On my quest for more appetizers up my sleeve, I went lemon-y for a dessert/fruit/brunch-ish dip and it couldn’t be easier. I love that it can be prepped ahead of time, or mix it up and eat it immediately! I wanted to go all-out and make a huge board overflowing with dippers for it, but then again, I’m 36 weeks pregnant, hot, always tired, and I wasn’t feeding a huge crowd. This hit the spot with just strawberries and some graham crackers to dip.
Lemon Fruit Dip (serves ~8-10)
6 oz cream cheese (softened is helpful, not required)
4 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
4 oz Cool Whip
1 pkg lemon pudding mix
1 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon zest from half a lemon
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
dippers: fruit slices; vanilla wafers; graham crackers/animal crackers; fruit as kebabs; cookies; etc
Add all the dip ingredients into a bowl.
Whip with a mixer (or food processor or blender).
Taste and add more fresh lemon juice if desired, or thin it a bit more with additional yogurt/cool whip if desired.
Enjoy! Or refrigerate until serving.
This totally hit the spot for being fresh and bright but creamy and very dip-able. I didn’t think of it fast enough, but any leftovers would be great between graham crackers like an ice cream sandwich then wrapped individually in plastic. Leftovers of everything would make fun individual trifles!
I added the yellow since the lemon powder isn’t all that yellow and I wanted it to pop. This is an easy one to prep the night before and bring to a summer gathering or to serve when guests arrive! My little one was napping when I served this but he tasted when I made it and liked it. I think it’d be an easy excuse for a dessert!
Go all out and make a huge & beautiful board of fruit, cookies, and treats and share with me!
This delicious dish skates the line of garlic bread or maybe even a flatbread. This is so good and so easy. Share with others – everyone will love this. We ate it for dinner with some salad but I can definitely see it being a fun app or side.
The garlic cooks in the bacon drippings and butter meaning the full flavor of the bacony-tidbits goes onto this. It mean the crunchy brown bits from the pan soak into the bread.
Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Garlic Bread
~6 strips of bacon
1 loaf Italian bread or baguette
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dried Ranch seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped chives or parsley (optional)
Chop then pan fry the bacon until crisp. Spoon onto paper towels to drain, but reserve the grease in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Slice the bread and pop it into the oven while the oven preheats- just to start to warm through.
Add the butter and garlic to the pan with the bacon drippings. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
Spoon over the bread and then top with ranch seasoning, cheese, and bacon.
Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese melts and the bread gets golden around the edge. Optional: Sprinkle chives over the top.
Slice into 1 inch slices. Enjoy!
This was a really fun one. We had it for dinner with some salad and it totally hit the spot. I loaded up the bacon because, well, it is bacon! The little one ate all the bacon off his pieces first, then ate the rest.
I had the bread in the freezer and always freeze bacon, so this was easy to pull together.
The deviled egg variations are endless! I whipped these up for a staff coffee social at work. I put a cream cheese & everything bagel twist on traditional deviled eggs and they were great! My trick to prep ahead, without them too far pre-prepped, was doing it in stages. I hard boiled the eggs, then another time I mixed up the filling and left in a closed zip-top bag, then piped the filling and added the topping just before serving.
Breakfast Deviled Eggs
1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons minced chives (optional)
1 tablespoon Everything Bagel Seasoning
Hard boil the eggs and then let them cool in ice water.
Peal the eggs, slice in half, and pop the yolks out into a bowl. Add in the mayo, cream cheese, mustard, chives, salt, and pepper.
beat the filling or mash with a pastry blender.
Spoon the filling into a zip-top bag into a bottom corner. (I open the bag over a tall glass to hold it up.)
Snip the corner with scissors and pipe the filling into the egg halves. (I fill each just to the top of the egg, then go back to top them off.)
Sprinkle them with everything bagel seasoning.
I loved these! They were a good mix amongst fruit, coffee cakes, biscotti, quiche, and bagels. These are a great bite with everything else everyone will nibble on. The crunch on top was so perfect. I wanted to add a little bacon on there but wasn’t sure about how many vegetarians might be in the mix and I didn’t want these to be too much.
Here are my other Deviled Egg Variations:
French Onion Deviled Eggs
Caesar Deviled Eggs
Greek Deviled Eggs
Taco Spiced Deviled Eggs
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs
Next week I have Mr. J’s 8th annual birthday burger to share and let me tell you, it was a gooood one!
The little one loves all dip-able things and loves honey mustard the most. I don’t always make it, but it is seriously the easiest dressing to make. Quite awhile ago I brought it to a dip party with soft pretzels from the freezer section and they’re so fun since nobody has them all the time. This combo is the perfect app.
This time, I whipped some up for a weeknight dinner, along with some cucumbers and chicken sausage and it was a hit…likely because it isn’t something we have often!
Honey Mustard Dressing (for ~3/4 cup)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon/whole grain mustard (optional)
Whisk together the honey, mustard, juice, mayo, garlic and dijon.
