Two Unintentional, Yet Deliciously Easy Appetizers

Don't try to eat just one. These little things are addictive.
Don’t try to eat just one. These little things are addictive.

Friends were coming for dinner on Saturday night, leaving me scrambling to decide what to make a couple of days earlier. I settled on world’s easiest lamb shanks (recipe here), but had yet to come up with appetizers. I was tired and did not want to fuss, so they had to be deliciously easy appetizers. As I perused the black hole of recipes on the internet, I found this one for a spinach and artichoke dip. But what could I make in addition to the dip?

I knew I had some ground beef in the freezer, along with filo dough, so the answer seemed simple: Moroccan Cigars. Then I realized one crucial thing: Filo dough is a pain in the butt. It needs to stay moist, so it doesn’t dry out. Each sheet needs to be buttered or oiled as you go, so it is not a quick process. It’s not difficult, just time consuming, and annoying. Out with the Moroccan Cigars and in with the “riff on a beef-filled knish“. I don’t know what that means either, but I do know that puff pastry is the answer to many of life’s little problems. Viola! Ground beef puff pastry pinwheels were born, and they were delicious.

The good news is that you can use just about anything you have on hand. Want to make broccoli pinwheels? Go for it. How about cheese-filled ones? Easy!

Ground beef pinwheels with (sort of) Moroccan seasoning

Serves six as an appetizer


1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 an onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Harissa seasoning




Salt and pepper to taste

Dijon mustard

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a box)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let puff pastry thaw on the counter for half an hour, until it is pliable. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan over medium-high heat until translucent (about 3 – 4 minutes). Add ground beef, garlic, and the seasonings to taste. (I used about 1 tablespoon of harissa, and a half teaspoon of the cumin and ginger, and just a dash of cinnamon.) Sauté until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Meanwhile, roll out the puff pastry between two sheets of plastic wrap, so it ends up about 20% larger than it started. (You can do it directly on the counter, but the plastic makes clean up much easier. You are welcome.) Cut the pastry in half the long way. Along one long side of the pastry add the beef mixture, so it extends the entire way across, and one-third of the way up the pastry. Roll the pastry around the beef like a tiny log. Add some mustard to the edge of the pastry to help seal it.

Repeat with the second piece of pastry.

Slice the log in rounds and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for twenty minutes until the outside of the pastry is golden brown. Serve and enjoy, no dipping sauce needed.