Baked Brie Bites

Baked Brie Bites

Baked Brie Bites

Christmas Day was fast approaching and we (my family, who we were visiting, and I) were planning a big meal, so for Christmas Eve. we decided to make a meal out of just appetizers.   We each made a couple, and there was a nice variety.

Awesome !!

Awesome !!

Since appetizers are useful at any time, but especially now with New Year’s Eve coming up, I thought you might be interested in what we had.  The major requirement was that they be pretty simple to prepare and, of course, delicious to eat.

Steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce

Cocktail meatballs in barbecue sauce

Spinach Artichoke Bread*

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Baked Brie Bites*

Hot cider with Honey Liqueur

The starred items were my contributions, so you will find recipes for them here today and tomorrow.

Brie cheese pairs so well with fruit, and this particular mixture of apples, walnuts, bacon and orange is an outstanding combination.  Each one is topped with a cranberry, making them festive and cute.  They can be eaten with your hands and each one is just a bite or two.  These are the perfect option for a snack or to take along to a party.  They will definitely be a crowd pleaser.  Once you taste them, you will be making them time and time again.  Socks optional because they will be blown off!

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BAKED BRIE BITES WITH CRANBERRIES

Yield:   Makes 24 bites

Ingredients:

Get all the ingredients ready.

Get all the ingredients ready.

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 orange, zested and juice reserved
  • 2.5 oz. pkg. real bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3  Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2  8-oz. pkgs. Crescent Rolls
  • cooking spray
  • 8 0z. Brie cheese round
  • dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Coat 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray.  (or use 1 large pan with 24 cups)

2.  In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Add orange juice, bacon bits, walnuts, apple, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons broan sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved and apples begin to brown, 3 – 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in orange zest.  Allow this mixture to cool a bit while you prepare the dough and cheese.

Cooking up the apple mixture.

Cooking up the apple mixture.

3.  Unroll crescent rolls and pinch together seams to create 1 large sheet with each package of dough.

Pinch the seams together to make one square of dough.

Pinch the seams together to make one rectangle of dough.

Cut each rectangle into 12 squares.  Place a square of dough in each muffin cup.

Put a square of dough in each cup and add a piece of brie.

Put a square of dough in each cup and add a piece of brie.

4.  Cut brie into 24 pieces and place in the center of the dough squares.  Top with apple walnut mixture.

Top with some apple mixture.

Top with some apple mixture.

Bring edges of the dough to the center and pinch to create a seal.  Place one dried cranberry in the center of each bite.

Fold each one closed and center a cranberry on top.

Fold each one closed and center a cranberry on top.

5.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.   Serve warm.

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SOURCE:    Happier Holidays Recipe Book

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Turkey Sage Burgers with Sautéed Apples and Brie

Turkey sage burgers with sautéed apples and cheese.

Turkey sage burgers with sautéed apples and cheese.

Apples are a wonderfully versatile fruit used in both sweet and savory dishes.  In this quick entreé they lend their sweetness to turkey burgers, making them the perfect quick meal for a fall lunch or dinner.

These pan seared turkey burgers are flavored with sage and shallots and topped with apple slices sautéed in butter and a slice of creamy brie or other cheese of your choice.  In my burgers  I used sliced sharp cheddar cheese, but whatever cheese you have that pairs well with apples would be a good match-up.

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Whenever I make these burgers Mr. D. does not know we are eating turkey;  he thinks it is a beef burger.  So I’m sure that you could serve them with traditional burger toppings in place of the apples and cheese, and unless you tell, no-one would suspect, and would “gobble” them up.  😀

TURKEY SAGE BURGERS WITH APPLES AND CHEESE

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1.3 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 medium shallot, finely chopped ( about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil for cooking
  • 4 slices cheese  (Brie, cheddar, Jack)
  • 4 seeded rolls, split

Apples:

  • 1 medium apple, cored, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • pinch salt

Directions:

1.   Sauté apples first by melting butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add apple slices in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.  Cook till tender, about 2 minutes each side.  Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Set aside sautéed apples while burgers cook.

Set aside sautéed apples while burgers cook.

2.   Mix ground turkey and seasonings (through sage) in a large bowl.  Form into 4 equal-size patties.

3.  Add vegetable oil to the skillet used by the apples.  Bring heat to medium-high.   Get the pan hot before adding the burgers to get a nice sear, then lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook burgers, turning several times so they don’t burn,  until firm and no longer pink in the middle,  7 – 8 minutes total.

A hot pan will give a nice sear to the burgers.

A hot pan will give a nice sear to the burgers.

4.  Remove from heat, top each burger with a quarter of the apples and a slice of cheese.  Cover pan and set aside about 5 minutes to allow cheese to melt.  Place burgers on buns and serve immediately.

Serve with chips and a pickle or a side of coleslaw.

Serve with chips and a pickle or a side of coleslaw.

SOURCE:    My Gourmet Connection

Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas.  A lovely combination.

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas. A lovely combination.

