are so simple to make and you can make them the morning of your party and keep in the fridge till you’re ready to bake them. I now use the lower fat crescent rolls as the blanket. I have tried the store brands and they are fine, but Pillsbury still tops them all. I sometimes even get the garlic ones. They are delish! Now Pillsbury has the ‘sheets’ of crescent roll dough without the lines also. But as with anything that makes life easier they cost more. So I stick with the regular crescent roll shapes.

Pigs in a Blanket

INGREDIENTS:

1 package of mini beef hot dogs (Nathans or Hebrew National are the best)

1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent rolls

mustard

non-stick cookie sheets

DIRECTIONS:

1. Open the hot dog package and drain the liquid away from the dogs. It’s better if they are dry for this.

2. Open the crescent rolls and separate the dough into four rectangles. Keep two of the triangles together and press the seams together so they form the rectangle. It’s easier to flip over too and press both sides so there are no gaps. Then slice the rectangle lengthwise in the middle and then make five slices the other way. You should have 10 small pieces of dough for each rectangle.

3. Take a mini hot dog and roll it in a piece of the dough. The dough stretches so don’t worry that it looks too small. It’s better if there isn’t too much dough anyway.

4. Place dogs on a cookie sheet and bake according to the directions on the package. You should check them and maybe cook a little longer till they get to the color you like. If you aren’t going to use them right away, cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge till later!

Makes about 40

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