Maria Faires’ Mini Caprese Appetizer Skewers

capreseThese make-ahead appetizer skewers are so delicious and impressive. 

If you’d like to make a composed Caprese Salad instead, go here for the recipe.

Makes 6 appetizer servings

  • 1 pt. grape tomatoes, washed, dried and halved
  • 10 to 14 fresh small (1/3 ounce Ciliegine Cherry Size) mozzarella cheese balls, cut into half. Trim edge of ball to flatten20160319_115928
  • See below on where to purchase 25 (2 ½ -inch) wooden frill cocktail appetizer toothpicks
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. Approach the tomato from the round (not cut side) and thread 1 tomato half, 1 piece of cheese, and another tomato half (approaching from the cut half) onto each skewer. Place skewers in a shallow serving dish. These can be covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
  2. Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. When ready to serve, drizzle oil and vinegar dressing over the skewers; sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper to taste.
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Top 4 Worst Thai Restaurant Appetizers

Thai restaurant menus have several deep-fried appetizers and I’ve listed my top four to avoid. Deep-fried anything is a caloric and heart-health nightmare.

CRAB PUFFS (Also called Money Bags or Golden Purses)
Golden brown deep-fried jumbo tortellini with stuffing of mixed imitation crab meat and cream cheese.

4 pieces contain 600 calories (150 calories each); 20 grams of fat and 500 mg sodium.

Deep-fried coconut prawns served with plum sauce.

4 small pieces are 355 calories; 24 grams fat; 745 mg sodium.

Mixed vegetables and vermicelli noodle wrapped in wheat paper wrap and deep-fried.

Each roll has 270 calories; 12 grams of fat and 375 mg sodium.

Breaded and deep-fried calamari with seasoned mayonnaise.

20 small pieces contain 300 calories; 16 grams of fat and 690 mg sodium.

*For optimum heart health an adult’s daily diet should consist of roughly 2,000 calories, fewer than 55 grams of fat, and less than 2400 milligrams of sodium.

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Award Winning Reduced Fat Cheeses

Ahhhh cheese. We love our cheese. The addition of cheese to a dish or simply served alongside a glass of wine is a pleasure. But it makes sense to cut back on our consumption or at least buy cheese that is reduced in fat since cheese is one of the biggest sources of harmful saturated fat in the U.S. diet.

I know many of you cheese lovers are skeptical that reduced fat cheeses CAN be delicious as their full-fat counterparts. So, I have compiled a list of some award-winning cheeses for all you turophiles.

Every year hundreds of cheese makers submit thousands of different products to the American Cheese Society (ACS) competition. The highest quality cheeses are given recognition. Here are the 2012 and 2013 winners in the reduced fat category.

Cabot Creamery, Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar

Fromagerie Le Détour, La Dame du Lac

Klondike Cheese Co., Low Fat Feta

Fromages CDA Inc., L’Empereur Léger

Klondike Cheese Co., Reduced Fat Feta

Emmi Roth, Roth Reduced Fat Havarti

Cabot Creamery, Cabot Jalapeno 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar

Woolwich Dairy, Dairy Fresh Chèvre – Big Kick Herb & Garlic

Coach Farm, Coach Farm Reduced Fat Fresh Goat Cheese with Pepper

Kraft Foods, Reduced Fat Extra Sharp Cheddar

Sorrento Lactalis, Reduced Fat String

Cabot Creamery, Cabot Jalapeno 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar

Lactalis U.S.A., Inc., Rondele Garlic & Herbs Light Spreadable Cheese

Coach Farm, Coach Farm Reduced Fat Fresh Goat Cheese with Pepper

Franklin Foods, Hahn’s Yogurt & Cream Cheese Strawberries N’ Cream

For a complete list of all winning cheeses visit

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