Tag Archives: appetizer

GameDay Jalapeno Popper Piggies

Break out of your typical, grilled jalapeno-popper rut and try this out for size!  It has all of the flavors we love, fresh and spicy jalapenos, creamy cheeses and crisp bacon, BUT it also has another level of smokiness with the beef sausage while all wrapped in a warm, pretzel like pastry dough.

So whether your an avid football fan, need a new Thanksgiving appetizer or you just want to curl up on a cool day with a movie and snacks…these rock, my friend!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 package (36) Lil Smokies
  • 18 jalapeno peppers, halved
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour (for dusting); Kosher salt (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off each jalapeno pepper top; halve and discard the seeds.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon.  Fill the halved peppers with the cheese and bacon mixture.  Press a “Smokie” on top of the filling.
  4. Lightly flour a clean surface and unfold the thawed puff pastry dough.  Cut each dough rectangle into 6 equal strips vertically and then in half crosswise, to create 12 pieces.  *you may have to gently roll out each dough piece a bit to wrap around filled pepper.
  5. Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the cut puff pastry strips and seal with a bit of egg wash; seam on the bottom.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Once finished with all, brush the remaining egg wash overtop and sprinkle on a bit of the kosher salt.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, till golden brown; serve warm.

 

JalapenoPiggies2

 

Tropical BBQ Sliders

As of late, there has been a cooking phenomenon of baking the King’s Hawaiian rolls with ham and cheese, roast beef and cheese, turkey and cheese, do I need to go on?  ..and quite frankly, I LOVE it!  I have tried them all and they are all delightful.

On that same note, stay with me…my oldest son has been on a Lilo & Stitch movie binge.  Every single night before bed, for the last 2 weeks, he requests this now somewhat old movie, at least compared to his 6-year-old self.  Fifteen days into it later, he randomly asked me if I could make “Hawaiian Sandwiches” for dinner.  Now, I wasn’t about to go buy a can of SPAM, so I got creative while thinking of those new, beloved baked sandwich recipes.  Below I give you another favorite that needs to be added to the Pinterest lineup of such.  You can make them for an appetizer, party, a dinner with a side of fries…  A super easy and fun recipe to enjoy with your whole family!

*You can use fresh pineapple, by all means, but for this I actually prefer the canned variety, as fresh is pretty tart and overpowering for this recipe.  That being said, my preferred brand is the new’er Libby’s Brand “Skinny” Pineapple…It is not canned in that heavy syrup, so it’s not cloyingly sweet.

The Starting Lineup

  • 12 ct package King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce (I prefer also the King’s Hawaiian original barbecue sauce)
  • 1 lb thinly sliced or shaved ham (I prefer honey or Black Forest from the deli)
  • 1 package swiss cheese (about 8 slices); Colby Jack is a good alternative too
  • Pineapple (about 6 slices or 1/2 cup segments)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon (hefty fill) of ground ginger (i.e. McCormick brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut 
  • **Optional: fresh jalapenos slices, for a savory-sweet-heat flavor

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease or non-stick spray a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish.  Most recently, I used my Pyrex 8×11, but I have used a foil-lined & sprayed baking sheet when I made a double batch.

In medium microwave safe bowl, slowly melt your butter.   Whisk in the soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder and coconut.  Set aside.

With a large bread knife, halve the ENTIRE 12 (or 24) rolls horizontally, so that the rolls are still connected to each other and you have two “bread rectangles”; a bottom halve and a top half that will form your sandwich slider.

Place the bottom half of bread into your prepared bread and lay on half of the cheese, followed by the ham.  Next drizzle the BBQ sauce evenly overtop, followed by the pineapple and then the remaining cheese.  Place the other “bread rectangle” topper on top.

Whisk your butter mixture once more and evenly pour or brush overtop it all (don’t worry, it doesn’t get soggy).  **If using the  fresh jalapeno slices, I like to place 1 slice ON TOP of each roll (12 slices) and then pour on the butter mixture. 

Immediately transfer to your preheated oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, till the top will be a deep golden brown and the cheese is super melty.

Serve immediately and enjoy!  Maybe with a Mai-Tai or two?? 😉

TropicalBBQSliders

 

Roasted Green Chile Artichoke Dip

Well, if artichoke dip wasn’t addictive enough, wait till you try it with the smoky kick of green chiles added to it!  At all of my get-together’s, I always like to have an assortment of goodies out, including an ooey, gooey cheese dip.  Now most can be heavy and bland, but this version will definitely spice up your party!

