Cream Cheese And Pineapple Stuffed Celery

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

  • Servings: 20-30 Three Inch Stalks
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

 

Shrimp Dip…

Graduation parties and summer cookouts boast of fun and food. And if you’re in the position to be hosting one, you’re probably thinking about what you can do that is delicious but easy to make. That way you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.

This recipe fits the bill. It’s a really easy dip that takes no time to make and is loaded with flavor. Serve it with a combination of chips, pretzels and crackers for an appetizer that looks casual but tastes decadent.

So let’s talk shrimp dip…

Lesson Learned 1 – Use LOTS of shrimp: I used a 12 oz. bag of frozen cooked and deveined shrimp. I thawed the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight and then chopped it up into small bite sized pieces. I kept a couple of shrimp to garnish the top of the dip (of course you don’t have to do that) and all the rest went into the dip. My point being this is a shrimp dip – the more shrimp the better.

If you’re lucky like I was you can catch the shrimp on sale. The twelve ounce bag only cost me $7.99 so I got a deal. Keep a look out for sales on the frozen shrimp if you’re looking to keep the cost down on this dip. I already had all the other ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry except the celery so I was able to splurge a little with the shrimp.

Lesson Learned 2 – If your celery stalks still have the green leaves on them use them as well: For this particular recipe all you really need is one medium sized celery stalk chopped. Normally you can buy individual stalks at the grocery store instead of buying a whole head of celery. When I only need a little celery I always try to buy a stalk that has some leaves on it. Those leaves chopped up and put into the dip add additional depth of flavor. So don’t be afraid to use them as well.

Lesson Learned 3 – If you can, make this recipe the day before: Like almost any dish, the more the ingredients are acquainted directly relates to upping the wow factor of the flavor. So it is with this dish. It is such an easy dish to make that it shouldn’t be too difficult to make it the day before and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. But if you’re in a rush and need something quick, you can serve this the same day and it will still be very good.

The recipe itself is very straightforward so there’s not a lot of lessons learned to share with it. Just follow the directions, use some creativity in your presentation (you can dress it up with a combination of chips, pretzels and crackers) and watch it disappear. This one is a no brainer. Try it and tell me what you think.

Shrimp Dip...

  • Servings: Multiple
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature

1 – 12 oz. package of frozen cooked and deveined medium sized shrimp, thawed and chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. garlic fleur de sel (you can substitute garlic salt)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 lemon slice for garnish, optional

1/4 cup celery, chopped (one medium sized stalk)

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1/8 tsp. paprika, for garnish, optional (you can also use some sprigs of fresh herbs like thyme)

Crackers, potato chips and/or pretzels for serving

DIRECTIONS:

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the mayo, lemon juice and fleur de sel. Mix to thoroughly combine. With a wooden spoon stir in the shrimp, celery and scallions.

Place mixture in a serving dish. Garnish with paprika and a lemon slice or some sprigs of lemon thyme. Serve with pretzels, chips and/or crackers. (If making the day before wait to garnish the dip until you’re ready to serve.)

cut shrimp into small bite sized chunks

serving suggestion with fresh thyme sprigs as garnish

 

 

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