Super Bowl’s Best Appetizers

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Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. Planning one is never easier. Finger foods and dip recipes are in order. I bet you have the hot wings covered, so lets move into the end zone with some more winning ideas.

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Seriously, it’s not a party unless there is dip. Right? Here is my spicy new spin on the Middle Eastern chickpea puree known as hummus. It takes all of 5 minutes to make in the food processor and really tastes even better if made a day in advance. It can be served with the classic pita chips or if you want to get extra healthy and fancy serve it as a finger food stuffed into those cute little mini peppers. Using the harissa avocado mayo from one of my favorite brands, Chosen Foods, eliminates the need for several other ingredients like oil and spices.

Harissa Hummus

1 clove garlic

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained, liquid reserved (aka: aquafaba)

¼ cup Chosen Foods Harissa avocado oil mayo

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

With food processor fitted with metal blade and running, drop garlic through the feed tube. When garlic is finely chopped turn off machine. Add chick peas; process about 30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients including 1 tablespoon of reserved aquafaba. Process mixture until smooth scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add additional aquafaba to thin mixture to desired dip consistency. Stored covered in refrigerator. 

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Since we all need balance on the field and on the table let’s go from super delicious healthy to super delicious decadence. Let’s face it. Decadence makes us happy. You need this in case your favorite team failed to make the play-offs, so dig in and enjoy yourself.

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Can you say Touchdown! These crispy chili beef spring rolls will have your friends coming over whether they like to watch football or not. Make a batch of your favorite chili. Enjoy some for dinner and set a cup or two aside to cool overnight in the fridge in preparation of these hand-held delights. I love this chili recipe from certified angus beef.

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Spring roll shells (NOT egg roll wrappers) are a must for a light crispy texture. Do you fear deep-frying? If so, the rolls can be shallow fried just by turning them to insure an even golden brown on all sides. Remember to roll them tightly and seal them well to keep all the beef chili goodness inside.

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Crispy Beef Chili Spring Rolls

Make at least 2 per person. For each spring roll you will need:

  • 1 spring roll shell
  • 1 tablespoon shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cold beef chili
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Lay spring roll shell down on flat surface with a point towards you. Follow photo below for spooning cheese and chili on top. Fold point over filling and roll tightly sealing ends and sides with a bit of water. Heat oil to 350F. Fry until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for dipping. 

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See how super thin they are compared to egg roll wrappers?

The Chosen One & Quinoa 3 Ways

img_3180Earlier this month I received a most flattering email from Chosen Foods. You may recall  the brand for the avocado oil featured in my funfetti zucchini bread. Chosen Foods promotes a healthy, conscious and happy lifestyle and feels Good Grief Cook fits in with the company’s philosophy. How could I resist a collaboration with a brand I already love and one so kind to seek me out with such nourishing words:
“We love sharing our products with inspiring influencers (like you!) in the health and wellness space.” Well, Chosen Foods you inspire me to get in the kitchen.

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This first recipe is for my brother, Louis. He is a huge Rutger’s University football fan and spends quite a bit of time tailgating. It’s unfortunate that we have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol and heart disease, so I thought he could benefit from a new and improved heart healthy artichoke dip that he could share with all the Big Red fans.

Artichokes, shallots and jalapeño get a quick roast in avocado oil and then bathed in a creamy avocado oil mayo dressing including the usual parmesan and fresh lemon plus a crispy topping of toasted nutty quinoa instead of heavy butter drenched bread crumbs. BTW-the avocado oil mayo mixed with a little fresh lime juice is also perfect in your favorite Mexican elote corn recipes.

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A Better Roasted Artichoke Dip

1 (12 oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts

¼ cup sliced shallots

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

1 tablespoon Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo

¼ cup mascarpone cheese or low fat cream cheese

1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons toasted Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa*

Heat oven 450F. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Toss artichoke hearts, shallots and jalapenos with avocado oil and spread out on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25 minutes; cool slightly. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse 6 or 7 times to chop artichokes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk mayo, mascarpone and lemon juice. Stir in ½ cup parmesan and artichoke mixture; spoon into a small ready to serve baking dish smoothing the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese with toasted quinoa and sprinkle evenly over top of dip. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until artichoke dip is bubbly. Cool slightly before serving with whole grain crackers.

*To toast quinoa: Heat oven to 375F. Toss 1 cup of quinoa with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil; spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown. Cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator.

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Up next is a recipe inspired by my nephew, Cole. Cole runs cross-country and loves quinoa. Quinoa is an energy packed, high protein seed that is the perfect food for the athlete in all of us. Simmered or toasted it can be used in everything from appetizer to dessert. Cole is also known to like a bit of heat, so Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil is just what this salad needed. I am a huge fan of ordering salad dressing on the side. Nothing worse than an over-dressed soggy salad, so since I don’t know how you like your salad I advise following the recipe as written and then add more of the dressing to your taste.

