Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category


Sweet-and-Sour Potluck Meatballs

January 23, 2014

Have you heard of Amy Thielen and her book, The New Midwestern Table? I enjoyed watching the first season of her show, Heartland Table, on the Food Network. I haven’t made any of the recipes she made on the show, but when I saw this meatball recipe, it went on my short list of new recipes to try.


They aren’t going to win a beauty contest, but you won’t care about that when you start popping them into your mouth. The peanuts, scallions, and carrots add a nice texture to the meatballs, and the tangy Asian flavors in the sauce keep you coming back for more. With only two of us in the house, we were eating meatballs for days, but we didn’t get tired of them, and I plan to make them again soon.

I made a few changes based on my preferences. My version was delicious, and I have no doubt that the original version is also fantastic.

Sweet-and-Sour Potluck Meatballs

Adapted from Amy Thielen’s recipe here

Note: Make sure that the crushed/chopped/minced items are very small; the meatballs are small, so you want to avoid large pieces of ingredients.

1 pound (16 oz) lean ground pork
1/2 pound (8 oz) extra-lean ground turkey
1/3 cup crushed dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 loosely-packed cup parsley (including stems), finely chopped
4 scallions, green and white parts, minced
3/4 cup finely grated carrots
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
Fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 Tablespoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Mix in a large bowl with your hands: pork, turkey, peanuts, panko, egg, parsley, carrots, scallions, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Roll into Tablespoon-sized meatballs and arrange on baking sheets, leaving a little space between the meatballs. You should get about 45-50 meatballs. Bake about 15 minutes, until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, pour the tomatoes with their juice into a food processor and process until smooth. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, the brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, the remaining 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce and the fish sauce. Simmer, stirring often, and scraping the sides, until the sauce has reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lime juice and season with salt.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook, stirring often, over medium-high heat until the meatballs are glazed with the sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. (At this point you can keep the meatballs warm in a crock pot.) Serve with toothpicks.


Artichoke-Olive Dip

November 27, 2013

It’s green!

artichoke-olive dip

I’ve made this recipe twice: once as crostini, as the original recipe is written, and another time as a dip served with pita chips. Either way, it tastes great. And it’s crazy-quick to make! Olives, artichoke hearts, capers, garlic, and olive oil go into the food processor, and a couple of pulses later, it’s ready to eat. I used pimento-stuffed olives; the little red bits add some nice color.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy snack or appetizer, the recipe is here on Smitten Kitchen.


Spicy Mixed Nuts

December 18, 2012


With sweets galore this time of year, how about a savory treat to nibble on? These Spicy Mixed Nuts are great for a party snack or for a homemade gift.

After trying a new recipe for sweet and spicy nuts that didn’t turn out great, I went back to this Martha Stewart recipe that I made years ago, and adapted it for the nuts I had on hand and a combination of spices that sounded good to me (the spices were inspired by the recipe that didn’t turn out so great).  These are full of savory goodness and just a bit of heat, which of course you can control by using more or less cayenne. Get creative and tweak the recipe to use the nuts and spices that you like.

Spicy mixed nuts

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Spiced Nuts

1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar (I went easy on the sugar and used a little less than 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups unsalted nuts (I used pecans, cashews, peanuts)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, beat egg white until soft and foamy. Mix in sugar and spices. Stir in nuts until well coated; spread mixture in single layer onto a 9×13″ baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and toss, stir, and separate nuts. Reduce oven to 250 degrees and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss, and stir again. Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any that stick together.

Girls’ Night, featuring Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and more!

January 15, 2012

Last night I had some friends over to watch a movie, chat, and eat. While I was planning what to make and making my grocery list, I saw this recipe for Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee, and immediately put it on the menu. I’m a sucker for sweet and salty, and if the salty component involves pretzels, all the better. It’s so easy to make, and dangerously tasty.

I didn’t want to serve just one dessert, so I also made Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. I saw these cookies in Real Simple Magazine and was intrigued by a variation that called for mixing in 1 cup of broken pretzel pieces and 1 cup of chopped chocolate-covered toffee bar after mixing the other ingredients (the variation was in the magazine, but is not included in the recipe that I linked to). I made the recipe that way the first time and it was delicious. This time, since I already had a pretzel dessert on the menu, I added mini chocolate chips, which was also delicious. How the heck these end up looking and tasting like cookies amazes me, but they’re good, so I’m not going to question it.

And there was cotton candy!

