Category Archives: Easy Appetizers

Using Avocado’s in different ways


I am an avocado fan, so much so that I spent $300.00 (much to my hubster’s dismay) to buy two patio avocado trees from Cali (they died the first winter in South Carolina, who knew?)

I buy Haas avocados whenever they go on sale. Haas are the only avocados I buy because quite honestly they are the best.

I was planning on making ground chicken and turkey meatballs for dinner and to freeze some today.  My one complaint about ground chicken or ground turkey breast is the dry factor.  The meatballs tend to be dry, it makes them far from appetizing.  Well, this morning while thinking through my options to make them more moist (add cream, add tomato paste, add grated zucchini, add mushroom duxelle-all favorite tricks of mine  to make more juicy tender meatballs), I thought, why not run some avocado through the food process and add it to the ground chicken & turkey mixture to give it some fat & moisture. So I did!  I think the result was fabulous.

Here’s another trick-freeze your avocados, yep that’s right, freeze em.  Cut them in half, take out the pit, spritz them with lemon juice and vacuum pack the avocado halves.  Once thawed you can proceed with your recipe AND that is the end of wasting avocados because you just weren’t in the mood for guac one night.

Also, avocados are great in muffins replacing bananas or applesauce.  Chocolate ones are my favorite.

For the ground chicken and turkey breast meatballs, I used on avocado (previously frozen), 2 eggs, 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs and 2 lbs of a combination of ground turkey breast and ground chicken breast.  Add 10-oz of chopped spinach, season to taste and away ya go!

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Deviled Ham Apetitizers

I  took a trip back in time recently and bought some deviled ham. We have all seen canned hams in the stores or gotten them as Christmas gifts. If you’re like me they are akin to a fruit cake. I see them in the store and wonder, “why bother?” They taste nasty and are just not appetizing to look at all gelled up, they are just gross. BUT deviled ham…well, that takes me back to my childhood and with comfort food being all the rage now ($26 for a plate of “gourmet” mac & cheese, are ya kiddin me?) I bought some, the deviled ham, not the over-priced smack and cheese.

You’ll find deviled ham in the canned meats aisle of your local mega mart. It sits along side such luminaries as Spam, Vienna sausages (they honestly remind me of little hotdogs, I have never seen sausages), and  canned/vacuum packed bag tuna.

Spam transports me back to my old school cafeteria days. It was BBQ Spam on a bun (I’m not kidding). I wish it had transported me to Hawaii where spam is sought after and held in VERY high regard…who knew? But that’s another blog for another day.

Sidebar: Spam is actually quite expensive when you do a pound for pound analysis.

Anyhoo, back to my deviled ham trip down memory lane. I bought the stuff and took it home then  wondered what the heck to do with it, hubby wouldn’t eat it. It’s not like you can spread it on a cracker for company… but wait a minute, I can spread it on a cracker for me, which I did in short order and LOVED it.

However, I wondered what else I could do with it that would be appetizing. So I experimented.

Here are some ideas along with a great recipe I came up with:

It does make a good retro-appetizer, here are some ideas for updating it.

Pinwheel Appetizer-Make a pinwheel out of it and add a grated cheese like manchego or chevre, add some slivered almonds or chopped smoked almonds for crunch, add a sprinkle of chives or parsley. For extra color use a spinach wrap or a sun-dried tomato wrap. Add some julienned sun-dried tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes. Roll them up and slice. To slice easier chill slightly for about 30 minutes, Slice and place.

Quesadilla– same idea as above, use it as a spread or meat filling add some chipotle pepper cream (made by taking crema or sour cream or cream cheese and chipotle in adobo sauce,  add to a blender or Cuisinart  take er for a spin until smooth.) Add your fav cheese and other fillings and fry as usual.  NOTE: Just be wary of using too much chipotle. Take out the seeds and connective stuff inside to cut down on the heat. Change up its appearance by using flavored wraps.

Baked Pinwheel Appetizers: This one was neat. My kids were coming for dinner last minute and I needed a quick App. so I went to my trusty pantry and pulled out the deviled ham, some grated cheese (I ALWAYS have Jarlsberg  or Manchego, but use what you have on hand, parm or romano would work great!),and a pre-made pie crust. Spread the deviled ham on the pie crust, sprinkle with cheese and some parsley, cooked chopped spinach or chives. Roll and seal it well. Cut into 1/2 ” slices and put on a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Bake in a 425° oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown & delish (GBD). Let sit on the sheet for a few secs to settle and set, then plate and serve. Kids LOVED them.

ADD-Ins to Soup – I added a can into my Bean soup for added flavor.

Some other ideas-Baked Potato Soup, Split pea, it adds a smokey flavor. Use your imagination here, if ham would taste good in it use it!

Use it in pasta for a smokey flavor or as a spread with cream cheese on a BLT. The uses of this little wonder are endless.

Next time your in the mega mart don’t turn your nose up at deviled ham, of course you can still (and I Do) trun your nose up at Spam canned hams & vienna sausages!

Chef Kadie