Or add into a jar and shake.
Taste and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until serving, for about a week.
I like the dijon in there for more of a mustardy kick but I don’t always include it. The consistency is like dressing, and my leftover was used as salad dressing. Adding more mayo will make it thicker, more for use like a dip, and mellow out the sweet honey and the strong mustard. Those freezer soft pretzels need to be stocked in my freezer more often. They’re so fun and bake for ~4 minutes!
I’m back! I had a few dishes I wanted to make and blog last week but I didn’t quite get to them. Now they’re all ready so buckle up! Today’s toasts were such a fantastic and balanced lunch and would also be great on little toasts for an appetizer.
Marsala Mushroom Toasts
Ingredients: (for 2)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons marsala wine
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 slices of thickly sliced bread
1 cup greens, chopped (I used a spinach & kale “juicing blend”)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons ricotta (or cream cheese)
salt & pepper
Heat a pan to medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the mushrooms and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Stir to caramelize on each side for about 3 minutes. Add in the marsala and worcestershire sauce. Stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Toast the bread, ensuring it gets brown but soft enough to bite through. Bake in the oven if making a whole batch.
While the bread toasts, remove the mushrooms from the pan and use the same one for the greens. Saute the greens in a drizzle of oil for about 2-3 minutes with the garlic and some salt until just wilted then remove from the heat.
Spread the ricotta onto the toast, then add greens, then add mushrooms.
Finish with kosher salt, sea salt, or a drizzle of oil. I had truffle sea salt.
The marsala flavor here was so great with garlicky greens, and creamy ricotta. I liiiiive for ricotta but if it isn’t your jam, go for cream cheese, or goat cheese, or whatever you like. Any kind of mushrooms would be great here. Marsala could get swapped with cooking sherry or a touch of balsamic vinegar- go for big flavor, the mushrooms will soak it up with the butter. Yum! I had this for lunch but would also go for a little more subtle flavors to be a fun savory breakfast too.
This was a great little lunch using a bunch of ingredients I already had around. The greens are a mix I use for smoothies. Once they’re on the verge of hanging out in the fridge too long I pop them into the freezer. Then I break them off in chunks. I found really awesome rosemary olive oil bread in the discount area so I knew it had to be toasts. Earlier I took the little one to the zoo and had a banana and cheese stick at our zoo picnic so when I got home I was ready for something more.
I don’t know if there’s a legit definition or distinction between what constitutes a pizza versus a flatbread. To me, I use flatbread means fewer toppings, it might not have a sauce, or is on a puffy dough/crust. This flatbread has only a few ingredients and is on naan to be the crust. It also comes together in no time at all, but that’s just a bonus. Get ready, this recipe even will track the time for you!
~1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tablespoons pesto
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
First 5 minutes: roast the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in the oven for 5 minutes. They should burst and be juicy.
Pop the naan into the oven for a few minutes too…maybe 3 minutes to warm through and begin to toast.
Take the naan out and spread with tomato sauce onto them, then top with shredded mozzarella and dollops of pesto.
Add the tomatoes on top. (you’re at about 7 minutes in at this point…we’re timing here!)
Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes to melt the cheese, warm the pesto, and ensure the naan has crisped a bit….this brings you to ~14/15 minutes!
Serve and enjoy!
I didn’t count your oven preheating time, but depending how crunchy you want the naan to be, or not to be, then there you have it, 15 minutes! Mine took longer for a few photo ops, and I’ll pop it into the toaster oven for lunch-time reheating, but it was a fantastic reminder how just a few ingredients can make really great food. I whipped 2 of these up to pack for lunch for work but I’d definitely eat them for dinner or as an app for a party!
If it isn’t snowing where you are (#overit) “roast” the tomatoes on the grill in a cast iron pan and grill these flatbreads! I had some jarred pesto, but I love this roasted kale pesto I’ve made before if you want to use that! Another alternative is to spread pesto all over instead of tomato sauce and just have tomatoes be the topping!
I just have too many variations to save them for gatherings so these were a mini batch for a weekend snack. That’s the beauty of deviled eggs- make a little or a lot! Seriously, I made 2 eggs, so 4 halves. These babies were packed with flavor…so much so that I toned it down for the recipe below. I stole a tiny bit of onion soup mix from a packet, but have a pretty good work around too for a homemade version.
French Onion Deviled Eggs
Ingredients (for 2-4 people – double for a party):
2 hard-boiled eggs, cooled
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon yellow mustard or dijon
1/4 teaspoon French Onion Soup mix (see alternative & uses for the leftovers below)
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons crispy fried onions (see uses for the leftovers below)
Halve the eggs and pop the yolks into a bowl or food processor then add in the mayo, mustard, soup mix, and blend very well.
Add a touch of salt & pepper and mix well and then taste it. Add more salt & pepper if needed, or more mayo to mellow it out if too strong.