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Quinoa Fruit Salad with Miso Honey Vinaigrette

Miso Honey Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1/2 
tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

2 
tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

1/2 teaspoon Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil

freshly ground black pepper

Quinoa Salad

1
 cup Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa

1 tablespoon Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

1 ½ cups water

1 
plumcot (hybrid fruit of plum and apricot) or nectarine pitted and diced

1/2 
cup dried tart Montmorency cherries or dried sweetened cranberries

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2
 cup honey sesame cashews (I buy at Trader Joe’s)

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and miso until smooth and blended. Add vinegar, lime juice, and ginger. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons avocado oil and spicy sesame oil, whisking until well combined. Season with pepper. Set aside. Stir quinoa and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat until golden and nutty. Add water; bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork. In a large bowl toss quinoa with pluot, dried cherries and green onions and half of the vinaigrette. Top with cashews. Pass remaining vinaigrette./recipe]

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Okay, here is where I get a little crazy with what I think is a genius gluten-free tiramisu breakfast cup. With the flavor of bittersweet espresso, a creamy layer of mascarpone and a sprinkle of “super food” extra dark chocolate it is the perfect pick-me-up. Next time I might top it with a few fresh berries to round out the food groups. Add a little “spirit”coffee liqueur or marsala to the mix and this could easily become dessert instead of breakfast. All you gluten-free, tiramisu loving folks you are welcome!

Quinoa Tiramisu Breakfast Cup

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/4 cup Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon raw agave or honey

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon shaved dark chocolate

In small saucepan, stir water, instant espresso, quinoa and vanilla until espresso is dissolved. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes or just until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender and moist. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of agave (sweeten to your taste) and fluff with a fork. In small bow, mix mascarpone, yogurt and 1 to 2 teaspoons of agave until blended. Layer half the quinoa in serving glass. Top with half the cheese-yogurt and half the chocolate. Repeat layers.

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Thank you Chosen Foods for sharing your goodness with me. Can’t wait to try those chia seeds and cooking sprays, but until then let me remind you all that avocado oil has that fabulously high smoke point which is best for roasting the end of summer harvest.

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Fresh “Funfetti” Zucchini Bread

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No sugary sprinkles here. Even as a child I did not like what we referred to as “jimmies”. While visually lovely, sprinkles have a weird waxy texture that turns me off and easily ruins a perfectly delicious creamy bowl of ice cream or icing on the cake. So, I created a fresh from the garden “funfetti” with an array of colorful carrots, beets and dark green zucchini. These beautiful vegetables are being harvested from my garden right now. Following a cue from Mother Nature, it just seems right to join them in a moist and not too sweet quick bread with a crunchy walnut topping.

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Start by trimming the ends off of dark green zucchini; grate on that large hole of your box grater. Toss the shreds with a little sugar and salt, weight it down in a sieve and let it drain. Then squeeze it. I ended up with 1/2 cup of slightly salty, sweet zucchini water that got tossed into a gazpacho. It would probably be good in a smoothie, but if your not feeling the goodness just dump it in the sink.

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Next, cut the carrots to size and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. The beets get cooked, too, but in retrospect, I think I would skip them entirely as they don’t look as pretty as the carrots after baking. They bleed a bit. Maybe golden or white beets next time.

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Make the quick bread batter. Have you tried avocado oil? I found it at Costco. With a high smoke point, avocado oil is perfect for grilling, frying and roasting. Its mild flavor makes it very good for baking, too.  This heart healthy fat is high in Vitamin E plus it helps the body absorb other good nutrients like carotenoids. Think antioxidants like beta-carotene. Yay-there are carrots in the bread. This quick bread is so super moist and tender. I suspect the avocado oil has a lot to do with that.

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Now layer in the vegetables. I dusted the veggies with dried ginger for some flavor, but also to prevent them from sinking. It worked !

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Bake it for an hour (turn your pan half way through for more even baking) or until you see the tell-tale crack down the center and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers around 205F.

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Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Turn it out and let it cool completely. Don’t be tempted to slice it while still warm. In fact, it’s best served the next day. Enjoy those crunchy sugar coated walnuts on top and then marvel at the pretty colors inside.

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Fresh Funfetti Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 small to medium zucchini (12 oz. after you trim the ends)

2/3-cup sugar, divided

1-teaspoon salt, divided

3 colorful carrots, peeled, cut to size

1 beet, roasted or boiled until a bit underdone, peeled and diced

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups all purpose flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

¼ cup sour cream

½ cup avocado oil

½ lime, juice and zest

1/3-cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

Heat oven 375F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or grease and dust with flour). Shred zucchini on the large hole of a box grater. Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Transfer zucchini to a sieve sitting over a bowl. Press a plate on top of zucchini and weight down for 20 to 30 minutes to drain. Meanwhile, cook carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain and let cool. Dust carrots and beets with ginger; set aside. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, remaining sugar, sour cream, avocado oil, lime juice and zest; set aside. Squeeze fistfuls of zucchini draining out more liquid then pat dry with paper towels. Using a rubber spatula, stir zucchini and egg mixture into flour mixture until blended and dry ingredients are moistened. Layer 1/3rd of batter over bottom of prepared pan. Top with some carrots and beets in a single layer. Top with another 1/3rd of batter smoothing into an even layer. Top with remaining carrots and beets. Cover with remaining batter smoothing the top. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and then sugar. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, turning pan after 30 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature of about 205F. on an instant read thermometer.There should be the classic quick bread crack down the center. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

My garden is a constant source of joy. Sprinkle some seeds in the dirt and grow funfetti.

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