Hot Appetizer Recipes

Hot Appetizers

Warm and toasty before dinner…


Pretzel Chicken Nuggets
from Half A**ed Kitchen

2 chicken breasts (partially frozen, because they’re easier to dice that way)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Several handfuls of pretzel sticks
Black pepper
1 egg
2 Tablespoons mustard
1-1/2 Tablespoons honey

Pour olive oil into non-stick or iron skillet.

Chop chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks. Crack egg into shallow bowl or plate. Put pretzels in a Ziploc and pound with a rubber mallet until broken into tiny pieces. Dump pretzel dust and pieces onto another plate or shallow bowl and grind in black pepper.

Dredge chicken pieces through egg, then through pretzels. Spread out evenly in skillet and cook over medium heat until golden and juices run clear (10 minutes or so).

Meanwhile, mix mustard and honey in small bowl for dipping.

Serves 2 to 3 adults.

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Panini

1 package Buffalo Chicken Sausage
Ken’s Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing (If I had crumbly blue cheese – I would have used that, but this worked great too!)
Red Hot Sauce
Caramelized onions
Mozzarella Cheese
Ciabatta buns

Cook sausages until they are done. When cooled slightly, slice sausages in half, then in half again.

While sausages are cooking, heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute onions for 13 minutes until soft. Stir in some brown sugar and saute for another 10 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Set aside.

To assemble:
On ciabatta bun place in the following order:

    * caramelized onions,
    * blue cheese
    * chicken sausages
    * sprinkle red hot sauce to taste
    * mozzeralla cheese
    * top layer of bun

Place in panini press and cook! Delicious!

Gin’s Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 head garlic, roasted
½ Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 teaspoons garlic pepper
2 teaspoon Chardonnay smoked sea salt
1 bottle chili sauce
1 cup Pepper Jelly

(1)    Roast garlic head and cool. Make paste with roasted garlic. (2) Soak dried onion in ¼ cup warm water. (3) Mix all ingredients and shape in to 1 inch meatballs. (4) Brown in a non-stick pan with a small amount of olive oil. Drain and set aside. (5) Combine 1 cup Pepper Jelly and 1 bottle in chili sauce in a pan and simmer until warm. (6) Add meatballs and warmed sauce to a crock pot. Set crock pot to warm which will gently permeate the meatballs with the mouth-watering sauce.

Pull-Apart Bacon Bread

1 lb. (16 ounces) bacon, fried and crumbled
1 teaspoon oil (I used extra-virgin olive oil)
3/4 cup chopped pepper (I used a mix of red and green bell pepper)
3/4 cup onion, chopped (I used yellow)
3 tubes biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers 16 ounces each)
1/2 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

In oil sauté peppers and onion until tender.  Cut biscuits into quarters and place in large mixing bowl.  Add peppers-onion mixture, bacon, margarine and cheese, tossing until well combined.  Pour into lightly greased 10″ bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and check, it may need more time up to 15 extra minutes depending on your oven.

Antipasto Squares
From Noble Pig from Cutting Edge of Ordinary

2 large packages Pillsbury Crescent Big & Buttery Rolls (10 ounces each)
1/4 lb ham, thinly sliced
1/4 lb Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
1/4 pound, Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 pound pepperoni, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons grated cheese (I used cheddar)
Dash pepper
Dash Italian Seasoning

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Open one package of crescent rolls, unrolling in one piece and press it into the bottom of the pan.  Make sure you push together all the little perforations.  Layer meat and cheese in the order listed above.  The 1/4 pound is an estimate.  Just keep layering until it covers the pan.  Do not overlap the pieces.  One note – try to use baked ham instead of cooked ham.  Cooked ham can sometimes be too watery.  If you do use cooked ham, microwave it on paper towels for a few seconds to get some of the wetness out of the meat.

In a medium bowl add eggs, cheese, pepper and Italian Seasoning.  Pour most of the egg mixture on top of the meat and cheese, reserving a small amount.  Top with second package of crescent rolls and brush and brush with remaining egg mixture.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until top is golden brown.  Let cool a bit before cutting into squares so the cheese does not ooze out the sides.  Serve warm or room temperature.

These are fabulous.

Cheese Balls
1 can (12 ounces) Biscuits (10 count)6 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 40 cubes1/4 c. crushed cornflakes1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese1/4 tsp. garlic powder1/3 c. butter, melted Preheat oven to 400F.  cut each biscuit into fourths.  Flatten each piece and place a cheese cube in center.  Wrap dough around cheese and seal with a pinch.  Shape into a ball. Combine cornflakes, cheese and garlic powder.  Roll each ball in butter then in cornflake mixture.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve hot.  Make 40 balls.

Meatball Bites 1 can (12 ounces) flaky biscuits10 frozen, cooked Italian style meatballs, thawed and cut in half2 stick string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces.2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.1 tsp Italian seasoning1/2 tsp. garlic powder1 cup pizza sauce, warmed Preheat oven to 375F. Cut each biscuit in half horizontally.  Flatten each half into a 3-inch round.  Place one meatball half and one string cheese piece in center of round.  Wrap dough around meatball and press edges to seal.  Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet.  Once all balls have been placed on sheet, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, italian seasoning and garlic powder.  Bake for 20 or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in the center.  Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.  Makes 20.

