The inauguration was so so so important to me and I’m so happy to look forward. Next up: the Superbowl! I’m into the Superbowl for the snacks. And the commercials. And the halftime show. The cheeseball not only resembles a football but it also brings together the two delights of snacking: bacon and cheese.
Football Cheeseball Ingredients: 1 package cream cheese 1 onion 2 tablespoons bbq sauce 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon seasoning blend (Todd’s Dirt or Mrs. Dash or Italian Seasoning or 1/2 tsp Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt) 1/2 pound bacon 1/2 slice of provolone cheese serve with sturdy crackers, like wheat thins or pita chips
Directions: Caramelize the onion- slice and cook over low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, for ~40 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat when they are soft and golden brown. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Using a mixer, mix up the cream cheese, caramelized onions, bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, and seasoning blend.
Wrap in plastic wrap into a ball and refrigerate until serving, or at least 2 hours. Chop the bacon and pan fry until crisp. Then drain the drippings. When serving, unwrap the plastic from most of it and holding the plastic on one side, form into a football shape about 3/4 inch thick so you still have plastic to cover your hands while forming it. Flip onto a serving plate removing the plastic. Push the bacon crumbles onto the top and sides until completely covered. Slice the cheese into one long strip with short strips across to be the laces. Serve with crackers and enjoy!
If you’re making this one in advance, mix up the cheeseball and chill until serving with the bacon separate.
We looooved this. The flavors are fantastic and very chill – it would fit in well with other tailgate-ish foods! Hot tip: leftover cheeseball spread onto a turkey sandwich = delicious.
My mom makes several cornbreads and this one is by far my fav- it has real corn and is so soft but not crumbly. The rest of the fam looooves one with dill and sour cream and onions but my heart is with this one. There’s real corn flavor and I can’t get enough of it. Make a half batch to go alongside your BBQ and then griddle some the next morning with a drizzle of hot honey- you can thank me later. Only make a whole batch if you have enough eaters- it lasts about 5 days refrigerated but spoils in 2 days at room temperature. This would be great in times of potlucks whenever that happens again?
Corn Bread with Hot Honey Drizzle
Ingredients: makes 9×9, ~6 servings
1 1/2 Boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
1 stick softened butter + 2-4 tablespoons to pan sear before serving
8 oz sour cream
8 oz can creamed corn
8 oz canned corn or frozen corn
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Mix together the muffin mix, butter, sour cream, creamed corn, corn, and eggs with a stand or hand mixer until incorporated.
Pour into a 9×9 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 35 minutes until set and the edges brown.
While letting it cool, mix together the honey and hot sauce.
In a medium skillet, melt butter and sear each cut side of slices of cornbread.
Drizzle with hot honey and enjoy!
It freezes well or freeze the remainder of the creamed corn and the save the half box of corn muffin mix. Next time you want to whip some together you’ll be well on your way! A whole batch would be 3 boxes of corn muffin mix- everything doubled and that makes a 9×13 so that would take a huge number of cornbread lovers!
All these lettuce-less salad series will not be exclusively with fruit, but this was too good not to come next. Also, we bought a whole watermelon and the kids are just not as into it as other fruit so finding all the ways to use it was necessary. I chopped it up really finely to use the salad as a relish/topping, but it would be great on the side!
Watermelon Mint Salad
Ingredients: (for 4 as a side, for 6 as a topping)
1 cup watermelon
~10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Chop the watermelon, cucumber, shallot, and mint and add to a bowl.
Add in the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice plus some salt and pepper and chili powder. Stir well and chill until serving.
This salad is so fresh and light and flavorful. It could be spiced up with jalapenos or other peppers. It would be great as salsa with chips too or in larger pieces as a side. We had it on top of grilled chicken this time.
I love the simplicity most about this flatbread. It has some special touches but is wayyy easier than it seems! The cherries were frozen- with the pits already removed! They can pretty much thaw on the counter while everything else is prepping! What a great way to get another color of the food rainbow in!
Cherry, Arugula & Parmesan Flatbread
4 naan (I used wheat)
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
3 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup dark cherries, frozen
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or a toaster oven to toast the naan for 5-8 minutes, until crisping on the edges but still soft.
Toss the arugula in olive oil with salt & pepper.
Spread cream cheese on each piece of naan and sprinkle arugula, parmesan, and cherries on top.
Slice & enjoy!
This takes 10 minutes and I can picture munching it on a patio at a restaurant who’d ask $18 for it. I love the cherries contrasting the arugula and parm. The cherries are a great smoothie addition for leftovers or are fantastic on yogurt.
