Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs

For Easter Sunday, how about something elegant such as these Cheese Puffs, similar to a gougère, a French baked pastry dough filled typically with GruyèreComté, or Emmentaler cheese? My sister is headed to France so I made them in her honor. Sometimes they are even filled with mushrooms, beef or ham. These Cheese Puffs are as fabulous as they look and have the secret ingredient, Colman’s Mustardwhich gives it an extra zesty flavor. These are perfect for Easter and any holiday or spring or summer party. Happy holidays this weekend and enjoy! 🙂

Warm Kale and Bacon Dip

Kale and Bacon Dip

Are you in the hustle and bustle of the holidays already? I certainly am, but I love holiday entertaining! Trust me, entertaining this time of year can be fun and easy. I am very excited to share this recipe for Warm Kale Bacon Dip just in time for your holiday gatherings. It’s my family’s favorite appetizer as it uses a few of our most loved ingredients such as kale, Borden and Sargento cheeseDannon Oikos Greek Yogurt and Bays English Muffins. What I really love about this recipe is its simplicity by using high-quality brands of shredded cheeses along with healthy ingredients such as Greek yogurt and kale. Friends ask me all the time for my top stress-free cooking tip and I usually tell them to keep it simple. Use your favorite ingredients and stop by the dairy and/or freezer section to make your life even easier. You can find so many items in these sections of the grocery store, which make cooking more economical, convenient and your recipes taste even better.

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For this dip recipe, start by roasting the kale with a touch of olive oil until it is slightly wilted and crispy. Then, add to the cheeses and yogurt, stirring well. Complete this by topping with crumbled bacon. If you’re not a bacon fan, you may omit this step. I used Bays English Muffins from the dairy section, which are a perfect accompaniment to this warm cheesy dip with their great texture and flavor.

Besides being tasty, this holiday appetizer is healthy too! It is filled with calcium, one of the body’s most important minerals for strong healthy bones, as well as active cultures in the Greek yogurt, which adds more protein to this appetizer while also aiding in digestion and boosting the immune system (we all need this during the cold winter months). Kale is another fabulous, healthy ingredient addition, known as a super-food with vitamins and minerals.

For more great recipes using frozen and refrigerated foods see Easy Home Meals.

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This post is sponsored by National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association and Easy Home Meals, but all opinions are my own.

Apple Snack Mix

apple snack mix

Are you looking for something new for an afternoon snack mix? Or how about a healthy snack your kids can take to school? This Apple Snack Mix recipe has all of my favorite ingredients, and it’s made with freshly homemade dried apples. This snack recipe has been my go-to back to school snack for the kids. This would also make a great holiday gift idea, holiday open house snack. or fun idea for holiday school parties. For the apples, you can use almost any type such as Honeycrisp, pink lady or Braeburn or Granny Smith.

Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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If you’re like me, you can never have enough recipes as the holidays near. Dips and salsas are perfect for getting a party off to a great start. This Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip recipe is only 3 ingredients. If you have the ingredients on hand, this tasty dip can be ready to serve in about 5 minutes. Serve it with crudités, crackers or pumpernickel rounds for an elegant appetizer. Tip: Use creamy feta cheese. The lower-fat versions produce a drier dip. If your results seem dry, add 1 teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil and pulse.

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This recipe comes from 150 Best Dips & Salsas from my cookbook publisher Robert Rose. Most of the dips and salsas in this book can be prepared ahead of time, are simple, and are made from the freshest ingredients. They cater to different tastes, dietary preferences, including vegetarians (such as this recipe). This book is the ultimate party dip and salsa resource! Enjoy this appetizer recipe for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday or weeknight parties.

