Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Greek Mini Bell Pepper Boats

multi color baby bell pepper boats filled with greek filling

 

To keep this mediterranean vibe going, here is a little somethin somethin for you to serve up as a healthy and fun appetizer!  These mini bell pepper boats are so fun, colorful, and of course…hella YUMMY.  But be careful, because from what I experienced they go fast, so don’t be afraid to make extra!

As you can see, these little lovelies are beautiful to look at, and make your spread look like something out of a magazine, but they are totally healthy for you too!  Gluten free, vegetarian, heart healthy, and filled with greek goodness…and if you aren’t already sold, there is no cooking required!  These little boats are easy to make and take very little time.  All ingredients are raw, which means just some chopping and mixing are in order.

 

tray of baby bell peppers filled with greek salad mixture

 

This recipe includes olive tapenade and olive oil, a component of the mediterranean diet that makes it so good for you!  Oil from olives has shown to reduce risk of periphery artery disease, decrease blood pressure and inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.  Making this appetizer heart healthy!

For preparation of this appetizer, you will need a large bag of mini bell peppers rinsed, and cut down the middle long ways.  For this recipe I used 25 peppers.  The best way to do this is to dump the peppers on a table to see where they lay naturally.  Take the side of the pepper facing up and cut above the stem all the way down to the bottom (this will help them lay better when they are filled with veggie mixture). 

 

orange mini bell pepper cut long ways to create a boat

 

Once you remove the top, set aside for later use, and proceed by scooping out the seeds and insides of your “boat” under running water.  Do this to all of you pepper boats and then set aside.

 

red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers cut into boats laying on a white table

 

Take the tops from your pepper boats and chop into small pieces, before throwing into a large mixing bowl.

 

tops of baby bell pepper boats chopped and in a mixing bowl

 

Add the rest of your finely chopped veggies, EVOO, tapenade and cheese.  Mix together, add some spices, then scoop into your boats before serving!

 

chopped bell peppers, onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and tapenade in mixing bowl

 

I eat mine like sushi…all in one bite, but my husband is more civilized than I am and will eat over a few bites.  Whichever level of sophistication you are, I’m sure you will very much enjoy!

 

greek baby bell pepper boats with empty bell pepper boats in background on white table

 

Baby Bell Pepper Boats

Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bell pepper, gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian
Servings: 5 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 25 mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Take 25 mini bell peppers and slice in half, starting above one end of the stem, and slicing all the way down to the bottom, creating a "boat". 
  • Spoon out seeds and interior of bell pepper, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Take leftover tops of bell peppers, dice them and throw into a mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon filling from mixing bowl into bell pepper boats, plate and serve!
Appetizers

Lulu’s Famous Buffalo Chicken Dip

buffalo chicken dip on a chip

Put this on the list of food I could eat every day for the rest of my life!  This is a house favorite for us because its super freaking YUM-MY.  So much so that our pup, Tito, tries to sneak bites while we’re not looking (lucky for us he’s not very sneaky).

dog eyeing buffalo chicken dip on a chip

We usually see this dip every weekend during the fall as a tailgate appetizer, but today it’s being made for a New Years Eve party we’ll be attending!  Between NYE celebrations, and football playoff season, now would be a perfect time to give this recipe a try! Plus I can pretty much guarantee you this will be the crowd favorite.

It’s really simple to make and the two different methods of cooking make it versatile to better fit your schedule.  For today’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, I made it on the stovetop before baking it in the oven for 15 min.

The other option is in the slow cooker, which is SO FREAKING EASY it’s crazy.  I have done both ways, and they turn out just as addicting whichever way you decide.  For the slow cooker option, just dump all your ingredients in and set on HIGH for 40-45 min, stirring periodically.  Once all ingredients are melted and blended together, then you can set the temp to WARM and leave in the slow cooker for people to serve themselves.  So easy right?!

buffalo chicken dip on sauce pan before baking

If using stovetop, I like to melt my cream cheese, hot sauce, ranch and cheese together to create the sauce, before mixing in my shredded rotisserie chicken.  Once everything is blended, I transfer to a greased baking dish and top with some extra cheese!

