Snacks and Appetizers

Cheater’s Gourmet Pimento Cheese Dip

Ok, I admit it!  Sometimes I find a recipe I want to try and then when I get ready to make it I’m just not in the mood to do all the steps or I just don’t have time.  Yes, it happens to me too!  That’s what happened when I found a delicious-looking pimento cheese dip that called for shredding cheese and making a cheese sauce before adding the other ingredients.  Well I cheated and used two jars of Tostitos cheese dip.  I adjusted the rest of the recipe and absolutely loved the results! This is the fastest gourmet dip ever!  Now you can’t cheat on the pimento cheese.  Don’t buy the cheap stuff.  I especially like My Three Sons pimento cheese. It’s amazing. This is a great dip to serve at football parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving or anytime you just want to indulge in cheese.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:13]

Guac ‘N Turkey Rolls– great summer lunch

Who’s ready for a picnic!  ME!! The best part of the picnic is opening that basket  and finding some delicious bundles to enjoy as you lounge by the trees or the ocean.  Food tastes better out of a picnic basket for some reason.  I like to have fun with picnic food and do something a little more creative than just plain old sandwiches and chips.  Here’s an interesting alternative to a sandwich.  Wrap up a few of these and toss them in a cooler the next time you have hungry picnickers (is that a word?) to please.   I like this recipe because it can be eaten as a “wrap”or sliced into pinwheels for appetizer size portions. Tips: When making a wrap, try to spread all the layers evenly so that one part of the wrap isn’t thicker than the other.  Don’t fill it too full or it won’t roll properly and if you spread filling all the way to the top edge, it’s going to squish out as you roll.  Remember to keep the roll tight and even.


Amish-Style Pretzels

Who doesn’t love big, soft pretzels, right?  These pretzels taste kind of like a pretzel-bread stick hybrid.  They are easier to make than traditional “boiled” pretzels and my family loves them with honey mustard or cheese dip.  I recently baked a batch and put them on the counter, thinking that before I went to bed I should wrap them up or freeze them.  Well that was wasted brain power! The only things saying goodnight to me on that counter were a few crumbs and a dip-encrusted napkin! These are fun to make with your kids.  It’s one of my more popular kids’ party items.


Goat Cheese Tarts with Fig, Pancetta & Rosemary

I get really excited when I come up with a recipe that combines some of my favorite flavors.  This is appetizer heaven for me.  While testing the recipe, I realized I had eaten over half of them in about 5 minutes so I quickly packed up the rest and sent my son on a delivery mission to the next door neighbor.  I hope she had more restraint than I did!  These are super easy and quick due to the use of packaged, pre-baked phyllo shells.  Here’s the brand I like.


‘Tis the Season for Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Fondue

Mr. Pumpkin isn’t always sweet.  Sometimes he can be savory and sassy!  (Not sure why I made the pumpkin male….)  From lattes to pies to muffins, many of the seasonal pumpkin recipes are sweet.  Here’s a savory one to add to your fall collection.  I’ve always loved fondue.  Uhhhh….except for that time when my sister and I made fondue for a baby shower and we decided that any old kind of dish and open flame would do to serve our cheese fondue.  That was all well and good until the dish busted wide open with a loud and startling “bang” just as the church ladies were sampling their first very-full cups of blue punch.    Oops.  We referred to the dish that day as Fon-DON’T!

I promise this recipe is a definite Fon-DO!  It’s kid-friendly because there is no alcohol and has a cheese sauce base instead. My most important tip for fondue:  use good quality cheese.  You won’t like the outcome with the cheap stuff.  Been there.  The breads I like to use are jalapeno cheddar and pumpernickel, in case you’re wondering.

Salty fall snack mix

fall snack mixSalty snack mix is fun any time of the year, but it’s a nice alternative to all the sweets floating around during October.  This snack mix is cute, quick and yummy!  I like to buy the snack mix ingredients separately so I can include exactly what I want and what I think the kiddos will like.  This particular mix has cheese balls, pretzels, Sun Chips, pretzel squares, popcorn, Cheese Nips and Goldfish.  I didn’t include any kind of nut product since it was for a school party, but I think mini peanut butter crackers and salted pumpkin seeds would be a good addition.  I got sturdy plastic snack bags from the craft store for bagging them up and closed them with mini clothespins for easier re-closing.  A glittery fall leaf sticker completes this simple little treat.


Fig and Goat Cheese Toppers are an easy and delicious upgrade to cheese and crackers.

We culinary people often think that for something to be worthy of posting, it must be complicated or off-the-chain unique.  Sometimes, a simple but inspired idea is just what you’re looking for.  This little snack is delicious and takes all of five minutes to make.  The sweet and savory elements blend to palate perfection! It’s a nice change from plain cheese and crackers.   I ate a whole plate of these for lunch one day.

Spread herb goat cheese on top of Dill or Rosemary Triscuits and top with a dollop of fig preserves.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of fresh dill, chives or rosemary on top if you like.