Are you a recipe clipper?  I think that anyone who enjoys cooking is always looking for new recipes, and magazines are  good resources for recipes.  I count myself in that group of cooks who are  always “on the hunt”.  In fact I tear out so many recipes that I have a system for organizing them and deciding which ones are keepers and which ones don’t make the cut.

For anyone who might benefit from my system,  this is what I do:

1.  Read magazine and “dog-ear” pages with a recipe that interests me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

2.Before discarding the magazine, look again at those pages and decide if I want to try the recipe.  If yes, then I tear out the page, and it goes into a pile with other torn-out pages.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

3.  When the pile gets precariously high, I designate an afternoon or three?, and go through them all.  If I’m still interested in any of the recipes I trim them more carefully, and then file in folders that are named in broad categories, like bars, cookies, desserts, soups, chicken, etc.

My file of files.

My file of files.

4.  When I want to make something new, or have ingredients on hand to use, I go to a specific folder to see what’s there that I might want to try out.

5.  Then I make the recipe to test it out.  If it meets my requirements such as did we like it,  was it straightforward and easy to prepare, have readily available ingredients, reasonable cost to make,  cooked in a reasonable time frame?  Then it gets mounted into a notebook as a “keeper”, that will enter my cycle of recipes; or become a go-to when I want to make something special.

I have several afternoon's work to do!

I have several afternoons’ work to do!

I have written all the above with tongue-in-cheek, as I can imagine you are thinking to yourself (or saying out loud even) “what, is she crazy?”   Well, yes. a little.  According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Test I am a pointy-head sequential in the grand scheme of things, and detailed organization is one of my traits.   Ha-ha-ha!    🙂

OK, so what does all this have to do with today’s recipe?  The story is this:  on Saturday, my husband went out on an errand, and before he left, he asked me what we would be having for lunch.  I replied that I didn’t know, because my supplies were pretty low, and we had eaten up all the leftovers.  But I reassured him  that “I’ll think of something”.  So while he was out I consulted my folder labeled ” Pizza and Sandwiches”, and in there found a recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas that I had been wanting to try.

The recipe called for a Granny Smith apple, Brie cheese and flour tortillas.  Now, I didn’t have any Brie to work with but I did have some cheddar, and some Monterey Jack.  So I improvised, using those cheeses,  a Rome apple instead of Granny Smith, and added some crumbled bacon to the mix to create my recipe for Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas.  When my husband came home he said, ” I see it didn’t take you long to think of something”.    They were very good, we liked them very much,  I’ll make them again.  End of Story!

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Included here is the original recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas, and how I modified it.

APPLE, BRIE  (and BACON)  QUESADILLAS

SERVES   2   Adjust amounts accordingly for more servings.

  • 1  Granny Smith apple  (or other firm apple), thinly sliced
  • 4  teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4   8-inch flour tortillas  (I  used  2  10-inch tortillas)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, sliced, rind removed  ( I used a combination of grated cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses, about 1 cup )
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled  (my addition)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1.   Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the apple slices with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook, turning occasionally, until marked and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

2.  Lay the tortillas on a cutting board.  Top each with half the apple, half the bacon, and half the cheese, placing the filling on only half of  each tortilla.  Then fold the tortillas in half to cover the filling.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Top with shredded cheeses.

Top with shredded cheeses.

3.  Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  (I sprayed mine with olive oil spray and cooked them on the grill pan I used for the apples.)  Working in batches, cook the quesadillas until golden brown and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.

4.   Meanwhile, mix the mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Slice each quesadilla into wedges.  Drizzle with the maple-mustard syrup before serving.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serve with a drizzle of maple mustard syrup.

SOURCE:   modified from a recipe in Food Network Magazine,  April 2012

Baked Brie with Apricot Jam and pecans

Baked Brie with Apricot Jam and Pecans

The best made plans don’t always work out (as planned).  One example was my plan to serve Butternut Bisque in small cups as an appetizer prior to our Thanksgiving meal.  The guests arrived late, the dinner was ready too soon, etc, etc, etc.  So to stave off the hungers while I got the last minute details ready, I quickly put together this appetizer that I have had at other peoples’ homes but never made myself.  No problem, it’s so easy you don’t really need a recipe, and everyone seems to like it.

The only real requirement is a piece or wheel of brie cheese.  Everything else can be a mix and match with whatever you have on hand.

Here’s what you need and how to put it together:

  • A mini wheel of Brie–about 8 ounces.  I used only half a wheel to make a small amount.
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of jam.  Apricot is a good match with Brie, also Fig jam is good.
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans or other nuts of choice.
  • 1 -2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced into wedges.
  • small crackers,  whole grain or nut crisps work well.

1.  Place Brie into a small, greased oven proof dish.  Spoon jam on top.

Brie in a baking dish with jam spooned on top, ready to be baked.

Bake in a 350 degrees oven about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is oozy and jam is melting.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle nuts over the top.

2.  Place the cheese dish on a larger plate or tray and arrange crackers and apple wedges around it.  To eat just dip the apples and/or crackers into the cheese mixture and enjoy.