Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Most Popular Appetizers 2014

So last year I did my top 5 viewed appetizers of 2013, this year I thought I better keep that tradition and share with you my most viewed appetizers of 2014! (but I see that all the bloggers seem to have this brilliant idea too LOL!)
So Happy New Year to you all and thank you so much for sticking around and continuing to read my not so perfect blog, I am still learning!
I love to cook and especially appetizers!  I am far from the best photographer so that is my new years resolution to work on my photography skills.
I also what to share with you that I have been trying to think of a new blog name because I eventually would like to expand my blog into more then just appetizers and restaurant reviews!
What do you think, would you like that?!
Any suggestions on names??
I have been thinking about a revamp of the whole page!  Even down to a Logo, I have had my Mom helping me with that she is an awesome artist :)

Ok back to the top 5 appetizers you guys read in 2014!

#5 Fried Chicken and Waffle Sliders

I have to agree these mini sliders are awesome, very tasty!! I like that they are light and not to filling..  (you can eat more!)

#4   Salsa Verda Chicken Dip

So, not my best picture here! haha!  But a tasty dip!  And do you like my mini cast iron skillet?!  I love this I found it vacationing with the family this summer, at a cute antique store.

#3  Cream Cheese Philadelphia Roll Dip

I came up with this dip for a House Party I had this year for Triscuits.  Very good!

#2  Shrimp Toast

Oh a copy cat recipe of Lien Chins Shrimp Toast mmmmmm........

#1  Bacon Caramel Puff Corn

Heck ya good choice people!  This savory treat is loved by all I have made it for, I have been requested to bring this to many a get togethers!  Try it you will love it & it's SUPER easy to make!

Now if it were me, my top liked appetizers I shared in 2014 would be:

#5 Bacon Caramel Puff Corn 

Your #1 is in my top 5! I want some now, thinking about it so much now!

#4  Slow Roasted Tomato and Feta Spread

This one totally reminds me of summer, kinda starting to miss summer as I hear the wind howling against my house and see the snow blowing about

#3  Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Rosemary is one of my new favorite herbs, I have some growing in my kitchen, I love that I can cut them fresh whenever I want!  These crackers are totally worth the wait in making them!

#2  Vegetable Pizza

This fresh vegetable pizza with a flakey crust is so awesome, I could eat the whole pan of this, so good!!  People have been making this appetizer for years!

#1  Low Fat Taco Bean Dip

I love an easy go to taco dip, so full of flavor and this one is better for you than most, I really like this!  And who doesn't like taco dip!?

I wish you all the best in 2015! Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cheesey Bacon Goodness

Another one of my holiday get together appetizers I served when we had a gift exchange with our friends was this delicious cheesy bacon bread bowl with torn bread pieces and crackers for dipping super good!
Now this is our best friend couple we had this evening with but let me tell you it is a bit tricky catering to their diets!
She is a self proclaimed vegetarian (but she will eat fish, some chicken and a bit of bacon!?)
And he recently became gluten free.
So he did not eat this and she ate it because there was little bits of bacon oh and she doesn't like cream cheese but she liked this! HAHA!  They kill me!

OKEDOKEE This is what you need:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 green onions, diced (the whole thing.. well except the end...)
1 Tablespoon of wishishere sauce
A dash of pepper
1 Round loaf of bread ( I used sourdough, hubbies favorite)

How to make it:
Super easy!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Cook your bacon, drain on a paper towel to get rid of all that icky grease
Chop your green onions

Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, wishishere sauce and pepper, mix that up well.

Next fold in the bacon into your cheese mixture
Take your bread bowl and cut into the center making a bowl shape

Save the center of the bread!
Scoop the cheese dip into the bread bowl, set that onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
In the mean time rip apart the bread from the center of the bread bowl and serve that along with crackers when you dip is finished.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cranberry White Cheddar Cheese Ball

Tis the season to make a cheese ball falalalala - lalalala!!!
This holiday cheese ball is just a beautiful deep red and white, very festive for the season.
I will be making this for my family for our Christmas celebration, I'm sure it will be gone in seconds flat!
This year we are doing a traditional holiday meal, I will be hosting.
I will be providing the main dish, one side and the appetizer.  Everyone pitches in and brings a side dish and BYOB!
Otherwise that is a ton of work, I very much appreciate them all helping out :)
A couple of Christmas's ago we had an appetizer Christmas, that was pretty fun!
Ok so back to this cheese ball, it's very popular over on Pinterest so I know it's going to be good!

