Category Archives: appetizer

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas with Salsa


When I first moved to Pennsylvania, back in 2003, I worked as both a waitress and cook at this little place called Peacocks Cafe.  One of our signature dishes was the chicken and cheese quesadillas (or quack-a-dillas if you asked my friend Val).  They are very quick and easy to prepare and can be varied to suit many tastes.  I made the chicken and cheese for my hubby last night, a plain cheese one for Myles (well…don’t tell him, but I minced up some peppers and threw those in as well :P)  and these Spinach and Mushroom ones for me.

Serve them with salsa, guacamole or sour cream, if desired.


Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas


1 handful of spinach, washed and sliced fine

1/2 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced fine

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp olive oil

2 tortilla wraps (I used 50/50 blend of white and wheat)

1/4 cup grated cheddar


1. Saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in the olive oil over medium high heat until soft.  Add the spinach, salt and pepper, cooking until the spinach wilts.  Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, drizzle some more olive oil in the pan and dip the tortillas into this  on both side to distribute the oil.

3. Leave one tortilla in the pan, cover with cheese and the spinach mixture and top with the other tortilla.  When the bottom starts to brown, carefully flip over to cook the other side.

4. Remove from the heat and cut into wedges.  Serve with salsa.


Here is a very simple salsa recipe that is quick and easy to make.

Homemade Salsa


1/2 of a red onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 tomatoes, diced and smushed

2-3 jalepenos, diced

1 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine

juice of half a lime

1 tsp brown sugar, optional

salt and pepper to taste


1. Mix together all ingredients, tasting to adjust the seasoning.

2. Alternatively, blend for a smooth salsa.

Butternut Squash Soup


Ya know, when Myles was a newbie to food, he used to adore anything orange.  Loved sweet potatoes, loved pumpkin, loved oranges…but his favorite was always the butternut squash.  Not that I minded at all, since it is high in carotenoids, antioxidants and dietary fiber. This little beauty is truly a superfood!

While gone are the days when my little guy will eat it just steamed, he still enjoys a nice hearty portion of this yummy, sweet soup.  Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty bread.

butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup


1 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 lbs Butternut Squash (1 kilo), peeled, de-seeded and cubed

1 red pepper, chopped

1 veggie stock cube + water

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp paprika

1 Tbsp honey

salt and pepper to taste

plain yoghurt to serve


1. In a large stock pot, combine olive oil onions and garlic and fry over medium-high heat until fragrant.  Add the squash and red pepper; fry until the onion is soft, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t brown.

2.  Add stock cube and enough water to just cover the veg.  Add spices and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash begins to breakdown.

3. Remove the pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup.

4. Add the honey. Stir for another minute, then taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Serve with a spoonful of plain yoghurt.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip


Oooh….it just reminds me of home!  Pretty much every restaurant that you go to in the states has this on the appetizers menu, but here in the UK it just doesn’t exist.  I made this dip for our friend’s Christmas party a couple of years ago, and now it is required that I bring it to all of our get togethers.  It is ridiculously simple, and while not exactly low in fat, it does provide a good amount of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, folate, fiber and antioxidants from the veggies.

spinach and artichoke dip

Spinach and Artichoke Dip


1 16 oz. jar of alfredo sauce (or any white pasta sauce)

1 cup frozen spinach

1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered

2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese

seasoning to taste

1 tomato, chopped for garnish


1. Combine sauce, spinach and artichokes in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until spinach is thawed.

2. Add cheese and seasoning; cook, stirring frequently, until bubbling.

3. Pour into a dish, garnish with tomato and serve.