appetizer

Red, White & Bleu Potato Salad

America the Beautiful.  Those three words are the absolute truth!  I am a proud American who absolutely loves the 4th of July.  Even as a young child, I’m not sure what it was exactly that this holiday brought me so much joy, but its always been my favorite.  No pretty, wrapped presents are involved, no Santa, no costumes and candy from door-to-door, just family, fireworks and delish food!

Now, I have quite a few potato salad recipes, but as a lover of meat n’ potatoes, I love to pair them with the unique flavor of blue cheese!  I know, I know, it’s not for everyone.  However, if you love this cheese as much as myself, than rest assured, you’ll love this alongside your steak hot off the grill!  If blue cheese isn’t your think, feel free to switch it out for chunks of cheddar for an equally great salad!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 lbs potatoes (I prefer red or baby purple potato medley for the appropriate 4th of July colors)
  • 1 package bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve the grease)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2-3oz bleu cheese crumbles, to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Cut each rinsed potato into rough 1″ chunks and add to a large stockpot of salted water, bring to a boil until they are fork tender.  Meanwhile, crisp up the bacon, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate while reserving the bacon grease.

Drain the boiled potatoes and add to a large bowl.  While still hot, pour over the reserved bacon grease along with the cooked, crumbled bacon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the bleu cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and the red and green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Top with any extra bacon and green onions.  Enjoy!!

 

RedWhiteandBleuPotatoSalad

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Peach, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

As they say, simple is best!  Especially when it comes to summer suppers.  We often enjoy this with fresh peaches from our yard and if in the mood, we’ll even prepare this on the grill!  This sweet and savory pizza is perfect as an appetizer or paired with a side salad for a light dinner.  I kept this meal as light as can be with only four toppings, but feel free to add on what you wish.  Perhaps mozzarella, thinly sliced onion or red pepper flakes or pepperoncini’s for a kick!  Just remember…simplicity is key with this dish!

The Starting Lineup

Refrigerated pizza crust (i.e. Pillsbury’s BEST Classic Crust)
• 2 TBSP olive oil
• 1 -2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
• 4oz goat cheese
• 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
• Balsamic Glaze (*NOT to be confused for balsamic vinegar)

 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Unroll your dough, place on a baking sheet or pizza stone and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the par-cooked dough and add on the peach slices and crumble the goat cheese overtop, place back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.  Remove and immediately sprinkle on the fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

*Bake dough according to your recipe or store-bought package directions. Remove halfway through, add toppings and finish baking. Dusting cornmeal under the dough before baking yields a great crunch!

PeachBasilGoatCheesePizza2

Dr. Pepper Popcorn

I’m pretty sure that if Dr. Pepper isn’t Texas’ official state drink, then it’s tied for first with sweet tea!  The bubbly, iconic soda pop is from small town Dublin, which located in our great state and we all have the deepest appreciation for it…or maybe the correct ‘A’ word is addiction. 😉

That being said, we always have a case of the famous Dr. P in our pantry ready to drink.  Though, this time, I decided to change things up a bit and instead of drinking it, why not eat it??  With snack time around the corner and an ample amount of popcorn sitting on the shelf next to it, the idea of a sweet and salty popcorn came to mind.

Really, this recipe couldn’t be easier and takes just minutes to prepare.  The only bummer is waiting that 20 minutes while the delicious mashup is baking in the oven!  So please, try to let cool before gobbling it all up!

 

The Starting Lineup

2 microwave bags plain popcorn, popped
• ¾ cup butter
• 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
• ½ cup Dr. Pepper
• ¼ cup light corn syrup
• Pinch of salt

*If handy, I also LOVE to add a handful or two of shelled peanuts to the mix!  Once coated and baked, they may be my favorite part of the entire recipe!
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a medium sized saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, Dr. Pepper and corn syrup until it comes to a boil. Allow it to boil for about 4 minutes and don’t stir.

Pour over the popcorn (and peanuts) and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

DrPepperPopcorn

Halibut Ceviche Veracruz

This Mexican-style ceviche is a perfect light snack or appetizer for these coming summer months.  Truth be told, I have eaten just this for my dinner on a hot, sunny evening.

