Pinwheels, Pinwheels, Pinwheels…

Just call me queen of the pinwheels! Whenever I am expected to bring an appetizer to an event and I want something simple, easy and impressive I make pinwheels. Your imagination can soar when concocting these tasty bite size morsels and I always look for new ways to put a delightful spin on a pretty basic recipe.

The holidays are quickly approaching and with that holiday parties and of course lots and lots of food. And since I think there can be a pinwheel for just about any occasion, the holidays are not exception. This particular recipe will be a hit on any holiday table and it couldn’t be easier to make.

So lets talk Cranberry Feta and Chive Pinwheels…

This recipe follows the same basic format for making pinwheels that being softened cream cheese, the ingredients of your choice, and flour tortillas – couldn’t be easier. This particular variation adds the warmth of the basic holiday colors, red and green, and boasts of a spectacular sweet and savory flavor. I have posted two other pinwheels recipes since writing this blog.

The first, and one of my all time popular recipes judging by the number of hits it gets on a regular basis, is my Cream Cheese, Spinach, Bacon and Scallion Pinwheels:

I never in a million years could have guessed this recipe would be so popular.

The second pinwheel recipe I published was my Bacon Turkey Ranch Pinwheels:

This was also a hit with the slightly different twist of adding a cherry tomato on top – great finger food.

With this particular post I thought I might provide a one stop shop for the pinwheel recipes I’ve published with my latest edition being my Cranberry Feta and Chive Pinwheels:

Normally I include some lessons learned making a particular recipe. Since this recipe follows the basic formula for making pinwheels, I suggest you look at the other two recipes if you feel you need additional support in being successful making these. The only caveat I will add is to make sure not to skimp on the chives. The chives provide that nice counterbalance to the sweetness of the cranberries so minimally use 1/3 cup of chives and even more if you want. The choice is yours.

Cranberry Feta And Chive Pinwheels...

  • Servings: 30-35
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives (can do more if desired)

1 Tbs. garlic powder

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

4 flour tortillas (10 inch)

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sized bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spread mixture evenly on a tortilla leaving a 1/4 inch open all the way around. Tightly roll each tortilla to form a log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Slice into 3/4 inch rounds and serve.

I want to take this opportunity to inform my readers that I may not be posting as regularly in the near future. I am dealing with a debilitating family illness that is taking up the greater majority of my time. Rest assured that once my life gets more on an even keel I will post more regularly. Until then I ask for your patience. In the meantime check out my recipe index for my many years of posts which should satisfy your desire for recipes in the interim. And when I can I will check in. Thanks for your understanding!

No Bake Pizza Bites…

It’s been really hot here recently, averaging temperatures in the upper eighties and lower nineties. The one good thing about living in this part of the country is there is relatively little humidity so even though the days are hot the mornings and evenings tend to be gorgeous. But even with that I find that often I look for ways to make things that won’t heat up the kitchen or the house.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we have a group of residents that get together every Thursday for happy hour. We meet in our outdoor pavilion, bring what we want to drink and many people bring appetizers or finger food. We drink, eat, talk and have a grand old time.

I try to bring some kind of new nibble for people to enjoy each week. I have to admit there are times when I just don’t have the energy to make something and so I’ll buy some chips and salsa or something like that. But there are also times I like to try something new and see if it works so that I can blog about it. This particular recipe came into my mind out of the blue and it went over very very well.

With weather this hot you really don’t want to be eating anything too hot, especially when you’re eating outdoors. It just doesn’t seem to work. But even in the hot sticky weather you still get a taste for something like pizza. You just don’t want to heat up your house making it. So how to you get around that?

Most people like cold pizza, right? It’s the combination of flavors and not necessarily the melting cheese that makes a pizza special. So I put together an appetizer that brings together all the flavors of pizza without being hot and all on a bite size cracker. I knew I succeeded when a little girl ate one of them and said, “Wow, pizza!”

And making these couldn’t be any easier. So let’s talk no bake pizza bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – Go ahead and be creative with this recipe: I had some leftover pepperoni in the refrigerator that I wanted to use. The rest I put together as I walked through the specialty cheese section of my grocery store. You can vary the meat (or not use it at all), the cheese, the crackers – whatever you want. You’ll still come up with a great little appetizer.

Lesson Learned 2 – I used pre-made roasted tomatoes: In the specialty cheese section I found some roasted tomatoes marinated in garlic olive oil. Bingo! The package had about 7 ounces of roasted tomatoes that I diced up and put on top of the pepperoni. It was fabulous. If you can’t find them pre-made you can roast tomatoes yourself and then let them marinate in some olive oil. You’ll still get the same result. But this was a whole lot less work and gave the bites a great flavor!

Lesson Learned 3 – I used a specialty feta cheese: You can certainly use plain feta cheese but I found a roasted pepper and basil feta cheese and I decided to use that. What I liked about this choice was that it added the flavor of basil to the appetizer without having to use basil leaves. You could certainly use basil leaves as well. If you do I would put the basil leaf on top of the pepperoni and then put the tomatoes on top of that. That way the leaf is secured. The great thing about this appetizer is that you can be creative and it will still be fabulous!

Lesson Learned 4 – Right before serving drizzle the bites with some garlic infused olive oil: This is the finishing touch that adds so much. You don’t need a lot, just a slight drizzle over them and the olive oil just adds that special touch that rounds out all the flavors. You can also use the oil that the roasted tomatoes were packed in, but that may not be enough for all the rounds. I had to use both the oil from the tomatoes and some garlic olive oil to drizzle over all the rounds.

And that’s it. Layer the ingredients, drizzle them with some olive oil before serving and watch them disappear. Enjoy!

No Bake Pizza Bites...

  • Servings: Approximately 30 Rounds
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

1 box crackers, preferably round and not overly thin

Pepperoni, pre-packaged or a log you can cut into rounds

1 container of fire roasted tomatoes approx. 7 ounces

Feta cheese (I used a roasted red pepper and basil feta)

Garlic infused olive oil, for drizzling.

DIRECTIONS:

Dice the fire roasted tomatoes into small pieces. Lay out the crackers on a large plate or 9 x 13 baking sheet. Place a slice of pepperoni on each cracker. Top the pepperoni with some of the fire roasted tomatoes. Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle pieces over each round.

Right before serving drizzle with oil. You could used the oil that was used to pack the tomatoes. If that is not enough, drizzle the remaining with the garlic infused olive oil.

Cover Each Cracker With A Piece Of Pepperoni

Put Some Diced Roasted Tomatoes Over The Pepperoni

Sprinkle Each Round With Feta

No Bake Pizza Bites