Cooking with Heinen’s | Impressive & Easy Holiday Appetizers

2 mins read

We’re almost there!  Christmas is days away. Decorations are up and lists are made.  Maybe this year I will remember where I hid all the presents.  One year I didn’t find a gift until April…Yikes!

Now that we are in the full entertaining season I’m always looking for a new (easy) recipe to impress friends and family. Are you looking for a simple “go to” recipe to serve when people drop by for the holidays? How about dip. You could easily buy dips pre-made but making them from scratch is so much better. You’ll be blown away by the difference in taste once you start making your own. You’ll also love how easy they are to make with items you probably have in your pantry.

I once read about this dip technique created by Anna Jones, a former food stylist to Jamie Oliver. It totally simplified dip recipes that can be made in hundreds of combinations. I do most of my dip making in my Vitamix. It’s so simple to add the ingredients, pour it in a bowl and serve!

Beans + Cream + Flavor + Acid + Sweetness + Herbs

That’s it. Now choose one ingredient from each of the categories below.

Start with a 15-oz. Can of Beans

Black beans
Butter beans
Cannellini beans
Borlotti beans

Blitz ‘n Season

Blitz the beans with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper until you have an evenly textured mash, then add one item from each category below, and process until well combined, adding a little more oil or water to loosen as needed.

A Tablespoon of Creaminess

Sunflower seed butter
Nut butter
Plain Greek yogurt

A Good Pinch of Punchy Flavor

Toasted cumin seeds
Finely chopped thyme
Grated fresh ginger
Grated garlic
Chopped chile

Some Brightening Acidity

Zest and juice of half a lemon, lime, or orange

A Dash of Balancing Sweetness

A Medjool date
A drizzle of maple syrup
A squeeze of honey
A few dried apricots
And a Handful of Fresh, Tender Herbs on Top if You’d Like

Need some more inspiration? Try these combos:

Cannelini Beans + Tahini + Toasted Cumin Seeds + Lemon Juice/Zest + Medjool Date + Herbs

Black Beans + Plain Greek Yogurt + Chopped Chile + Lime Juice/Zest + Honey + Herbs

Chickpeas + Sunflower Seed Butter + Grated Ginger + Orange Juice/Zest + Maple Syrup + Herbs

Now get busy!

Its Christmas so here’s one more crazy simple yet delicious idea for Holiday appetizers.

Butternut Squash and Chorizo Skewers


  • One large butternut squash
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 1 bunch of parsley leaves
  • For the marinade
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches sea salt and a pinch of coarse black pepper
  • half teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cumin
  • baking sheet lined with parchment.


  • Preheat the oven to 400° mix ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. Cut the butternutt squash into 35 meet cubes.
  • Toss in the marinade and then transfer to a prepared baking sheet, making sure there is a little space between each cube of squash.
  • Cook in the preheated oven 20 minutes or until the edges are crisp in this class is cooked through
  • meanwhile, cut the chorizo into 35 pieces, heat in a frying pan or skillet and fry the Chorizo pieces for a couple minutes on each side.
  • Skewer through the parsley leaf into the squash and hte Chorizo. Serve


Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. She regularly shops at Heinen’s for the family dishes she features via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at

Have you heard about Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ program? Sign up for free to receive exclusive weekly specials via email and earn Heinen’s rewards. As a Tasteful Rewards™ membership benefit, Heinen’s will donate up to 1% of your qualified purchases made between September and April to a local school of your choice through their Teaming Up for Education Program. CLICK HERE to sign up for Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ and, trust me, this is one email that will always please your palate!

Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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