Chocolate Covered Strawberry Dip

Grab a graham cracker and enjoy my dessert dip made with seasonal strawberries, melted chocolate and neufchâtel cream cheese. This pretty pink dish would be an excellent addition to your Easter dessert table or baby shower spread. Planning a gender reveal party? Make a blue version with blueberries and white chocolate chips. Whether you’re serving it at a get-together or snacking at home, you’ll have a tasty treat ready in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces neufchâtel cream cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 pint strawberries, divided
Graham crackers for serving

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan over low heat. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade add cream cheese and powdered sugar. Puree until smooth.
  3. Remove stems and hulls from strawberries. Slice ⅔ of strawberries and finely chop ⅓ of the pint. Add the sliced strawberries and melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and puree until smooth.
  4. Place mixture in a serving bowl and top with finely chopped strawberries. Serve with graham crackers.

Strawberry and Brie Toast

Spring is a wonderful time of year when flowers and trees are in bloom, grass is lush and green, and strawberries are in season. This appetizer features one of my favorite fruits in a savory fashion, using olive oil and red wine vinegar to compliment the sweet berries. This recipe is easy and elegant for entertaining. It is a perfect dish for a Champaign brunch, or go ahead and make it a meal on a busy weeknight by pairing it with a simple salad.

Ingredients:
½ whole grain baguette, cut into ¼ inch slices
6 ounces brie
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Top baguette slices with equal amounts of brie. Toast for five minutes, or until cheese is melted.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté strawberries for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through. Remove from heat and drizzle berries with red wine vinegar.
3. Top baguette slices with strawberries and serve.

Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a strawberry jalapeño jam, which is my new food obsession. The combination of sweet strawberries with a slight peppery heat is a perfect pairing that will delight your taste buds. I added a little citrus to my new favorite duo for a unique take on fruit salad that’s tangy, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

This is a wonderful use for spring strawberries and makes a simple but unique side dish or dessert. Pair it with grilled fish or chicken and fresh asparagus for a fast and delicious homemade meal, or liven up your next potluck with this sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons candied jalapeno pepper slices, diced

Directions:
1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut into quarters.
2. Peel and roughly chop grapefruit and orange, removing any seeds.
3. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, grapefruit and orange and drizzle with honey. Add candied jalapeño pepper and gently toss to combine.

Note: You can use hot and sweet jalapeño slices in place of the candied jalapeño peppers or pickled jalapeños plus an extra 1 tablespoon of honey.