Spoon into the bottom corner of a zip top bag (I use a glass to hold it open & upright).
In a dry pan, toast the crispy fried onions over medium heat, watching not to burn.
Snip the bottom and pipe into each egg half. Fill each to be level with the egg, then go back and pipe into a circle on top so each one has enough.
Go easy on the salt until tasting it if using mix.
French Onion Soup mix alternative: equal parts onion powder, garlic powder, minced dried onion, salt, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. If using part of a packet, the remaining can easily become dip/stuffing seasoning/burger seasoning/roast potato seasoning. If using part of crispy fried onions container, the remainder is fun as a mac & cheese topper (here!) or we’ve put them on hot dogs with BBQ & cheddar. Both ingredients are SO great for a Onion Dip Burger (excuse the 6-year-old photos I really should re-shoot).
“The Big Game” is fast approaching! I’m a bit more focused on the snacks, halftime show, and commercials with a lesser priority being the actual game. Can I say that in New England? It is the truth. I’m really just here for the snacks. Playoff games have been especially helpful for that! Just the other night I whipped up this cheeseburger layer dip as dinner during the game. Maybe it was good luck?
Bacon Cheeseburger Layer Dip
3/4 pound ground meat (I used ground chicken, or use beef/pork)
2-3 strips of bacon
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon mixed seasoning (I used Todd’s Dirt, or use hamburger seasoning or Mrs. Dash)
special sauce: 1 tablespoon each: ketchup; mayo; mustard; 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar
6 pickle chips
sturdy crackers (wheat thins or pita) or bread for dipping
Saute the ground meat in a large pan, and add in the liquid smoke, minced onion, ground mustard, and seasoning for the last minute of cooking.
Chop the bacon into a hot pan and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towel.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and put the ground meat on the bottom and the crisp bacon on top.
Add on a drizzle of special sauce. Then sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes to melt.
While the dip is in the oven, chop the toppings. Take the dip out of the oven for ~5 minutes before adding toppings. It should be warm, but not hot to wilt all the toppings.
Sprinkle on the lettuce, tomato, pickles, and sesame seeds.
Serve with crackers, chips, or bread to dip.
This was so fun! It was our dinner of “sports snacks”. The little one totally go it, but asked for a spoon and seemed to enjoy in a bowl rather than dipped. Add this to your menu, especially if you already have spinach and artichoke dip and nachos. I love the cool toppings with warm and cheesy dip. Perfect!
What are you serving for the game?
At the first Pear Party/Iron Chef Pear, there was this pear, pomegranate pearl salsa that I loved, yet hadn’t made in years. It is so addicting with tortilla chips- multigrain scoops are definitely the best for it. I added some avocado and served mine on top of some beer battered fish filets for lunch and used the rest on pork tacos the following night. This is wintry and fresh with such great textures.
Pomegranate & Pear Salsa
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chop the pear, cilantro, and red onion. Mix together with the pomegranate pearls, lime juice & salt.
Gently mix in the avocado.
Serve & enjoy! (If not serving immediately, reserve the pomegranate pearls until serving- they leave a reddish hue on the pears & reserve the avocado- it’ll turn brown.)
So easy! You know what’s even easier? I discovered the grocery store sells the pomegranate pearls already popped out of the pomegranate! That was my hang up to make this until now. This lunch as everything: warm crispy fish, the pop/crunch of the pomegranate pearl, the juicy pear, the creamy avocado. What’s not to love?
The red & green felt super cute and seasonal here. The avocado was a game-time decision. When they’re ripe that window to use it or lose it is brief! Plus, my frozen fish filets seemed tiny. I’ve used them in fish tacos but for size reference, this is a salad plate so I thought the avocado would bulk it up a touch. It did!
I love caesar dressing which lead me to a caesar twist on deviled eggs. I made just a few for a mid-day Christmas appetizer. They were perfect for a few bites with the zing of caesar and a salty bit of Parmesan on top. I also like that they’re quick and easy to make a few or a bunch. I like them as an appetizer in contrast to dips, cheese, crackers, etc.
I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing but it is also pretty easy to make it homemade. They definitely taste caesar-y. The anchovy paste is necessary in the dressing. Necessary. It adds that hard-to-explain, not-fishy, but zing of good caesar flavor. I doubt these would really taste like caesar without it.
Caesar Deviled Eggs
8 hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 tablespoons creamy caesar dressing + cracked pepper + anchovy paste
1 teaspoon shaved parmesan
Hard boil the eggs, then immediately place into a ice bath.
When cooled, peal the eggs and slice in half. Pop out the egg yolks into a bowl and add in the mustard and creamy caesar.
Whip together with a hand mixer or in a food processor until totally smooth.
Spoon into a ziplock bag. Then pipe the filling into each egg half.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
I was making these on-the-go bringing ingredients to our Christmas celebration, but a tiny piece of romaine lettuce would be fun for crunch or some crumbled croutons all over the top would be good too!