Tapas are appetizers or snacks popular in Spanish cuisine — they can be hot or cold, are extremely varied, and are always meant to be shared with the people you’re dining with. The idea is to be able to try a little of everything while engaging with your guests instead of being completely engrossed in a full sit-down dinner. Tapas are, in my opinion, the best way to enjoy a meal. You aren’t limited to anything one note. You can eat a piece of one thing and then move on to something else. I love being able to try a wide variety of foods. My first tapas experience was at a restaurant in Las Vegas, and I’ve been hooked on this dining trend ever since.
When I cook for dinner parties, my mind automatically goes to various appetizers and finger foods — things that are easy to eat and enjoy. It may be winter and super cold where you are, but things are always warmer when you get together with friends! Whip up some of your favorite tapas, invite over your besties and celebrate winter with a little flair.
Party food doesn’t have to be complicated. One of my favorite appetizers is dip — of any kind, but especially spinach dip! Did you know you can make it in your slow cooker? Yep! That way, you can free up your hands (and stove) for making all sorts of other yummy tapas to serve at your get-together. This Slow Cooker Roasted Garlic, Spinach and Artichoke Dip is a delicious blend of flavor that will keep your kitchen smelling good but won’t get in the way of putting other dishes on the table! An easy appetizer to eat with all kinds of tortilla chips, pita bread or veggies — you can even spread it over pizza dough and make mini flat breads for your guests.
Slow Cooker Roasted Garlic, Spinach and Artichoke Dip
5-6 garlic cloves
1-10 oz. package frozen spinach, cooked and drained
1-5.3 oz. container plain, non-fat Stonyfield Organic Greek yogurt
1-15 oz. can artichoke heart quarters, drained
1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1-8 oz. package reduced fat cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat a small sauce pot on medium heat and place the garlic cloves in the pot.
Pour enough olive oil until the cloves are submerged.
Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant and turns a tannish-brown color, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Add cooked spinach, yogurt, artichokes, Parmesan, mozzarella and roasted garlic into a slow cooker and stir to combine.
Arrange the cubed cream cheese on top of the mixture.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Remove from slow cooker and mix in the cream cheese. Serve hot.
Yogurt is a great base for tons of different recipes. It’s a great way to impart flavor to your dish without excess calories and fat — and it gives a healthy dose of protein! This next tapas dish is inspired by two of my favorite cuisines, both of which have definitely picked up on the tapas trend — Greek and Mexican. These Spicy Yogurt Cucumber Bites combine Mexican classics like jalapeño and cilantro with cucumbers and sun dried tomatoes, ingredients I often see in Greek dishes. These are definitely a one-bite treat that packs a big punch of flavor! This recipe can be adjusted according to how spicy you want it to be. Play around with the spices, starting with a very small amount and keep going until you’ve found the perfect amount.
Spicy Yogurt Cucumber Bites
1 cup plain, non-fat Stonyfield Organic Greek yogurt
1/2 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced very finely
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
Salt and Pepper
1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely diced
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Scoop a spoonful of yogurt mix onto the cucumber rounds and top with diced sun dried tomato.
Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Last, but not least, cornbread! If you’re a bread-lover like me, you know no party is complete with a basket full of some yummy carbs! Ditch the milk called for inthis cornbread recipe and use Stonyfield’s new Vanilla OP Smoothie! It’s super easy too. Use your favorite boxed cornbread mix to make these Honey Vanilla Cornbread Muffins and totally impress your guests. No need to tell them you used a box — they will never know the difference!! These tender, crumb-a-licious muffins will literally melt in your mouth. They are full of sweetness, perfectly moist, and just the right size to pick up and pop in your mouth…over and over and over again.
Honey Vanilla Cornbread Muffins
(makes 24 mini muffins)
1 box of your favorite cornbread mix
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup Stonyfield Vanilla OP Smoothie
1 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease your mini muffin tins and set aside.
Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Use a small cookie scoop to portion out batter into the muffin tin and bake on the bottom shelf of your oven for 15-17 minutes.
Move the tin to the top shelf and set the oven to broil.
Watch carefully for 1-2 minutes and remove once the tops of the muffins have begun to brown.
There you have it! Three easy and delicious tapas made with Stonyfield that are perfect for your next dinner party!