Asparagus, Cream Cheese & Brown Sugar Ham Roll-Ups ~ Quick, easy & low cal ~      a perfect finger-food appetizer

One of my favorite spring veggies is asparagus.  I mostly enjoy it prepared simply, usually just steamed & then with topped with a drizzle of butter or extra virgin olive oil.  I will occasionally doll-it-up, those are the times I feel like getting a bit creative with this little, green gem of a veg. Sometimes, I just want this little darling to shine.  

So, here are some of my favorite ways to prepare this delicate messenger of springtime's arrival...

Asparagus, Cream Cheese & Brown Sugar Ham Roll-Ups             

These little treats are sooo good!!  They take almost no time to make ~ perfect for when you want something a little special for a snack, a side dish or  a party appetizer.  To Make:  nuke (or steam) some cleaned & prepped thin asparagus for about one minute, or until they are tender-crisp.  When done, plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking & to keep them bright green.  While they are cooling, take some cream cheese (either regular, low fat or fat free) & mix some finely chopped chives (either fresh or dried) and a little salt/pepper.  Spread the cream cheese mixture onto some brown sugar ham lunch meat (one slice of ham will wrap three asparagus spears) ~ then cut the cream cheese covered ham slice into thirds.  Drain the asparagus when cool & pat dry.  Take one of the cut ham slices & roll it around the asparagus spear.  Let sit in fridge for a bit to firm up, then serve.

Steamed Asparagus & French Onion Cream Sauce           

I love this recipe!  I have been making it for years & have always had compliments on it.  Even people who say they don't like asparagus, like this dish.  It is SO simple to make, but it tastes like you spent a lot of time creating the sauce.  To Make:  Steam prepped asparagus until tender, 5-8 minutes, or until done (depends of the size of the spears)  While asparagus is cooking,  melt 1/4 cup butter (or margarine) in a double boiler, when melted stir in 1/2 cup of French Onion Dip.  (told you it was super easy)  Stir to combine & pour sauce over asparagus.  Salt/pepper to taste & serve.

Grilled Asparagus ~ using a George Foreman Grill  

This couldn't be easier to make ~ just put your cleaned & prepped asparagus in your preheated George Foreman Grill, close the lid & cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the spears are done to your liking.  I prefer mine to be done to the tender-crisp stage.  Then top with either butter or olive oil & a little salt/pepper.  I think it is a crime to overcook this veggie.  Who would want to eat dull, grey-green, limp asparagus ~ when you could enjoy the veg in all it's vibrant, emerald green, crisp goodness...not me!  Long live the crunch!

White Asparagus with Italian Butter Sauce

This was my first attempt at making White Asparagus, only problem was all of the 'white' asparagus in the produce section had a bit of green at the tips ~ oh, well...  You  need to handle white asparagus a bit differently.  It has a stringier/somewhat bitter stalk & it needs to be peeled, just below the tips, all the way to the bottom.  Peel it just like you would a carrot.  You still cut or snap off the woody ends, just like a green asparagus prep.  To Make:  prep the asparagus (as mentioned above) & steam or boil them for 7-10 minutes, or until done. (these are cooked to a more soft & tender stage then the green asparagus, which are cooked to a crisp stage)  Keep asparagus warm while making the Italian Butter Sauce: in microwave melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine & 2 tablespoons water, when melted add 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoned Fine Bread Crumbs, stir to combine. (add a little more water if needed to get correct consistency)  Spoon sauce over asparagus.  Salt & pepper, to taste. Double or triple sauce recipe, as needed.  

For more asparagus inspiration, see  some of my other posts...

Dilled Asparagus ~ I wrote about this in an earlier post, it is just too good not to make when the asparagus are this thin & tender.  Prepared this way, they make a wonderful first course, side salad or appetizer.  I just love how versatile this dish is...

Quick & Easy Eggs Benedict with Asparagus ~ I just love this at springtime for a quick & healthy breakfast or brunch. Low fat, low cal & low carb. Go see how easy this recipe is to make, photos & recipe...

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