“The big 6-oh”- Appetizers galore

So the milestone has passed…for my dad.  (Otherwise I would be one of those weirdos with a VERY outdated “about me” pic).  It is crazy how a decade can feel so long yet so short.  At my dads 50th I’m pretty sure my sister and I were sent to play at a friends house and now 10 years later I am cooking all the food for the party!  Needless to say, so much has happened in the past 10 years yet we all move forward regardless of the triumphs and tribulations.  So here we are today, and these are the recipes I made for the party.

Now, I am not a caterer.  I have really only hosted parties here and there but never with the added pressure of there being about 30 people over.  But overall it was a HUGE success, mainly because I purposely chose appetizers/ food that did not require heat.  I still have no idea how you would serve things like soup appetizers or even warm bruschetta and actually keep everything warm.  I guess that’s where dashing servers come into play.  Sadly, we didn’t have any.

In addition to the recipes below we also had:

  1. Vegetable Platter: bell pepper, carrots, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Marinated olives from the olive bar at the grocery store
  3. Assorted nut mix from Trader Joes
  4. Assorted crackers
  5. Meat and cheese platter: Prosciutto, Salami, Turkey, Gouda, Cheddar, Swiss

Appetizer #1: Chipotle Turkey Meatballs 

Now I know I have posted about a turkey meatball recipe before, and it’s a recipe that I found early on when I started cooking and I absolutely LOVE it.  It is from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook “The food you crave,” but HERE is the recipe.  This is how I amended it for the Chipotle kick,


  • Recipe for Turkey Meatballs
  • Substitute 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded!, for the Carrot and onion
  • 1.5 tbl adobo sauce


  1. Follow instructions for Turkey meatball recipe above.  However, I left out the carrot and onion.  Instead I added the chipotle peppers.
  2. Depending on how spicy you want them I would seed them. Especially if you are serving them to a large group.  I love my spice, but others can’t stand it. So I decided to be polite…this time.
  3. This was the only appetizer that really needed to stay warm, so we kept them on low in a crock pot, which worked well until it got unplugged.

{Sadly no pictures of this delicious appetizer, but I trust y’all know what meatballs are supposed to look like}

Appetizer #2: Dip 3 ways. Spinach, Roasted garlic white bean, Lemon dill yogurt. 

1. Spinach Dip 

  • I used THIS recipe however, from experience it is much easier to use frozen chopped spinach.  So I used that instead of the fresh spinach and basil.
  • The trick with frozen spinach is making sure you drain as much water out as you can so it is not liquid-y dip.

Cooking with frozen spinach 

  1. boil about a cup of water in a pot, then add the frozen spinach.  Keep the burner on low or turn off and cover to let the steam thaw the spinach.
  2. Place a strainer on top of a bowl (make sure the strainer is not sitting in the bowl).  Then line the strainer with strong paper towels or a cheesecloth to make sure you don’t loose any valuable spinach.
  3. Let the initial water escape then when its cooled off you can press down on the spinach to drain the rest of the liquid.

2. Roasted Garlic White Bean 

For thanksgiving I made a sundried tomato white bean puree over Brie.  Well, this is the same concept…but with roasted garlic instead.


  • 1 can white kidney beans (Cannellini)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tbl olive oil plus 1/4 c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the top off the head of garlic so the cloves are just exposed
  3. Set the head of garlic on tin foil in a muffin tin or a souffle dish so it stands up straight.
  4. Drizzle with 2 tbl olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pinch the foil together over the garlic so its closed.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cloves are mushy and pop out easily.
  6. When the garlic has cooled, place the Cannellini beans in a food processor or blender and pulse. Stream in the olive oil until the mixture comes together.  (You with probably have to stop and scrape the sides down to make sure it blends evenly)
  7. Add about 2 or 3 cloves of roasted garlic, pulse until combined throughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

{Yummy roasted garlic}

3. Lemon Dill Yogurt 


  • 2 cups plain yogurt (I like greek better so it’s a thicker dip)
  • 3 tbl minced fresh dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all the ingredients.  Let sit in the fridge 12-24 hours for best taste.

{In case you’re not aware…this is fresh dill}

{From top: Roasted garlic white bean, Lemon dill yogurt, spinach}

Appetizer # 3: Mediterranean Skewers 


  • 2 blocks of feta (the blocks work better than crumbled)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 container (the larger one from trader joes) of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 c white balsamic (Trader Joes)
  • Olive oil (enough to emulsify the marinade)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. (the day before) Make the marinade in a medium bowl by adding the white balsamic and streaming in the olive oil a little at a time while whisking so the mixture comes together.  Add salt and pepper and set the bowl aside.
  2. Cube the cucumber and halve the cherry tomatoes.  Add to the marinade, cover and let sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  3. (The day of) Cube the feta and place on a platter.  On toothpicks place one cube of marinated cucumber and one half a cherry tomato, stick in the cube of feta so it stands up straight.

Appetizer #4: Grilled baguette with goat cheese, fresh thyme, and roasted red grape compote.


  • about 1 pound of red grapes
  • Olive oil to coat
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 regular sized baguettes or about 5 demi baguettes, sliced
  • about 8oz plain goat cheese
  • Chopped fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place about 1/3 of the grapes in a baking dish (off the stem), coat with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 20 min until bursting.
  3. Remove from oven and so the grapes wouldn’t roll off I lightly mashed them witha  potato masher to make more of a warm compote.
  4. Place the slices of bread on a grill pan and drizzle with olive oil, remove when brown on both sides.
  5. Place the bread slices on a serving tray, spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each piece, sprinkle with fresh thyme, top with grape compote.
  6. Repeat until you run out of ingredients or until people stop eating them.

Appetizer # 5: Cheese twists 


  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Thaw the puff pastry and spread it out on a baking sheet.
  3. Take a rolling pin and roll it a little thinner to maximize the amount of cheese straws
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan, slice into thin strips, twist and place on a separate baking sheet.  Repeat with the other puff pastry sheet.
  5. Bake for about 20 min or until golden brown.

{Crispy delicious puff pastry twists}




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