Category Archives: Appetizers

Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Candied Bourbon Pecans

My friend Heather recently gave me a Hy-Vee magazine that came to her in the mail (she’s an Aisles Online fan) and it has some cool appetizer recipes that I thought I might try.  The first contestant is these pecans….warning, the hubster decided we should smoke them, so the first round went in the trash.  Turns out you need to cook them a little lower than the oven temperature.  Round 2 also involved the pellet smoker but at a lower temp.  YUMMO!

I think they would be good in the oven as well, and one thing I might try for Round 3 is to toast the pecans in the oven a bit, then add the gooey, bourbony deliciousness. Check out the recipe below – might be great for holiday gifts!

Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Ingredients:

1/2 bourbon
2/3 C dark brown sugar
1/4 C butter
1 tbsp. finely grated ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 1/2 C pecan halves
cinnamon sugar, optional
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or smoker to 225).  In a saucepan, bring bourbon, dark brown sugar, butter, ginger, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until thickened.

Stir in pecans.  Pour on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted.  If smoking, placed on foil vegetable-type rack (or we used screen from the hardware store) for about 30-40 minutes.  Toss occasionally.  Cool and toss with cinnamon sugar if desired.

Yummy Crescent Roll Ups

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Yummy Crescent Roll Ups

The perfect recipe for tailgating or watching football – what can you not like about creme cheese, bacon, jalapenos?  I sure cannot think of anything!  Tried these a few weeks ago, and they did not last long at all.  Super easy, and you begin with crescent roll dough, preferably the full sheet, or if not, just seal the triangles to make a sheet.  Cover with a layer of whipped cream cheese to which you have added chopped jalapenos and crumbled cooked bacon.  Sprinkle with sharp shredded cheddar cheese, and roll, starting with the long end.  Cut with sharp knife, and you should have something similar to this:

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You’re about 15 minutes away from yummy.  Add shredded cheddar to the top, and bake at 375 degrees or until desired degree of brownness.   Enjoy, and grab one first before your “friends” get to them!

~Connie Kaye

The BEST pickles

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Yes, I know I’ve been absent for a LONG time, but I now have full staff at work, and hopefully time to share some great recipes I’ve been saving for the last few months!

We have a neighborhood shrimp boil every year around the middle of October, and this year, my friend Becky brought the most amazing pickles.  They’re sweet and spicy with just the right kick and crunch, and the best part is that they’re SO simple to make.

I’m sharing the recipe below, and if you add anything to change it up, please post below in the comments so I can try that as well.  (she says that some people add cauliflower and carrots)  Enjoy, and see you back  here again soon!

~Connie Kaye

Becky's Sweet and Spicy Dills

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Ingredients

1 gallon whole dill pickles
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 jar sliced, drained jalapenos, chopped
2 cups sugar

Chop or slice dill pickles as desired, reserving juice.  Add chopped garlic, chopped jalapenos and sugar.  Stir and place mixture back into pickle jar.  Add enough pickle juice to cover.   Place in refrigerator and turn daily for 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

 

A little Mexican for your Tuesday

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Well, not a “real” mexican, but some mexican food.  🙂

Who doesn’t LOVE that white cheese dip that is typically available in restaurants?  Not sure anyone can turn that stuff down.  Here’s a simple recipe to make it at home!  Drizzle this over some quesadillas or chips, and you’ll be in heaven.

~Connie Kaye

Queso Blanco

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Ingredients:

1 C. Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 half of a small can chopped green chiles
1/4 C. heavy cream
1 tsp cumin
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For a little more spice, you can add some finely chopped pickled or fresh jalapenos. Combine in small saucepan over low heat until cheese is melted and well blended.  Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn and keep warm until ready to serve

Easy Cheese Ball

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cheeseball1_550A quick post as I’m cheering on the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS!!!!  Made this cheese ball last night and wanted to share.  It’s easy, quick and delicious.  And, it’s made with ingredients that  you typically have on hand.  Hope you enjoy as we do, and I’ll hopefully be making it for a post-season Chiefs game!!!