Another great and yummy idea for this dip, is you can use it to stuff chicken breast prior to baking or use it as a spread for a juicy hamburger!  Oh man…drooling!

*I realize that I used both canned AND fresh chiles in this dish.  Reason being, is I like the textural difference and flavor of both.  The canned gives off a good tang and the fresh add a smokiness to the dish.  However, feel free to use all fresh (so 2-3 peppers) or 1-2 cans of your favorite chiles…and I also like a bit of heat, so I added the jalapeno.  If you are more of the mild eating type, then simply omit!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 (14oz) can/jar artichoke hearts in water, drained, rough chop
  • 1 (4oz) can green chile
  • 1 Anaheim or Hatch chile, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled and chopped 
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated/shredded (NO “green can” please!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Drain the artichokes and pour onto a paper towel and gently pat dry.  After the fresh peppers have roasted, steam in a paper sack or plastic bag for 15 minutes to soften skin.  Peel off the blackened skin, scrape out the seeds and chop up.

Combine all of the above, prepared ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir to fully incorporate and then transfer to either an oven safe 8×8 casserole dish or pie plate (coated in nonstick) or an 8″ cast iron pan.

Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until warmed though, hot and bubbly and golden brown on top!  I like to serve with tortilla or pita chips, baguette bread chunks, crostini or fresh cut veggies.

greenChileArtichokeDip

 

Stuffed Tomatoes Puttanesca

A lot of influences helped bring this recipe idea to mind.  One, being my love for Pasta Puttanesca, a common order from me at many Italian restaurants.  Secondly, I love having people over and serving unique appetizers aka hors d’oeuvres if I’m being fancy, and thought this will make a great contender for my counter….and lastly, my hilarious, old soul of a little 6-year-old son who legitimately enjoys anchovies on his pizza.  Yes, if he’s not a chef, food critic or stylist when he grows up, I will be shocked.  Future foodie right there!

So because of that last reason, I had a couple containers of anchovies handy and the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples for me…so given all that, the Stuffed Tomato Puttanesca was born!  Thanks Brooks. 🙂

Also, you can make this with out stuffing the tomato/oven-step and serve in a dish drizzled with a bit more olive oil alongside crackers, bread and veggies for a great tapenade!  Heck, even spread it on your bread for an amped up turkey sandwich!  Endless options folks!  Ps.  These are great paired with a juicy steak and glass of red….

The Starting Lineup

  • 12 small cocktail style tomatoes, 2-3 inches and ripe
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 25+ pitted Kalamata olives, rough chop
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 8-10 anchovy filets (canned or jarred in olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment, foil or silpat sheet.

Using a serrated knife (I always use serrated when dealing with tomatoes, trust me), slice off the tops of each tomato (keep) and carefully scoop out the inside of each tomato with a spoon into a bowl.  Once finished, pour and press the tomato flesh through a fine mesh sieve to get the fresh tomato juice.

In a food processor, place in the tops of your tomatoes (stem cut off), Kalamata olives, anchovies and garlic.  Process until well chopped.

Combine the olive paste with the bread crumbs/panko, capers, parsley, thyme, olive oil, the tomato juice, pepper and Romano cheese.

Place the cut and hollowed tomatoes onto your lined baking sheet and use a spoon to stuff each tomato with your tapenade filling.  Once they’re all full, sprinkle the tops with the shaved parmesan cheese slices.  Place into your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has browned and tomato is slightly wilted and heated through.

Sprinkle a bit of fresh thyme or parsley overtop and serve as an appetizer or side dish, enjoy!

PuttanescaTomatoes

Bacon & Blue Stuffed Mushrooms

Whether you’re planning a party, enjoying a romantic steak dinner at home or need a new creative idea for some football game snacks, this is a fun twist on a classic appetizer!

More often than not, when I think of blue cheese, I often think of bacon.  They pair together as well as peanut butter and jelly in my book!  So while I was at our local grocer last week, I saw they had a special on their packages of bacon AND mushrooms and figured I could make something great happen between them!  With the few simple ingredients listed below, you truly get a rich and indulgent, highly umami kick-in-the-butt of flavor!  These are oh so good and “fancy”….yet insanely easy!