Here is what you need:
8oz cream cheese, softened
8oz shredded white cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/2 Cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 Tablespoon Wishishere Sauce
1 Cup dried Cranberries

How to make it:
Lay your pecans out on a plate and microwave for approximately 2 minutes, set aside

Mix together the softened cream cheese, shredded white cheddar cheese, I used a good block of white cheddar that I shredded by hand.  And to that the chives,Wishishere Sauce and nuts.

Mix this all well now roll that into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Once your hour is up unwrap and by hand press in the cranberries.

(I had the cutest presentation but I forgot to take a picture of it, to busy with all the people at my house!)

Serve with crackers!

I was right it's all gone, everyone liked it!   (I should have made 2!)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cheesy Phyllo Cups

Oh boy I just was on my hubbies case for spending to much money on home repairs at the holiday time and I just spent $80 on cheese (well not all cheese but, mostly!)!!!
I mean I had to,  my grocery store was having a huge sale and my uncle was talking all about it on Facebook all day & I could not stop thinking about cheese I just had to!!!!
I bought all sorts of fun stuff, so Im totally ready for any unexpected guest to stop in (so we don't eat it all ourselves)!!
I wanted to come up with something new and Christmas-e.
These little cups are very visually appealing with red and green , tis the season to eat to much, dang it just after I said we need to quit snacking late at night while watching tv and I have a house filled with treats!
Watch out treadmill you're gonna get a serious workout!

What you will need:
1/4 Cup Gruyere, shredded
1/8 Cup Fontina, shredded
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
4 slices bacon, fried and chopped
1 Package Mini Phyllo Cups, 12 cups per box

How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Start off by dicing up your bacon and frying that up into crumbles, drain and set aside

Chop up your chives set aside

Shred your cheeses

Mix those ingredients saving a tablespoons of chives for garnishing

Remove your phyllo cups from their packaging place on a baking sheet

Fill the cups with your with the cheese mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and sprinkle with your remaining chives

They are have a nice textured crunch to them with a gooey cheesy center.
If you don't care for the cheese's I used use what you like, they will turn out just great, you can't go wrong with cheese!
They are so easy to make and make a nice presentation and you can just pop them into your mouth!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

I was playing in the kitchen today I needed to use up some of these items soon and came up with this wonderful stuffed mushroom!
Chad,  this one's for you!  Chad is my wonderful brother in law, he revealed to me recently that he frequently reads my blog, I'm totally flattered!
But I'm only kidding he hates mushrooms so I don't think you will like this one Chad.

What you will need is:
10 mushrooms, washed and stems removed
4 strips cooked pancetta
4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
Approximately 7 brussel sprouts, chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

How to make them:
Start with preheating your oven to 350 degrees
Wash your mushrooms, pull those stems out (I save them for pasta sauce) set them aside on a paper towel to dry
Fry up your pancetta till crisp, if you didn't know pancetta is an italian bacon, this too you will drain on a paper towel

Chop up your brussel sprouts and green onion, now chop the crispy pancetta

Add them all to the pan you used to fry the pancetta in, cook about 8 minutes
You want it to be a bit tender but still a little crispy
Remove from the heat and add your blue cheese, mix well

Place your mushrooms on a baking sheet stuff those mushrooms with your delicious mixture
Now bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees

They are very flavorful!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Oh yes you read that correctly, made from scratch crackers!
WAY better then any store bought crackers, I swear!
A tad bit time consuming,  but SO worth it.
This was the first time I made this version of a homemade cracker I do have another version I have been making for years, passed down through my family here is the recipe for that Cheese Cracker.