Potato Latkes

Serves:  4 Servings

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour (or more) or matzo meal (during Passover)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

In a food processor grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.

To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.

Marmalade Meat Balls


    48 meatballs

2 pounds fully cooked frozen meatballs
1 bottle (16-ounce) catalina salad dressing
1 cup orange marmalade
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place frozen meatballs in the insert of a slow cooker. In a bowl, stir to combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over meatballs and stir to coat. Cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie

We don’t know anyone who can resist this. And, did we mention, it’s EASY?

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup broken walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts
1 Tablespoon Brandy (or whiskey)
1 14-ounce round of Brie cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Stir together sugar, nuts and brandy (or whiskey). (You can cover this and chill it up to a week ahead of time.)

Place brie on a pie plate. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes.

Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of brie. Bake 2 to 3 minutes more, until sugar is melted and cheese is heated through but not melted.

Serve with apples (brushed with lemon juice to keep them from browning) and crackers.

Cocktail sausages in honey-sesame glaze

Who doesn’t like cocktail sausages? Everyone who eats meat loves them, right?  Add a little honey-sesame glaze and they’re irresistible.  They will disappear fast.



75 cocktail sausages

1/2 cup honey

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce


Preheat oven to 425.


Arrange sausages in a large, shallow roasting pan.


Whisk together honey, oil and soy sauce. Pour over sausages. Stir to coat.


Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.


Thanks again to Nigella Lawson for the great idea.

Roasted Garlic, Feta and Walnut Dip, Toasted Flat Bread
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Yield: 4 servings

1 medium bulb garlic, end cut off, 1 clove reserved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
1 1/2 cups feta cheese, crumbles
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a handful of leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, reserved from above, cracked away from skin
4 flat breads or pitas, cut into wedges and toasted

Preheat oven or toaster oven to highest setting. Pour oil over cut side of garlic bulb and rub into skin. Double wrap garlic in foil and roast 20 to 25 minutes in toaster oven or hot conventional oven.

Combine walnuts, feta, milk, oregano, parsley, black pepper, red pepper and garlic clove in food processor and pulse process until spread is smooth. Scrape spread into serving dish with spatula. Drizzle dip with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

When you remove garlic from the oven, turn heat off. Arrange triangles of cut pita or flat brad on a small tray or cookie sheet. Place bread into the hot toaster oven or conventional oven. The bread will be warmed through and lightly toasted in 5 minutes.

Bacon and Tomato Cups
“Little buttermilk biscuit cups are baked with a savory mixture of bacon and tomato inside.” Original recipe yield: 15 servings.




8 slices bacon
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini muffin pan.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil.

3. Separate biscuits into halves horizontally. Place each half into cups of the prepared mini muffin pan. Fill each biscuit half with the bacon mixture.

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown.

Pecan and Blue Cheese Crescent Bites



1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1/4 cup plum jam
4 oz. Cambozola cheese, cut into 24 small slices
24 pecan halves
Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Preparation Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll dough into 1 long rectangle. Gently press perforations to seal. Stir jam to soften; spread over dough.
2. Starting with one long side, roll up dough jelly-roll fashion. With serrated knife, cut into 24 slices; place, cut side down, on paper-lined cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 375°F. for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; place on wire rack. Cool about 2 minutes or until slightly cooled.
4. Top each with slice of Cambozola cheese and pecan half. Serve warm or at room temperature.

24 appetizers

Ultimate Cheesy Chicken and Corn Nachos
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (9-ounce) bag blue corn tortilla chips (8 to 10 cups)
2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels, from about 2 small ears of corn
2 cups grated Cheddar
1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
3/4 cup sour cream, for garnishing
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing
Pico de Gallo, for serving, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large, ovenproof shallow casserole or on a large baking sheet, spread half of the tortilla chips in an even layer. Top with half of the chicken half of the corn, and half of the cheddar cheese. Top with the remaining tortilla chips, chicken and corn. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the chicken and corn, then evenly spread the remaining grated cheddar over the top. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the nachos are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with the sliced green onions, sour cream and cilantro. Serve with the Pico de Gallo alongside.

Pico de Gallo:
3 ripe plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound) or 1(14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red hot sauce (recommended: Emeril”s Hot Sauce)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until the salsa is of uniform consistency but still slightly chunky, about 7 pulses. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to serve the nachos.

Spicy Buffalo Onion Rings and Blue Cheese Dip
Recipe courtesy Zoom

Yield: 6 servings

Vegetable oil, for frying
4 eggs
5 cups 2 percent milk
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix (recommended: Paul Prudhomme”s)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 2/3 teaspoons salt
3 extra-large yellow onions
Blue Cheese Dip, recipe follows
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced

Fill a large heavy saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of cooking oil and heat over medium-high heat. The oil temperature should be at 350 degrees F when you start frying.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs and milk; then add the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly with a hand-held mixer. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps. Add more milk if you want a thinner crust. In a small bowl, mix the Cajun spice mix, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, dry mustard, and salt. Add this spice mixture to the batter. Cut the onions into thick slabs, dunk them in the batter, and fry them, in batches, in the oil until golden brown. Serve the onion rings with the Blue Cheese Dip, sliced carrot, and celery.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Blue Cheese Dip:
2 cups sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups blue cheese
1 tablespoon minced serrano chile peppers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the sauce in a side bowl for dipping.

