Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Cheese-Filled Zucchini Boats

“I hope these aren’t going to be too foofy for the guys,” Bikenut says.  I’m not sure why he thought the guys wouldn’t like them.  Guys like mozzarella sticks, right???  All I did was add a vegetable!

I StumbledUpon the recipe on Life’s Ambrosia but had to do things a little differently, based on the zucchini I picked up.  It was far too dainty to core out when cut into rounds.  Instead, I cut each zucchini into thirds or quarters, then split those sections in half lengthwise and used a melon baller to scoop out a pocket for the cheese.

I also sliced off a thin bit of the bottom of the “boat” to keep each one from rolling around, then sprinkled them with some sea salt and pepper.

If I had this part to do over again, I would have not gone with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Instead, I’d have bought a ball of mozzarella and used chunks of that, or if I happened to have string cheese in the fridge, cut that up.  It wouldn’t have necessarily changed the final outcome, but it would have made things a little easier for prep and clean-up.

Once the cheese was finally packed into the zucchini boats, they were dunked in an egg wash, patted with panko bread crumbs and parmesan, and placed on a baking pan.  Surprisingly, the cheese stayed in the boats the whole time!

A little drizzle of olive oil, and into the oven they went.  Okay, fine.  The “little drizzle” was really more like poorly controlled glugs from the bottle, but still.  All is well that ends well, right?

Fifteen minutes at 400°F then a few minutes under the broiler and what you end up with is a fantastic appetizer that even the guys that were over for Fight Night enjoyed!  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.  Delicious!

A special thanks to Bikenut for lending me his camera, since I had neglected to charge my battery since our last photo excursion.  Without him, you’d only have gotten to see the first two steps!

Cheese-Filled Zucchini Boats


  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Slice ends off of zucchini, then cut zucchini into three to four pieces.  Split each piece lengthwise, then slice a thin strip off the rounded bottom of each piece to create a flat surface for the zucchini to rest on.
  2. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the centers of each piece, making sure not to scoop too much of the flesh away.
  3. Sprinkle zucchini boats with a good bit of salt and a crack of black pepper.  Stuff the zucchini with pieces of mozzarella cheese, pressing it into the hollow.
  4. In a small bowl, beat two eggs.  In a separate small bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan.
  5. Dip each zucchini boat in the egg wash until it is thoroughly coated, then transfer the zucchini to the panko mixture.  Toss in the breadcrumbs until well-coated, pat the breadcrumbs onto the top, then transfer zucchini to a baking sheet that has been prepared with cooking spray.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.  Broil for another 3-5 minutes until tops are browned.
  7. Remove from oven and serve while hot with marinara sauce for dipping.

Spinach & Bacon Pinwheels

Looking at food blogs is a problem for me.  I always find these amazing photos of amazing dishes with simple enough or delectable enough recipes that I just HAVE to try them.  Today wasn’t one of those days.  It is true that the food blogs inspired me to rummage through my kitchen, but there was not a particular recipe that had really struck me as something I HAD to make immediately.

Instead, I opted to get rid of the frozen puff pastry dough, whose box was an odd length compared to everything else in the freezer, and always just seemed to be in the way.  I also had to use up the rest of my frozen spinach before it succumbed to freezer burn.  And what do you know, I happened to have some bacon on hand, along with some swiss cheese!  I thought I’d put some of my favorite flavors together in a yummy pastry snack!

Bikenut is not a fan of cooked spinach.  He likes it raw, preferably in salad with some candied nuts, dried cranberries, and a vinaigrette.  This being the case, I wasn’t sure if he was going to try these or not.   Turns out that he did try one and he actually liked it!  He said that they were rich and filling, so he could only eat the one, but he definitely enjoyed it.  Color me shocked!

As I was just throwing this together on a whim and not following any recipe, the amounts here are approximate, so use your best judgment, or your best taste bud. 😀

Spinach & Bacon Pinwheels


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed per package instructions
  • 8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 4 slices of swiss cheese
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • (If I had any at the time, I would have added a bit of thinly sliced or finely diced onion, and thinly sliced mushrooms)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Unfold puff pastry dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Squeeze all moisture out of spinach, then combine spinach and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add all spices to mixing bowl and stir until well-blended.
  4. Spread mixture evenly over puff pastry dough.  Sprinkle bacon over spinach mixture.
  5. Tear slices of Swiss cheese into pieces and arrange over the top of the pastry.  This will make it easier to roll than leaving in slices.
  6. Roll dough into a log, then slice lengthwise, into about 1″ segments.  Place cut side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Brush pastry dough with egg wash or melted butter, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.