Crescent Rolls with Feta & Spinach – The Fastest Moving Appetizer

 

Spinach and Cheese Crescent Rolls

 

These crescent rolls are a hit.  I have never seen appetizers disappear off a plate faster than these did.  It was only a couple of minutes after putting them out when I realized that I hadn’t snapped a pic of them yet.  I honestly had to scramble to pull enough of the crescent rolls together for a group shot.  Every single person at our gathering was crazy about them – the next time I will make more, my friends!

Serve these crescent rolls warm and gooey, that’s the way to go.  Make the filling in advance and just before the arrival of your guests, unroll the crescent rolls, fill them, pop them in the oven and serve them.  Just back off them until you have served your guests!  (Although you might have to try one for quality control purposes, you know what I’m sayin’.)

The kids loved them, the adults couldn’t get enough…yep they were a success.  I used the Pillsbury crescent rolls for this one.  I admit, I am not a big dough maker.  That’s just not my forte.  So, consider this semi-home made, with the emphasis on HOME MADE!

Enjoy them at your next gathering and let me know how they turned out.

Crescent Rolls with Feta & Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 2 tubes Pillsbury (or whatever brand) crescent rolls, 8 ct.
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz. fresh baby spinach (about half of a pre-washed bag), chopped
  • 2 oz. black olives, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • dash of salt and pepper

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop the spinach and olives and put them in a large mixing bowl.  Add the feta, mozzarella, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  Toss thoroughly and set the bowl aside.
  • Unroll the crescent dough and divide into triangles.
  • Using a spoon, place small heaps of the spinach mixture on the wide part of the dough triangle.
  • Roll them up and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush them lightly with the egg white.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately (they’re still good when they’re at room temp, but when they’re warm they’re out of this world good.)

Makes 16 rolls.

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Claire Bidwell Smith)

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Share Your Thoughts:

Do you have an appetizer that moves faster than you can keep up with?  Share it with me by either posting the recipe link in the comments, on my Facebook page, or simply drop me an email.  With Holiday gatherings coming up, I would love to discover new party recipes!

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Risotto with Mushrooms, Sin-Qua and Sorrel

 

Mushroom and Sin Qua RisottoPhoto by: David Beeler

 

So, here we go getting weird.  A couple of weeks ago, I was graced with a bunch of veggies I had never heard of.  Sin-qua.  Sound familiar, right?  I mean, it immediately sparks a whole series of ideas for dinner, doesn’t it?  Not really.  Sorrel was another one.  Though I knew about it, I had only cooked it with once, so this I emailed my neighbor, Tony Romano, who is an amazing chef.  His inspiration: a mushroom risotto with sin-qua and sorrel.

Sin-qua is a Chinese Okra that is quite spongy.  It doesn’t have a lot of flavor and really absorbs the flavors that it is paired with.
Sorrel is a leaf veg similar to spinach. You see it often in mescalin (spring mix) for salads but it has to be mixed with other greens because it contains oxalic acid and in large quantities can make you sick.  BUT…this risotto recipe only uses a handful, so there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.  As a matter of fact, it turns this risotto into a risotto from heaven!  De-Li-Cious!

Now, risotto has the reputation that it’s difficult to make.  It’s not.  It just takes time.  The difficulty is to keep the children occupied while I stir, ’cause you can’t really walk away from the risotto while it’s cooking.  THAT’s the difficulty, but there’s an easy solution for that: a healthy snack and a movie!  Voilà, problem solved.

So, here ya go.  An absolutely-to-die-for-risotto!  Worth every minute of stirring!

Don’t want to venture out on the sin-qua and sorrel?  No problem!  Just leave them out and you’ll have a wonderful mushroom risotto instead!

Mushroom & Sin Qua Risotto

Ingredients:

  • Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sin-qua, diced
  • 1-1/2lb. assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster or cremini, cleaned and sliced
  • salt
  • 1 handful of sorrel, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 6-7 cups hot chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano
  • Chives/Parsley and Parmegiano shavings for garnish

 

Directions:

  • Coat a large saute pan generously with oil and add the garlic.  Bring to a medium-heat.  When the garlic becomes aromatic, add the sin-qua and the mushrooms and season with salt.
  • When the mushrooms start to soften, add the sorrel and cook for a few minutes until wilted and the mushrooms are soft and pliable.  Turn off the heat and reserve.
  • Coat a large saucepot / pan with olive oil and add the rice.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to toast, stirring frequently.
  • Add the wine to cover the surface of the rice and stir frequently until it has completely absorbed the liquid.
  • Add chicken stock until the liquid has covered the surface of the rice.  Stir frequently until the stock has absorbed into the rice.
  • Repeat this process 2 more times, while occasionally checking for seasoning.  You’ll probably have to add some salt.  Oh, and KEEP STIRRING!
  • During the third addition of stock, add the reserved sauteed mushrooms mixture.
  • When the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked but is still “al dente”, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Add the butter and cheese and fold into the rice until well combined.
  • It should look very creamy.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with chives, or parsley and Parmesan shavings.

