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March 30, 2012

Works for Me Weekends: Appetizers for Supper

With few exceptions, I make all the food we eat. Breakfasts are usually comprised of warm cereal with eggs or cottage cheese. Lunches alternate between fresh veggies and sandwiches. And I cook the vast majority of our main dishes as "from scratch" as I can. Every meal is served with fresh fruit.

While I love the satisfaction of taking care of my family and myself in the kitchen, by the time the weekend rolls around, I'm usually ready for a break.

Most Saturdays we eat out for lunch. And I've started doing something new the past few Saturday evenings...serving appetizers for supper.

It definitely feels great to mix up the routine, and -- since we've usually had a larger-than-average lunch -- it just seems to hit the spot, too.

Here are a few of the standards that we mix and match...

Shrimp cocktail...boiled shrimp, served with extra-spicy cocktail sauce and fresh lemon.
Salami or summer sauce, served with sliced cheese and crackers.
Fresh veggies and dip.
Spinach and artichoke dip with veggies or crackers.
Stuffed eggs.
Some variation of cream cheese-based spread, like cucumber-garlic, or Cajun crab.

If I'm feeling fancy, I occasionally make stuffed mushrooms. A couple of weeks ago I made Maryland crab shells with phyllo dough, and they were delish.

One of our very favorites is homemade guacamole. I got this recipe several years ago from one of my very favorite New York City restaurants, Dos Caminos. They're known for their tableside guacamole preparation, and they have magnets at the door with the recipe.

As written:

2 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp. yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. jalapeno, minced
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
2 Tbsp. plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
2 tsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
Kosher or coarse salt

For us, per two avocados:

I LOVE cilantro, and I use about 1/2 a bunch. I use a small onion, or 1/2 of a large, very finely diced. I start with one jalapeno, not seeded, finely diced. Peppers are hard to predict...sometimes one jalapeno makes it pretty spicy; sometimes I need to add another. I mash those ingredients together, along with my diced avocado, until I get a chunky texture. I gently stir in tomatoes, the juice from 1/2 a lime, and more sea salt than I'm willing to measure.

Pardon my poor attempt at food photography (where is the focus in this picture???)...but even this picture makes my mouth water!

Served with chips...or pretzels...or crostini...ahhhhh-MAZE-ing!!!

Whatever the combination of appetizers, I serve it with fresh fruit, or a fresh fruit salad.

Relatively speaking, I love to sit back, relax, and enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary meal.


I'm linking up with my sweet friend Marcia at 123 Blog today for her monthly Creativity Challenge. I love getting *creative* in the kitchen!


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love it when you get creative in the kitchen. It all sounds so delish and makes me want to go whip up something sinful :)

Barbara Manatee said...

What a fun idea to do appetizers for dinner!!! We LOVE guacamole, too! And to think I'd never even had it until about 10 years I can't get enough of the stuff!!!