I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been? All I can say is this Summer has been crazy and I never anticipated having so little time to think about my blog. I’ve had very little time for recipe experimentation but I promise by the Fall I will be posting more regularly.
But with that in mind, I have a quick, down and dirty and outrageously simple appetizer that you can bring to your next Summer get together. This particular recipe was my mother’s and when you see how simple it actually is you’ll know that everything I’ve been telling you about how she was not the creative or adventurous cook is completely true. But, that being said, it is also really delicious.
My memory of this recipe does not come from Summer parties but rather holiday parties. Every Christmas and Easter (but especially Christmas) she would make these and have them on the table. I hadn’t thought about them in a long, long time until last week when I was charged with bringing an appetizer to an event but literally had no time to make anything. This recipe came to the rescue and it was a big hit!
I also think this was my mother’s way of getting her kids to eat celery – and it worked! For such an easy recipe, it is perfect to serve when time is limited and you want something fun and delicious to put on the table as an appetizer or snack.
So let’s talk cream cheese and pineapple stuffed celery…
Lesson Learned 1 – Pre-cut celery is a great time saver: My grocery store cells pre-cut celery. The stalks are approximately three inches in size and packed in water. That’s the perfect size for this recipe. The only thing I needed to do to prepare the celery was take a small slice off each end to freshen the ends up. I was able to pat them dry and stuff them right away. But you can also buy celery and wash and slice it on your own. But I loved the convenience of having all that work done for me ahead of time.
Lesson Learned 2 – It is important to use BOTH a can of crushed and chunked pineapple: Initially I tried it with just one can of crushed and found that the pineapple flavor was being overpowered by the cream cheese. When I added the chunked pineapple it gave a nice balance of flavor and you could visually see some pineapple, which was not very visible when I just used the crushed. I also recommend dicing the pineapple chunks out of the jar and before adding them to the cream cheese. That way the chunks are the perfect size. Fold the diced chunks in at the end so as not to overly crush them in the mixing process.
Make sure you drain both the crushed and chunked pineapple so that the cream cheese mixture doesn’t become too runny.
Lesson Learned 3 – If you can, chill the stalks before serving: If you have time refrigerate the stuffed celery stalks before serving. I found that at a Summer party serving them that way makes them even more refreshing. But if you can’t you can always serve them right away.
Lesson Learned 4 – This is a very versatile dish: There are different ways of using this cream cheese mixture. It would be delightful on a toasted bagel. You can serve it as part of a crudite platter. You can also serve it as a dip on a veggie plate with radishes, celery, sweet baby peppers, snap peas, and carrots or you can serve it with some crackers and grapes. I like serving it with celery as it’s easy to pick up and go.
Lesson Learned 5 – Why not just buy this pre-made at the store? That’s a good question but the answer is very simple – this takes no time to make and you control exactly what ingredients go into it, which is always a good thing.
It couldn’t be easier! Sometimes I shy away from posting these very rudimentary recipes as I think my readers will consider them too simple. But I’ve found that any new recipe idea, easy or otherwise, tends to be very much appreciated. So make this one and tell me what you think!
Cream Cheese and Pineapple Stuffed Celery
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
Celery stalks, washed, dried and cut into 3 inch pieces
1- 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 – 8 ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained and diced in smaller pieces
Cut off a small slice on each end of the celery stalks and discard. Wash and dry the celery if not pre-washed. Combine the cream cheese with the drained crushed pineapple. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the drained diced pineapple.
Over-stuff each stalk with the cream cheese mixture. If possible, refrigerate for at least one hour, although this also can be served immediately.