Fried Mozzarella Bites
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Yield: 32 mozzarella bites

Olive oil, for frying
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, buy a piece wrapped, not packed in water
1 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, found in the specialty cheese case
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk, eyeball it
2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 stems or large sprigs each fresh parsley, sage, thyme
Fine salt
Arrabiata – In A Hurry Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, moderate to hot heat level, eyeball the amount
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt
Bamboo skewers, 6-inch, or party picks, for dipping

Heat 2 inches olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Cut each pound of mozzarella and smoked mozzarella into 16 cubes. Set up a breading station: flour, 2 eggs beaten with 1/3 cup milk, Italian bread crumbs mixed with a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. Reserve the chopped parsley. Roll fresh plain mozzarella in flour, dip in egg, then coat in bread crumbs. Bread all the plain mozzarella, then add chopped parsley to the bread crumbs. Coat the cubed smoked mozzarella in flour, egg, then Italian bread crumbs mixed with parsley. The chopped parsley will allow you to distinguish between the fresh and fresh smoked cheese once fried. Place herbs into hot oil and fry 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to stand over pan, the oil will spatter a little because of the water content in herbs. Remove herbs with a slotted kitchen tool and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Season immediately with fine salt. Fry the mozzarella bites in batches in a single layer. Cook until evenly deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool mozzarella bites on a paper towel-lined surface. Let stand and cool a few minutes so that the cheese will not be too runny when bitten into.
For dipping sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Saute garlic and hot pepper 2 or 3 minutes, and add tomatoes. Season with salt.

Mozzarella Sticks
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Yield: 6 to 8 servings (makes about 56 pieces)

1 1/2 cups Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
2 (16-ounce) blocks pasteurized mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

Stir the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the Marinara Sauce

Bruschetta Appetizer Tart

Bring the fresh tomato and basil flavors of summer into your kitchen in an appetizer made easy with Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust.

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
1 cup chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (3 medium)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Remove pie crust from pouch; unroll on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except cheese.
3. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spread tomato mixture over crust; sprinkle with cheese.
4. Return to oven; bake 7 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Use kitchen scissors to “chop” the fresh basil in this recipe. It saves preparation and clean-up time.

Sesame Chicken Drumettes
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking, Miramax Books, 2002.
Yield: 4 servings

1/3 cup teriyaki sauce 
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry 
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 
1 1/4 pounds chicken drumettes (about 12) 
1 1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce 
1 1/2 tablespoons honey 
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil 

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine teriyaki sauce, sherry, and sesame seeds. Add chicken drumettes, turning to coat. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Using tongs, transfer drumettes to cookie sheet. Discard marinade. Bake until drumettes are golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

Mix barbecue sauce, honey, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Brush drumettes with half of sauce mixture and bake for 5 more minutes. Using clean tongs, turn drumettes over, brush other side with sauce mixture, and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Buffalo Chicken Wings 
Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style 
Yield: 32 pieces  

16 chicken wings (about 3 pounds) 
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
4 teaspoons Frank”s Hot Sauce, or 1 teaspoon Tabasco 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese 
1 cup good mayonnaise 
3/4 cup sour cream 
2 tablespoons milk 
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Celery sticks, for serving

Preheat the broiler. 

Cut the chicken wings in thirds, cutting between the bones. Discard the wing tips. Melt the butter and add the cayenne, hot sauce, and salt. Put the wings on a sheet pan and brush them with the melted butter. Broil them about 3 inches below the heat for 8 minutes. Turn the wings, brush them again with the butter, and broil for 4 more minutes or until cooked. 

For the sauce, place the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until almost smooth. 

Serve the chicken wings hot or at room temperature with the blue cheese dip and celery sticks.

Swiss and Bacon Dip
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

8 slices center cut bacon, chopped 
8 ounces softened cream cheese 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
2 rounded teaspoons prepared Dijon style mustard 
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, available on dairy aisle 
3 scallions, chopped 
1/2 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped 
Baby carrots and a selection of spiced flat breads, cocktail sized pumpernickel or rye breads, or sliced whole grain baguettes, for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Brown bacon in nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Drain crisp bacon bits on paper towels. 

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon, Swiss and scallions with cooked bacon. Transfer to a shallow small casserole or baking dish and bake until golden and bubbly at edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Top with chopped smoked almonds. Place dip on a platter and surround warm casserole with breads and carrots for dipping. 

Yield: 6 servings 

Variation: Swiss and Bacon Dip with Horseradish – Stir in 2 rounded teaspoons prepared horseradish when combining cheese and bacon. 

Cheddar Harvest Fondue

(4 servings)

1/4 c Milk 
1 tb Dijon-style mustard 
2 tsp Onion powder 
1/4 tsp Salt 
1 dash Ground black pepper
3/4 c Apple juice 
1/4 c All-purpose flour 
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
4 c Italian bread cut in 1-inch cubes 
4 c Assorted blanched vegatables, cut in bite-size Pieces 

In a medium saucepan combine until smooth: milk, apple juice, flour, mustard, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils; cook and stir one minute longer. Remove from heat; add cheese; stir until melted. Transfer to a fondue pot; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes and assorted vegetables. This makes 4 portions (about 2 cups).