*For the larger sized button mushroom, pick from the crate of individual mushrooms; not the prepackaged variety.  At home, store unwashed in a paper bag for up to 2-3 days in your refrigerator before use.  **Simply double the ingredients if making 2 dozen, etc.  ***These are naughty and rich, so I always allot about 2-3 per person.  ****Can be assembled earlier in the day and popped in the oven to warm through when needed.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 12 large button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh, divided 1:1

Mushrooms1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Clean any dirt off your mushrooms with a vegetable brush or dry paper towel (do not rinse with water, as they become water logged and wont hold up well).  Gently “snap” the stem off of each mushroom, while leaving the cap whole (set caps aside on a foil lined baking sheet).  Then give a rough chop to all of the stems.

In a skillet over medium heat, crisp up the chopped bacon.  Once done, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined dish and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan.  To that bacon grease, add in the chopped mushroom stems and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add in the minced garlic for 1 minute more.

In a medium size bowl, thoroughly combine the sautéed stems and garlic with the crisped bacon, softened cream cheese, blue cheese and 1 tablespoon of the fresh chives.

Using a spoon (I use two spoons myself), stuff each mushroom cap with the filling you just made.

Transfer your tray of stuffed mushrooms to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of fresh chives and enjoy!

*Makes 12.  Literally double the ingredients to double the recipe. 🙂

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German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

I was of course thinking of potatoes when trying to figure out a side dish for my wonderful fried sausage & cabbage dinner…and what better than a family favorite of ours?..German Potato Pancakes!

If you grew up in a German household, Polish household, Hungarian…eastern European, etc you definitely had your own version of potato pancakes, and these are mine.  My lineage calls them “Kartoffelpuffer”, but you can call them whatever you like…just try them. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, kosher salt & ground pepper, each
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil 

Garnish

  • Sour cream
  • Chives OR Green onion OR Parsley  

Start this side dish by peeling and rinsing the russet potatoes before shredding them.  You can use a box grater, mandolin, food processor, etc.  Press the shredded potatoes between two tea-towels to allow for the moisture to escape. 

 

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Next add in the beaten eggs and then fold in the shredded (patted dry potatoes) and onion. 

   Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Next add about a 3 Tbsp full scoop of the potato mixture to the hot oil (just 2-3 at a time) and lightly press to flatten out in a disk shape. 

 Cook for about 4 minutes on each side and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. 

 Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh herbs alongside your favorite smoked sausage!  Enjoy! 

 

Frito Pie Poppers

As we all know, Frito Pie and Jalapeño Poppers are a Texas delicacy (if you didn’t, now you do).  They may not be what you call fancy, but you know what?? They’re damn good and get eaten in a hurry!  You will never have leftovers!

So considering today is Texas Independence Day, I thought that this would be a delightful tribute to this great state!  Boy was I right!!!  Now the recipe below makes 12…assuming you eat one a piece, well…you may need to quadruple it because my hubby and I ate them all.  No problem.

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 large jalapeños 
  • 1 can chili (no beans & you will have extra)
  • Cheddar cheese, cut into long strips
  • 1 cup corn chips, slighty crushed
  • 1/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced (not pictured…I forgot ok?)
  • Sour cream

Optional

  • Bacon,for topping….isn’t that always an option though??  

Alrighty..preheat your oven to 475 degrees and place your jalapeños on a foil lined baking sheet.  Allow to roast for about 10-15 minutes (*you’ll start to see blackened spots and the “skin” bubbling..rotate ever so often)

 Meanwhile, heat the chili in a sauce pan along with the chopped white onion. 

 Peppers are now ready and cooled a bit!  Slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith (*I use a fork for this, MUCH easier than a spoon…also, if sensitive please wear gloves.  If you’re like me, just go for it!). Turn oven down to 375 degrees. 

 Place the seeded and halved roasted jalapeños back onto the same foil lined baking sheet and place a strip of cheddar cheese into each one. 

 Next spoon on a couple tablespoons of the chili and top with the crumbled corn chips. 

 Place into the 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes (*until the cheese has melted and corn chips become a little roasty….<– that’s a word, right??) 

 Once hot and bubbling remove from the oven and serve witha dollop of sour cream and the diced green onions.   Be careful…they’re quite addicting!!! xoxo

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