Holiday Upscale Appetizer: Uptown Fromage

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I made this appetizer for my dad’s 80th birthday dinner last week at my sister’s house. It’s really easy, beautiful and filled with wonderful flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, basil pesto, oregano and goat and cream cheese. I got it out of the book, “Recipes Worth Sharing” by Favorite Recipes Press. It’s a great cookbook and has wonderful recipes for family gatherings and occasions such as this. Here’s the picture from the party with my dad, his daughters and granddaughters (I’m the one in the yellow and blue shirt).

Simple 5 Ingredient Creative Appetizer: Dirty Martini Cheese Ball

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My martini of choice is a Chopin Vodka or Ketel One Dirty Martini slightly dirty with blue cheese-stuffed olives (Satterfields or Flemming’s make the best in Birmingham). This recipe reminds me a lot of my favorite cocktail, hence its name: Dirty Martini Cheese Ball. Even my son, Zachary, who loves blue cheese and olives, begs me to make this. It’s great for a party, and it’s so simple. Just mold it together, let it chill for about 4 hours and then roll in nuts. It’s a sure hit, so cheers!

Holiday or Anytime 15 Minute Appetizer: Cheddar-Maple and Pecan Log

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Today, I am in Madison Wisconsin for a Wisconsin Cheese Media tour. I get to tour about 8 different cheesemakers around the area while tasting fabulous cheeses, attending a Fondue lunch as well as an award winning Cheese and Beer Pairing reception. I thought I would feature a simple cheese appetizer that my family loves in honor of the amazing Wisconsin Cheese. It’s so easy and wonderful for this time of year or as the holidays near (Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas), and my kids love it!

Also, I will also be featured on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama at 11:30 a.m on Thursday cooking a simple Slider recipes so check it out. I know-busy week.

Easy Holiday Appetizer-Fresh Basil Dip

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Since now is the time for holiday parties galore, I thought I would answer a question I get so often this time of year: What type of easy appetizer can I bring or make for a holiday get-together? The options are endless, and I could write a book on this topic, but with all the heavy holiday foods, I like something light. This dip is fresh, healthy and refreshing made with fresh basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Serve it with fresh vegetables for a pretty presentation, and you can feel great about digging in.


Fresh Basil Dip  

This dip is also great served alongside cooked salmon, shrimp or scallops.

Prep: 15 minutes

Yield about 1 1/2 cups 

Ingredients

1 clove garlic 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup light mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Fresh Vegetables, crackers

Preparation

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and next 7 ingredients: process until smooth. 

2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh vegetables and/or crackers.