~Connie Kaye

Cheese Ball

  • Servings: depends
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Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup each mayo, melted margarine, sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp steak sauce

Chopped pecans

Mix the first 5 ingredients well.  Form into ball and chill.  Roll in chopped pecans before serving.  Best with Ritz crackers.

Crockpot Crack

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Not that we all need more chocolate this time of year, but hey, it’s the holidays, and we all need some good go-to’s for family, friends, work, etc.

So here’s another drug recipe — well, not really.  A co-worker makes this and swears by it.  Super easy and no way you can mess it up.

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Photo credit keyingredient.com

Happy holidays, and thanks for stopping by!

~Connie Kaye

Crockpot Crack

  • Servings: depends
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Ingredients:

1-16 oz jar unsalted peanuts
1-16 oz. jar salted peanuts
1-12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-12 oz. bag milk chocolate chips
2-10 oz. bags peanut butter chips
2 – lb. pkg white almond bark or vanilla candy coating

layer all ingredients in a large crockpot, starting with peanuts.  (at this point I hope you are using a crockpot liner).  Turn the pot on low, cover with lid, and leave sitting for 2 hours.  Remove lid and stir to combine.  Replace lid and leave sitting for another 30 minutes.  Stir again then spoon mixture onto wax paper or non-stick aluminum foil.  Allow to harden for at least one hour.

 

 

 

Crab….avocado…got your attention yet?

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I had this appetizer as my meal a year or so ago at the Saltgrass Steak House while on a work trip in Westminster, Colorado. No words to describe how great it was.  Not sure why I got inspired this weekend to try it, but so glad I did.  I wanted to post with the holidays approaching, as it’s kind of “fancy” but super easy!!!

It’s this amazing stack of chopped avocado, pico de gallo and crab meat, served with tortilla chips or crackers.  I asked the waiter how they got it in this nice cylinder shape, and he said they used a piece of PVC pipe.  Not having that today, I improvised, chopping in half a cup that we brought home from the local sports bar.  Yep….FANCY —

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redneck cup chopped in half sitting on destination fancy white plate

I lightly sprayed the inside of the cup with cooking spray, placed on plate, and then stacked avocado, pico and crab, finishing it with a little chopped parsley.  My concern this entire time is that I might overpower the flavors, so that’s why no additional cilantro.  You truly could taste all flavors.  My wonderful neighbors invited us over for amazing ribs, so this was a great appetizer while the food finished on the smoker, and with a couple of brewskis and football!  (KANSAS CITY CHIEFS WIN BABY!!!)

crab stack

Hopefully you will enjoy as much as we did….it’s  super rich, and also, you can use imitation crabmeat.  I didn’t but it’s probably just as good (and cheaper)!!!

Happy holidays!

~Connie Kaye

Crab Avocado Stack

  • Servings: lots
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Ingredients:

3″ wide cylinder (PVC pipe, plastic cup or other device), as tall as you wish to go with the number of people you are serving

Crabmeat – imitation or real (I throw some crab legs in with seasoning and boil)

Pico de Gallo

Avocados – medium ripe work best so you can actually chop them up

Chop crab and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Chop avocados and season with salt and lemon juice to prevent browning.  I do all of it ahead of time and when ready to serve, put together.  Spray inside of object that you’re going to use to construct this beast with cooking spray, then place on plate, and layer away.  You can do it in any order, but I recommend avocados, pico and finish with crab.  Finish with chopped parsley and serve with tortilla chips.

Guacamole Salsa

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Love avocados!  Love.  Love.  So I tried to replicate the delicious green stuff that my friend Heather made — I told her we needed a name for it, so she dubbed it “Guacamole Salsa”, maybe because of it’s consistency.  I first ate it at her house on smoked pork tacos.  Yum.  Anyway, I had never even BOUGHT a tomatillo but this was easy and really good.  And a good variation from regular guac.