Easy Cheesy Fondue

Yield: 4 servings 

12 fingerling potatoes, cut in 1/2, 1-inch baby potatoes may be substituted 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling 
1 shallot, finely chopped 
1 jigger dry sherry 
1 cup half-and-half 
8 ounces cream cheese 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups steamed broccoli florets 
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of stems, tips reserved 
2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped or chopped 
1/2 French baguette, cubed 
12 cherry tomatoes 

Cornichons or baby gherkin pickles 
Marinated mushrooms 
Pickled onions

Cover potatoes with water and bring the water to a boil. Salt the water and simmer potatoes 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender. Drain potatoes and return to warm pot to dry the potatoes. Drizzle potatoes with a little oil to keep them from discoloring and to shine them up. 

Fill a second skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil on the stovetop. Salt the water, replace the cover and reduce heat to simmer. 

To a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and the chopped shallots. Saute shallots for 2 or 3 minutes, then add sherry and allow it to almost evaporate, a minute or 2. Add half-and-half to the pan and reduce heat to low. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch slices and add it to the pot. Allow the cream cheese to slowly melt into the half-and-half, 5 minutes. Add Parmesan and shredded Gruyere or Swiss to the sauce and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Stir in lemon juice. Season sauce with, nutmeg and black pepper. Place a candle underneath a wire rack or warm a fondue pot. Transfer cheese sauce to fondue pot or place saucepan over wire rack and burning candle. 

To simmering, salted water, add broccoli and cook florets, covered, 3 minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate and add asparagus tips. Cook asparagus tips 2 minutes, then remove with tongs to a plate. 

Arrange the items for dipping on a large serving platter. Garnish the cooked potatoes with chives. Set the cubed baguette on the opposite end of the platter, to balance color. Between potatoes and bread, arrange cooked broccoli, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Set out fondue forks or bamboo skewers for dipping. Place small dishes of cornichons, marinated mushrooms and pickled onions near dipping station for accompaniments.


1 (4 1/2 oz.) can chopped black olives, drained
1 (4 1/2 oz.) can chopped green chilies, drained
2 finely diced tomatoes
1 small chopped onion
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
Mix all ingredients at least 24 hours before serving.
Chill. Serve with Doritos.

Fiesta Cheesecake
9″ cheesecake

1 1/2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup melted margarine
2 (8-oz) plus 1 (3-oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 Tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers
1 tsp liquid from the jar of jalapeno peppers
red pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika to taste – start with 1/4 tsp each
2 large eggs
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
2 oz cheddar, shredded fine
for garnish: 2 Tbsp sour cream, and 1 tsp each finely chopped red, yellow, and green peppers

Combine the tortilla chips and margarine. Press onto the bottom of a lightly-greased 9″ springform pan. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool.
Beat the cream cheese until light. Add the jalapeno peppers and the 1 tsp of liquid, combine thoroughly. Add the red pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, tasting to adjust before adding the eggs. Beat in the eggs, one at at time. Stir in the cheeses.
Pour the cheese mixture onto the crust. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and remove the side of the pan. If not serving within a couple hours, cool completely, wrap airtight, and store in the refrigerator (let it stand at room temperature for an hour before serving). Garnish with a dollop of sour cream in the center and the finely-chopped red, yellow, and green peppers.
Notes: The original recipe suggested covering the top with sour cream, but I think it is too pretty for that. Place on a bed of fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.
“Spicier Nacho” tortilla chips will give the crust a lovely reddish color. A 7-oz bag will yield about 2 1/2 cups of crushed chips.

Yield: 50 servings

1/2 c Butter 
2 c Grated sharp cheese 
1/2 tsp. Salt 
1 tsp. Paprika 
1 dash Cayenne or red pepper 
1 c Sifted flour 
50 small Stuffed green olives. 

Allow butter to soften; blend with cheese, salt, paprika and cayenne. Stir in flour, mixing well. Mold 1 tsp of this mixture around each olive, covering it completely. Arrange on a baking sheet and chill until firm. Bake in 400 oven for 15 minutes. Serve hot. 
Makes 50 puffs. 
**NOTE** These puffs are so easy to serve at parties as they may be made in advance, frozen on a baking sheet to keep round and stored in a plastic bag in the freezer. Bake as needed.  Also, I have made these using green olives, black olives, nuts, and craisins. They were all excellent!


These cheese straws may be assembled and frozen ahead of time and then baked at the last minute, as described in the procedure. Alternatively, they can be put together and baked the day before serving and kept in an airtight container, though they will not be as crisp as just-baked cheese straws. 

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less. 

4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded fine (about 1 1/4 cups) 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 
1 sheet (about 1/2 pound) frozen puff pastry, thawed 
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg with 2 teaspoons water 
1 tablespoon cuminseed 
coarse sea salt to taste 

In a small bowl toss together cheese, ground cumin, and cayenne. 

On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry into a 14- by 12-inch rectangle and brush with some egg wash. Cut pastry in half crosswise, forming two 12- by 7-inch rectangles. Sprinkle cheese over 1 rectangle and top with other rectangle, egg-wash side down, pressing it firmly to force out any air pockets. Roll pastry out slightly to make layers adhere (rectangle should be about 12 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches).  Brush pastry with some remaining egg wash and sprinkle evenly with cumin seed and sea salt. 

