There’s zero cooking involved here but I was pretty into with my offerings for a charcuterie & cheese board. The reigning Queen of Cheese Boards is How Sweet Eats but here are my 2-cents. Mr. J and I enjoyed this for Valentine’s Day while the little one slept over with the grandparents. This was our meal, but now I’m itching to make one for a bigger crowd and to go all out.
Tip 1: Start at Trader Joe’s…seriously, the cheeses won’t break the bank, as in, I got 3 totaling about $12. I choose a smoked Gouda, a rosemary Asiago, and a pepper Taleggio. These aren’t widely different in texture, but we loved them. I hear Whole Foods will also cut any cheese wedge for you, so don’t get thrown by the whopping price, or if the size is too much. Maybe shoot for a crumbly, a softer, and a creamy one. I went with 2 meats, prosciutto & salami, for saltiness, fattiness, and texture.
Tip 2: Variety is important. Multiple crackers/breads keep each bite feeling different. I choose multiple briney items (olives, marinated mushrooms, pickles, pickled fiddleheads) most of which I got in small quantities from the grocery store. Then I wanted different sweet touches (strawberries & jam), courtesy of our own regular fridge. I had nuts hanging around and more crackers than I realized which was perfect for all the toppings.
Tip 3: Crowd the platter. The plethora & bounty of offerings makes an impact. A few small dishes corralled a few elements, but for a bigger group, I’d totally pile everything up and sprinkle around for color.
Pour the wine and crack into it! My kitchen island was born to host a bigger and even better charcuterie and cheese board.
I could slurp this garlic butter, but I won’t. I’ll save it for the sliders. It is so perfect with a juicy meatball, gooey cheese, and a sweet Hawaiian roll. Yesssss. We all ate these and love ‘em. I would have liked a bigger meatball to match the size of the roll, but I used frozen meatballs making this 10x faster. The rolls were leftover and hanging out in the freezer from a NYE slider bar.
I almost made the little one’s without the garlic butter. Then I stopped short, and thought: “Whattt are you doing???? You want the kid to eat all the foods, so give him exactly what the adults are having!” It might be from a running joke Mr. J has with the little one. When they couldn’t find it in the grocery store, they were saying “if you were minced garlic, where would you be?” The little one answers “no gar-ick”. He gobbled up his slider, so it was a good call to keep it the same.
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Parmesan
6 slider rolls
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Melt the butter and mix in the garlic, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and Parmesan.
Slice the rolls and spoon most of the garlic butter onto the bottom buns and bake for 10 minutes until they crisp a bit.
Warm the sauce and meatballs. Place one meatball onto each bottom bun. Ladle sauce on top of each and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Spread the remaining garlic butter onto the top buns and warm them in the oven too. Place the tops on and enjoy!
I think the rolls & the garlic butter made these sliders. The rolls soaked the butter but then crisped so the sauce didn’t make them soggy. I’m so grateful that the 2-year-old eats everything and the garlic butter was a reminder for me to keep that going. Plus, he looooves meatballs so it wasn’t a hard sell.
I’m really only watching a superbowl for the snacks. Rooting for my home team is a perk, but the snacks, commercials, and half-time show are my focus…I mean really, I washed some dishes while they played. The little one learned to say “Go Patriots” which was really stinking cute. It was just us at home but we had festive sports snacks for dinner and I made just a few of these taco-spiced deviled eggs. I love that this is an app you can make as much or as little as you want!
I topped ‘em with some roasted corn and tomato. The filling has my homemade taco seasoning but any would work just fine.
4 hard-boiled eggs, cooled
2 tablespoons mayo
1 heaping teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Pop out the yolks into a bowl (for a hand mixer) or into a food processor. Add in the mayo, taco seasoning, and lime juice. Then blend until no lumps remain. Add more taco seasoning to taste.
Spoon into a ziplock bag into one of the bottom corners. Snip the very end and pipe into the egg whites.
Fill each yolk divot then go back and top off each egg. Then you know how much you have to work with.
Top each one with a few pieces of roasted corn and a tiny piece of tomato. (A little avocado would look good!)
Enjoy! Or refrigerate until serving!
I liked the flavor. I think I’m done with the variations for awhile. I made Sour Cream & Onion Devil Eggs then I made Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs. This was the last variation I had in mind for now.
