With the sudden abundance of free time over Winter Break, I’ve been on an absolute food kick. A new cookbook from my brother and some extra hours spent on Pinterest have inspired all sorts of recipes that I’ve put into practice throughout the week. My family eats out almost daily, which isn’t great with regards to health or finances, so I’m hoping to use my love of culinary arts (used loosely because I’m very much an amateur chef) to change up the family diet and change things for the better. Luckily my brother, Joseph, is eager to learn and ready to help tackle any challenges the kitchen throws our way.
The other night, we teamed up to make some simple hors d’oeuvres for the family to enjoy during game night. The menu included Cream Cheese and Jam Bruschetta, Yogurt Fruit Dip, and (my favorite) Dilly Cucumber Bites. Altogether, the dishes took us about 45 minutes to complete. Check out the photos and details below!
1. Cream Cheese and Jam Bruschetta
Our family had just returned from a several-day-long vacation and were lacking in the produce department. After a quick survey of the fridge and pantry (and a little inspiration, thanks to Pinterest), I decided that jam and cream cheese would make excellent substitutes.
We preheated the oven to 350 degrees and Joseph sliced two mini-baguettes (we used one white and one whole grain, but any baguette size and variation should work) into rounds 3/4-inch to 1-inch wide. I buttered both sides of each slice and placed them on an ungreased baking sheet. When the oven was ready, we popped them in for 20 minutes. The Internet recommended 15 minutes, but our oven has had some trouble keeping up lately, so we added an extra 5.
After making sure they were nice and crispy, we took them out of the oven, let them cool for a couple minutes, and then topped them lightly with plain cream cheese and a variety of jams (raspberry, hot cherry, and roasted garlic onion).
2. Yogurt Fruit Dip
Joseph copied this super easy recipe that I found on Pinterest…and with great success!
It requires only four ingredients – a half-cup of heavy cream, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup (half an individual-sized container) of plain Greek yogurt, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract – whisked together in a small mixing bowl.
We served it with apple slices and it was delish.
3. Dilly Cucumber Bites
I also discovered this gem on Pinterest and am definitely making it again…friends and roommates, get ready. As I mentioned before, we didn’t have any fruits or veggies at home following our trip, so I made a quick stop at our local grocery store for some grape tomatoes and an English cucumber.
This recipe entails washing and slicing the English cucumber into half-inch-wide rounds, placing a dollop of deliciousness (see next paragraph) on top, and garnishing with half of a grape tomato.
The full recipe requires a block of cream cheese, a cup (one individual-sized container) of Greek yogurt, 3 tbsp of fresh dill, and 1 tbsp of powdered Ranch dressing mix. Since I only made one cucumber’s worth, I cut the recipe to 25% of the original…except for the dill and Ranch pieces, which in full-disclosure, I completely drove off-course.
The recipe calls for *fresh* dill, but I had no luck finding any at the store, so I used some dill weed from my mom’s spice cabinet and just sprinkled it on until it looked like enough. It also only calls for 1 tbsp of powdered Ranch dressing…for the FULL recipe (again, I only made 1/4 of the original)…but I accidentally dumped in the entire packet without thinking. Initially unaware of my Ranch mistake, I mixed all of the ingredients together, and not gonna lie, it tasted amazing.
My family definitely has pastry bags and piping, but I didn’t feel like rooting around my parents’ kitchen in search of them, so I cut off the corner of a small Ziploc bag, spooned in the dill-Ranch-cream cheese spread, and squirted it onto the surface of each cucumber slice. I then placed the halved grape tomatoes gently on top of each dilly bite, like a little hat.