Chef and food writer Robin Miller makes pepperoni pizza cups, a treat perfect for watching TV.
The quality of the noshing is as important as the quality of binge-worthy shows. Four easy, healthy finger food recipes to help you Netflix and chill for hours.
“That awkward moment when you finish watching a TV series and you don’t know what to do with your life.”
I saw this quote captioned under a lost-looking Despicable Me Minion. That was me at the end of “Breaking Bad” and “Ozark” and “Suits.”
These days, it’s hard to pull ourselves away from the small screen. I love it, and I’ll admit to long hours spent captivated by my favorite shows, bingeing one episode to the next.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from indulging in entertainment, it’s this: The quality of the noshing is as important as the quality of the show.
Good TV demands more than microwave popcorn. We can all do better.
With that inspiration, I’ve created finger food that’s easy to prepare, crowd-pleasing and healthy, providing sustenance for the hours required to binge a series.
I have a feeling you’ll be bookmarking these baked appetizer recipes for future parties and gatherings of all sorts, Netflix or not. Here’s the rundown:
Pepperoni Pizza Cups: Adorable little cups, made with wonton skins, pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, with a sprinkling of oregano and Parmesan. Want a gluten-free version? Sandwich-style pepperoni slices become cups with ease. Think about the topping possibilities — mushrooms, broccoli, black olives, peppers, ham, pineapple. Toss whatever you want into those bite-size gems before baking.
Homemade Tater Tots: This recipe will bring you right back to childhood — shredded potatoes, shaped into logs and baked until golden and crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. These tots are better than their frozen brethren because they’re kicked up with Parmesan cheese and paprika. Serve the tots with the classic condiment — ketchup — or warm marinara sauce; it partners perfectly with the cheese.
Brie and Caramelized Onion Toasts: These simple yet elegant toasts are basically one-bite wonders. I used marbled bread to capture the essence of both rye and pumpernickel in one bite. Then, I topped the bread with caramelized onions and melted Brie. Imagine if you could put onion soup on toast — that’s the flavor experience here.
French Dip Bombs: Little versions of the classic sandwich — with a monumental twist. Juicy roast beef and sharp provolone cheese are stuffed into crescent roll dough and baked into golden-brown bombs. The best part is dunking those bombs in the jus. I realize provolone isn’t a classic addition to the French Dip sandwich, but just wait until you try the melted cheese with the roast beef and sauce. You can’t have just one…
Pepperoni Pizza Cups
From Robin Miller
Servings: 10-12 (makes 24 pizza cups).
Binge-worthy: Individual, bite-size, pepperoni pizzas — what’s better than that? They’re as pretty as they are delicious, making them a great option for entertaining.
Gluten-free option: For a gluten-free version, use sandwich-size slices of pepperoni and arrange them in the muffin pan as you would the wonton skins. Prebake the pepperoni cups for 6 minutes at 400 degrees. Once the pepperoni cups have cooled, remove them from the pan, wipe the grease from the pan, and return the cups to the pan. Fill and bake as directed below.
24 wonton skins (also called wonton wrappers)
24 pepperoni slices
½ cup pizza or pasta sauce of choice
24 (2-inch) pieces fresh mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
Dried oregano for sprinkling over top
Grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over top
Fresh basil leaves for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Press the wonton skins into the bottom and up the sides of 24 mini muffin cups.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the sauce into the wonton cups. Press the pepperoni slices into the sauce and place a piece of cheese on top of the pepperoni. Sprinkle with the oregano and Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the wonton skins are golden brown and the cheese melts.
Top with fresh basil leaves before serving if desired.
Homemade Tater Tots
From Robin Miller
Binge-worthy: You’ll never buy frozen again (and you’ll never look back). And the addition of crushed saltine crackers adds the perfect amount of toasty-ness to these tots; something you can’t replicate with regular bread crumbs.
2 cups packed, peeled and shredded potatoes (any variety, including frozen)
½ cup crushed saltine crackers (about 14 crackers)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons minced dried onion (from the spice aisle)
½ teaspoon paprika (sweet not smoked)
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling over the tots
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Ketchup or warm marinara sauce for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the shredded potatoes, crushed crackers, Parmesan cheese, egg whites, dried onion, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours).
Shape mixture into 24 balls and place the balls on the prepared pan. Shape the balls into “logs” about 1½ inches long by 1-inch high. Sprinkle the tops with a little more salt.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with ketchup or marinara sauce on the side.
Brie and Caramelized Onion Toasts
From Robin Miller
Binge-worthy: Layer upon layer of flavor — a base of tangy marbled rye and a topping of sweet caramelized onions and mushroomy Brie. It’s a flavor explosion. Not a marbled rye fan? Any bread variety works.
Improvise: Don’t have a small circle cookie cutter (about 1½ inches in diameter)? That’s OK, neither did I; I used the lid from a bottle of vitamins. Scour your kitchen for anything round that’s about 1½ inches in diameter and you’re good to go.
6-8 slices marbled rye bread, cut into 1½-inch circles
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups sliced yellow onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and ground black pepper
4 ounces Brie cheese, sliced into 1½-inch pieces
Chopped fresh parsley for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until dark brown, stirring occasionally (don’t try to rush this step; true caramelized onions take time to get dark brown without burning). Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush the bread circles with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and arrange them on the prepared pan. Place the caramelized onions on the bread circles. Top the onions with a piece of cheese (one piece per circle).
Bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese just starts to melt. Top with parsley before serving, if desired.
French Dip Bombs
From Robin Miller
Binge-worthy: Bite-size versions of the classic French Dip sandwich. The best part is dunking the cheesy, meaty bombs in the savory sauce (jus). Simply divine.
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces sliced good-quality roast beef, cut or torn into 24 equal pieces
2 (8-ounce) packages crescent dough sheets
4 ounces provolone cheese, cut or torn into 24 equal pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, flour and garlic powder. Set the pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly. Reduce the heat to low and keep the sauce warm while you make the bombs.
Unroll the crescent dough sheets out on a flat surface. Cut each piece of dough into 12 equal, rectangular pieces (making 24 pieces). Place an equal amount of roast beef in the center of each piece of dough. Top with an equal amount of provolone cheese. Pull up all four corners of the dough and pinch them together. Gently shape each “pouch” into a ball and place the balls, seam-side down, on the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bombs are puffed up and golden brown. Serve the broth mixture on the side for dipping.
MORE GREAT RECIPES:
Read or Share this story: https://azc.cc/2qnZpLP