Easy Appetizers Recipes

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Paneer Masala Mushroom Appetizers Recipe

Paneer masala is pan-fried paneer cheese simmered in a spicy, creamy sauce. It is amazing with plain basmati rice or hot naan. But instead of serving this dish the traditional way, I used it as a filling for mushrooms. The bold flavor of the curry sauce marries beautifully with the earthiness of the mushrooms; they make the most delicious fusion appetizers.

The idea for these cute appetizers was inspired by my aunt, Ma Mười. She told me the first time she tried Indian food years ago at a restaurant, she was served a lot of little metal tins filled with colorful sauces. After a while, she asked the waiter when her main meal was going to arrive. She thought they were condiments and didn't realize that was her entire meal.

These appetizers showcase the wonderful flavors of Indian cuisine for those who are not really familiar with this culture. I've prepared pizzas, "naaninis" and other fusion dishes with Indian toppings in the past. Indian cuisine is boldly flavored, so pairing it with simple and attractive presentation techniques is a low-risk strategy for producing delicious new dishes.


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Cheesy Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe Recipe

When I think of stuffing (or dressing), the picture that comes to mind is of day-old bread mixed with onion, celery, other vegetables, dried fruit and herbs. It's time for a change, and this year for Thanksgiving, I'm opting for a healthier but just as tasty version using wild rice, pumpkin, dried mango, cranberries, asparagus and walnuts.

For easier serving, I baked it in individual cups and covered them with a blend of Jarlsberg and cheddar cheese. That might make them a little less healthy, but it’s so worth it! 


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Chili Stuffed Mushrooms (Vegetarian Appetizer Recipe) Recipe

If you thought chili couldn't be the basis for an elegant appetizer, give this recipe a try! I had leftover vegetarian chili, so I scooped it into stemmed crimini mushrooms. I baked them for 20 minutes, sprinkled on a combination of queso manchego and Oaxaca cheese and then baked them again until the cheeses melted.

After placing them on the table, I just turned my back for a few minutes and the appetizers were all gone. Everyone asked for more, and since these little bites are pretty nutritious, I had no problem obliging!


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Tabouleh Stuffed Mushrooms (Mushroom Appetizer Recipe) Recipe

In this recipe, mushrooms are used as little receptacles for serving tabouleh. They make very refreshing appetizers, which pair perfectly with the beautiful weather we've had in the Bay Area. 

I pickled the mushrooms days in advance so the mushrooms aren't raw but still hold their shape and don't darken. The appetizers are assembled at the last minute and they make an ideal dish for a buffet-style party. We're hosting our  annual pool party soon, so I've been experimenting with fun, summer-y appetizers for the occasion and this mushroom dish is definitely going to make the list! 


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Cantaloupe and Cheese Appetizer Recipe Recipe

I love Emmentaler cheese. It has mild, fruity and nutty attributes, which pair incredibly well with fruit. One fruit it particularly works well with is cantaloupe. Since I had both on hand, I caramelized the cantaloupe in a little butter and then alternately skewered it with cubes of Emmentaler on cocktail picks. I finished the cute bites with crushed pistachios.

These cheese appetizers are easy to prepare and get devoured amazingly fast too. They would fit quite well in a buffet style party. Even if you aren’t planning a party, take advantage of the wonderful fruit that's currently in season, because summer won’t be here forever!


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