Just in time for the holidays too!
I think that these are a great make ahead treat for your company or if your invited to someones home for the holiday and want to bring a hostess gift or something to share, wrap them up in a cute way, they are sure to enjoy them.

What you will need:
8 oz Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons softened butter, preferable no salt added
3 Tablespoons fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 1/4 cup Flour
6 Tablespoons ice cold water

How to make them:
Your going to start by blending together the first 5 ingredients, blend well it will be very crumbly.
Next slowly incorporate your flour.
Dripple in your ice cold water and mix well
Form into 2 balls, wrap into plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour

While that is in the fridge preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Flour your work surface
Roll out your cheese balls until approximately 1/8 inch thin

With a sharp knife cut 1 inch square crackers

Place on a baking sheet using a spatula
Poke a hole in the middle of each cracker, helps the cracker not to rise

I used 2 baking sheets for the 2 balls of crackers
Bake for 12 minutes
Remove when done and place on a cooling rack

Keep these in a glass container for up to 3 weeks, they will soften in time

You can also freeze the balls of cheese mixture until your ready to use.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Bread Sticks

Oh these are so awesome! Super simple and great for any occasion.
Best of all everyone will love them!

I brought these over to my sisters Halloween party a couple of days ago

What you will need is:
1 box puff pastry, this you will find in the freezer section
1 package of thin bacon (or regular not thick)
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
5 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons chopped rosemary
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 Egg white
Flour for your work surface

How to make them:
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees
Follow the defrosting instructions on your puff pastry
Once they are defrosted unfold the pastry on to a floured work surface
Brush with egg white
Sprinkle with the cajun seasoning and then the cheese
Using a rolling pin press cheese into the pastry
I found that using a pizza cutter was a smooth way to cut even lengths of dough for your breadsticks
Now cut your dough into about 1 inch widths

(I forgot the cheese on this one! oppsie!)

Time for the bacon!
Cut your bacon in half lengthwise and trim off the fat best you can, ya now there is barely any bacon right!?  sucks....

Now is the tricky part!
Twist together a strip of bread dough with a slice of uncooked bacon, its not going to be perfect, you may have to wrap the bread in half or vis versa! But hey it gives it character

You will want to have ready before you do that a tinfoil lined baking sheet, on top of that a baking grate.
Lay your bacon/bread sticks on top of that
Once your finished up with that melt your butter, mix with brown sugar and rosemary
Brush this mixture on to your sticks

Bake for 1 hour at 375

Let them cool a bit
Now devour!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

I do believe in one of my previous blog posts I had mentioned the company
If not let me try to explain briefly what they are, is a company that has members (like me) that they call on when other company's ask them to advertise for them. will offer me a questionnaire to take and see if I am the right person to throw a party for them, kinda free advertising.
They send a gift pack for me and my guests then I throw a party!
What fun, right!?!
Well I qualified to host a Tabasco party, who doesn't like Tabasco?! I guess people who don't like spicy food.
I found this recipe that I will be making for the party.
Now who doesn't like a deviled egg!?  I guess lactose intolerant people?? (I better stop asking questions!)

Here is what you will need:
12 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons chopped dill pickles
1 Teaspoons Sharp mustard
1 Tablespoon Buffalo Styled Tabasco Sauce
1/8 Teaspoon salt
A generous dash of pepper
2 Tablespoons diced celery

How to make it:
Boil your eggs, let them cool.
Cut your eggs in half scoop out the yolks, place in a bowl and add all the other ingredients.
Mix that up well and spoon into the center or the egg whites.
Top with some of the diced pickles for looks!

They are ready to eat!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Salsa Verde Chicken Dip

Here is an quick and easy dip for you to make!
After making this I thought of so many other things I could add to this, I think if you have a good base for a dip or a spread that you really enjoy, you can add to them different ingredients that you like.