With a pastry wheel or sharp knife cut pastry into strips about 7 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Twist strips and arrange on baking sheets, pressing ends onto sheet 
keep strips twisted. Cheese straws may be prepared up to this point 2 weeks ahead.  Freeze cheese straws on baking sheets 1 hour, or until frozen, and transfer to a resealable freezer bag. Do not thaw cheese straws before proceeding. 

Preheat oven to 425°F. and grease 2 baking sheets. 

Arrange half of cheese straws about 1 inch apart on 1 baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until pale golden. Bake remaining cheese straws in same manner.  Serve cheese straws warm at room temperature. 

Parmesan Cheese Straws

2/3 cup refrigerated shredded Parmesan cheese*
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/t tsp ground red pepper
1/4 cup milk
Pecan halves, optional

Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add cheese and butter. Process until blended. Add flour, salt, and red pepper; process about 30 seconds or until mixture forms a ball, stopping often to scrape down the sides.
Divide dough in half, roll each portion into 1/8 inch thick rectangle, and cut into 2 x 1/2 inch strips. Or shape dough into 3/4 inch balls; flatten each ball to about 1/8 inch thickness. Place on ungreased baking sheets; brush with milk. Top with pecan halves, if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees F. 7 minutes for strips and 10 minutes for rounds or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 5 dozen straws or 3 dozen wafers.
* 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus an additional 1/4 cup all-purpose flour may be substituted for pre-shredded Parmesan cheese.

Pepper Jack Egg Rolls

Egg Roll wrappers
Monterrey Pepper Jack Cheese
Oil to fry egg rolls

Cut cheese in small rectangular chunks wrap in the egg roll wrappers and deep fry. Serve with sweet and sour sauce and ranch dressing!  This is a wonderful easy and delicious dish.


Yield: 2 servings

2 Flour tortillas (6-7″)
1/4 c Shredded Cheddar cheese
Olive oil
1/4 c CONTADINA Pizza Squeeze Pizza Sauce
1/4 t Ground cumin
2 T Refried beans
1 T Dried green chiles
1 T Thinly sliced green onion
1 T Sliced ripe olives
1 T Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sprinkle one tortilla with Cheddar cheese; top with second tortilla. Brush lightly with oil; place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 450″F. oven for 4 minutes. In small bowl, combine pizza sauce and cumin; spread on tortilla. Spoon on refried beans; sprinkle with chiles, green onion, olives and Monterey Jack cheese. Bake in preheated 450″F. oven for 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges.

Hot Creamy Sausage Dip
Serving Size : 8 

1 lb Bob Evans Zesty Hot Roll Sausage
5 green onions — chopped, divided
1 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 2 oz jar chopped pimientos — drained

Preheat oven to 350ƒ. In large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble sausage until no longer pink. Remove from heat, drain off drippings and add all remaining ingredients except one green onion. Pour into one quart baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly.
Garnish with remaining green onion. Keep warm, and serve with Melba toast, sesame or wheat crackers. Refrigerate leftovers. Can be reheated for later serving.

Hot Corn Dip with Crispy Tortilla Chips

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears fresh white or yellow corn)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces monterey jack or cheddar, shredded 
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Tortilla chips, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 350 * 

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels turn deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until the onions are wilted, about 2
minutes. Add the green onions, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Transfer to the bowl with the
corn. Add the mayonnaise, 1/2 of the monterey jack and half of the cheddar, and the cayenne and mix well. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and
golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot with the chips.

Yield: 6 cups dip; 12 to 18 servings

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one turn of the pan
24 large gourmet stuffing mushroom caps, stems removed and reserved brushed with damp towel
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, half a turn of the pan
3/4 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage 
4 cloves garlic, chopped
20 stems mushrooms, finely chopped
1 rib of celery and green, leafy top from the heart of the stalk, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 slices white bread, toasted and buttered, chopped into small dice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano, 2 handfuls

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and mushroom caps and season caps with salt and pepper. Saute caps 5 to 7 minutes, until they are lightly browned and tender on edges. Turn caps up and let juices drain away from caps. Transfer caps to a small nonstick baking sheet. Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add a touch of oil and sausage to the hot skillet. Brown and crumble sausage for 3 minutes. In a food processor pulse and chop the garlic, add mushroom stems and pulse to chop the mushroom stems. Add celery, onion and red bell pepper to the mushrooms and pulse to chop. Remove mixture from the processor and saute veggies and mushrooms over medium high heat another 3 to 5 minutes. Add dry, defrosted spinach and stir into stuffing. Add chopped bread and cheese to the pan and toss stuffing until bread is moist and stuffing is combined, 2 or 3 minutes. Fill caps with stuffing using a small scoop or large spoon. Place caps in hot oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees F. Bake 6 to 8 minutes to crisp edges of stuffing and set stuffing in mushrooms. Transfer stuffed mushrooms to a serving plate.

Cheese Fondue

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, 2002 

1 large clove garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup white wine
5 ounces grated fresh gouda cheese (or mozzarella)
5 ounces grated aged gouda cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Kirsch
Ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 baguette, cut into 2-inch cubes
Assorted vegetables and cooked meats and salami, cut into pieces 

Rub the bottom of a medium saucepan with the sliced garlic. Place over high heat and deglaze pan with wine. Toss the 2 cheeses with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Lower the heat and add the cheeses and stir until melted. Stir in the Kirsch, and season with
black pepper and nutmeg. Serve with pieces of baguette, vegetables, and meats. 

