Stuffed Dates with Blue Cheese and Bacon Appetizer

This recipe idea came from a favorite restaurant of mine, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan called Mind, Body, and Spirit. The dish I ordered was called spinach salad with stuffed dates and blue cheese. I kept thinking to myself, blue cheese, bacon, and dates did not sound very appealing and BOY! Was I wrong! The sharpness of the blue cheese, the saltiness of the bacon with the sweetness of the dates just complement each other so well. The restaurant now serves the stuffed dates as an appetizer and I do not have to order the stuff dates there anymore because I found the recipe on-line and make it often at home.

Stuffed Dates with Blue Cheese and Bacon Appetizer

Recipe re-created June 29, 2010

1 dozen Medjool Dates, pitted
(You can adjust the quantity for the number of people you want to serve – for an appetizer – figure 3 per person)
6 slices of bacon, cut in half so there will be 12 halved slices
¼ to ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles
12 toothpicks

Slice the date oblong to remove the seed. Do not cut through the date completely, just enough to remove the seed. Remove the seed and repeat with the rest of the dates. Stuff the dates with ½ teaspoon to 1-1/2 teaspoon of crumbled blue cheese and close the slit up. Wrap a ½ slice of bacon around the stuffed date and secure with a toothpick. Put on a cookie tray or stone and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until the bacon is cooked. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

One of my favorite magazines Cuisine at Home featured a really cool recipe that I thought would be a great crowd pleaser – called Breakfast Kebabs. I made this for brunch today for a group of friends. The brunch was a hit and everyone loved the kebabs.

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce
3 tablespoons apple jelly
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12 ounce) package of chicken sausage with apples and maple syrup – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (16 ounce) package of bacon
1 (ounce) package of ham, cut into 1 inch pieces

I used all organic meat in this recipe. The original recipe called for pork sausage links but I like chicken sausage better. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with aluminum foil and put a baking / cooling rack on it.

Mix the barbeque sauce with apple jelly and ground cinnamon and heat over low medium heat until sauce is warm.

Soak 10 inch long wood skewers in water for about 20 minutes so the wood does not burn in the oven. Thread the wood skewer with sausage pieces, bacon strips and ham pieces loosely on wood skewers and place on the cooking rack. Baste with barbeque sauce on all sides and roast the kebabs until meat is heated and bacon is thoroughly cooked about 50 to 65 minutes. Turn kebabs every 10 minutes and baste with more barbeque sauce. This makes 12 skewers – 2 per person.

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7 Layer Salad Squares

A friend asked me for some appetizer ideas for a family get-together for the New Year holiday. I used to be a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant so I thought I would check out some of the cookbooks and see what I could come up with. I found this recipe that I demonstrated at a kitchen show but really wanted to change the recipe to a more healthier version for my parties. Due to the travel time, there were some ingredients in the recipe that could become spoiled I had to figure out a way to make the recipe travel friendly.

7 Layer Salad Squares
Modified recipe from Pampered Chef on 01/02/2010

2 packages (8 ounces each) low-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1 garlic clove minced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (put bacon on paper towel to drain grease)
1 cup thawed frozen baby petite peas
3 plum tomatoes or ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced Roman lettuce
½ cup (2 ounces) 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion

Salad Dressing (need ½ cup of this)
½ cup 2% Fago Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12×15 tray with a lip or a 12 x 15 stone with a lip. Unroll the crescent rolls with the longest side of the rolls to the shortest side of the tray.  Seams of the crescent roll need to be pressed together tightly using your fingers or a mini roller. Bake 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, ½ cup of the homemade salad dressing, and garlic, mix until completely smooth. I found using a spoon first and then a whisk later helped gets rid of all the lumps. Add half of the crumbled bacon with half the peas in the salad dressing and spread mixture over the baked cooled crescent roll square.

Spread the seeded chopped tomatoes evenly over the salad dressing. Spread the thinly sliced lettuce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the lettuce and the thinly sliced onion.  Cut the appetizer into 24 even squares.

Eat Healthy!

Cook’s Note
The Greek yogurt… I am just hooked on this. I am using the Greek yogurt for recipes that require mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream. It is a perfect match and much healthier for you with really no difference in texture or flavor.

Another Pam’s Tip
Always remember to remove the seeds from tomatoes when using it for appetizers because the seeds cause juice and it could make the recipe very soggy.

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