For Christmas we had apps all day instead of lunch/dinner. I made this baked brie in puff pastry with a maple, bacon, and caramelized onion topping. It was good, but a touch too sweet. Do as I say not, as I do!
I love baked brie but it needs to be served hot, and had a chance to set for a few minutes…otherwise all the brie oozes and is gone in a second!
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 wheel of brie
1 cup caramelized onions (made ahead of time)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
3 strips of bacon
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crispy and let cool.
Mix up the onions, bacon, syrup, and brown sugar.
Unfold the puff pastry dough and put 1/3 of the filling in the middle, and put the brie on top. Spoon the rest of the filling on top of the brie.
Fold a corner of the puff pastry over the top, and keep folding around in a circle getting to the end.
Put onto a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush with maple syrup (or eggwash). Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with crackers to dip.
I used a bit more brown sugar & syrup than I probably needed so I decreased it for the recipe above. I like the oozy cheese with the bacon and the onions. Anything in puff pastry is a winner in my book!
I’m discovering that the twists on deviled eggs is endless. I whipped up these bacon ranch deviled eggs for an annual holiday party. The hostess has a revolving door of party-goers, kiddos, and snacks to no end. I thought it’d be best to bring a ready-to-eat treat. The app that needs no oven-reheating time is here! A little while ago, I made these Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs another time I sought a snack to bring that wouldn’t need to be reheated.
I had all the ingredients on hand which is even better annnnd you can prep ‘em in advance or in stages. I boiled the eggs and later fried the bacon while mixing up the filling. I upped my game by acquiring a pastry tip from my mom.
3 strips of bacon
1/3 cup mayo
2 tbs yellow mustard
2 tbs ranch dressing
1 packet (1 oz) ranch dressing mix
Boil water for the eggs. Then allow them to cool and peal them.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp. Then remove and drain. Chop 24 bigger pieces for the topping. Finely dice the rest.
Slice in half, carefully popping the yolks into a bowl. Then add in mayo, mustard, ranch, and ranch mix (don’t add in the bacon yet, like I did).
Using a hand mixer, or whisk, stir well until totally smooth.
Then add in the bacon crumbles and mix to combine.
Spoon into a ziplock bag, into a bottom corner. Snip off the tip and pipe into the egg white halves.
Top with the bigger pieces of bacon you saved.
I looooved these. They were gone surprisingly quickly at the party! I had quite a few people tell me they liked the bacon in there. I’ll totally make these again. Though, I also have a few other variations in mind…stay tuned!
My MIL is the queen of stuffed eggs so I channeled her and put a twist on the traditional deviled egg. Work was having a 3-way baby shower for 3 mommas-to-be. They seemed ideal for a snack that didn’t need to be reheated, and was easy to bring, open, and serve without any assembly.
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mayo (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives + some for topping garnish
Hard boil the eggs then let cool for at least 3 hours before pealing.
Slice in halves, pop the yolks out and into a bowl. Add in the yogurt, mustard, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, onion powder, and mayo.
Mix well and add in the chives.
Spoon into a ziplock bag, push to the bottom corner, and snip of the corner with scissors.
Pipe into the egg halves and sprinkle the remaining chives on top.
I liked these! The flavors were a bit subtle, but still there. The yogurt gave a little tang and I added the mayo for some creaminess. I added the nutritional yeast flakes because it kind of mimics cheese and I thought it’d help the sour cream & onion touch without dip mix or anything. I have a few more flavor options in my head. Stay tuned!
After having peaches in a little raw-topping for a pork tenderloin I made last week, I was obsessed with peach in a quesadilla. Ob-sessed.
Lots of cheese: colby jack, cheddar, and pepper jack + some ripe peaches/nectarines + chicken. Yes, please! This is the perfect catch-all if you have lots of small amounts of cheese around, or to use some leftover grilled chicken.
Ingredients: (for 1 large quesadilla, serves 2)
2 “burrito-sized” tortillas (or 4 fajita-sized tortillas)
2 chicken tenders, marinated and grilled (or pan-sautéed until cooked through)
1 peach/nectarine, diced
8 oz cheese: 1/2 colby jack; 1/2 sharp cheddar
2 oz pepper jack cheese (1-2 slices, or 1/2 cup shredded or sliced)
1 slice red onion, diced
salsa on the side
Pre-cook or grill the chicken.
