hmp: small plates (part two)

Here it is, part two of our small plates dinner.  I have to say, Todd and I are feeling quite proud of the outcome.  The food was delicious and we were also feeling good about making everything ourselves.  There’s something really satisfying about putting together a meal from scratch.

Now, without further ado, I present to you our menu:

Green Bean Bacon Bundles

Black Bean Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips

BBQ Pulled Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde

Mini White Bean Quinoa Burgers

Apricot Bites

Baked Churros with Dulce de Leche

*Since we followed most of the recipes exactly, I’m only posting the original recipes here.  All others are linked so you can try them too!

First up, Green Bean Bacon Bundles.  I was planning to make something with asparagus but when I saw these on How Sweet It Is, I knew I had to make them.  Green beans are the one vegetable that I absolutely love and with bacon, butter and brown sugar?  Winning combination.

Todd put those together, they look good, don’t they?

He also made one of his specialties, Black Bean Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips.  I once came home from work and Todd had made this exact same dish as an appetizer.  Ten minuets later, the hummus was almost gone and the pita chips suffered a similar fate.  The hummus has a little kick to it and the pita chips are so good freshly crisped in the oven.

We love pulled pork but wanted to put a different twise on it so Todd made our tried and true BBQ Pulled Pork recipe and then I got to work turning it into empanadas. 

Since we had a lot going on in the kitchen (as you can see) I opted to use refrigerated pie crusts dough instead of making my own.  Empanadas are so easy and delicious, you just take the dough and stuff them with whatever you one.  Some of my favorites are stuffed with sweet corn, que ricas!

The empanadas were baked at 375° for about 20-25 minutes then topped with homemade Salsa Verde.  I love pulled pork – I had quite a bit while I was stuffing the empanadas and these came out quite delicious.  I always love things wrapped in bread and empanadas are a real favorite.

Now the Mini White Bean Quinoa Burgers are my own recipe inspired by an incredibly delicious  burger I had last week at The Green Well.

Mini White Quinoa Burgers

1 can (16 oz.) Great Northern Beans

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked

1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

5 tablespoons liquid egg whites

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Olive oil

In a small pan, bring 1/2 cup water to boil, add quinoa.  Cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff, let stand for 15 minutes.  Open beans, then drain and rinse in a strainer. Place beans in a large bowl and mash.  When beans are well mashed, leaving only a few whole beans, add quinoa, bread crumbs, liquid egg whites and spices.  When the mixture is well combined, form small (approx. 2″) patties.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add patties and cook, covered, about 5 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.  Flip patties and repeat until both sides are brown and the patties are cooked through.

Serve patties on “buns” – we used a drinking glass to make mini buns out of regular whole wheat bread, toasted.  Top as you please.  We chose homemade BBQ sauce and sharp white cheddar.

Of course we also had the Apricot Bites and Churros that I told you about in part one of the small plates post.

Yup, the apricot bites were tangy and delicious and the churros were just as good tonight as they were in the test batch.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our small plates dinner as much as we did preparing and eating it!

What do you love to serve for guests?

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hmp: small plates (part one)

When I woke up from my second nap yesterday Todd and I got to work prepping some dishes for tonight’s dinner with my parents and brother.  Since we’ll have just less than an hour and a half after work before they come over we thought it would be a good idea to do what we could ahead of time.

As we were planning the menu for tonight’s meal we tossed around a few different ideas: barbecue, all appetizers, tapas.  Finally we settled on a fusion of all three, a small plates dinner.

Small plates are one of my favorite things because I hate making decisions.  I’m always torn when ordering at restaurants then I make my selection at the last second, as the waitress’ patience is wearing thin.  I’m excited to offer my family a variety of options this evening.

First on the menu are Apricot Bites based on a recipe from Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer.  If you don’t read her blog, check it out.  She’s doing a series on summer entertaining right now that’s really interesting and informative.  Check it out!

 

I slightly altered the recipe, using honey goat cheese instead of goat cheese and honey.  Also, I left out the milk but that was mainly because I somehow missed the step.  My cheese spread fine with a little coaxing but I’d recommend trying them with milk for easier spreadability.

I refused to tell my family exactly what we’re having so I’ll save the photos of the finished product for later.

I also prepped the dough for dessert.  For some reason I had it in my head that dessert was going to be churros.  Churros were the only thing that would do.

If you’ve never had churros, you should try them.  For me, they bring back memories of a family vacation to Disneyworld, where they serve them in the Mexico section of Epcot Center, and of Barcelona where they’re served with the most delicious, rich, thick hot chocolate – it is the most perfect dish for a chocoholic like me.

Anyways, I decided to make churros, which are usually fried.  I was able to find a recipe for baked churros on Cooking With My Kids.  Sorry vegans, this recipe is full of eggs – do they make some kind of egg subsititute so you can enjoy the deliciousness that’s churros too?

The churro batter whipped up nice and thick and I decided that I should bake a few, just to make sure they were good enough to serve.

After baking a few churros and coating them with cinnamon sugar, I can promise you that these churros were worth making.  They were delicious, like little baked doughnut sticks.

As an added bonus, my friend Mary-Catheryn will soon be launching her own homemade dulce de leche company, Catarina.  I’ve been lucky enough to eat lots of dulce de leche in my time and this stuff is the real deal.  It is the best dulce de leche I’ve ever had stateside (and maybe abroad too).  I promise to let you know when she’s officially open for business.  You will want to buy this stuff by the boatload and slather it onto mostly everything you eat: bread, ice cream, bananas, any and everything.  The you’ll want to bake it into cookies or cupcakes and make one dish dessert with meringue drops and strawberries and top it with her dulce.  And then, since too much dulce could never be enough, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful.

I highly recommend all of the aforementioned methods of eating Catarina dulce de leche.

Doesn’t that look tasty?

They didn’t last long.

Not long at all.

I can’t wait to share these foods with the family and I have more small plates to tell you about so stay tuned to see what’s on our menu for tonight.

Do you have a heard time choosing one thing for dinner?

What are some of your favorite dishes for entertaining?