Here is what you need:
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
6 oz cream cheese
4 oz salsa verde (green salsa), I used Taco Bell's brand
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 Teaspoons Tabasco sauce

How to make it:
Pre Heat your oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients, setting aside a half a cup of cheese
I used a small cast iron skillet to cook this in
Cook at 350 for 30 minutes
Top with the remaining cheese
Place back into the oven and cook for another 10 minutes

Serve this with tortilla chips, I used Blue corn chips they have great texture

Things I thought about adding to this dip the next time I make this, I may add some chopped jalapeno, diced green chilies, chopped purple onion?

What would you add?  Make it your own :)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Greek Bruschetta

Going to a party tonight and it's an appetizer party!!!
My favorite!
I have a ton of "go to appetizers", but this is a family party they have had just about all of those aps.
So I came up with this new beauty, a fun spin on your typical tomato bruschetta, you know I still have tomatoes producing!?!
I also used fresh herbs from my cute indoor herb garden, given to me by my sweet husband.  Kinda an I'm sorry I'm a crabby pants gift, please forgive me ;)
Best kinda gift it keeps on giving!

Here is what you will need:

1 loaf of crusty baguette, sliced
3 oz whipped cream cheese
8oz feta cheese
1 cup grape tomato's, halved
3oz kalamata olives, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped
1 Teaspoon sage, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced

How to make them:
I used my hand blender to mix the cheeses, but if you had a small mixer that would work too.
Now whip it, whip it real good! Ok sorry that song was stuck in my head!

Slice your tomatoes , in a mixing bowl add the olive oil, sage, chives and garlic to the tomatoes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set you over to broil
Lay your tomato mixture out on the baking sheet, broil for 5-8 minutes

Keep on eye on those tomatoes don't let them burn!
Burned tomatoes are N-A-S-T-Y!
Slice you bread into bite size pieces, pop them into the oven to warm them up a bit.

Now spread on your cheese mixture, top with tomato's and olives

Sprinkle with a little more greens of your choice (chives, sage etc.)


Friday, September 19, 2014

Jalapeno Jelly

Have you ever heard of Chevys Fresh Mex restaurant?
It is one of my besties favorite restaurants, we have been there several times.  And one of our favorite things on the menu are their Crispy Chicken Flautas served with this delicious Jalapeno Jelly.
I would describe a flauta as a Mexican egg roll.
This is a copy cat version of that Jelly.

You could totally jar/can this jelly, but this recipe is only enough to fill a pint jar.
I decided to keep it in the fridge, and that should be good about a week and a half.

Here is what you will need:
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 to 1 seeded and diced jalapeno pepper (depending how hot you want it)
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
2 Tablespoons pectin

How to make the jelly:
Pretty simple throw all your ingredients into a sauce pan heat until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and blend in a food processor for 30-40 seconds.
Return to sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Stir in the pectin and reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.

There are lots of ways I can think of to use this spicy jelly.
Mix with cream cheese and serve with crackers.
We have made gourmet grill cheeses and add some of this jelly in them, delicious!
Or with your favorite Mexican dish.
Get creative!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Fire Lake Grill House & Cocktail Bar

Time for another restaurant review.
Recently it was my husbands birthday, we had a day filled with adventure and wrapped it up at a new restaurant called Fire Lake Grill House & Cocktail Bar located in the new Radisson Blu Hotel attached to the Mall Of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota.
This place is pretty posh.  We really enjoyed our time there.
The decor was classy and had a warm feeling about it.

Believe it or not we did not order an appetizer (shocked right!?).  Well right before we went to dinner we were in the hotels business class complementary happy hour room, free food and drink !  
That too was awesome.

I started off with their wild rice soup, there was a nice surprise it had fresh local mushrooms in it too, very good!

My main course was a grilled salmon with a creamy lemon sauce.  Accompanied by broccolini.  
Just fantastic, I will definitely be returning here!

Now my husband is a bit daring and started off with Bison Bone Marrow, the waitress recommended it.  
He really enjoyed it.  Not my cup of tea, but to each their own right!?
Hubbies main course was their 1818 Hickory Roasted Prime Rib dinner, it looked and smelled amazing.
We ate every last bite and had to elegantly roll ourselves out of there.

I would highly recommend this place for a nice dinner evening, I thought the price was very reasonable for what you were getting.

Hope you decide to try this place!