Serves: 4-6

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Marieke, aka HRH Mommy, inspired by Tony Romano)

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Share Your Thoughts

I am looking for more risotto recipes!  Do you have any to share?  Send them my way.  Despite the fact that they’re a bit more labor intensive, the result is always well worth it, so I’m eager to experiment!

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Following My Bliss – Becoming a Mompreneur

 

Photo by: The Pollen Path

 

In 2001 I graduated with a Master’s degree in Marketing Communications.   Just in time for the recession.  I spent the summer in Italy and flew back to Los Angeles on September 11.  One and a half hour before landing we turned around, due to the events known to all of us.  I finally arrived in SoCal 10 days later.

And there I was.  A foreigner with a MA, limited work experience and most importantly, no visa.  Good luck on the job hunt, Honey!

I worked at the Consulate General of The Netherlands for a while, covering for the Assistant to the Consul General while she was on maternity leave.  Following, I had the chance to put my education to use: I landed the job as a Marketing coordinator at a flower importer here in LA.  And this is where I realized the discrepancy between the theory as I had learned it in college and the practice.  It was nothing alike and it was frustrating (to say the least) to come to that conclusion.  Not only had I put pressure on myself to make my education work for me, but my surroundings certainly had expectations as well.  After all, I was supposed to conquer corporate America.  Instead I was floundering, stressed and deeply disappointed.

I wanted to be part of the group of people who LOVED their jobs; who loved 80+% of what they did, could do it all day long, even if it meant no sleep.  Being part of the group who hated disliked 80+% of their daily responsibilities and who only were blessed with 20% of enjoyable duties had caused me more than just a bad mood.  Soo…what was the job that would make me tick?  It wasn’t until the conversation I had with David’s best friend, Michael Neill, that it came to me.  Michael is an internationally renowned success coach and best-selling author and it were his questions that made the light bulb go on upstairs.

The job I wanted was to be a MOM!

It was more than an “ahah” moment.  Compare it to an overload of caffeine being shot straight into your veins: excitement and overwhelm, bouncing off the walls and the “Let’s do it!” feeling.

So here we are; 7 years and 2 beautiful toddlers later.  Not only are they an absolutely blessing, but raising them and seeing them grow up is the most rewarding and awesome-est job ever.  They are the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last things I think about when I go to bed at night.  I marvel at them every day, being darn proud of the cool dudes they are.  They rock my world.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been entertaining the idea of starting my own business once the kids were in school.  I had no idea what sort of business it would be, what I would do, sell or create or when and how I was going to go about that.  I just always knew that “when I knew I’d know”.  Oh, and by the way, being the Type A that I am, it was sometimes hard to keep myself from trying to figure out what that was.  I wanted to be my own boss, maybe start something with a friend, create a business doing something I loved doing.  That was as far as I had ever gotten.

 

 

And then my friend Nicole came to visit.  By now, you know that we had fun.  And similar to when we were in college, we spent a lot of time talking.  We were both communications majors, so we know how to talk.  And over a glass of something beautiful we talked work, career and life.  I shared that “at some point when the kids are in school” I wanted to start something for myself.  “Doing what?” she asked.  “I don’t know yet, but I’ll know when I know” I said.  “I know” came out of her mouth.

Excuse me?

“Your scrubs, Girlfriend!  They are amazing, everyone loves them, there’s your business!”

Right there and then, I got that jolt of caffeine, lightning hit and I saw the light.  And somewhere up in the heavens, angels sang their “Hallelujah!”

And here I am.  Not only am I over the moon delighted with my job as a MOM, but thanks to Nicole, I am now embarking on the journey of becoming a “Mompreneur”.  (Great word huh?  Love love love it.)

I am going to start my own business in all natural, homemade body scrubs and other at-home spa products.  Pampering, feeling good and sharing it with all who love to feel good too!

 

Photo by: Mobile Cuisine

 

I started writing my business plan and it is exciting.  (Except the market segmentation and industry analysis parts, but those are part of the 20%).  Ideas keep coming up, enthusiasm is being sparked and creativity follows closely.  So exciting!