Last summer, my friends found out that I had a cotton candy maker, so I knew the next time I had them over, I better serve cotton candy. My husband is the expert cotton candy spinner, so we let him do the work! I don’t make cotton candy very often, but it’s a fun activity once in a while.

It sounds like this was an all-dessert gathering, but it wasn’t. Actually, the star of the show was Pioneer Woman’s Olive Cheese Bread. Oh my gosh, this was an olivey, cheesy, buttery delight. The full recipe makes a ton, so its good for a gathering, plus there’s a tip for freezing it at the end of the recipe. I sent my friends home with some extra bread and topping so they could assemble and bake their own at home.

I’m a little sad that I gave away all the leftovers of the Olive Cheese Bread, but not too sad, because I have leftover Baked Chicken Meatballs. When I was thinking about what to make, I somehow got fixated on meatballs. I’m not sure if I’ve ever made meatballs of any kind before; if I did, it was a long time ago. So where the meatball idea came from, I don’t know, but I took a look on Smitten Kitchen and decided on these. I made them appetizer size (about 1 tablespoon each) and got 30 meatballs. They tasted great!

I didn’t get photos of the savory food, but if you click over to the recipes, you’ll see photos that are a whole lot nicer than what I would have taken. I also made Baked Potato Skins with Creamy Spinach and Turkey Bacon, which I’ve written about before, and Pioneer Woman’s Sangria, which I’ve also written about. We would have had a good time even without all of the food, but I enjoyed making it and they enjoyed eating it, so I think girls’ night was a success!


Butter Toffee Nuts with Sea Salt

December 18, 2011

I branched out from my go-to nut recipes this Christmas and made these Butter Toffee Nuts with Sea Salt that I saw in O Magazine. Crunchy, sweet, and salty with a touch of nutmeg.  Great for giving as gifts or for serving to guests, but make some extras for nibbling!

Recipe notes

  • I used pecans, walnuts, and cashews.
  • I didn’t sprinkle with additional salt.
  • It takes a while for the sugar to caramelize, but keep stirring and it will happen. As the recipe explains, the mixture will become dry and powdery and then will melt and become glossy. It goes quickly at the end, so take care not to burn it.
  • The recipe provides amounts for a standard batch and a large batch. The large batch is really large: 6 cups of sugar and 15 cups of nuts. You would need a really large pan to make the large batch!

Baked Potato Skins with Spinach and Vegetable Samosas in Phyllo

January 2, 2011

Happy new year! Here are a couple of delicious recipes I made for our new year’s eve at home. They’re both on the lighter side of things: the samosas are baked rather than deep-fried, and the potato skins are filled with spinach rather than melted cheese. Keep these healthy snack ideas in mind for your next gathering, or do what I did and serve them as the main dish for dinner. As an added bonus, if you make both of these at the same time, the potato that you scoop out of the skins can be used in the filling for the samosas.

The recipe for the potato skins is here on the Weight Watchers site.These were really good, though I agree with many of the reviews that suggest adding a little onion or garlic, nutmeg or hot pepper. There’s a whole lot of spinach going on here!

  • This recipe makes a ton of spinach filling. 20 oz is two boxes of frozen chopped spinach. The Yukon Gold potatoes I used were pretty small, and it took six of them (12 halves) to hold all of the filling.
  • I added about 1/2 teaspoon of paprika to the filling.
  • I used real bacon rather than turkey bacon, purely because I went for the convenience of precooked bacon. With a tiny bit of bacon on each potato half, I don’t think it makes a huge impact. Turkey or veggie bacon would be good, or you could skip it all together.
  • OK, one more not-as-healthy change: these were really good with a little bit of sour cream (I used light) on top. Again, just a dab will do, and it adds nice flavor and moisture, as well as making it look more attractive.

The recipe for samosas is from Cooking Light and you can find the recipe here. The phyllo bakes up nice and crunchy with just a brush of oil. Inside is a soft filling of potatoes, peas, and carrots, with fragrant Indian spices.

  • I did not make the mint chutney; instead I made a dipping sauce from the New Moosewood Cookbook (recipe below). Mint chutney doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, and I’d made the dipping sauce before and knew that I liked it. As a side note, Moosewood’s recipe for samosas is also really good, but I love the addition of carrots in the Cooking Light recipe.
  • Once you get the hang of folding the samosas, it’s not hard to do. I won’t tell you how long it took me to get the hang of it, though!