Can’t wait for you guys to give this classic recipe a try, you will not regret it!  And don’t forget to grab a bag of chips, or some celery sticks to scoop it with!

buffalo chicken dip in a casserole dish with chips

Lulu's Famous Buffalo Chicken Dip

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, buffalo chicken, dip
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup ranch
  • 3/4 cup pepper jack cheese shredded
  • 1 cup chicken shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a small casserole dish.
  • Take a medium sized sauce pan and add hot sauce, cream cheese, ranch, and pepper jack cheese.  Cook over medium heat.
  • Stir occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and fully blended.  Stir in chicken.
  • Transfer to greased casserole dish and cook for 15 min.
  • Serve with chips and/or celery sticks.
Appetizers

The Art of a Cheese Board

Cheese Board Mastery 101

THE ART OF A CHEESE BOARD (or if I’m feeling fancy, charcuterie board).  

Ahhhh one of my favorite past times…eating cheese:)  I swear, there is no better crowd pleaser than a big board filled with CHEESE and MEATS.  I can admit, sometimes cheese boards can seem outrageously fancy and intimidating.  BUT…I have a scientifically proven method to creating the perfect cheese board, and I have simplified it into a few easy steps just for you guys!

So take a seat, get out your notebook, cause class is in session!

Cheese Board 101: Introduction to Charcuterie 

  1. Cheese Selection. Variety variety variety.  My recommendation is 3 cheeses minimum; 1. BRIE, 2. a cheddar (flavored or plain), and 3. a spicy variety (like a pepper jack).  And if you really want to set the bar high, use cream cheese and top with a jam…think of it as extra credit.  You’re going to want to arrange the cheeses on your board first, as these will be the center pieces.  Spread them out, so they can shine in their own perspective corners!  I like to cut some pieces of each cheese block prior to serving…helps blend the board together.

Step 1: Arrange variety of cheeses on serving board or plate

  1. Meat Selection. I recommend 2-3 different types of cured meats (meats that are salted, dried, or preserved).  You can either get sausage, and cut into thin slices, or get the pre-packaged thinly sliced meat (capocolla, prosciutto, pancetta, etc.).  Take your cured meat and scatter them around the cheeses.  If its a thin slice of meat, just pinch them in the middle and lay on the board to where it almost makes a tent.  Lay a couple of pieces together to form a pile.   

Step 2: Add meat selection around cheese

Step 2: scatter meat selection around cheeses

  1. Accessorize.  This is where the men get separated from the boys, where the leaders pull away from the pack!  This is where you make your cheese board look like something out of a magazine, while everyone else is serving meat and cheese roll ups.  The best thing you can do is go to your local grocery store and scour the antipasto bar.  Get anything and everything that looks good.  My favs are roasted garlic cloves, stuffed olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and marinated mushrooms.  

Charcuterie Board

Once you have your antipasto selections, fill in the empty spaces of the board with your items.  Don’t be afraid to lay them on some of the meats or other antipasto items if you run out of room.  I believe its better to stack, then to leave open space.  Once finished, top off with some nuts (walnuts or  some Spanish almonds), herb sprigs, and serve with crackers or toasted bread!

3 easy steps to a homemade cheese board

And just like that, you have created a beautiful masterpiece that will live on forever (this is a fact because everyone will be taking pictures of it).  Mostly what I love about cheese boards is that there is so much going on, and you truly have the freedom to make it your own, both as the creator and consumer.  Have fun with this one, and just take it step by step!  

3 easy steps to a homemade cheese board

 

The Art of a Cheese Board

Prep Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: antipasto, appetizer, charcuterie board, cheese board, cured meats, fresh herbs
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 3-4 blocks variety of cheese (brie, aged cheddar, pepper jack, cream cheese topped with hot pepper jam)
  • 2-3 cured meats (prosciutto, pancetta, capocollo)
  • 1 cup variety of antipasto (garlic cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed olives, marinated mushrooms)
  • 2 sprigs herbs (thyme and rosemary)
  • 1 loaf french baguette

Instructions

  • Grab a large serving platter or wooden board.  Place cheeses on board first, and arrange so they are spread out from one another.  Cut a couple pieces of each to get it started.
  • Arrange meats around cheese blocks.  For the thinly sliced meats, pinch them in the middle and lay on the board to where it almost makes a tent.
  • Take antipasto items and fill in open spaces of the board.  Top off with nuts, sprigs of herbs, and serve with bread and/or crackers.