Easy to Make Summer Appetizers

Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe provided below, (adapted from Julia's Album)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 can artichokes chopped (14 oz)
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium pan, combine cream cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and stir, over medium heat, until cream cheese melts.
  2. Stir in cooked spinach and chopped artichokes and cook for 1-2 minutes over low-medium heat, until everything is well combined and creamy. Stir in minced garlic, and remove from heat.
  3. Season with Cayenne pepper and salt, to taste.

Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Garlic-Cilantro Sauce recipe provided below, (adapted from the Medditeranean dish)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb uncooked prawns
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
     

Roasted garlic-cilantro sauce:

  • 1 small head garlic, top trimmed off
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce (or 1 tbsp dry chili flakes)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel, devein and rinse the prawns or your choice of shrimp. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place the prawns in the fridge until ready to grill.
  3. Trim the top of the garlic head off, but leave the garlic intact. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast the garlic in the 400 degree F-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly tender and fragrant. When ready, remove from the oven. Let cool briefly. Peel and crush or chop the roasted garlic as finely as possible.
  4. Now prepare the roasted garlic-cilantro sauce. In a small bowl, combine the roasted garlic with the remaining sauce ingredients of cilantro, lime juice, white wine, olive oil and chili sauce. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. When ready, lightly oil and heat a cast-iron grill or griddle to medium-high. Dress the prawns with a little olive oil and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. You want to achieve some char, but be careful not to overcook the prawns.
  6. Remove the prawns from the grill to a bowl and coat well with the roasted garlic and cilantro sauce. Transfer to a serving platter. Alternatively, transfer the grilled prawns to a serving platter and simply add the roasted garlic-cilantro sauce on the side.
  7. Serve with pasta or rice and a green salad for dinner; or simply as a party appetizer. Enjoy!

Notes:

This is great warm or at room temperature.


Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce recipe provided below, (adapted from Cookin Canuck)

Ingredients:

The sauce:

  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp basil pesto
  • ⅛ tsp salt

Instructions:

The fries:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and set a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Coat the cooling rack with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the zucchini into 3-inch long and ¼-inch thick pieces.
  3. Spoon the flour into a medium bowl. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and pepper.
  4. Working with several zucchini pieces at a time, dredge the zucchini in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the zucchini in the egg, then place it in the bread crumb mixture, covering completely.
  5. Transfer the coated zucchini pieces to the prepared rack, in a single layer. Repeat with remaining zucchini pieces.
  6. Light coat the zucchini with the cooking spray.
  7. Bake in the oven until the zucchini is tender and the breading is browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

The sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, pesto sand salt.

Honey Sesame Chicken Skewers recipe provided below, (adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chicken thigh and leg meat (dark meat), cut into small pieces
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Oil, for brushing
  • White sesame seeds
  • Scallion, sliced into small pieces

Marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 3 dashes white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the chicken and cut into small pieces. Pat dry with paper towels. Soak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes before using.
  2. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients in the Marinade for 30 minutes. Make sure the Marinade nicely coat the chicken meat.
  3. Thread 3-4 pieces of chicken onto the bamboo skewers. Set aside.
  4. Heat up the grill and grill the chicken skewers on both sides, until nicely cooked and slightly charred. Brush some oil on both surfaces while grilling.
  5. Top the honey sesame chicken skewers with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve warm.

Garlic Parmesan Yellow Squash Chips recipe provided below, (adapted from DIETHOOD)

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash (small to medium), sliced into ¼-inch to ½-inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cooking spray (I use Organic Olive Oil by Pam)
  • Serve with Non-Fat Plain Yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, olive oil, salt and pepper; mix until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and garlic powder.
  5. Dip slices of squash in cheese mixture and coat on both sides, pressing on the coating to stick.
  6. Place the squash in a single layer on the previously prepared baking sheet.
  7. Lightly spray each slice with cooking spray. This will help with achieving a crunchier texture.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes; rotate pan and continue to bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until chips are golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve with a dollop of Non-Fat Plain Yogurt.

Bon Appetit!