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Kicked up Pimento & Cheese

25 Jun

If you’re from the South like me, then pimento & cheese was probably a staple around your house growing up. But when mom and I offered to bring pimento & cheese to a get together at a friends house, they had no clue what we were talking about. They’re from the North. So if you’re also from the North, do yourself a favor and make some pimento & cheese.

pimento and cheese

Not only does P&C offer wonderful flavor, but it’s simple and makes for a quick meal. Spread on some toasted bread and you have a wonderful sandwhich. To use it as an appetizer, spread it on crackers or celery and watch peoples’ faces light up with happiness!

pimento and cheese 3.1

For the pimento & cheese:

  • 1 8-oz block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8-oz block pepper jack cheese
  • 1 8-oz block sharp white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayo (or greek yogurt)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
  • 1 4-oz jar pimentos
  • 1/2 teaspoons pepper or McCormick Hot Shot

Shred the three blocks of cheese. Don’t cheat and buy pre-shredded because you’ll regret it. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until moist.


If you don’t like spicy, leave out the jalapeno and substitute more cheddar or monetery jack cheese for the pepper jack. If you’d like to turn it into a warm dip, add an 8-oz block of cream cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese gets melty and bubbly. Enjoy!

Black Bean ‘Hummus’

10 Jun

Black Bean Hummus

It may not be the prettiest looking thing, but where it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste! I’m not a huge fan of hummus, but put black beans in front of me and I go crazy. So I decided to combine the two beans (black and chickpeas) in attempt to make a healthy snack I could stand.

This type of recipe is so versatile. You’re pretty much free to add any type of flavorings you’re taste buds crave. I started off going spicy then added sesame oil which gave it a smokier, Asian flare. No matter, have fun making this recipe your own!

For the ‘hummus’:

1 can chickpeas

1 can black beans

1/4 cup liquid from each can

1/4 onion

1/4 red pepper

1/2 cup salsa

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

about 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos

1 tablespoon jalapeno juice

1/8 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth mixture. If you don’t have a large enough food processor, blend in a blender or pulse in smaller batches.


Black Bean Hummus2

I really enjoyed the flavor of this dip, especially served on toasted bread pieces. It can also be served with various crackers or veggie slices. For a hot dip, try adding cream cheese and shredded cheese and baking in the oven.

Triple Cheese Crostini

25 May

Triple Cheese Crostini2.1

In a neighboring city from my hometown there was a little Italian restaurant we would visit whenever the chance arose. You could sit outside where a pair of railroad tracks ran parallel to the patio, and it was always a treat when a train would drive by blowing it’s horn. A few months ago I was sad to hear that this wonderful place had closed down. I mourned for the loss of their wonderful pasta and their giant bowls of salad dripping with sweet vinaigrette. But I finally decided I would mourn no longer for my favorite item on the menu.. bubbly bread. Talk about full of heavenly, cheesy sin.. this appetizer wins the contest. I can’t say my attempt at recreating this dish hits the nail on the head, but it’s superbly delicious all the same!

I started by toasting 1-inch thick slices of Italian five grain baguette then smeared them with a layer of ricotta-mayo mixture, sprinkled with feta, then topped with a mound of mozzarella. If you wanted to add extra seasonings (such as Italian or fresh herbs) to the mix, it could easily be done. I’ve already managed to down 5 of these little suckers, so dieters beware! The smell (and taste) is far too fantastic to turn away.

For the crostini:

1/2 baguette, french loaf, or other bread of choice

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

crumbled feta cheese

shredded mozzarella

Begin by cutting your bread into 1/2-1 inch thick pieces and placing them on a baking sheet. In the lower middle of your oven, broil bread on low for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow bread pieces to cool. In a food processor or by hand, mix the ricotta, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until smooth (a few small chunks are alright). Here you can incorporate any seasonings or herbs with the ricotta mixture, if desired. Spread roughly 1/2 a tablespoon of mixture onto each bread piece and smooth around to cover entire piece. Crumble as much feta as desired on top of ricotta mixture (I used about a teaspoons worth per slice). Top bread pieces with shredded mozzarella, and don’t be shy! Place slices under the broiler set to low for 5-6 minutes then switch to high and watch for cheese to start bubbling and browning on top, another 2-3 minutes. Pull out of the oven and serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice.