In a large skillet (big enough to fit the tortillas) or on a griddle pan, spray with non-stick spray and bring to medium heat.
Lay a tortilla down and top with colby jack cheese, sharp cheddar, shredded chicken, nectarine, and onion.
Top with pepper jack cheese, and 2nd tortilla.
Cook for 2-5 minutes until bottom tortilla is crisping and solid. Spray the top quesadilla with non-stick spray and very carefully/swiftly/in one motion, flip the quesadilla over.
Cook for another 2-5 minutes until crisp and gently browned.
Cut in half, serve with a side of salsa. Enjoy!
This was so good with the juicy chicken, all the cheeses, and sweet nectarines. I looved the little bit of crunchy red onion in there for some balance. I don’t tend to go very spicy but you could totally up the pepper jack cheese quantity in there!
This was such a quick dinner and I loved that it wasn’t a run of the mill quesadilla. Thanks to the peach.
I was a bit delayed on Mr. J’s August snack of the month. August’s theme was #throwback so I recreated Dunkaroos! I don’t remember ever seeing them at my house growing up. Essentially it was a cookie dipped into frosting so I doubt they are worse than another cookie with frosting but alas, they are no more…except for Pinterest. It is very addicting. The cake mix makes it.
1/2 box funfetti cake mix
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
2 cups cool whip
Mix together the funfetti, yogurt, and cool whip.
Mix and serve with animal crackers for dipping.
Add a few more sprinkles serve and enjoy!
I served these as single dipper portions…much like the 90s treat? Why, yes! I gave Mr. J I Owe Yous with themes for his birthday to get a year of Snacks/Treats.
June: hot & cold (Ice cream topping basket)
July: shareable (loaded waffle fries)
Aug: throwback (this Dunkaroo dip!)
I was home to make lunch and was thinking about Shrimp Scampi but it seemed a bit much for lunch so I made it into a flatbread with a scampi-like sauce. I loved it and it was the perfect fit for a surprisingly quick lunch with the flavors without messing with dough or even boiling water. Cooking the shrimp and making the sauce in that same pan makes for a lot of flavor and was just so easy.
1 garlic naan
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup clam juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic
cracked black pepper & salt
1 teaspoon chopped chives
~2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon thyme
Toast the flatbread.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook and flip once and cook for a few minutes per side.
Remove the shrimp and add in the clam juice, lemon juice, mustard, & garlic.
Whisk and bring to a low simmer. Add in more black pepper and chives.
Spread the sauce onto the naan and top with Parmesan and shrimp.
Sprinkle with the thyme and return to the oven for another few minutes.
The sauce was veryyy flavorful. The clam juice, lemon juice, dijon, and garlic are fo-real. For pasta I’d probably save a bit of the starchy water to thin it out a little. I was so glad I made this one & got the flavor I was thinking about. It was easy to make a single serving and was a great reminder how quickly some classic flavors can take shape.
I mixed up these spinach squares last weekend thinking they’d be a good thing to pack for the little one’s lunch. Thennn I also munched it for my quest for savory breakfasts. I also was reminded that my mom makes this as an appetizer…such a multi-functional food! There are so few ingredients and I liked that they weren’t so eggy that it seems like square quiche. The trick making them so good is quality cheese and is that they get baked in a butter bath.
The little one liked it a few times, but seemed to tire of them. That’s a trend for him: a few meals something is good, then he kind of passes on it. If we give it a break, it is all good awhile later. I’ll probably pop some into the freezer.
3 tbs butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed well
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 small onion & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a 13×9 baking pan, melt the butter by putting both into the preheating oven.
In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), add in the eggs, cheese, spinach, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir well to combine.
Pour into the buttery baking pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice and enjoy at room temperature or warm!
I used more butter but thought maybe there was a bit too much (gasp!) it pooled a bit one mine so next time I’d use 3 tbs (as suggested above). I love these! My mom’s are a bit thicker and more fluffy…mine seemed a touch dense but I still liked them! Use the good cheese…these have so few ingredients they’re worth it!