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Leftover rice from last nights dinner? Don't throw it out. Instead make these delicious appetizers for your family the next day and watch them smile. This is an amazing way to enjoy left over rice, providing a beautifully crunchy crust with creamy and heavenly cheesy interior.

Ever have that coworker who microwaves a Hot Pocket at lunch and the smell is somehow the best thing in the world even though they are just filled with garbage?  It’s actually really easy to make your own home version!  They’ll do okay in the freezer for a week or two if your freezer isn’t too sub-arctic.  And yes, when you microwave them, they will produce that magnificent smell.

This recipe is a surefire winner. Prepare on a cold, cloudy, wet day and it’ll warm you up in no time. Make sure to add the cream of the heat so that it does not separate.

One of our family favorites is fried ravioli. These bite-sized golden brown treats are a pleasure to behold and they go down equally well with a tall glass of milk, a chilled pint of beer or glass of Chianti.

For something savory and delicious you can prepare these potato and spinach pancakes with marinara.

These adorably tiny appetizers are a great way to use up weird quantities of vegetable leftovers.  It’s really forgiving to whatever you have in the house-- I’ve even thrown in a little leftover cocoa to mix things up!  Even non-traditional chili stuff like eggplant, nectarines and squash is just killer in this little dish.

This rich, decadent dish hits a harmony of savory garlic and onion and sweet fresh shrimp in a creamy risotto.  It's easy to make and perfect for a luxurious weeknight dinner.

You can serve the falafels over brown rice and steamed broccoli and peppers with the cold tzatsiki sauce for a more elegant dinner entrée.  Remember than there aren’t really any carbs (except for the light flour) on the falafel, so it comes off as a heavier meal than it really is.  Garnish with mint leaves.

My favorite is to lay the falafels in a flat bread with halved mini tomatos (heirloom if you can!) and whole mint leaves with the tzatsiki sauce.  They’re messy but portable, great for beaches and picnics and friends that love you no matter what.

Ok, so prepping the cactus is NBD.  No magic trick, just wash them and scrape a knife across them until anything you don’t want in your mouth scrapes off.  A rough scrub with a Brillo pad will do it too. Don’t bite into one before you cook it to see what it’s like raw.  I’ll tell you, it’s nasty.  There’s some sort of cactus goo inside that cooks out over low heat and becomes really delicious, but boy is it gross before then.  

This is so flavor country.  It’s subtle, but if your ingredients are even marginally fresh, you’ll have a savory veggie taste that doesn’t need anything but a sprinkle of black pepper.  I served this with queso fresca, a sunny side up egg and a spicy chicken sausage, but this can stand on its meat-free feet as well.