The flavors here are bold, but still light and refreshing!  Zesty lime juice, brininess from the olives and capers, sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado chunks and a kick of the jalapeno.  I chose halibut for this, but you can use any sashimi-grade, firm white fish that is available to you.

I also love this meal because there is no need to even turn your oven on, keeping your kitchen cool.  So please give this simple, refreshing recipe a try!

The Starting Lineup

• 10oz halibut, cut into 1” cubes
• ½ cup of fresh lime juice
• 2 firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
• 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 large avocado, chopped
• 12 Manzanilla (green) olives, pitted and halved
• 1 Tbsp capers
• Kosher salt & pepper

In a medium glass bowl, add the cubed halibut and pour the lime juice overtop, making sure all the fish is covered. Plastic wrap the bowl and place in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours, until the fish is opaque and firm.

Drain and pat dry your fish with a paper towel and place back in the bowl. To that, add in the diced tomatoes, serrano, cilantro and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and place back in the refrigerator, covered again, for at least 2 hours/up to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, add in the chopped avocado, green olives and capers. Serve immediately with corn tortilla chips.

HalibutCevicheVeracruz

Chicken Salad Carrot Crescents

“Hippity, hoppity Easter’s on its waayyyy….”

I can never enter the Spring season without singing that song verse on more than one occasion.  So, now that we’re even closer to this years Easter holiday, it’s in my crawl as much as one of my favorite festive recipes!  These buttery crescents are shaped onto cone molds and when a tinted egg wash is applied and baked, resemble not only perfect vessels to stuff, but cutesy lil’ carrots!

Depending on our Easter plans for each year, I’ll either serve these at lunch, for an appetizer or bring to a potluck to rave oohs and aahhs.  Plus, they taste great!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water (can add food coloring if desired)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill, garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, onions, pecans, mayonnaise, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unroll the crescent dough and pinch seams together.  Using a pizza cutter, cut lengthwise into 6-8 equal strips.  Brush each with egg wash and roll each strip out to about 16″, like a thick spaghetti noodle.  Repeat.

Using either a cream horn mold or foil shaped into a cone, wrap one strip of dough around the mold.  Apply more egg wash.  Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove mold.

Fill each “carrot” with chicken salad (or salad of choice) and top with a parsley or dill sprig, enjoy!

ChickenSaladCrescents

 

Pimiento Cheese Drop Biscuits

Question:  Can you make buttermilk biscuits even yummier??  Most may give a nay shake of the head, BUT I am here (of course) to say otherwise!  Now, I’ll stop for a quick minute, because if you do not know what the cheesy “caviar of the south” staple is, it would be hard to answer my original question.  Pimiento cheese is a perfect blend of sharp cheddar cheese, mayo, cayenne and pimientos.  I often like to add diced jalapenos to mine; I also like to scoop it onto a bacon laden, juicy grilled burger…I digress….

Anyway, this spin gives such a new and great flavor to your standard biscuits and I will also say, your Sunday Supper guests will be raving until they get home!  *make a double batch to send home with guests; still great warmed up in the microwave.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup pimientos, diced
  • Melted butter, for brushing the tops
  • Flaky salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, baking soda and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Add the cheese and toss to coat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise; add to the dry ingredients until combined and fold in the pimientos.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. *I like to sprinkle a pinch more salt while warm after baking.  Serve warm and enjoy!

pimientocheesebiscuits2.jpeg

Crispy Baked Artichoke Hearts w/ Lemon Garlic Aioli

This may just be my new favorite appetizer!  First off, they’re beautiful!  All gold and crispy-crunchy, a great tangy bite from the artichoke itself AND the dipping sauce, and they’re also more on the nutritious side!  A happy “win” for me!

Plus, if you’re craving a vegetarian option, these are great piled between two soft bakery rolls!  Make sure the bun halves are slathered with the lemon-garlic aioli and fresh slices of tomatoes and butter lettuce!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 (15oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Lemon-Garlic Aioli

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt 

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and salt till incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Place drained artichoke hearts in a dish and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter and garlic powder.  In a separate dish, combine the parmesan and Panko breadcrumbs.

Dip each artichoke heart into the melted butter, followed by the breadcrumbs.  Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with all remaining artichokes.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve alongside the lemon-garlic aioli.  Enjoy!

ArtichokeHeartsAioli

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