HOLIDAY APPS: Pesto swirls, mini crab cakes, mac and cheese - KMSP-TV

HOLIDAY APPS: Pesto swirls, mini crab cakes, mac and cheese

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Chef Marshall O'Brien prepares some festive holiday appetizers and smart eating strategies.

Pesto Swirls
(Makes 16 pieces)


1 puff pastry sheet

¾ cup pesto, pre-made or use recipe here

8 ounce fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 cup red peppers, roasted, chopped (jarred works fine)

Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top


Thaw pastry sheet then roll out thin into a large square.

Spread pesto all over puff pastry sheet leaving 1/2 inch strip uncovered at the top.

Then place mozzarella evenly on pastry, and add roasted red pepper.

Carefully roll up pastry into a log, tuck in the ends, and cut into 1/2 inch wheels.

Lay flat and freeze until ready to bake.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet pan and bake at pre-heated 450 degree oven until poofy and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Mini crab cakes


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, Tabasco works fine

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, liquid gently squeezed out, picked over

¾ cup panko or other bread crumbs

Lemon wedges, for serving


In small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce mix well.

Then add crab and bread crumbs, gently mix well, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Portion crab mixture into 20 small patties.

Heat non-stick large skillet on medium high heat with 1 tablespoon oil and cook crab cakes until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes each side.

Place cooked crab cakes on platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 10 – ½ cup portions


8oz (half pound) elbow macaroni

3 tbsp butter

1/4 cup flour

2 1/3 cups milk

1 cup Swiss cheese

2 cups gruyere

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup panko or other bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon paprika


Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water, toss with a little olive oil so the noodles do not stick.. Set aside.

In same pan as noodles were cooked, melt the butter.

Then add flour and stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.

Then slow stir in milk.

Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and salt, stirring until melted.

Add cooked noodles to cheese sauce and mix well.

Grease ramekins and portion macaroni into each ramekin.

Separately combine bread crumbs with paprika.

Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni ramekins and brown in the oven and serve hot.


Acorn Squash Rings with Pomegranate


1 large acorn squash,

¼ cup butter melted

¼ cup brown sugar

pomegranate seeded


Cut squash into rings, seeds removed.

Line sheet pan with foil or parchment paper, lay rings on pan then brush with butter, sugar.

Roast until tender about 30-45 minutes.

Remove from oven, shingle on platter, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.



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