Helping Hands in the Kitchen: Finger Foods

April 19, 2022

Warmer weather makes us want to be outside doing things to get that Vitamin D from the sunshine and the fresh air. It brings us happiness, joy, and energy! So, today I’m going to share recipes for simple outdoor finger foods that you can take and eat outside.

PUMPKIN DONUT HOLES

Example of pumpkin donut holes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk (or lemon juice/vinegar – 1 teaspoon – in the bottom of measuring cup, add sweet milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes to make buttermilk)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup prepared pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling mix in the can)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying. (Remember, do not fill your pan more than half full with oil or there might be a chance of causing a fire when or if it bubbles over.)

Instructions

  1. Mix the buttermilk, pumpkin, egg, the 1 ½ T. oil, and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir the dry into the wet ingredients. Mix to combine well, but do not beat it or you’ll have tough donut holes.
  4. Heat oil for frying to 375 deg F.
  5. Using a small spoon or small scoop and drop the batter into the hot oil.
  6. Turn donuts over when golden on one side to fry other side. Remove when evenly golden brown and done on the inside – you might want to test. Cool on paper towels.
  7. Roll in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or cinnamon and sugar, or in a glaze mixture of powdered sugar and milk.

BAKED DONUT BITES

Example of baked donut holes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons melted shortening or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick margarine, melted (for coating the baked donut bites)

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
  3. Fill SMALL muffin tins that have been sprayed with quick-release spray for baking.
  4. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  5. When done, dip in the melted margarine and shake in a bag of cinnamon and sugar combined (1 ½ t cinnamon and ¼ cup granulated sugar). Serve warm if possible.

FRESH FRUIT

Example of a watermelon rind being used as a display for fruit skewers

Melons are easy to peel, cut, skewer, and eat outside! Some good options for melons and fruit are cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, strawberries, apple, pineapple, Santa Claus melon, Casaba melon, and Banana melons.

If you use a watermelon, take a piece of it, turn it upside down, put it on a plate, and put the fruit skewers into the melon. It is easy for your family and friends to take one to eat and keep moving. This is a really fun way to serve fruit!

CRUNCHY FRESH VEGETABLES

Example of a vegetable tray with baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and grape tomatoes
Example of a vegetable tray with cucumbers, radishes, snap peas, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and baby corn

You could use carrots, celery, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, small grape tomatoes, snap peas, mushrooms, and canned mini corns. There are many vegetables that will work great for a quick outdoor snack. Check next week’s blog for some great dip recipes to go with your vegetables!

FRIED CHEESE WONTONS

Example of fried cheese wontons

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 15-ounce carton ricotta cheese (make sure there is no extra water or liquid on/in the cheese)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • Oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Combine the cheese, egg, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  2. Place a wonton wrapper with a point away from you, one toward you. Cover the rest with a damp cloth so they do not dry out.
  3. Place 1 T. filling in the center. Fold the bottom up, sides, in, and roll like a burrito fold. Moisten tip to seal.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F.  In a saucepan, frying pan, or deep fat fryer. Remember to not put more than half way up the sides of the pan as it will bubble over otherwise. Dangerous!
  6. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

These are delicious on their own or served with a sauce such as marinara, honey mustard, teriyaki, or creamy herb.

CROSTINI (with tomatoes)

Example of crostini with tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Baguette bread
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fresh firm tomatoes
  • Sweet onions (optional)
  • Dressing – Vinaigrette or Italian

Instructions

  1. Dice tomatoes and sweet onion (if using). Marinate in your favorite vinaigrette or Italian dressing.
  2. Cut the bread in 1/4-1/2” slices.
  3. Place on a baking pan. Brush with olive oil on each side and sprinkle with the spices.
  4. Bake in a 385 degrees F oven for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown (not TOO crunchy). Don’t over bake.

You could also add garlic salt instead of regular salt. If you would like to add a bit of spice, add a few red hot pepper flakes.

CHICKEN FINGERS

Example of chicken fingers

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts  (or thighs)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ large lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs (commercial or make your own)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Grease lightly a 15”x10”x1” baking pan.
  2. Cut chicken into strips about ½” wide.
  3. Combine sour cream, lemon juice, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and garlic. Mix well. 
  4. Add chicken and coat well.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight. At least 8 hours to marinate.
  6. Put bread crumbs in a bowl and remove chicken from the marinade and roll in the crumbs.
  7. Arrange in a single layer in prepared pan. Spoon butter over the chicken as evenly as possible.
  8. Bake at 350 deg F. for 18-25 minutes until chicken is tender and golden brown. Depends on the thickness of the chicken.

SESAME CHICKEN BITES

Example of sesame chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. To toast the sesame seeds: put a skillet on medium-high heat and add the sesame seeds, Stir or swirl the seeds around the pan until toasted.  It won’t take long so don’t leave them on the stove too long.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the chicken and the garlic. Sauté until the chicken is about half cooked, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir soy sauce mixture and add to the chicken. Continue cooking until most of the mixture has been evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  6. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken pieces, toss to coat. Top with sliced green onion.

This recipe doubles well. These may be eaten with toothpicks.

FINGERLING POTATOES

Fingerling potatoes

Fingerling potatoes are small finger-like in size, red, white, yellow, and purple. It’s fun to use a variety but you might not always find them. These can be eaten warm or cold and with your fingers.

For 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse the potatoes and put them in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and 1 T. Kosher salt.
  2. Bring to boil and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Don’t overcook. Just fork tender.
  3. Drain, then put the lid on the pan or kitchen towel (turn the heat OFF) and let them steam for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Either leave them whole or slice them in half length-wise.
  5. Add salt/pepper, and chopped chives.

You could serve these with a dip. Check next week’s blog for a great dip recipe for your potatoes!

CHERRY PINEAPPLE BARS

Example of cherry pineapple bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 beaten egg yolks
  • 1  8.75-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. Combine flour,  brown sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup of mixture. Press remainder in 13×9” pan. Bake 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in undrained pineapple and egg yolks.
  3. Cook over medium heat until boils. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cherries. Stir to combine. Spread over baked layer.
  5. Sprinkle on remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 deg F. for 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool and cut. Enjoy!

CARAMEL BROWNIES

Example of caramel brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 cup nuts – walnuts
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 1 small bag of chocolate chips
  • 1  14-ounce bag of caramels
  • 1/3 cup canned milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)

Instructions

  1. Melt in the microwave the caramels and canned milk.
  2. Stir and watch for about 2 minutes.  Be sure to not let it burn.
  3. Grease and flour 13x9x2” pan.
  4. Make the batter per box directions.
  5. Pour batter into the pan and cook about 35 minutes. Check with toothpick.
  6. Spoon caramel mixture on top of brownies. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake in oven another 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool, then cut.

 LEMON BARS

Example of lemon bars

Ingredients

  • 1 18-ounce package 1-step Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1  22-ounce can lemon pie filling

Instructions

  1. Combine cake mix (dry) and pie filling. Stir until well blended.
  2. Spread over greased and floured 15x10x1” jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.

FROSTING:

  • 1  3-ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Combine cream cheese, milk, and 2/3 confectioner’s sugar. Spread over layer. Then dust the remaining powdered sugar on top.  Cut and enjoy!

Enjoy! Feel free to adapt these recipes to your tastes and likes or dislikes. Make them your own. These recipes can even be packaged up to take to the park or beach, lake or mountain. Come back next week for recipes of the best dips to go with your finger foods!

Bon Appétit!

With Love,

Granni K

Download these recipes here.

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