By Angie Sutton, www.mothersapronstrings.com
My kids love referring to these as “happytizers” because it likely means they get to eat them more quickly and the “grab and go” eating style fits their energy. I like having appetizers like the cucumber bites handy in the refrigerator as well large bowls of cut up veggies to go with a homemade dip. These noshes satisfy the need to quick food and helps avoid the temptation of snacking on less healthy bagged chips.
Fresh Cucumber Bites
The farmer’s markets are cropping up and I couldn’t pass up the table with early season cucumbers. This appetizer is fresh and light with a hint of dill.
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced into half-inch slices
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (4-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. ranch dressing
1 Tbsp. fresh dill
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
1. Remove middle of the cucumber with a half teaspoon measuring spoon.
2. Combine softened cream cheese, mayonnaise and ranch dressing. Mix until smooth in texture.
3. Add dill and garlic salt and mix just until combined.
4. Place the topping into a piping bag with a star attachment and pipe out about a 3/4 Tbsp. into each prepared cucumber.
5. Insert cherry tomato half into each cucumber topping.
6. Sprinkle with black pepper, serve and enjoy.
Apron Strings Tips: Pat the cucumber slices dry with a paper towel to get the topping to stick. Prepare the cucumbers in advance and refrigerate up to 4 hours. If fresh dill is not available, dried dill will work.
Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs
Serve these cute little dippers with condiments like ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce or mayonnaise. Turkey or chicken meatballs work as well as spicy meatballs. The kids really go for these and like to thread their own toppings.
1 (26-oz.) pkg. frozen homestyle meatballs
Sliced American cheese, cut in fourths
1 (16-oz.) pkg. bacon, browned and cut into pieces
1 head lettuce, cut into small pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1. Bake meatballs according to package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, prepare remaining ingredients.
3. Thread your desired toppings (minus the cheese) in order on cocktail toothpicks.
4. When the meatballs are done baking, top each meatball with a small slice of cheese and place back in the oven for three minutes to melt the cheese.
5. Poke the already stacked skewer into the meatball, plate and serve.
Garlic Parm Tater Wedges
Ranch or blue cheese dressing makes a great dip for these wedges.
3 to4 large russet potatoes, sliced into wedges
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle wedges with shredded parmesan cheese tossing to evenly coat.
3. In a small bowl whisk together salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle on wedges.
4. Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden.
Apron Strings Tip: Double this recipe because the kids will go crazy for it!
Avocado Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
This dip is perfect with fresh veggies like carrot sticks and sliced red and green peppers.
1 c. fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 (.74 oz) package Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dips Ranch Mix
1. Using a fork, mash avocado with lime juice until nearly smooth (for a smoother dip process all ingredients in a food processor until well blended and smooth).
2. In a mixing bowl, combine mashed avocado mixture, Greek yogurt and Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dips Mix until well blended. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours.
Apron Strings Tip: Store dip in refrigerator in an airtight container up to 2 days.