Yield: 4 servings 

Original Cheese Fondue 
 (serves 4 persons)

3 oz. Gruyère cheese
3 oz. Emmenthal cheese
1 clove of garlic
10 fl. oz. (or one cup) dry white wine (from the appropriate region)
1.7 fl. oz. Kirschwasser
2 tea spoons corn starch
Freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
20 oz. Cubed or broken off by hand wheat bread
Gherkins, pearl onions and tomato wedges

– Rub the inside of the “caquelon” with garlic.
– Pour in the white wine; bring it almost to the boil.
– Add the grated cheese, stirring continually with a wooden spoon. When the mixture almost reaches boiling point, stir in the cornstarch blended with the Kirschwasser. Continue to stir, adding pepper and a little grated nutmeg (optional)
– Transfer the fondue pot to a spirit burner, which can be regulated. 
– Serve the bread, gherkins, pearl onions and the tomato wedges separately. Using the special fork, dip the bread into the fondue and remember to stir the fondue with each piece.
– The fondue should be kept at simmering point whilst eating.
– A fondue must be creamy, not to thick but sufficient to coat the bread well. Burners, fondue pots (caquelons) and the special fondue forks are available form kitchenware shops, department stores and some cheese shops.

Cajun Cheese Straws

Created by Chef Daniel Mattrocce

2 cups grated Parmesan 
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/4 cup cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons whole coriander, ground
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 sheet puff pastry

Combine the Parmesan, mustard, cayenne, coriander, fennel, paprika and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto a work surface. Place the puff pastry on top of the mixture and sprinkle the remainder on the pastry. Roll mixture into pastry. Using a pizza cutter, cut pastry into 4 sections of 1/2-inch strips. Place strips on parchment-lined sheet pans. Freeze for 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Turn off oven, leaving door ajar for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Straws can be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes



Baked Pizza Dip
Prep: 5 min Total: 25 min

1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped red pepper

BEAT cream cheese and seasonings with electric mixer on medium 
speed until well blended. Spread on bottom of 9-inch pie plate. 
Top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, remaining 
1 cup mozzarella cheese and peppers.
BAKE at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly 
heated and cheese is melted. Serve with STELLA D”ORO Breadsticks.
Makes 10 servings 

Sweet and Sour Smokies

A big hit at parties is little smokie links that are put in a crock pot on low with a 18
oz jar of grape jelly and a 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce let simmer all day . You can
also buy frozen meatballs and use this same sauce for them . 
Hope you enjoy these!!

Pepperoni Dip- Very tasty and easy!!

1 block of cream cheese (8oz)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 handful of chopped (very small) pepperoni

Place in casserole dish 35 min at 350 degrees. Stir and serve with cut up bagels
or pita bread.
It sounds like a strange combo, but everyone will love it and want your recipe!! 

Sausage Balls 

3 cups buttermilk baking mix
1 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. bulk pork sausage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt cheese in microwave and mix with sausage.
Gradually blend in baking mix until well incorporated. Roll into 1 inch balls. Place
on baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden
brown. You may freeze the uncooked sausage-balls and bake while still frozen.


1 T. crushed red pepper 
1 T. black pepper 
1 T. dried oregano 
1 T. dried rosemary 
1 T. dried basil 
1 T. dried parsley 
1 T. garlic powder 
1 T. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt

Grind together

To use, put 1 tablespoon of mixture in a small bowl. Pour extra virgin olive oil over and mix together. Dip warm sourdough French bread into the mixture.


1pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1 C. crushed tortilla chips
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
2 T. water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray.

Combine dry onion soup mix, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, cumin, and finely crushed tortilla chips; set aside. Beat together egg and water; set aside.

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 1/2- x 3-inch strips. Dip strips in egg then into tortilla chip/spice mixture, coating well. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking dish; drizzle with butter. Bake uncovered for 15 to 18 minutes, or until chicken is done and topping is golden and crispy.

Blue Cheese Straws 

Makes 2 Dozen

It takes a light touch to roll this delicate dough thin enough to make the straws. An alternative is to make coins: shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick log,
roll in poppy seeds and chill, then slice 1/4 inch thick and bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp.

4 1/2 ounces Maytag or other sharp blue cheese (1/2 cup packed)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a food processor, combine the blue cheese, flour, cornstarch, butter, salt and pepper and pulse until the dough just comes together. Transfer the
dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a 4-inch disk; wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, or for up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12×6-inch rectangle
about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the dough and press lightly to help them adhere. Cut the dough into 6-by-1/2 inch strips and transfer
them to the baking sheet; twist the ends in opposite directions to make spirals. Bake the cheese straws for about 15 minutes, or until crisp and brown.
Let the straws cool on the baking sheet before serving.

MAKE AHEAD: The cheese straws can be frozen for up to 1 month; recrisp in a 350 degrees F oven.