I simply unhusked my little green friend:

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quartered it, and threw it in the blender along with the other ingredients.  I stored it in a plastic container, but before putting the lid on, I laid plastic wrap directly on the top of the salsa then put the plastic lid on.  I’m assuming it might have gotten blechy colored green/brown if I hadn’t prevented air from getting to it.  I’m sharing my recipe below, and next is my hatch chile pork which I specifically made this for.  Try both but you’ll have to get your hatch chiles quick before they’re gone.  Quiz question:  Why are they called hatch chiles???  Click here if you’re not sure and are curious as I was.  Enjoy the beautiful fall weather, watch some football and baseball, and thanks for poppin a squat at my site!

~Connie Kaye

Guacamole Salsa

  • Servings: depends
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Ingredients:

1 medium tomatillo
2-3 medium avocados
1 clove minced garlic
juice of 1/2 lime, more if needed to taste
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup cilantro

Throw all in blender or food processor until desired consistency.

 

Like shrimp? Oh man, you’ll like this!!!

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We love seafood, especially shrimp, crab, lobster 🙂 so when the hub brought me a souvenir t-shirt from Maryland, with Old Bay smattered across the front, I thought “very fitting”.  He also bought a can of Old Bay seasoning.  I’ve seen recipes where Old Bay @OLDBAYseasoning was used, but I’ve never bought any.  AND, we have an annual fall shrimp boil, but use Zatarain’s (I always smell it for some stupid reason, and sneeze for 10 minutes after.  You would think I would learn.  DUH)

old bay

My new friend!

Anyway, we decided to try steamed spiced shrimp tonight with a ribeye steak.  YUM.  Anyway, I was a little confused, and even confirmed it on their site, that to “steam” the shrimp, you actually place it in a boiling mixture, add a lid, and in few minutes, you’re ready to roll.  OOPS…just had to take a break.  We are huge K-State fans and Tyler Lockett, former KSU player, just returned a punt for touchdown for the Seahawks!!!  Purple Pride!!

Anyway, I was wary because it sounded as though it would be boiled shrimp.  NOPE.  The most amazing stuff E.V.E.R.  You’ll notice that the official recipe on the back of the can says use either vinegar or beer.  Well, everything’s better with beer, correct?   Leave the shell on the shrimp (buy the cleaned ones) and it took maybe 2 minutes, if that long, to finish them off.  You want them pink, but be really careful as overdone shrimp are TOUGH.  Ruined.  The shrimp actually open up and you can easily tell when they’re done.

I saw a recipe on their site for sweet and spicy salmon on the grill, so that’s my next venture.  So, try this out, and this year, we’ll be adding Old Bay to our shrimp boil mixture.  I’ll share that later this fall.  Enjoy, and thank so much for hanging out!

~Connie Kaye

Steamed Spiced Shrimp

  • Servings: depends
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Ingredients:

At medium heat, bring to a boil 1/2 cup beer, 1/2 cup water and 2 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning.  Carefully stir in 1 lb. cleaned shell-on shrimp.  Cover and steam, keeping your eye on them.  A couple of minutes and you’re typically good to go.

Easy Fruit Pizza

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You’ll notice that in my Recipe Box, I’ve added a new category called “Cooking with Kids”.  Why, you might ask?  Well two of my favorite cooks were at it again last night, and we happily sampled their creation!  Here’s the final product:

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This is a super fun way to let kids be creative, and since there’s no certain method of placing the fruit, other than just plopping it down, everybody’s a winner!  Start with sugar cookie dough and small bowls of your choice of fruits:

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Ice the baked “cookie” with a combo of cream cheese, whipped topping and confectioners sugar:

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Gab and Gen in their creative mode!

And then turn it over to the kids! This was super delicious, and healthy because we can just gobble up the leftover fruit!  Be sure to check out the Cooking with Kids section, and if you have a good recipe that works great with kids, email me at conniekayeskitchen@gmail.com and YOU can be my next guest!  Until then —-

~Connie Kaye

Fruit Pizza

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Ingredients

1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
Assorted chopped fruit
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
12 oz. whipped topping
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, or to desired consistency

Bake sugar cookie and let cool.  Beat together cream cheese, whipped topping and confectioners sugar; ice cookie.  Throw (or arrange neatly) fruit on and have at it!