Appetizers & Snacks

Cheesy Taco Seasoned Hard Pretzels

Sourdough hard pretzel pieces seasoned with cheesy taco seasoning make for a highly addicting snack and it’s incredibly easy to make.

Cheesy Taco Seasoned Hard Pretzels 1

It’s hard to believe that Sunday is the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This month-long event seems to have passed by in a much shorter time frame. There were so many exciting, close games (except for Germany-Brazil) and hopefully the final game will be just as fun to watch.

Since I am pulling for Germany to win, in preparation for this event I decided to post a pretzel recipe. This is a different variation of seasoned hard pretzels using cheesy taco seasoning instead of Ranch. I got the idea when a coworker said that she doesn’t like Ranch seasoning (we were presented with Ranch-seasoned pretzels from a patron) and I pondered what other seasonings would work on a hard pretzel. Taco seasoning just popped right into my brain. I went with cheesy taco seasoning, assuming that straight taco seasoning might be a bit overpowering. Whether that would have been true or not I do not know, but what I do know is these were addicting.

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One year ago: Raw Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

Two years ago: Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

Three years ago: Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seed Cookies
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Caramelized Onion Dip

Sweet and tangy caramelized onions shine in this dip. Pair with you favorite vegetables or chips for a perfect party appetizer. 

Caramelized Onion Dip 1

A few weeks ago some friends and I stayed at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and for dinner we put together some homemade pizzas. As topping for one we were caramelizing onions – or so we thought. As I took a turn stirring the onions I noticed that they were pretty dry and had a chalky white residue. A couple more stirs and the end of the spatula broke off. Evidently it was not a heat proof spatula and it had been melting into the onions the entire time. I have not seen a non-heat proof spatula in years and it didn’t occur to any of us to check it to be sure. Alas those onions were tossed out but we still made some amazing pizzas.

Rest assured that when I cooked the caramelized onions for this dip, I used the proper tools. Thank goodness too because this dip was so much more than I has imagined. It knocks the pants off of any dip you could buy from the grocery store. Dare I say, the best onion dip I’ve ever had.

Caramelized Onion Dip 2

One year ago: Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Shake with Blackberry Swirl

Three years ago: Nutella Waffles with Raspberry Syrup
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Caramelized Cheetos

Cheetos are highly addicting but caramlize them and they are downright crazy. These caramelized Cheetos are a great  party snack – they are a conversation starter!

Caramelized Cheetos

After the confusing yet successful Cheetos marshmallow crispy treats, my friends actually requested that I make another wild Cheetos creation. I couldn’t turn them down so I whipped up these caramelized Cheetos for the next gathering. I was a bit disturbed when they did not turn out shiny as in the recipe’s picture but apparently that did not hinder their appeal because they were a popular item without any confusion! Many people said that it reminded them of something, mostly that it tasted like Cracker Jack or something similar. Whatever it is, it’s good. If you were too shy to try out the Cheetos crispy treats, I understand, but you really should give this a try.

One year ago: Chicken Taco Salad with Quesadilla Strips

Three years ago: Zucchini Bread
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Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Dig into this layered Greek hummus dip with a cream cheese-Greek yogurt layer, hummus, and chopped tomatoes, red onions, cucumber and feta. Served with homemade pita chips.

Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips 1

The other day I was mailing out a bill and needed a stamp. I found a sheet of old Easter stamps on my parents’ desk and sent it on it’s way. Later that day, Sherrill asked me if I had any stamps for the letter she needed to mail and I pointed her in the direction of the sheet I used earlier. They weren’t stamps, they were stickers. Stickers that looked just like stamps with the ridged edges and everything but were not legal stamps. Of course the mailman had already pick up my letter which meant my bill would likely be late by the time it was returned and properly stamped. I waited a week and finally decided that it was time to call up the credit card company to see if I could reason with them, but first I got the bright idea to check my checking account. Guess what? The check was cashed which means the post office accepted the sticker as a stamp! Glad I wasn’t the only one who was duped.

Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips 2

This dip may seem complicated with the long list of ingredients but is pretty easy to throw together. The hummus is pureed in a food processor, the cream cheese and Greek yogurt are blended together, and then the two layers are topped with chopped veggies and feta. The homemade pita chips take a little more effort but if you are not up for the task feel free to skip and serve with store-bought pita chips, tortillas chips or vegetables.

One year ago: Breakfast Stromboli

Three years ago: Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Cookies
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Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper

This quick and flavorful dip is perfect for crackers or any of your favorite vegetables. Feta, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and pesto are blended together and topped with roasted red pepper.

Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper 2

Yesterday was the grand opening ceremony for the new pickleball courts. There was music, hot dogs, cookies, lemonade, ice cream, clowns and a lot of pickleballs flying around. But beforehand I played pickleball on the old courts and actually some tennis too! It had been a very long time since I last played tennis and it was completely disorienting. I felt like a miniature person because pickleball really is a miniature version of tennis - everything felt huge. Tennis courts are much bigger, the net is a little higher, the racket is bigger than a paddle, and tennis balls bounce a lot higher than pickleballs. Of course the worst part was realizing I am no longer as good as I was in highschool and college. Apparently not playing for a few years will have that effect, who knew? I wonder if I can keep up with switching back and forth between the two sports though. May be difficult if only for time constraints.

If you couldn’t tell I am not having a hard time enjoying all this time off post-grad school. I did start working part time at the gym to help pay the bills but otherwise I am still living the retired life. Another perk of this situation is all the opportunities to cook. If I am not cooking dinner for my parents, I am whipping up a dessert or appetizer for their friends who come over for various game-nights. Since healthy options are always welcomed with this crowd I dished out this feta dip served with veggies.

Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper 1

One year ago: Wheat-Oat-Flax Buns
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Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip just got even better with the addition of goat cheese. This super creamy dip is perfect for any occasion.

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip 1

This mini road trip of mine has been a lot of fun and I am so glad I thought of doing this on my way to Rochester, NY for my friend’s wedding. The only problem is figuring out how best to divide my time. Before setting out I thought I had it all planned out but of course every stop I make there never seems to be enough time and wish had an entire month instead of just one week. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego now? Cleveland, OH! I hope to check out the location for their Tabletop board game cafe while I am there. But in the meantime, check out this dip.

Everyone loves a good spinach artichoke dip, especially the creamy sinful ones. I once made a healthier version using Greek yogurt but now it’s time to share it’s more devious counterpart – goat cheese spinach artichoke dip. Although it’s not too terribly unhealthy the cream cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, and milk were all essential to creating this incredibly creamy dip. I started out by adding only 4 ounces of goat cheese but ended up adding the entire 8 ounce log because I simply love goat cheese. Apparently many other people share this sentiment with me as it was quickly devoured.

P.S. Thank you to my lovely hand-model, Sherrill!

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip 2

One year ago: Healthier Elote

Two years ago: Banana Peanut Butter Bread Pudding
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Octoweenie-Mac and Cheese Bagel Bites

Mac and cheese with hot dogs is a common meal option for kids. Jazz it up with an octopus hot dog called an octoweeine and serve it over a toasted bagel bite.

NewTabletopLogo

When my friend Shiva asked me to help come up with recipes for the Tabletop Board Game Cafe she requested I make a bagel bite involving an octoweeine. Since I had never heard of this before I will explain. An octoweeine is a hot dog that has been sliced lengthwise to have 8 legs, resembling an octopus. When thinking of things to pair with this creation my mind immediately went to mac and cheese, just like mac and cheese with hot dogs but this version sits upon a toasted bagel bite and looks exceptionally fun. Sounds like the perfect appetizer to eat while playing some board games!

To find out more about Tabletop Board Game Cafe, follow @tabletopcleve on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Octoweenie-Mac and Cheese Bagel Bites

One year ago: Homemade Garbage Plates

Two years ago: Baked Oatmeal with Blackberries and Bananas

Thee years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
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Deviled Potatoes

Deviled potatoes are exactly what they sound like, potatoes with a deviled filling, and they are just as addicting as the classic deviled egg and potato skin appetizers. 

Deviled Potatoes 2

Everyone loves deviled eggs – the creamy, tangy filling wins every time. But who’s to say that it can only be transported to your belly in the vehicle of a hard boiled egg white? I introduce to you, deviled potatoes. These potatoes are a combination of potato skins and deviled eggs. Roasted potatoes have their middles scooped out like potato skin or a yolk of a hard boiled egg which gets mashed up with all the usual suspects found in a deviled egg: mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and paprika. Top them off with crumbled bacon and then devour.

You might want to double the recipe if this is the only appetizer and you are serving more than 5 people, because that’s all it took for these tasty morsels to disappear.

Deviled Potatoes 1

Three years ago: Homemade Wheat Thins
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Caprese Salad Bagel Bites

Try out these Caprese salad bagel bites at your next gathering. Mini bagels are stacked with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and a slice of tomato, then baked, and finished off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

NewTabletopLogo

I recently told you about how I am working on bagel bite ideas for the cafe my friends are opening called Table Top Board Game Cafe (soon to be in West Cleveland, OH). Today I am sharing my second creation – Caprese Salad Bagel Bites. It may not be the most unheard of idea, but it certainly is delicious. I had to make them twice because I ate them too fast before ensuring I got a good photo.

To find out more about Tabletop Board Game Cafe, follow @tabletopcleve on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Caprese Salad Bagel Bites

One year ago: Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
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Avocado Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Have salsa for dessert with homemade cinnamon tortilla chips and a berry-cirtusy salsa with kiwi, mango, blackberries, strawberries and avocado. Or change it up and make it your own!

It’s tornado season, and it’s the first in 7 years where I don’t have to worry about such things because east Tennessee usually just gets the aftermath-huge rain storms (as I write this one is currently making a lot of noise outside). Oddly enough it makes me miss living in Memphis, but let me explain. Obviously the destruction tornadoes cause is not something to yearn for, I just enjoy a good storm. As a child I was terrified of thunder storms and would run into my dad’s room in the middle of the night to make me feel safe. Somehow as I got older I grew to love thunder and lightning. But when it comes to tornado season in Memphis it means it’s time for Memphis in May festivals (which I pretend is a month long party for my birthday) and that’s what I truly miss about tornado season. And I cannot wait to return in a couple weeks for my favorite festival – BBQ Fest!

But unfortunately tornadoes and festivals have nothing to do with this recipe today. So thank you for listening to my rambling and let’s just get on with it…

Fruit salsa. I know this may not be the first thing you think of when you are trying to come up with a dip for your next gathering by hang on for just a second. For starters these are not just any old tortilla chips, they’re cinnamon-sugar chips! Which makes them the perfect candidate for dipping into a fruit concoction such as this berry-citrusy salsa with kiwi, mango, blackberries, strawberries and avocado. But you change it up to include whatever fruits you prefer.

One year ago: Spring Salsa

Three years ago: Funfetti Month Recipe Round-Up
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