Sausage Stars 

1 pkg. Fresh or frozen Won Tons 
olive oil 
1 lb. Bulk sausage 
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese 
1 cup Ranch salad dressing 
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 
1 can sliced black olives, drained 
1. Press the won ton quarters over the bottom and up the sides of the miniature muffin cups. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove to a baking sheet.
2. Brown the sausage in a skillet, stirring until crumbly; drain. Pat the sausage with a paper towel to remove any remaining fat. Combine the sausage, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, salad dressing, red pepper and black olives in a bowl and mix well. 
3. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the sausage mixture into each shell. Bake for 5 minutes or until bubbly.
Servings: 48 stars 

Baked Brie in Bread


1 loaf Italian Bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons seasoning blend
1 pound Brie, rind removed, cubed
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives, drained
1 (2.46 oz) package Proscuitto, cut into strips
Balsamic Vinegar
olive oil
3 ounces pine nuts, toasted
1  Baguette Traditional, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut top 1 1/2″ from bread. Remove all but a 1/2″ layer of bread from inside crust. Reserve top and bread from inside. Combine olive oil and Roma seasoning. Brush inside of bread shell with oil mixture. Arrange half Brie cubes in bottom of bread shell. Layer olives and prosciutto over Brie. Drizzle with fig balsamic and olive oil. Arrange remaining Brie cubes over and drizzle with additional fig balsamic and oil. Replace top of bread. Wrap in foil and bake until warm, 45 to 50 minutes. Unwrap bread, place on serving plate. Remove top and sprinkle with pine nuts. Cut reserved bread into pieces and serve cheese with baguette slices. 14-16 servings

Crispy Cheese Snowflakes

8 ounces of Cheddar or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop 1 generous tablespoon of grated cheese on the parchment 3 inches apart. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 6-8 minutes until golden. Let cool and then peel off the parchment.

Jalapeno Poppers/Fried Wontons

 If you like jalapeno poppers, you will love these fried  wontons stuffed with cheese and jalapeno! 

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers 
2 cloves garlic, pressed 
3 green onions, diced 
1 (16 ounce) package wonton wrappers 
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

                         1 In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Monterey Jack 
                            cheese, jalapeno peppers, garlic and green onions.
                         2 Fill wonton wrappers with approximately 1 teaspoon 
                            cream cheese mixture each. Fold wrappers into triangles and 
                            press the edges with a moistened fork to seal.
                         3 In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium high 
                            heat. Drop 4 wontons at a time into the oil and quickly fry, 
                            turning once. Remove when golden brown and drain on paper towels.


Source: Oldenberg Grill, Louisville, Kentucky

3 lb. frozen chopped spinach
3 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
2 T. onion, diced 1/4 inch
4 tsp. garlic, minced
4 1/2 tsp. flour
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/4 C. sour cream
6 oz. grated Romano cheese
4 oz. blue cheese
1 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Crumbled blue cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips or garlic bread, for dipping

Defrost and drain spinach thoroughly. Set aside.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook briefly ? do NOT burn. Add flour and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cream and sour cream. Cook until thickened. Add Romano and blue cheeses and mix thoroughly to incorporate with other ingredients. Add lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper and drained chopped spinach.

Garnish with crumbled blue cheese before serving with tortilla chips or garlic bread.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: If making ahead, cool sauce to below 40°F within 2 hours.

To reheat, place in a microwave-safe container. Top with blue cheese garnish. Cover with plastic film and microwave until hot throughout.

Hot Brie Dip

* 2 tablespoons butter 
* 1 medium onion, chopped fine 
* 2 teaspoons garlic, minced 
* 8 ounces Brie cheese, trimmed and cut into pieces 
* 1 package cream cheese (8 ounces) 
* 3/4 cup sour cream 
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
* 2 teaspoons brown sugar 
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
* salt and pepper to taste

* 1 round loaf of bread (8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Saute onion and garlic in butter until golden. Set aside. Put Brie and cream cheese in a bowl and microwave until soft. Mix in onion and garlic, sour cream, lemon, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Hollow out the middle of the loaf and fill with mixture. Wrap in foil and bake in oven until bubbly, about 1 hour. Dust with paprika, optional. Serve hot with bread pieces or crackers.

Sausage & Parmesan Puffs

1 pkg. (17 oz.) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg
1 T milk or cream
1 lb Bob Evans Original Recipe Roll Sausage, well chilled
6 T grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven 400F. Cut each dough sheet into 3 strips lengthwise. In small glass bowl, beat egg with milk until well blended. Brush top of each dough strip with the glaze and sprinkle each with 1 T cheese.

Divide the uncooked sausage into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a log the same length as the dough. Place one sausage log in the middle of each strip. Fold edges of the pastry up to enclose sausage and pinch together tightly. Brush tops with remaining egg glaze. Chill 15 minutes.

Place a sheet of brown paper bag on a baking sheet. Cut each pastry roll into 1 inch pieces and place on top of the brown paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sausage is cooked and pastry is lightly browned. Makes approximately 4 dozen appetizers. Refrigerate leftovers.

Can be prepared ahead, refrigerated or frozen, and baked or reheated prior to serving.

Savory Sausage and Mushroom Turnovers

1 pound Bob Evans Italian Roll Sausage 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup chopped mushrooms 
2 (8-ounce) containers refrigerated crescent dinner roll dough
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese 
Sesame or poppy seeds
1/3 cup Dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon diced red or green bell pepper

Cook sausage, mushrooms and onion in large skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, mustard, bell pepper and thyme.

