Tag Archives: Appetizers

A little Mexican for your Tuesday

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Well, not a “real” mexican, but some mexican food. ¬†ūüôā

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.

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:

tomatillo

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.

 

Anybody else crazy about avocados???

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Have you ever tried grilling them? ¬†Well, I hadn’t and my biggest issue with an avocado is that I usually eat it before I can do anything with it! ¬†However, you should give this a whirl.

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Finished product!

I halved my little green gems (they need to be pretty ripe but not mushy), removed the pit, and placed them upside down on a hot grill.  Move them around a little to get some good grill marks:

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grill marks galore!

I removed from the grill and dressed with a mixture of Mexican shredded cheese.  Place back on grill (cheese side up, of course), lower lid and let cheese melt.

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Before attacking these little morsels, I added a little salsa. ¬†I was afraid that the salsa, etc., would overwhelm the flavor of the avocado — NOT!! ¬†Oh soooo good! ¬† Thanks for dropping by, and hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

~Connie Kaye

Grilled Avocados

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Ingredients

Avocados, halved and pitted
Shredded cheese (mexican blend or monterrey jack)
Salsa

Place avocados cut side down t get some grill marks, flip over, add cheese.  Place back on grill to let cheese melt.  Top with salsa and enjoy!

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

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You‚Äôve probably determined by now that we like fairly spicy food.¬† So, when I ran across an idea to incorporate bacon and jala jala‚Äôs into deviled eggs, I thought the idea sounded fab!¬† And I try new things at strange times of the year ‚Äď for example, I believe I first made these at Christmas.¬† I think most normal people make deviled eggs for picnics or in the summer –¬† not me!¬† I cook things when the mood strikes! ¬†With the 4th of July festivities approaching quickly, I thought this would be a great time to share.

One trick that you already probably know, when boiling eggs, is once they have finished the process, place them in cold water.  This makes the egg shell much easier to remove.  I actually continue with the cold water and then promptly remove shells.

Mix all ingredients together, then stuff your eggs.  I also like to sprinkle a little paprika very lightly for color when all finished. Refrigerate until ready to eat.  Yum!

bacon deviledd eggs

Photo courtesy food.com

~Connie Kaye

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

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Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1¬Ĺ tsp rice vinegar
  • ¬ĺ tsp ground mustard
  • ¬Ĺ tsp sugar
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp

Cook eggs, peel, slice in half and remove yolks.  Combine all ingredients and stuff eggs.

Chocolate Cracker Candy

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We actually call this Christmas Crack because I first made it in December, and it’s really good, and it’s on saltine crackers. ¬†However, give these a whirl and your friend population will RISE!!!! ¬†And if you don’t want to share, keep within the fam and everyone will totally enjoy it! ¬†You can also customize with toppings, but I stick with toasted nuts. ¬†I mean toasted pecans ūüôā

I am sure you all have your favorite brand of saltine crackers, but we are cracker snobs, just as I shared that I’m a Hellman’s mayonnaise snob. ¬†ZESTAS. ¬†They are the total bomb. ¬†I used to think that they are all the same, but at the Beene ranch, we consume Zestas. ¬†(they really should sponsor me or something).

So back to the chocolate treats. ¬†I don’t always toast the pecans when the recipe dictates, but in this case, I really do recommend it. ¬†You get a much deeper, nutty flavor. ¬†Just be super careful that you don’t burn them.

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Oh so yummy, and you will never believe they are saltine crackers!

This pic shows the batch I made with almonds, but I actually favor pecans more. ¬†However, you can use either and even experiment with other toppings. ¬†(like peanut butter things…which I’m not a fan of, so I refuse to discuss it because this is MY blog) ūüôā

I am really pumped up because all the kids will be in my casa this weekend, so I plan to make some for them to take home. ¬†The votes are currently out to them as to what they want for their home cooked meal, so I don’t know what that looks like now. ¬†However, I’ll probably brew up several favorites! ¬†Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Chocolate Cracker Candy

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Ingredients:

35 (approx) saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. ¬†Line 15 x 10 x 1″ pan with foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. ¬†Arrange saltines in single layer on foil, keeping them as close together as possible.

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter and stir in brown sugar.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir until brown sugar is dissolved Рabout 3 to 4 minutes.  Spread evenly over crackers.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until bubbly.   Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips and allow to soften for a few minutes.  Spread over top with a spatula.  Sprinkle with pecans and allow to cool briefly.  Refrigerate, until set.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

To toast pecans:  Place chopped pecans on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries – Sooo easy!

