Category Archives: Appetizers

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

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A simple appetizer that everyone will love. Alright, my friend Sandra who hates seafood won’t like it, but everyone else will. You can wrap the shrimp a few hours in advance, just be sure to keep them covered and in the coldest part of your fridge while waiting to bake.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound Shrimp that is peeled and divined, tails still attached.
12 oz Bacon
1/3 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder

TOOLS:
Cooling rack
Cookie sheet

How crispy do you want your bacon to be? Using the oven, bake the bacon 3/4 of the way done to your preference, figure up to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Shrimp cook very quickly so the bacon won’t have much time to finish. Depending on the size of your shrimp, cut the bacon strips into 3 or 4 pieces each. The pieces should wrap around each shrimp twice.

Combine the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Pat the shrimp dry. Sprinkle the salt mixture over the shrimp as needed.

Seasoned Shrimp

Wrap each shrimp with a piece of bacon. If you make sue the ends are on the bottom when you lay them on the cooling rack there will be no need for toothpicks.

All Wrapped Up

Bake the shrimp for another 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on them, the shrimp are ready when they have an orangish pink to them and the bacon is crispy.

Are you drooling yet?

Serve hot from the oven on a platter as an appetizer. Or, place them onto a green salad for dinner.

Chicken Yakitori

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In Japanese, Yakitori refers to chicken that has been skewered and grilled. Food on a stick always makes it more appealing. Make it a simple recipe and I am there!

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs boneless, skinless, Chicken Breast or Thighs sliced into strips.
1 c Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tbs crushed Garlic
1 Tbs Ginger Powder
1/4 tsp Chili Oil
2 Tbs Toasted Sesame Seeds

Makes 12 good portion skewers

Combine all ingredients except chicken into a zipper bag and mix thoroughly. The chili oil adds only a touch of heat to the dish.

Add the chicken and push as much air as possible out of the bag and zip close. Smoosh the bag till the chicken has been completely coated and the marinade covers all the meat. Allow to sit in the fridge up to 3 hours. It does not hurt to occasionally flip the bag.

Soak skewers in water. If you skip this step they WILL burn! Slip the chicken strips onto the skewers and cook. When putting sliced meat on skewers I always follow the rule of THREE. The skewer must go through the meat at least 3 times. Especially when grilling, it prevents the meat from slipping off.

You have 2 options for cooking the chicken. The grill is preferred as it does add depth of flavor. Grill over medium heat, making sure to have lightly oiled the grate first. If using the oven, cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. This batch was baked because a wind storm picked up when I was about ready to start up the coals.

Do not reuse the marinade as a dipping sauce! If you want a dipping sauce, reserve 1/4 cup and heat before serving.

While this time I used the recipe as a main dish, smaller versions can be made and used as appetizers. Using smaller skewers and a bite or 2 worth of chicken makes it easily adaptable. This recipe creates a good sized meal. I have found one thing with my family, no matter how much meat is on a skewer, everyone wants 2. If you are going for smaller portions, simply slice the meat thinner and your family might not notice.

I have been known to make this in advance and place the marinating chicken in the freezer. As it thaws the meat marinates and is ready to cook.

MEALS IN ADVANCE: Basic Meatballs

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What could be wrong with a delicate ball of meat? Such a versatile food they can be used as appetizers, Swedish Meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs, on spaghetti or even meatball soup. If you can master a basic meatball you have so many dinner possibilities at your fingertips. I have seen many recipes that call for Parmesan cheese but I can never taste it, so why add it? I make meatballs to be flavorful, but simple enough they can be used in a variety of dishes.

INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds lean Ground Meat
1 c Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 Tb Dried Basil
2 Tb Dried Oregano
1 Tb Salt
1 Tb Pepper
1 Tb finely Minced Garlic
1/4 c Milk
3 Eggs

uses:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Meatball Subs
Meatball Soup
Swedish Meatballs
BBQ Appetizers

In a large bowl, whip the eggs and milk together. Add all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Fold in the ground meat. In this case I used lean hamburger, but you can easily substitute turkey or chicken. If you are going to use sausage, cut back on the herbs as they will already be present in the meat. While you want the wet mixture thoroughly incorporated, over handling the ground meat will create meatballs that are not as fluffy

Using a small scoop, make small mounds of the mixed meat and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Once all the meatballs have been scooped out, roll them in your hands. They should be as round as you can get them. The meat need to be firmly packed without being smooshed which is accomplished with gentle pressure. The mounds on the right have been rolled. One can see how the mounds on the left have little bits sticking out that would get overcooked in the oven.

Place the baking pan in the oven on the middle rack at 350 degrees. In 15 minutes shake the pan or use a spatula to move the meatballs around a little.

In another 10 minutes, remove from the oven and drain on a paper towel. If you formed larger meatballs, they will take longer. They should have good color and be firm.

Remove meatballs to a paper towel for a minute to absorb any excess grease. Allow to cool completely on a plate. You cannot skimp on this step! If they are still hot the stem will condense in the bag and form ice crystals ones placed in the freezer. This leads to freezer burn and yucky tasting meatballs. If you find you did seal them up too soon, once they are frozen shake the bag into a strainer. Shake the strainer and all the frost will fall out and you can reseal the meatballs back in the freezer bag. In a Ziplock bag they are good up to 2 months in the freezer.