Preheat oven to 375F. Separate each package of dough into 4 rectangles and press perforations together to seal. Roll each rectangle into 6-inch square on floured surface. Cut each square into quarters, making 32 quarters total. Place scant tablespoon sausage mixture on each square; fold dough diagonally over filling to form triangles. Press edges with fork to seal. Place turnovers on greased baking sheets; brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 32 turnovers

Note: Turnovers may be prepared and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance or frozen up to 1 month. Brush with beaten egg just before baking.

Restaurant-Style Crispy Onion Rings

At restaurants, onions can be sliced very thin on a meat slicer.  By cutting the onions in half first, home cooks can get close to the same thinness with a knife, though it means sacrificing the ring shape.

2      large onions, thinly sliced
1      cup   buttermilk
2      cups all-purpose flour
1      Tbsp salt
2      tsp    paprika
1/4  tsp    cayenne pepper
 vegetable oil for frying


Separate onions into strips or rings.  Mix with buttermilk in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.  Can be prepared 1 day ahead if kept refrigerated.

Stir flour, salt, paprika and cayenne in another large bowl.  Drain onions and discard buttermilk.  Add onions to flour mixture and toss to coat.  Pour oil into a heavy saucepan to a depth of 3 inches.  Heat oil to 350 degrees F.  Working in small batches, shake excess flour off of onions and cook in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about
2 minutes per batch.  Using slotted spoon, transfer onions to paper towels to drain.

Transfer onions to platter.  Season with additional salt to taste and serve immediately.

TGI Friday’s Fire Bites

These were a pleasant surprise on the menu. These can be ordered as an appetizer or as a part of an appetizer tower. These are easy to make, inexpensive, and taste very different.

26 oz Can Sliced jalapeno Peppers (not pickled, those used for nachos)
2 2/3 C. Crackers Crumbs
2 C. Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 C. Water
Vegetable Oil (for your favorite deep frying system)

Drain jalapeno peppers and set aside. Mix cracker crumbs and flour together, blend well. In separate bowl beat eggs and add water blend well. Heat oil in fry pan, deep fryer, or fry cooker until temperature is the same degree”s that you would fry French fries at. Dip slices of peppers in egg wash and then the flour and cracker crumb mixture, dust off excess dry ingredients and carefully place in hot oil. Place enough of the peppers in your deep frying system so they are not over crowded.
Take care, the peppers like to pop a little. Fry until golden brown. Remove peppers and dry on a paper towel.

Peppers are served with your favorite Con Queso Dip on the side.

The Melting Pot Cheddar Cheese Fondue


1/2 C. Beer
1 – 2 tsp. minced garlic
4 – 6 oz. cheese
2 Tbsp. Emmenthaler cheese – “Swiss Cheese”
1 tsp. Worestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. powdered mustard – dry spice not prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

Things to dip
Baby carrots
Rye bread 
White bread
Granny smith apple chunks

If you don”t have a fondue pot consider using a waterbath or cooking very slowly think a thick pot. Add beer and garlic and allow this to heat up very well. Add Emmenthaler cheese and
cheddar cheese, you will need to beat this into the beer. It will take a couple of minutes for the cheeses to melt well. Add Worestershire sauce, black pepper, and powdered mustard, mix well.  Serve with bite sized pieces of the items to dip and enjoy.

Note: If you do not wish to use beer, you may want to try a non-alcohol beer.  

Pinapple Bacon Wrap Appetizers



20 oz Can Pineapple Tidbits (drained)
8 oz Can Sliced Water Chestnuts (drained)
12 oz Lean Bacon (cut in half)

Place one piece of pineapple with water chestnut and wrap with bacon, secure with toothpick. Place on baking tray in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Bake just until the bacon gets crisp. Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce. You will enjoy these so much, better double the recipe. 

Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Yield: 12 servings

2 cups crushed sour-cream-and-onion-flavored potato chips
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
6 chicken breast fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup butter, melted
Honey Mustard, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the crushed potato chips in a shallow dish. Beat together the egg and milk in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken cubes into the egg mixture and then dredge them in the chips. Place the chicken nuggets on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. The chicken nuggets can be frozen after baking. Serve with your favorite sauce, such as honey mustard or ranch dressing.

Honey Mustard:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon
Horseradish, to taste
2 tablespoons orange juice (more or less as needed)

Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Spinach and Cheese Cakes
Recipe courtesy Rachel Ray

2 packages frozen chopped spinach, 10 ounces each 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 for onion, 2 tablespoons to fry cakes 
1 small onion, chopped 
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, 3 handfuls 
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 handfuls 
1 egg, beaten 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it 
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 

Defrost spinach in microwave. Wring spinach dry by nesting in kitchen towel and twisting towel over garbage bowl or sink until spinach has given off all of its liquid. Place spinach in a medium mixing bowl. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add oil and onion and saute the onion until soft, 5 minutes. Add onion to spinach in bowl and return pan to stove top. Turn off heat. 

Add remaining ingredients to spinach: bread crumbs, cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine mixture with a fork, then form into 3-inch patties. Set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons oil to spinach cakes pan and set cakes in to cook. Work in 2 batches if necessary. Cook cakes 3 minutes on each side.

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