Category / Appetizers

Appetizers Recipes

Crab Cakes

crab cakes
Living by the sea has wonderful opportunities for families. One of my favorite things to do is to head on down to the local inlet and go crabbing.  Sometimes we only catch a few and other times, we fill an entire bucket.  The quantity never seems to matter, the fun is always there. Somehow, someone always gets covered in muck!  A great way to introduce the kids to seafood is by serving up crab cakes.  They are not too fishy and taste delicious.  Serve these up with a dipping sauce of your choice.  Today, I’m sharing my original recipe.

Appetizers Recipes Sides

Rustic Greek Flatbread

greek flatbread


The other day, I was in the mood for something salty, tangy and warm for lunch.  This seemed to fit the bill perfectly!  As most of you know, I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I always have one of their rustic ciabatta flatbreads on hand.  They are so versatile.  Like a Boboli, they are seasoned to perfection and can morph into many things from pizza to a savory tart in no time, like this greek flatbread.

Appetizers Recipes Sides

Tomato and Cucumber Relish

Arugula dressed with relish and feta cheese

If you are like us, you now have an abundance of cucumbers and tomatoes from your garden. One thing that I like to do is make this relish.  It is so quick to make, versatile and delicious.  We use the relish in many ways including:

As a side dish
Place it on top of a bed of mixed greens sprinkle it with feta cheese and make a salad.
Use it on sandwiches
Serve it with fresh crusty bread
Use this instead of salsa with tortilla chips
Toss with fresh pasta-serve hot or as a cold pasta salad
Add a generous spoonful to the top of grilled meats prior to serving

The best part is that it takes no more than ten minutes to create!


Three medium tomatoes-diced
1 cucumber cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp of fresh basil cut as chiffonade
2 tbsp capers
3 tbsp diced kalamata olives
drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar
drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste


Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, olives, and capers in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the vinegar and oil over the top.  Add salt and pepper (don’t skimp on this one) and mix well.  Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.(but it probably will not even last that long once you try it).

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Appetizers Recipes Sides

Rustic Grilled Bruschetta

Sometimes it is just too hot to cook.  No one feels like eating anything too heavy and we certainly do not feel like cooking in the house.  This is when we take our cooking to the grill.  It is very easy to make a wonderful light meal for warm summer nights that is both easy delicious and keeps the kitchen clean!  Who doesn’t love that part!?  One thing that we find incredibly delicious and simple is a rustic crusty bread with fresh from the garden tomatoes and basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Some days, this serves as our main course paired with an assortment of summer salads.  Other days it’s a side.  Either way, it is fast, delicious and easy!

Appetizers Recipes

Chicken Potstickers

When I lived in Southern California, I become close friends with many wonderful people of Asian decent. Tradition and family go hand in hand in their culture.  Often, I would visit one of my Chinese friends and find their entire family sitting at the kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon making dumplings.  The Grandma, Auntie, Mom, Dad and brothers and sisters would all sit around for hours, talking while creating the perfect dumplings.  On days they knew I was coming, there was always an empty seat waiting for me.

Appetizers Recipes Sides

Teriyaki Chicken Drumettes

My sister is a great cook and entertainer.  Everyone always seems to end up at her house when it’s game day  or a holiday.  We enjoy sharing tried and true recipes with one another.  Somehow, it seems to make the 3000 miles between us shorter.  Here is one of her recipes that is a perfect appetizer or finger food at your next gathering.


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, halved
12 chicken drumettes
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


Combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs and garlic in a Ziploc bag.  Shake and squeeze the bag to combine all of the ingredients and add the chicken.

Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag and let it marinade for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place the marinaded chicken on the foil.  Bake approximately 30 minutes until the skin is caramelized and the chicken becomes very dark in some spots.

As the chicken cooks, take the remaining marinade, add it to a small saucepan bring to a boil (killing the bacteria).  Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.  When done set it aside.

Once the chicken is cooked, with a basting brush, add some of the cooked marinade to the chicken.  Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Click here to see all of the recipes featured on Tilly’s Nest.

Appetizers Recipes Sides

Dippable Fried Zucchini Coins

By now, some of you are becoming inundated with zucchini from your gardens.  Sometimes, it is nice to have a quick and easy go to snack or side dish for supper that your family will just gobble up.  Even the kids enjoy these, plus how can they resist the dipping?


2 eggs~beaten
1/4 cup of milk
2 zucchini squash~cut into 1/3″circular coin shapes
1cup of Italian bread crumbs (I like the Progresso brand in the blue circular cardboard container.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dipping Sauces:
Marinara sauce
Ranch dressing


In a medium bowl combine the eggs and the milk.  Whisk together well.  On a separate plate, spread the bread crumbs.

On the stove top over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat until warm enough to fry the zucchini.

Dip a raw zucchini coin into the egg mixture and then coat both sides with bread crumbs.  Add to hot oil and fry on each side until golden brown.  Multiple zucchini can cook in the pan with oil together.  Add more olive oil to the pan as needed during the cooking process.

Once browned on both sides, remove from oil and let rest on a paper towel covered plate.  This will help collect excess oil.

Once cooked, transfer the zucchini to a serving plate.  Serve hot with warm marinara sauce or ranch dressing for dipping.

This recipe is also found on Tastebook along with 26 other recipes from Tilly’s Nest.

Photo Credit:  The Legend Magazine

Appetizers Recipes

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

If you are like me, you clip out recipes that you would someday like to try but haven’t gotten around to it.  This spinach and artichoke is from Alton Brown, of Food Network fame, and got fabulous reviews.  I think I am going to try and make this one this weekend.  It seems so easy and delicious. Let me know what you think too! I’ve changed things up just bit.

Appetizers Breakfast Recipes

Ham and Cheese Puff Tart

image courtesy of

This is hands down one of the BEST recipes that I tried in 2010.  Thank you Martha for sharing!  This is from her Everday Food Magazine.  It makes a great dinner or appetizer.


1 1/2 tablespoons flour plus more for rolling
2 sheet  frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces thin sliced deli ham
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 large egg, beaten
ground nutmeg
salt and pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place oven rack in lower third.

2.  On a floured surface, roll each puff pastry sheet until they become 10″x13″ rectangles.  Transfer to two parchment lined cookie sheets and refrigerate.

3.  In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and then cook until golden colored about 1 minute.

4.  Add milk and simmer.  Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.  Pour sauce into bowl and let cool for 30 minutes.

5.  Arrange ham evenly on one of the pastry sheets keeping a 3/4″ border.  Top with cheese and sauce.

6.  Brush the pastry border with egg and top with second pastry sheet.  Fold the bottom edges over and press to seal.  Brush the top with egg and cut vents in the tart’s top. 

7.  Bake until browned and puffed, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

The original recipe can be found at

Appetizers Recipes

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This yummy buffalo chicken dip is awesome for game day on the weekend.  You may even need to double the recipe!  Serve it with tortilla chips and it is sure to be a hit at your next party.  One note of caution, I do not recommend substituting the brand names listed below.  I have and it was just not the same deliciousness that I remembered.