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It took me about 1/2 my life thus far to even TRY a chocolate covered strawberry. ¬†I couldn’t figure out how the two flavors would mesh. ¬†WOWSER what I was missing! ¬†I like the dark chocolate ¬†but semi-sweet chocolate works just as well. ¬†Up to your individual taste. ¬†Here’s what goodness looks like:

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I couldn’t help but show how you the end product first. ¬†Cannot wait to eat them, and I started like this:

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Clean strawberries

Plan ahead a little bit – wash your strawberries and them pat them dry a few times with new paper towels, then air dry. ¬†If they aren’t dry, your chocolate will not be their friend. ¬†Either melt your chocolate on LOW in a double boiler or microwave, stirring occasionally. ¬†I would like to say dunk them by their stems, but that doesn’t always work so swell for me – you can always stick a toothpick in the top. ¬†Dunk and twirl, dunk and twirl, etc. ¬†You get the pic. ¬†So, I just gotta admit, I’m going to take a break and cheer for the 16.1 hand colt that all of America is praying will win. ¬†AND HE DID! ¬†After a 37 year hiatus, we have a Triple Crown Winner!

I assembled my “supplies” and got started after the strawberries were dry:

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After refrigerating, I melted some white chocolate and being too lazy to seek out my piping bag, I put it in a small sandwich bag and then snipped the corner.  I piped it around on them to make them pretty, then back to the fridge to set up.  Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Ingredients:

Strawberries, rinsed and dried
Dark or semi-sweet chocolate
White chocolate for drizzling

Rinse and dry strawberries.  Melt chocolate over low in a double boiler or melt in microwave, stirring part way through.  Swirl and dip strawberries then place on waxed paper.  Melt white chocolate and drizzle over strawberries; place back in fridge.

Veggie Pizza

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Veggie Pizza

There are many veggie pizza recipes that get pretty intense, but mine is one that just pops out of my head and always come out delish!   It starts with crescent roll dough which is even easier now that they make it in one sheet.  However, the rolls work as well.  Press in bottom of pan, and bake until lightly browned, according to directions.

IMG_0415I then mix up a packet of ranch dip mix and spread to your hearts desire (and liking) on crust.  Start layering with your chopped favorites and finish with grated cheese.  Refrigerate and then slice.  Make sure you score some cuz your friends are gonna love it!

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And, I even used this to cook it:

IMG_0416Yep, a toaster oven in the boat served up a delicious snack!  Be creative and enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Veggie Pizza

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Ingredients:

1 tube crescent roll dough
Ranch dip mix

Chopped toppings:  broccoli, green onions, green pepper, carrots, shredded cheese, and anything else that you like.

Delicious cookies from a family friend! (with a smoked sausage surprise)

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Look at this delicious little morsel:

carrot cookies

Carrot cookies with orange icing!

When I met my husband, Mike, I didn’t realize how I was really getting the whole package. ¬†By that I mean I gained a wonderful mother and father-in-law. ¬†Two of the nicest people you will ever meet! ¬†Over the course of the years, Debbie has brought some delicious treats to my house. ¬†(One that we never let her forget is her homemade dinner rolls until now since I’ve stolen her Kitchen Aid :)) ¬†So back to the cookies — I didn’t realize that these yummy delights were the product of her friend, Betty. ¬†Recently I had the opportunity to snarf a few of these and request the recipe. ¬†Today is kind of a cooking day at the casa, because we are smoking a bunch of meat, so I thought I might brew up these cookies.

It calls for boiled, mashed carrots. ¬† So, I started with boiling water and just threw in a whole bag of baby carrots. ¬†What I didn’t use I ate:

carrots

I threw them in my (Debbie’s) ūüôā Kitchen Aid and within just a few minutes, they were ready for the oven:

carrots ready to bake

Don’t let the carrots scare you….there’s just a hint of taste and combined with the light flavor of the orange juice, they are delish! ¬†A really nice light-textured cookie. ¬†And, I SUCK at making cookies, pretty much, and these came out really good.

Also, I wanted to share a really yummy invention that we threw on the smoker, that’s super delicious EASY! ¬†We buy the cheapest 1 lb. roll of breakfast sausage at the grocery store, and wrap it in thick cut bacon, securing with toothpicks soaked in water. ¬†Next liberally douse it with a Wild Cherry Chipotle seasoning (we purchased at a grilling store) and throw on the smoker at 225-250 degrees for about 4 hours. ¬†When it comes out, place on a rack to cool, then wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil and freeze it. ¬†Once it’s frozen, it makes it easy to slice. ¬†Just remove from freezer and let it defrost. ¬†GREAT with cheese and crackers. ¬†And, a word of advice: ¬†be sneaky when it comes out and score a little piece of the bacon…WOWSER! ¬†Here’s a pic:

sausage

Thank you, Betty, for the recipe, and Debbie for being a wonderful part of our family!

Enjoy,

~Connie Kaye

Carrot Cookies

  • Servings: 24
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Ingredients:

1 Cup shortening
3/4 C white sugar — mix these two together.

Add:
1 egg
1 C cooked mashed carrots
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix and drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

FROSTING
Mix the zest of 1 orange and enough orange juice with confectioners sugar to frosting consistency.