 

Photo by: Laura Bruno’s Blog

 

Bill Cumming, a dear friend and amazing mentor, put it perfectly:

“When we truly are excited about what we do, the doing is its own reward. There is only one pass through each lifetime and to ignore the precious nature of the opportunity is assign the responsibility for its design to external forces. “

So, here I am, adding just another thing to my plate.  Seriously, when will days start having more than 24 hours?  The boys will (without a doubt) remain the #1 responsibility in my life, I will continue to cook, make yummy cocktails, write about it all, and now I will start bringing some pampering and “feel good” juju into your homes.  As soon as the website is up, there is news fit to print, or I just want to share my excitement, I’ll do it here and on my Facebook page.

Last but not least: different sort of scrubs and bath fizzies will be up for sale in time for Christmas.  So, when making the lists of who gets what, consider who of your friends and family members enjoy pampering and feeling good.  For those friends and family, I have the perfect gifts coming to you very soon!

 

Hand Scrub

 

Prototypes are out and are being tested, packaging is being designed and website is being built.  The Launch Party is being put together and soon we’ll be open for business.

 

Until next time,

Savor food, savor family, savor life.
- Marieke, aka HRH Mommy

 

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Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

 

Chicken with Cream SaucePhoto by: David Beeler

 

Yep, this chicken in basil cream sauce tastes just as good as it looks.  It is absolutely delicious (AND easy to make!!).  The crispiness of the chicken, the creaminess of the sauce and the little kick that the basil adds – it all adds up to a wonderful dinner.  Seriously, crispy chicken, cream, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs…they just go together.

I served the dish with some spaghetti and really didn’t need additional sauce.  The plain pasta compliments the flavors of the chicken and the basil cream sauce perfectly.  These days I get a fair share of fresh basil in my weekly produce delivery and though it’s great for sandwiches, as an added herb to salads, this was a great variation on how to use it.  It elevates the flavors of any sauce, but well…you add it to cream and melted cheese….need I say more?

So, here ya go!  Enjoy and let me know how it worked out!  Oh, and don’t forget to serve it with a nice glass of white.  A Chardonnay compliments it beautifully I discovered…

Did I mention it’s easy to make?

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

 

Directions:

  • Place the milk and bread crumbs in separate bowls.
  • Heat the butter on medium heat.
  • Dip the chicken in the milk and coat with the crumbs.
  • Cook i the butter on both sides until the juices run clear.  Remove and keep warm.
  • Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the cream and boil for one minute.  Reduce the heat.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper.  Stir the sauce and cook until heated through.
  • Pour the mixture over the chicken and serve.

Serves: 4

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Abundant Harvest Organics)

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Olive Tapenade

 

Fresh Olive TapenadePhoto by: David Beeler

 

Tapenade originates in the Provence, where it started as a paste made of capers, anchovies, and garlic – ingredients readily available in the South of France.  It became popular very quickly and was adapted by many Mediterranean cultures, each culture adapting the tapenade recipe to their taste, availability of ingredients and culture.  These days practically all tapenades have one ingredient in common: olives.  Tapenade frequently includes other ingredients, such as garlic, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil.

Originally, tapenade has a paste-like consistency and is prepared with mortar and pestle.  For this recipe, I decided to go a bit coarser and actually use the food processor.  It was the convenient way as I felt that mortar and pestle would give me more of a workout than I wanted at the time.  Thank heavens for our modern-day conveniences kitchen appliances.

Want a home made appetizer that can be made in advance?  Here you go!  The toasting of the bread takes longer than the making of the tapenade itself.  And both can be made the day before use.  Transfer the tapenade to a non-aluminum bowl or jar, tightly covered, and refrigerate up to 48 hours.  The bread can be toasted in advance as well.  Store it in an airtight container and you’re golden on the day of.

Finally, allow me to tell you that this tapenade is a burst of flavor.  No store-bought tapenade comes close.  Yep, it’s convenient to buy it ready to go, but home-made gives it just that “little extra”.  I strongly recommend it.

Olive Tapenade

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 oz./235 gr.) pitted mild brine-cured green olives such as Luques or picholines, black Niçoise olives, or a combination of several kinds
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. Cognac or brandy
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground white pepper
  •  1/4 cup (2 fl.oz./60 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 thin baguette slices
  • olive oil

 

Directions:

  •  To make the tapenade, combine the olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, garlic, Cognac, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. white pepper in a food processor.
  • Pulse once or twice to combine roughly, then add the olive oil and pulse briefly, stopping to scrape down the bowl sides once or twice.
  • The texture should be chunky, rather than a smooth puree.  Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. (180 C.) and arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet.
  • Brush them lightly with olive oil and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer the toasted baguette slices to a serving platter.
  • Spread each one with about 1 tablespoon of the tapenade.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 bites

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Williams-Sonoma, adapted by Marieke Beeler)

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Share Your Thoughts:

Do you have a crostini recipe that you love?  Share it with me and maybe it’ll be featured right here, on M for Mommy.

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