a long time ago, i saw these crazy creative treats on a website and wanted to make them SO badly. i figured it would be really complicated, though, and kept putting it off. well, after my first week of work at my new job, i got word that we’d be bringing in food during the last saturday of the month. since it was memorial weekend and none of us were going to be at a cookout, i decided i’d improvise… hamburger slider cupcakes!
i was thrilled to work in an office where everyone was encouraged to bring in treats. then i saw that everyone else had contributed chips and store-bought cookies. one of my managers came over to me and said, “well… you brought a gun to a knife fight!” i loved that phrase and was happy that everyone was impressed with my dessert. only downside is i’ve really set the bar high for myself on any future desserts…
2 dozen vanilla/yellow cupcakes
1 dozen chocolate cupcakes
2 cans of white frosting
2 cups of shredded coconut
red, yellow and green food coloring
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
first, slice all the cupcakes horizontally and then set them aside.
now put that food coloring to good use! first, die one can of frosting red (it will take a LOT of food coloring, trust me), then one can yellow. lastly, drip some green food coloring into the coconut and lightly fluff with a fork until it’s light green.
pipe a circle of red frosting around the outer edge of the bottom half of the vanilla cupcakes…
take half of a chocolate cupcake and layer it on top of the red frosting and then pipe the yellow around the edge and then some inside, too (you’ll need it for the coconut to stick!). next, put one or two Tablespoons of the coconut on top and then…
put a top half of the vanilla cupcake on top to finish off the sandwich. then, wet your finger a tiny, tiny bit and rub it on the top of the “bun.” sprinkle sesame seeds on top so they’ll adhere and you’re good to go!
at first glance, EVERYONE will think they’re getting a savory appetizer, but at closer look they’ll be shocked that they’re actually getting a delicious dessert :) have fun with this conversation starter!
ps - not that you need it, but click here for a printable version of the recipe!
i feel like this recipe (yeah, yeah, originally giada) has been following me around for a year. every healthy food blog, recipe blog and friend has whipped this up and told me about it. i’ve seen pictures of the BRIGHT green appetizer, heard rave reviews and finally got around to making it. let me tell you… it lives up to the hype, too!
it’s really, really simple to make and you can get so creative with the leftovers. i used it as a spread on a sandwich with grilled chicken, spinach and tomato. i’ve seen it used in chicken salad, i bet it’d be good on top of a salad or even in an omelet. go crazy!
also, the easiest thing about this is you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, so it can be made pretty last minute and for not much money. i think the only thing i really had to buy was the baguette. how easy!
my dad - the daring eater of my family - for some reason doesn’t like pesto very much. he struggles with why, considering he likes all the ingredients (pine nuts, basil, olive oil, garlic), but there’s just something about it he doesn’t love. on the other hand, my mom will always push peas to the side of her plate if they’re in a dish. considering both these things… they both really liked the pea pesto! there’s just something about it, you can’t help but enjoy it. it’s sweet, flavorful and the texture is perfect on the crunchy baguette. just try it, you’ll thank me.
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (completely defrosted, but not cooked)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tablespoons for crostini
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil, plus an additional Tablespoon for crostini
baguette, sliced into 1/2” thick slices
pinch garlic powder
grape tomatoes, halved
first, let the peas defrost/thaw completely. you don’t want to cook them, but too-cold peas lead to a frosty mess in the food processor. learn from my mistake! just leave the bag of peas out on the counter for a while before you start cooking.
next, pour them into a food processor and pulse them a little bit til they’re broken down.
add the garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper and add in 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil. pulse it for a good 1-2 minutes and add a little more olive oil if it needs some help moving around the food processor.
when everything is well blended and mixed into one bright green spread, take it out of the food processor and put in a bowl to set aside.
meanwhile, slice your grape tomatoes, lengthwise, in half. they’re the perfect sweet little garnish. as to how many you’ll need… however many slices of baguette you’re prepping, you need that many tomato slices (so half the number of whole tomatoes as bread slices).
to make the crostini, slice a baguette into 1/2” discs. drizzle very lightly with olive oil, a pinch of parmesan and a light dusting of garlic powder. bake in a 250 degree oven for about five minutes or until lightly golden and crisped.
finish by layering 2-3 Tablespoons of the pesto on top of the baguette and laying the tomato, seed side down, on top. so pretty!
click here for a printable version of the recipe!
as most of you know, i’ve moved back to connecticut because of a new job opportunity. it’s been a much smoother transition than i thought it’d be, it feels great to be home and although my new job is pretty overwhelming right now, it’s still fun and i’m really grateful for the opportunity.
so, if you’re reading this and you’re in glastonbury, LET’S HANG OUT! i need a social life and things are a lot different than when i last lived here in oh… 2004. (is there anything fun to do or anywhere cool to go…? no?) on the other hand, if you’re reading this and you’re in massachusetts, I MISS YOU. boston and the surrounding area will always own a very, very large piece of my heart and i’ll have it be known that i wear my “bean” necklace for my beantown pride every. single. day.
anywhozlebees… i know i’ve been seriously lacking in the recipe department and now that i’m more or less settled in, in the nutmeg state, i’m determined to be back on track! keep kicking my butt and remind me if you see me slacking again. in the meantime, i’ve got three new recipes all saved up and ready to share. i’ll go in chronological order, beginning with the first dinner i cooked for mom & dad when i moved back: orzo and chicken stuffed peppers.
i had a variation of this dish a few nights before my friends janelle and dustin’s wedding last summer when janelle invited all of the girls in her bridal party over before the hectic wedding weekend began. i added chicken to the recipe to make it more of a one-pot meal, but you can certainly make it meat-free! the original recipe came from our favorite bobblehead, giada. per usual, though, i made my own adaptations!
14 oz. diced tomatoes (one can)
1 zucchini, grated
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about three cloves)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of black pepper
pinch of kosher salt
2 cups low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 cup orzo (measure before you cook it)
2 chicken breasts, baked and shredded
5-6 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
[this recipe serves 5-6]
first, i’d suggest getting some prep work out of the way to make the rest of the assembly go quickly…
place the chicken in a baking dish with a little bit of nonstick spray and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until it’s cooked all the way through. once it’s slightly cooled, dice or shred it until it’s in small pieces rather than large chunks. keep the oven on at 400 degrees once you’re done with the chicken.
also, bring the 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil and add the cup of uncooked orzo. cook it until it’s al dente, about 5-6 minutes. it’ll cook more later. IMPORTANT: rather than straining the liquid into the sink, you want to put it into the bottom of the baking dish you’ll be cooking the peppers in. then, take the drained pasta and put it in a large bowl. (i recommend using a wire/mesh strainer if you’ve got one, because the orzo is tiny and will get all stick in the holes of a regular colander/strainer!)
add into the bowl with the orzo: drained can of diced tomatoes, grated zucchini, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. toss everything together to make sure it’s well-mixed and then set aside while you prep your peppers.
carefully slice the tops off the peppers and using a knife or spoon, scoop out the seeds and ribs that are left behind. be gentle so you don’t puncture the peppers, since they’ll become your cups. once you’re done cleaning them out, stand them up in the baking dish with chicken broth in the bottom.
scoop the contents of the orzo bowl and distribute evenly into all the peppers. if you have a little extra, then POOF! you’ve got a delicious orzo salad that’s perfectly acceptable on its own.
cover the baking dish with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes in the 400 degree oven. then, remove the foil, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on the top and bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
i like my peppers to have a little crunch to them, still, but the more “well-done” you prefer the peppers, feel free to leave them in a bit longer.
click here for a printable version of the recipe!
ahhh, it feels good to say that and to be back :)