Easy Snacks, Apps, and Spreads

It is 6pm. You just got home from work. You just found out some friends/family are stopping by. Or you just want a nice snack to tide you over until a late dinner. Whatever the reason, you’re shuffling to put something together ASAP. Often when I’m on my own I enjoy plating a nice snack that looks good, tastes good and is a tease of indulgence, especially if you pair that with a beer, a dram of whisky or glass of wine. Though some may require a little more prep time, these snacks are easy to make and quick to put together. The first tip to keep in mind here is to pick up a baguette on your way home; you can top it with anything and makes for a quick snack. Or keep some crackers in you pantry; always useful.

Sliced Pear and Blue Cheese Crostini

All you need is baguette sliced on the bias, sliced pear and crumbled blue cheese. Layer the pears slices on the baguette, top with blue cheese and broil in the oven at 500°F until the cheese is melted. Plate-up and eat-up!

Caramelized Onion and Sundried Tomato Relish

Instead of an open-faced sandwich, serve this relish on bite size toast, crackers or bread. You can find the detailed recipe here. No sundried tomatoes on hand? Skip them and make a Caramelized Onion Relish. Top it with parmesan or cheddar shavings.

Tuna Tapenade

We almost always have a can of tuna on hand. Come on, admit it… they’re just practical. Liven up plain tuna by mixing it with olive oil, capers, sliced scallions, chives or marinated onion (soak onion slices in vinegar – I like using cider vinegar for its sweet and tart flavour), season with salt and pepper. Again, play around with different seasonings, oils, ingredients. Serve on toast, crackers, bread or even crudités.

Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Spread (make ahead)

This one requires a little more time to make but make a big batch ahead of time to use throughout the week. I use it in sandwiches but it makes a great spread or dip for appetizers. Preheat oven to 350°F. The garlic and zucchini are prepared simultaneously. Slice off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, wrap in foil and roast until brown and caramelize, about 45 minutes to an hour. Slice the zucchini in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, spices and/or herbs of choice (try thyme or cumin). Roast on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes or until soft. Once cooked, sneeze out the garlic flesh from its skin into a food processor, add the zucchini and blend until smooth. Store in the fridge and consume as needed.

Stovetop Popcorn

I do not have a microwave. Nor do I own any form of popcorn making machine. Hence, I rediscovered what popcorn really tastes like without all the fake butter and salty additives that you get from the packaged kind, and it’s fantastic. It pops up in under 5 minutes and you can add any flavouring you like.

General guidelines: use a big pot on medium-high heat, generously drizzle the bottom with olive oil, pour in ½ cup of popcorn kernels add seasonings, cover and shake the pot as the popcorn begins to pop. Once popping slows, remove from heat, add salt and serve hot. Play around with flavours, different kinds of oil, etc. Here are some seasoning suggestions I’ve really enjoyed: mustard seeds and turmeric, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, I also like using popcorn as garnishes for some dishes. Be creative, play around with different oils, herbs, spices, etc.

What are some of you’re easy snack ideas? Share your tips or ask your questions in the comments section below.

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