What better way to embrace springtime than by cooking with the fresh produce you've been growing in your garden? As this new season greets you and your family members, you'll be spending more time enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. And let's face it, throwing the perfect outdoor get-together is nothing without providing delicious appetizers!
Don't let your fresh veggies go to waste. Instead, cook up a few of these delicious appetizers for your next friend and family get-together!
1. Lemony White-Bean Hummus
This flavorful dip courtesy of Martha Stewart Living pairs perfectly with pita. Or, you could serve it with the spring vegetables you've been growing in your garden this season!
- 15 ounces white beans
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove
- Salt to taste
First, drain your can of white beans and reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid for the mixture.
Simply blend beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and reserved bean liquid in a food processor until it reaches a smooth consistency. Season with salt if necessary. Serve with pita chips and veggies such as carrots, radishes and snap peas. Your friends will love your use of fresh ingredients from the garden!
2. Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta
This appetizer from AllRecipes makes the perfect sweet and salty dish for a spring day.
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 12 slices Italian bread
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 pound strawberries
- 2 tsp. thyme leaves
- 1 cup goat cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, wash and dice strawberries. Combine with thyme in a small bowl and set aside.
Then, using a small skillet, warm up the balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat. Keep temperature up until the vinegar reduces to half - this should take about 10 minutes. Remove vinegar from heat and set aside to cool down to room temperature.
Prepare a foil-lined baking sheet with olive oil for bread slices. Set grill to high heat and cook bread until browned - this should take about 3 minutes per side.
Spread goat cheese on bread. Then, add black pepper, salt and reduced vinegar to strawberry and thyme, mixing well. Spoon combination over goat cheese and garnish with thyme. Enjoy this sweet treat with your loved one all spring!
3. Stir-Fry Chicken Lettuce Cups
Create the perfect savory appetizer for your guests with this recipe from Epicurious. Each one is only 168 calories, making for a fresh and healthy treat!
- 16 large lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs - minced
- 2 scallions - minced
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 ounce shiitake mushrooms - stemmed and minced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 1 tsp. ginger - peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup roasted cashews - chopped
First, wash lettuce leaves and drain well. Arrange on a large platter for preparation - you can also use this dish for serving.
In a medium bowl, mix chicken, scallion, soy sauce and cornstarch. Set aside and let marinade in room temperature setting for about 10 minutes.
Then, heat peanut oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, garlic and ginger, stirring continuously as the ingredients cook. Add chicken mixture and cook until gold brown - this should take about 4 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.
Fill each lettuce leaf with equal parts chicken mixture and garnish with cashews. Use chili sauce to coat or leave in a bowl for dipping. Enjoy this fulfilling dish after spending a day of fun in the sun with friends!
4. Crab and Avocado Toast
This spring-inspired recipe from Food & Wine makes the perfect bite-size appetizer to satisfy your guests.
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 slices thin bread
- 2 avocados
- 4 ounces crab meat
- 1 Tbsp. chopped mint
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
First, heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large baking sheet with olive oil.
Then, using a biscuit cutter - or a cup with a 2-inch circumference - punch four perfect circles out of each slice of bread. Transfer circles onto baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Place in the oven and toast until slightly crisp and golden - this should take about 15 minutes. Once the time is up, set aside to cool.
Using a small mixing bowl, mash avocados with a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt. In a different bowl, combine crab meat, mint, lime juice and salt to taste. Spread mixture on toast and serve immediately to make sure toast stays nice and crisp. This dish will make your guests crave seafood until the season has ended!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living