Dipping Sauce for Samosas
From the New Moosewood Cookbook

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 small glove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Heat to boiling, then simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. It will reduce slightly, but this is a thin sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature with hot samosas. I suggest giving each person a small bowl of the dipping sauce so they can double-dip!


Cinnamon Almonds and Holiday Baking

December 13, 2010

This weekend I did some baking so that I’d have treats to give to friends I’ll be seeing this week. I flipped through my recipe binder and saw a recipe for Cinnamon Glazed Almonds that I clipped from a magazine many years ago. Since then, the Internet was invented, so now you can go here to find the recipe. Neat!

I like to make things that are easy to package, and that will last a little while. These almonds fit the bill. They were also as tasty as I remember them from their pre-Internet days.

Recipe notes

  • I made two batches of these and didn’t get the egg whites to form stiff peaks either time, but they turned out just fine.
  • I added one teaspoon of vanilla and mixed it in with the mixer just before folding in the cinnamon and almonds.
  • I wouldn’t call these “glazed” – they get a crunchy coating and kind of look like moon rocks (see below).
  • Don’t toss out the bits of coating that remain in the pan! I sprinkled some on a bowl of oatmeal and it rocked my morning.

Tried-and-true treats that my friends will find in their goody bags this year:

Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti. This time I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and it was the best batch yet. I recommend making two 12″x2″ logs instead of one 12″x4″ log.

Dog biscuits. It’s nice to treat your best friend’s best friend.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn. This is my all-time favorite!


Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

January 6, 2010

I’ve been making Peanut Butter Caramel Corn for quite a few years. It’s easy to make and very addictive! The peanut butter is a nice twist on the classic caramel corn flavor.

I made a batch and gave some away to friends over the holidays. One of them is a long time fan of this and was very happy when I handed him a bag. My other friend hadn’t had it before, but she took it home with her to North Carolina and served it at a party and reported back that her guests loved it. The rest of the batch which was sitting in my kitchen also disappeared quickly! I gave this recipe to Michele at Veggie Num Nums and she made it too. Check out her post to see what she thought of it, and to see the other great-looking caramel corn she made!

You can use your favorite method of making popcorn: stove, microwave, air popper. You just want some plain popcorn to use as a base. I’ve been using a Presto Power Pop for years and I love it. It pops corn in the microwave without oil, plus it has Orville Redenbacher’s autograph on the lid! (No extra charge for that!) There is a cardboard cup that sits in the bottom of the popper. Each cup can be used many times, so it’s not expensive to keep the popper going.

Image from

The recipe came from a library book, but it’s been so many years that I don’t know the name of the book anymore, so unfortunately I can’t give it proper credit. The original recipe name is Peanut Butter Candied Corn.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

4 quarts popped popcorn (16 cups)
12 ounces lightly salted peanuts*
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

*I like to use regular dry roasted peanuts; use no-salt, low-salt, or regular to suit your tastes

Preheat oven to 250º F. Combine popcorn and peanuts in a large roasting pan (I divide between 2 9 x 13″ pans, sprayed with non-stick spray). In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until smooth. Strin in baking soda (mixture will foam). Pour over popcorn mixture; stir until well coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on wax paper, parchment, a silicone mat, or lightly greased foil to cool. Store in an airtight container.


Cumin Curried Hummus and a Thank You

April 17, 2009

Mmmmm. Hummus.


But before I get to the recipe, I want to say thank you to Michele of Veggie Num Nums. She had a giveaway on her site and I won! I am now the proud owner of a cupcake tote and cupcake cookbook. The tote is awesome, because I can stack up to 36 cupcakes, put them in lockdown, and transport them safely to their destination. Thank you Michele! Check out her site for some great vegetarian and vegan recipes, along with Tuesdays With Dorie goodies and some cute animal pictures.

OK, on to the hummus. It is a food processor recipe, and I know a lot of people grumble about using their food processors, but this is so good and will save so much money over store bought hummus, it’s worth it! I have made it with a stick blender and it works, but it will be chunkier.

I love dipping pretzels into this, but raw veggies are a smart choice, and Kashi TLC Original 7-Grain crackers are also a delicious dipper. Or spread it onto a sandwich. Perhaps a sandwich made with homemade pita bread!

This makes a lot. I like having a vat of hummus in the fridge, but you may want to cut this in half if you don’t want quite so much.

Cumin Curried Hummus

from Cooking Light: link to their recipe is here.

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 3  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1  tablespoon  curry powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cumin seeds (I use a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin)
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice (I’ve been known to use bottled)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add curry and cumin; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Place garlic mixture, water, and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

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