Cheesy Parmesan Bites

I made these for an open house we hosted over the weekend. As the only hot appetizer on the table, they went pretty quickly!

They are very easy to make, and very easy to prepare ahead and bake when needed. Try as I might, I could not prevent the cheese from melting out the sides to keep these snacks looking pretty and perfect, but it seemed not to matter to the cheese lovers at the party and probably made them more appealing.

The recipe calls for Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls, which I don’t think are available overseas. A quick search online just now turned up this copycat recipe. It seems you can follow steps 1-3 to make the dough, then follow my instructions below to make the rest.

Makes 32

1 8-oz. package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cans refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls (one recipe of the copycat version)
1 cup very finely diced red bell pepper
Dried parsley

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees. Mix cream cheese and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese until well blended.

Open the cans of crescent rolls and carefully unroll onto a clean surface. Separate each roll into 4 rectangles, sealing the perforations. (If using the copycat recipe, try to roll out 2 rectangles, each about 14 inches long and 8 inches wide. Cut each rectangle into four smaller rectangles.)

Spread 3 Tbsp. of the cream cheese mixture lengthwise on each rectangle, making sure to go all the way to the edges.

Generously top with red pepper and parsley.

Fold one long end up over the filling to the center, then fold it up again to close the roll.

Cut each log into four pieces, then place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

*Note: If making ahead, stop after making the logs. When ready to bake, cut the logs into pieces, then bake. There is no need to bring them to room temperature before baking.

Luxury Tuna Salad

The phrase “tuna salad” probably doesn’t conjure up images of luxury, but this recipe may change that. I happen to love tuna salad — not just for the taste, but also because it can be healthy and adapted in various subtle ways. This is a great example.

I made this recipe last night for the first time in a while and was reminded of how delicious it is. I ate it on top of toasted wholemeal bread, but it could also be good on crispy lettuce leaves or as part of a sandwich. If you use fat-free mayonnaise, it also fits perfectly with a low-GI or Weight Watchers diet.

It’s so easy to make that it’s also worth noting this makes a good appetizer, put in small spoonfuls on crackers or in the crevices of celery sticks.

Makes enough for 4-6 sandwiches, depending on how much you fill them with.

3 celery stalks
4 canned artichoke hearts, either in water or marinade, but well drained
1 can tuna, in water or brine, well drained
3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. mayonnaise
Mustard powder to taste

Dice the celery and put it into a bowl. Chop the artichoke hearts into eighths, then cut each slice in half and add it to the celery (you want slightly bigger chunks than the celery, but not too big). Add the tuna, mayonnaise, and mustard powder. You probably won’t need salt and pepper, but taste to be sure.