Janet's Notebook
Mix-Up Your Traditional Dinner Tonight

Chicken Bites with Honey Mustard

We've been cooking like crazy in the Test Kitchen and last week I really did not feel like making dinner (and, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat either). So my husband and I went to one of our favorite local restaurants. At dinner, I still couldn't make up my mind so I ended up ordering a couple of appetizers.

And that got me thinking. Why do we always need to come up with a big meal for dinner? Wouldn't it be fun to do an "apps for dinner night" right at home?!

Dee Robinson's Chicken Bites with Honey Mustard would be perfect for this and are bite-sized chicken yumminess. "The honey mustard sauce is great," says Dee. The Kitchen Crew would agree with that. We couldn't stop munching on these delicious chicken bites. When you make these, make sure to make plenty.

Not only are J White Harris' Shanghai Lumpia yummy, but they can also be prepared in advance! "Lumpia is a hands down favorite treat for my family. It is a variation of egg roll from the Philippines," explains J White. Once prepped, this is a quick and easy dish your family can munch on.

"I love Jalapeno Poppers but find them somewhat messy. I came up with these quick easy finger snacks [and] now my co-workers ask for them all the time," says Dawn Cordova. I loved her Jalapeno Popper Roll-ups - great pops of flavor. Really how can you go wrong with crescent rolls, bacon and cream cheese! This one is a guaranteed people pleaser.

Didi Dalaba's Tiropitakia are so savory, creamy and delicate. I do love most everything about phyllo dough, and this recipe did not disappoint me. "This a very old passed many generations down Greek recipe," says Didi. "Whether you make larger pieces as a main dish, or smaller pieces as appetizers... you can rest assure, guests and family will completely devour your plate!" I know I did.

Devon Delaney's Cowboy Pork Tenderloin on Texas Toast with Horseradish Ranch Sauce is a mouthful of flavor! "I love bold flavors to shine when I grill, so this represents the best of the west," says Devon. The rub in this recipe is delicious. It blended so well with the flavors of tomato, blue cheese and horseradish. The Kitchen Crew couldn't get enough of these!

I do like a little kick in my recipes, and Adriana Torres' Flaky Chorizo Potato and Cheese Empanadas are perfectly spicy and 100% delicious! "Empanadas can be made in many different ways," says Adriana. "Here, I skipped the sugar in the dough and prepared a savory chorizo and potato filling with cheese." We love the combination of flavors and can't wait to make this recipe again.

This week, put a twist on your traditional dinner and try one of these yummy appetizers. I'm sure your family will enjoy mixing things up a little.

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Joan Wharff - Apr 16, 2014
I love ordering an appetizer &, a small salad for dinner ☺️...a lot of times I just don't feel like a Lot of food.... &, it's just enough ! Why not? Heck, we love breakfast for dinner at home a lot of times...again..Why not? We love eating what we're hungry for. We make our own rules.
Joanie in Texas
Teresa Rouzer - Mar 6, 2014
Can't wait to make some of these recipes! I love appetizers and often order 2 or 3 instead of a full entree when dining out. When my boys were growing up, on New Year's Day I would fix a bunch of appetizers and snacks for us to have all day long while we watched the Rose Parade and took down the Christmas tree. Fun times!
Dawn Eskridge - Feb 23, 2014
We do appetizer nights and it always gets rave reviews! I make a combination of favorite sides, hot apps, and cold apps. Typically, friends and family come over Christmas Eve for drinks and dinner. Last year I was still recovering from a minor surgery and just didn't feel like doing the whole dinner spread. App night with some favorite holiday traditions (baked oyster casserole) thrown in kept the holiday spirit feeling but I wasn't tied to the kitchen all day!
Kathy Griffin - Feb 22, 2014
I hate going into a restaurant and having so much left over. We get go boxes sometimes and bring some home, but we generally forget to eat it so it still goes to waste. Our favorite place to eat in the Smokies is Corky's BBQ, they have a sampler meal,, we get that and split it, great way to save money and food
Ellen Bales - Feb 21, 2014
I have often done that at restaurants and also at home. Another variation: sides. Last weekend I was dining with some friends at a local chain restaurant and none of the entrees on the menu appealed to me, so I ended up ordering two side dishes and was completely satisfied not having the huge meal.
Teresa Meier - Feb 20, 2014
I love appetizer night!
Sara Moore-Scheck - Feb 19, 2014
We have app dinners all the time. Some times I take things we would like to try and make mini versions to try to see if we would even like it. That way I am not cooking a whole meal and find out we don't like and end up wasting food and money.
Tess Montgomery - Feb 19, 2014
I always fix a big meal for dinner but I love the idea of appetizers instead, at least once or twice a week. Will give it a try. I lived in the Philippines back before a volcano destroyed Clark AFB, I ate lots of lumpia and fried rice. I hope that one of the recipes I copied will taste just like what I had at the Spic & Span restaurant near Clark AFB.
Kathy Griffin - Feb 19, 2014
I do appetizer night about once a month,, and most times when me and the hubs go out to eat one of us will get an app and the other a meal we can split. not about the money but we can share, and we do not have so much that we can't finish the meal
Tammy Brownlow - Feb 19, 2014
I love to have appetizer nights! Usually we plan them around a game of cards. We go through and pick out some fun ones to try, along with some of our favorites - and have a fun day of cooking. We put on some "Frank Sinatra" and have a great evening of fun with friends. (: