• DeAnna Stagliano

Stuff Your Face

Updated: Apr 13, 2018

I love to host people at our home. I love everything about it. The food, the copious amounts of wine, the laughter, the community, the babysitter….I could go on and on.


Whether you are hosting a small dinner for close friends or a wine night to binge The Bachelorette, the prep can sometimes get out of hand and cost a small fortune! I am always looking to cut the cost somewhere and make my parties budget friendly.


These three appetizers are my “go to” apps. They are SUPER EASY, and do not cost an arm and a leg!

Both aspects that I'm drawn to during this hectic phase of my life with two very busy little ones running around.


Please let me introduce you to my little friends….Caprese Salad, Salmon Stuffed Cucumbers, and Mini Beet & Goat Cheese Skewers. I can make a Caprese Salad many different ways. For example; on a skewer, in a bowl, in shot glasses or with English cucumber in it, lay it out traditionally on a platter...the list goes on. I do the same with stuffing cucumbers. I have made Goat Cheese stuffed cucumbers, whipped cream cheese and chive stuffed cucumbers, chicken salad stuffed cucumbers, tuna salad stuffed cucumbers. You get the picture, right? I love anything mini and bite sized that’s why these Beet & Goat Cheese Skewers are always a hit!


I have loved tomatoes my entire life. When I was a little girl, I used to sneak into my grandfather’s garden and eat them straight off the vine like apples. The acid bumps on my tongue were well deserved and hurt! As I got older and realized I loved mayonnaise, say gross if you must, I would eat tomato sandwiches layered with mayonnaise, salt & pepper, and old fashioned white bread! Maybe this explains my obsession with tomatoes in my caprese salad. For the Caprese Salad, I determine how I am going to serve it first and then decide which tomatoes to use. If I’m doing skewers or in a bowl, I reach for grape tomatoes. I love the sweetness when they burst in your mouth! If I’m serving caprese salad traditionally laid out on a platter, I love using heirloom tomatoes. They are delicious and simply beautiful.


The Salmon Stuffed Cucumbers are created and look best when using an English Cucumber.

I personally like how firm and crunchy an English Cucumber is when it's fresh. This makes it extremely easy when hollowing it out and stuffing it. I do not like that it is always more expensive than the average cucumber but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?!


If I’m being honest with you guys, I am always running late and constantly on the go. When it comes to making my beautiful Beet & Goat Cheese Skewers, I buy the already roasted beets from Trader Joe’s. God, love Trader Joe’s!! You can find them in the salad section and thank me later.


My list of appetizers runs for pages. I cannot wait to share more with you guys! And if you have any fun recipes, please share them with me in the comment section...I am always looking for something new to feed my kids! Help is always appreciated.


Caprese Salad Ingredients:

1 pint of Grape Tomatoes

1 8 oz container of Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine

1 English Cucumber

8 Fresh Basil leaves

Olive Oil

Balsamic Glaze (I usually buy the bottle of glaze because I don’t have the extra spare time to make glaze myself!)

Salt & Pepper

Directions: 1. Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise 2. Slice the English Cucumber in half lengthwise, and then slice each half down the middle to make quarters. Then slice the entire cucumber across to make thin slices. 3. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, & ciliegine. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (I like a lot of olive oil so I usually add 2 whole tablespoons...if not more) and 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic glaze. 4. Salt & Pepper to taste. 5. Take the leaves of the basil, stack them on top of one another, and gently roll them into a “cigar”. Use a sharp knife to slice them into thin ribbons. 6. Combine all ingredients and serve in individual bowls with basil leaves for a garnish.






Smoked Salmon Stuffed Cucumber Ingredients:

1 English Cucumber

1 4 oz package of Smoked Salmon

1 4 oz log of herbed Goat Cheese

1 8 oz block of Cream Cheese

Micro greens for garnish

Directions: 1. Cut your English cucumber into 1 inch thick pieces. (do not peel the cucumber) 2. With a melon baller, scoop the center portion of the cucumber out to make “cups”. 3. With a hand mixer or a Kitchen Aid mixer, beat the herbed goat cheese and cream cheese together on medium speed until well combined and fluffy. This will take 5-8 minutes and you may have to pause and scrape the sides several times to make sure it's all combined. **I always add a pinch of black pepper at this time. 4. Place mixture into a pastry bag with a pipette end. If you do not have a pastry bag...like me….I use a large zip lock bag and cut just the tip off to “pipe” into my cucumber cups. 5. Roll slices of salmon to make thin folds and place into your cucumber cup. 6. Pipe with the cream cheese mixture at the base of the salmon fold to just above the cucumber. 7. Top with a sprinkle of micro greens.





Mini Beet & Goat Cheese Ingredients:

1 8 oz package of Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets from Trader Joe’s

1 4 oz log of plain Goat Cheese

Marjoram herbs

Honey for drizzling

Skewers of your choice for assembling. I find the most adorable skewers at Cost Plus World Market and even Party City!

Directions: 1. Slice each beet ball into thin slices across. 2. Slice the Goat Cheese into thin slices. I like to slice when it’s cold and then let my goat cheese sit out for a bit. Wipe your knife in between each slice to get the cleanest lines. When it is closer to room temp it is easier to mold together. 3. Layer on your skewer: strand of marjoram, beet slice, then goat cheese slice and repeat. 4. Drizzle with honey.


Photos by Lily Ro Photography (@lilyro)

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