Artichoke Basil Pesto

Artichoke Basil Pesto

My kids requested Artichoke Basil Dip for an appetizer the other night so I decided to take the remaining artichokes and make this Artichoke Basil Pesto.  If you like artichokes, basil and almonds, you’ll love this recipe. It’s great served as a side with fish, chicken, pork or seafood, and it only takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Parmesan Butter Popcorn

Parmesan Popcorn

When I first tried Brummel & Brown, I was hooked. It really caught my eye because it is made with nonfat yogurt, which gives it a smooth, creamy taste. It’s super versatile to use in cooking when sautéing vegetables, chicken, meats, poultry and seafood and even preparing eggs and pancakes. It also makes the best butter sauce for vegetables and to stir in quinoa, rice or grains. I also love the flavor, and the fact that it is also healthy with zero grams of trans fat and no partially-hydrogenated oils. It also contains 50% less fat and calories than butter and there is also NO cholesterol per serving. YES!!

This is a sponsored post for Brummel & Brown but all opinions are my own.

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I decided to make this Parmesan Butter Popcorn for the kids so I started with Brummel & Brown, of course. I popped the popcorn in the Brummel & Brown and made a simple Parmesan Butter topping with Parmesan, sea salt and cracked pepper. This is much healthier than other popcorn alternatives and just as easy! My kids devoured it!

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Have you tried Brummel & Brown? If so, what’s your favorite thing to spread it on?

10 Things to Use Brummel & Brown on:

1. Baked potatoes

2. Crostini

3. Pancakes and Waffles

4. Grilled cheese

5. Warm cookies or tea cakes

6. Toast

7. Popcorn

8. Fish

9. Corn on the Cob

10. Scones, muffins

Visit the Brummel & Brown page on Facebook for recipe ideas and other usage tips.

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Taquito Layered Dip: Cinco De Mayo

Taquito Layered Dip

Happy May and Cinco De Mayo! I am finally back from Italy, and now is the time to spice it up for summer entertaining just in time for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduation, lake and beach parties. I made this Taquito Layered Dip today when I was having some friends over, and I saved a ton of time by using Chicken Taquito’s by Jose Ole. Feel free to use the chicken or steak varieties, and add your favorite southwestern toppings such as black olives, cilantro, avocado or jalapeños. You can also make your life simpler (and sometimes save money) using frozen foods to create fabulous appetizers, main dishes and even desserts. There are a huge variety of different cuisines represented in the freezer aisle, including options that cover snack-time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, entertaining and specialty food occasions. If you like southwestern food, the options of frozen food choices are endless. For more recipes such as these using frozen foods see Easy Home Meals.

This post is sponsored by Easy Home Meals, but all opinions are my own.

Best Salsa Ever

Instead of buying jarred salsa, you can easily make your own with this recipe for Best Salsa Ever. In only 20 minutes, you’ll have amazing fresh salsa. This is perfect to make this weekend for the Final Four, for spring entertaining or for weeknights to jazz up your kid’s tacos and quesadillas. Tomatoes are one of the most healthy foods, high in antioxidants, support bone health, have anti cancer benefits and more. One serving of ripe, red tomatoes is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are also low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Tomatoes also provide fiber, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Enjoy and stay healthy!

Pizza Bites

My kids come home starving after school. Can you relate? We make smoothies, sandwiches, bagels, dips and everything under the sun. Last week, we put this fun idea together: Pizza Bites. Use water crackers or your favorite crackers, pizza or marinara sauce, shredded cheese and turkey pepperoni. They LOVED this! We have now made them several times with fresh basil, mushrooms, black olives and spinach. Try it for your kids (or yourself). This would also be a great March Madness appetizer. 🙂

Nuts and Bolts for New Years Day

Happy New Years! We are hanging out watching football today. Did you see the Texas A & M/Duke game? Wow! For New Years Day, I made this Nuts and Bolts recipe. This super easy snack mix is ideal for football games, Super Bowl sunday and March Madness. My kids can’t stop eating it, so I assume that is a good sign. Happy New Year and here’s to a healthy, happy New Year! May all your wishes and dreams come true!