Triple Cheese Crostini1.1
These little jewels screamed “pull me apart and eat me” as soon as I brought them out of the oven. So.. I did. And with a smile on my face! I served mine with Giada De Laurentiis’s Pepper and Eggplant spread I found at Target. Any type of marinara sauce would work wonderfully as well.

Quiche Lorraine Scones

20 May

As you may, or may not, know.. it’s National Quiche Lorraine Day! I thought it’d be fun to try a quiche recipe, but lacked the eggs to do so. Thankfully, before I gave up on Quiche Lorraine Day all together, I happened upon this recipe for scones, and am I ever glad! I’ve admittedly never made, nor eaten, scones before but I have a feeling they’re going to become a new regular on my menu. Sort of a glorified biscuit, these scones were flavorful and smelled absolutely amazing. I had a difficult time resisting the urge to open the oven, pluck one off the baking sheet, and gobble it away.

Quiche Lorraine Scones

For the scones:

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Dash cumin & garlic powder

1 teaspoon each salt & pepper

8 tablespoons cold butter, diced

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 eggs

4 ounces swiss cheese, diced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbles

egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Prepare the bacon, onion and cheese. Toss these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon flour; set aside. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is pea-size.

With a fork, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half and add to the flour mixture. Add the bacon, onion and cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough to ¾ to 1-inch thick and cut using 2-inch biscuit cutter or cut into squares or triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


As I said, these scones were delicious! If you’re unsure how to cut butter into flour, here’s a nice tutorial. Best served warm and straight from the oven, scones make a wonderful breakfast or tea-time snack. They can also easily be reheated under the broiler or microwaved covered with a damp paper towel to ensure they don’t become too dry. I found this recipe at BrownEyedBaker.

Sweet & Savory Chicken Salad

14 May

For starters, Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all you special women out there! Life without my mom would be unfathomable, for she’s my best friend, my guiding light, and my heart. So when you read this mom, know that I love you (in case I don’t say it enough).

Mom and I

With that being said, friday night, as an early mother’s day gift, I cooked my mom one of her favorite meals.. Chicken Piccata. With it being just the two of us, you can imagine the amount of chicken leftover. Instead of freezing and forgetting about it, I decided to pan sear the remaining chicken, forcing myself to later make use of it. While scrounging around for lunch today, I remembered my pre-cooked chicken and turned it into these two recipes for chicken salad. Warning: I measured almost nothing out so these recipes are a “make it your own” sorta deal.

Sweet Chicken Salad

For the Sweet Chicken Salad:

Shredded chicken

Light mayo

Finely chopped sweet apples

Finely chopped dried mango

Finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Unsweetened shredded coconut

Dash of celery salt

Combine all of your ingredients, using as much or as little as desired. Other additions could include raisins, chopped cherries, or bacon.

Savory Chicken Salad 2

For the Savory Chicken Salad:

Shredded chicken

Herb Greek yogurt (recipe follows)

Finely chopped green bell pepper

Parmesan cheese

Combine ingredients using  measurements to suit your tastes. Other bell peppers, feta cheese, or mini pepperonis could also be included.

For the Herb Greek yogurt:

For every 1 tablespoon of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, add 1/8 teaspoon each celery salt, rosemary, basil, and chives. Refrigerate at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.


Recipes for chicken salad are so versatile, and I enjoyed these both! They can easily be served as a meal on a bed of lettuce, atop a croissant, or in a wrap. For an easy appetizer, ball the chicken salad with a melon scoop or mini ice cream scoop and top on crackers or Melba toast.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

5 May

There’s almost nothing I love more than going out for Mexican food. The melted cheese, jalapenos, and fresh salsa are irresistible! Oh, and of course the margaritas. I thought this Cinco de Mayo I would share a delicious salsa recipe I recently got the chance to try from a friend in South Carolina. It makes a large enough batch for serving at a gathering/party.

You will need:

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or 6-7 small tomatoes

2 cans (10 ounce) Rotel (I use original)

¼ cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 whole jalapeno, seeds and all

¼ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ cup cilantro

Juice of ½ a lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate for at least an hour.


I’ve known multiple people who have suffered death after fighting cancer so I wanted to take this opportunity to put the word out of how important cancer research can be and to show my support for Relay for Life. Clicking the photo will link you to their homepage where you can find an event, start an event, or simply donate.

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