I use naan for the fastest weeknight pizzas ever. This week is nutty at work with an event this weekend so I planned some quick pizzas on naan for a weeknight meal and my Thursday night self thanks that Sunday planning self! Naan pizzas freeze well too if prepping in advance – not an arugula flatbread, but go for it with traditional toppings! I also found tiny naans that are a great kid size for lunches too!
We go through a lot of pesto pasta here at our table. The pre-schooler and baby both love it and I appreciate it for variety. I smeared some on some puff pastry with cheese for this instant appetizer knowing it would be a hit!
Pesto Puff Pastry Twists
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator for ~8 hours or overnight
3 tablespoons pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella & asiago
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Roll out the puff pastry sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or as the puff pastry package suggests).
Spread the pesto across the whole sheet, all the way to the edges.
Sprinkle the cheese on top, all the way to the edges.
Slice with a pizza cutter into 1 1/2 inch strips. Hold from the ends and twist around. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. (Add the cheese that falls out back into a crack.)
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce to dip. Enjoy!
These were a fun appetizer and could even be a meal of their own! Serve them as an app, alongside soup or pasta or with salad. These are a great use for a smaller amount of leftover pesto. These take so little hands-on time!
This twist on deviled eggs is packed with flavor. There’s truffle oil, dijon, parmesan, and herbs in the filling and brown butter panko topping for a crunch. I made just a few to have with dinner. These would be fun for a party! I tell you, deviled eggs fly off a party table since they’re typically gluten free and dairy free. Mine aren’t this time, but I love the fun flavors into a deviled egg and just add a label for what is in them.
Hard boil the eggs and let them cool in an ice bath.
Slice them in half and pop the yolks into a mixing bowl and add mayo, mustard, garlic, parmesan, truffle oil, and most of the fresh herbs – reserving a little for the topping.
Mix well and spoon into a bottom corner of a ziplock bag. (tip: open the bag into a drinking glass to more easily fill without tipping over!)
Snip the corner off the bag and pipe into the egg halves.
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and watch it to bubble, foam, and brown.
Stir in the panko and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, mix well, and remove from the heat. Add in the last of the herbs.
Sprinkle over the eggs just before serving.
I love these. A little truffle oil goes a long way so add some taste and add more if necessary. Any fresh herbs would be good – use rosemary, thyme, or oregano. The brown butter breadcrumbs are ahhh-mazing. I had leftovers I put on everything I ate the next day- eggs at breakfast and then on a hot dog with parmesan peppercorn dressing!
We’re off to the beach soon! I hope I can blog a few things while on vacay! Stay tuned! I live for this week all year for the huge and empty beach, nightly ice cream, walking everywhere, and mini golf!
Remember that part of This is Us with the nachos? Beth and Randall are sleep-deprived new parents eating nachos and Randall inadvertently eats all the best chips? I felt deeply for Beth – for her wanting to have somebody who will save a best bite for her- literally and metaphorically. The bottom of the plate of nachos can be such a letdown so, I’m here to tell you to make it in layers. LAY-ERS. Nacho unevenness can be cured. This is precisely why I like to make them at home and rarely order them out!
Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Ingredients (for 1 meal-2 appetizer servings)
2 breaded chicken tenders or popcorn chicken
~4 cups of chips (seriously, how do you measure chips? eyeball it)
1/4 cup salsa con queso sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup hot sauce
~2 green onions
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
Bake the chicken tenders until cooked through & crisp (according to the package, unless making your own).
While chicken is cooking, lay ~1/2 the chips onto a baking pan and drizzle half the salsa con queso sauce, half the shredded cheese, and half the tomatoes. Bake for ~5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Chop the chicken and toss with hot sauce. Add about half onto the first layer that baked.
Then top with remaining chips, remaining queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and chicken.
Bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with green onions.
Drizzle with blue cheese dressing.
I love nachos fully loaded- lots of stuff on every bite. These were a fun twist with some favorite flavors and a great use for some leftover taco-night ingredients for something totally different!
The tomatoes are for juiciness and to get a little veg in there. I abhor celery but you could always add that. Add avocado, shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, or whatever you like on top at the end- just make sure every bite has a little something on it!
Anything inside puff pastry is delicious (and easy) but broccoli and cheddar are such an ideal match. I roasted the broccoli for those delicious roasty bits with some gooey cheddar. Yum. These were some lunches for me and I think they’d be a good brunch addition or a heavy app.
Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
1 sheet of puff pastry (sold in a tube by crescent rolls or folded frozen by pie crust)
1 large broccoli head
~1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon Mushroom Umami seasoning (optional)
Salt & pepper
(Defrost the puff pastry if frozen, or open to get to room temperature if using refrigerated dough)
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Chop the broccoli into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for ~10-15 minutes- until a little brown and toasted and cooked through.
While the broccoli roasts, roll out the dough. Spread cream cheese onto the dough, sprinkle cheddar on top, and add broccoli. Sprinkle with umami seasoning (if using).
Roll up keeping the roll really compact.
Cut into 2 inch slices using a sharp or serrated knife to not squish the roll too much.
Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or start with the timing and temperature on the package. Add more time if needed to cook to golden brown.
I loved these. The roasty broccoli is perfect and gives a nuttiness. They puff a bit while baking but aren’t enormous. I packed 2 to be lunch at work with some salad. Do not pack if microwaving these beauties. That would destroy all the crunch and microwaved broccoli is not good. Broccoli and cheddar puff pastry pinwheels neeeed to be baked or toasted to warm up. These could easily be dinner alongside something else or these would be great as an appetizer too!
These cheeseburger turnovers are an appetizer turned into a main dish! Follow how my mind worked: I started out with the idea of a cheeseburger eggroll but then decided I really didn’t want to fry anything so I went with crescent dough. I then the more I thought about tiny ones made me think that it’d be way faster to make fewer but big turovers/pockets. Thus, my cute app became dinner! There’s a key ingredient to make them so much more fun than burger filling into pastry….
I put tater tots into them! Those become such a fun and a bit unexpected bite! Like burgers & fries! I prepped and partially baked these in advance, then just warmed to eat come dinner time! I loved these burger pockets and would totally make them again. Maybe next time they’ll even get to live out life as an appetizer!
Ingredients: (for 4)
1/4 bag of tater tot crowns (the flat disks, or regular ones will work too)
1/3 pound ground beef/chicken/turkey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tube crescent dough (mine was a single sheet, or pinch seams together if using crescent triangle dough)
~1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped (they’ll stay together better than a big tomato chopped)
~3 pickle spears, chopped
~1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bake the tots according to the package.
Saute the ground meat until it is cooked through seasoning with worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Then remove the meat and saute onions in the same pan until they are translucent and getting golden.
Chop tomato and pickles.
Unroll the dough and slice into 4s. Top with cheese, ground meat, tots, onion, tomato, pickles, and more cheese.
Fold it and pinch or use a fork to close all the edges together.
Poke holes onto the top to vent and bake for ~15 minutes (bake according to the crescent dough packaging). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds a few minutes before they finish cooking.
Making fun dinners in advance is the story of my life right now. I want dinners to be varied but that time between daycare pick up and dinner is a rush. Throwing dinner in to warm up while I get to change out of work clothes, cuddle the baby before she’s ohh-so-ready for her post-daycare nap, play or at least converse while the preschooler plays, encourage hand-washing, and dodge the dogs who are underfoot to be fed- is in-ter-est-ing to say the least.
I’m mostly into the Superbowl for the snacks and commercials so my home team playing is just a perk. I did watch to see who would go to the superbowl! If you haven’t planned your snacks, get on it! I have quite a list and need to narrow down a bit! We aren’t having a crowd so I’m still assessing what snack food we want to have. Our preschooler looooves when we have snacky dinner- as in, not a traditional meal. Maybe we’ll have something with him and then more when kiddos are asleep an hour into the game!
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs will be gone before you know it, and are a good snack to make ahead of time or to bring since they don’t need reheating! Seriously, people chuckle when they see deviled eggs yet they’re always gone before I know it whenever I bring them somewhere. I’m sure I’ll make some since they are easy to just make a few of.
Skip the veggies with hummus and put this Greek Dip together- no cooking required! Layer hummus on the bottom, top with chopped cukes, tomato, feta, and Italian dressing and pita chips or wheat thins to dip. It is a crowd pleaser and couldn’t be easier. Packing tip: bring the hummus, chopped veggies & feta, and dressing all separate and assemble in 1 minute when you arrive at your viewing party.
I’m thinking about pigs in blankets (after finding mini chicken sausages! score!) and a dip seems necessary. What else, well, only time will tell!
A whole bunch of flatbread-ish pizzas on naan are great for a crowd. Build-your-own anything is fun- build your own sandwich/panini would be a festive option. I’d love to do build your own nachos with queso in a crock pot if I were hosting a group! Happy snacking!