Smashed Blackberry and Goat Cheese Toasts


Smashed Blackberry and Goat Cheese Toasts
What’s great about this recipe is that it’s uniquely scaled for you, a duo, or a whole damn crew. The blackberry jam keeps nicely in the refrigerator for about two weeks, so this is a toast you can remake countless times. It’s hearty enough for a meal, delicate enough as a snack, and downright georgous as an appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 8 oz challah bread, sliced (or your bread of choice!)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • Fresh mint to garnish

Procedure

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla, sugar, and water (covered) over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork or potato masher, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.* Cover once more and simmer over a low flame until needed.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the challah bread as desired — I recommend extra crispy.
  3. When ready, smear each slice of challah bread with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with mint, then eat!

* Add 1 teaspoon if you want the blackberries more runny, 2 teaspoons for a thicker texture!

Cook’s Notes

  • If eating for one, still follow the recipe! the leftover blackberries can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to two weeks, so you make this toast even quicker the next time you crave it.

Crispy Ham and Cheddar Roll


Crispy Ham and Cheddar Roll
Ingredients

  • 1 package sliced soft white bread
  • 1 jar red pepper jelly (1/2 cup reserved for serving)
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced ham
  • 2 cups Borden® Cheese Mild cheddar Shreds (divided)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Procedure

  1. Roll out each slice of white bread until 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Spread about 2 teaspoons of jam over the bread, lay 1 slice of ham on top and 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Mild cheddar Shreds.
  3. Tightly roll the bread away from you, creating a cigar.
  4. Place onto a baking sheet seam-side down.
  5. Continue until all of the bread is used.
  6. Prepare a dredging station.
    • In the first baking dish add the flour.
    • In the second baking dish, whisk the eggs and milk.
    • Lastly, place 1 cup of Borden® Cheese Mild cheddar Shreds and panko bread crumbs into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground and remove to the third baking dish.
  7. Dredge each cheddar roll in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the cheddar bread crumb mixture.
  8. Heat a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons oil. Once melted, add the cheddar roll and brown on all sides.
  9. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt and pepper. Add remaining butter and oil, if needed, and repeat with remaining ingredients.
  10. Serve warm with reserved red pepper jelly.

Cook’s Note

  • Prepare all of the rolls a day in advance and keep them in a baking dish tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.
  • Fry before the meal and keep warm in a 200ºF oven.

4-Ingredient Pecan Balls


4-INGREDIENT PECAN BALLSThese easy 4-ingredient Pecan Balls (5 for a chocolate version) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional chocolate drizzle

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 275.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and flour with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  3. Fold in the pecans and salt and stir until combined. The mixture will be crumbly but will stick to itself.
  4. Roll the dough into small balls (about 1/2-inch across) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. (You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.)
  5. Bake at 275 for 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container. These pecan puffs keep for up to a week on the counter or in the pantry.
  7. To make the chocolate sauce: Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave in 30 seconds intervals until chocolate is melted and can be stirred together. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled pecan balls or dunk balls in the chocolate sauce.

Cook’s Notes

  • If your butter isn’t at room temperature — mine never is — you can microwave it for about 20 seconds to soften it. You don’t want it melted.
  • I buy pecan pieces – they are cheaper than whole, in-tact pecans, and they just need a rough chop to break up the big pieces for this recipe.
  • The mixture is crumbly but the dough does stick to itself to be able to roll into balls. You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • These are crumbly straight out of the oven, too, so be sure to let them cool on the pan so they can set up. Then they’re ready to share or transport!

Bacon-Wrapped, Cream Cheese and Craisin-Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers


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Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. package thick-sliced bacon
  • 8 – 10 medium Jalapeños
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Craisins

Preparation

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and set a wire cooling rack on top of it.
  3. Lay out the bacon evenly. Bake for about 8 minutes. (The bacon will not be fully cooked; this is just to get it started.)
  4. In the meantime, prepare your Jalapeños by slicing them in half. Then remove the seeds and white flesh with a spoon. (It’s highly recommended that you wear gloves during this process.)
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and Craisins.
  6. Then use a spatula to fill the Jalapeño halves with the cream cheese mixture. The cream cheese should be level with the top of the jalapeño half.
  7. Next, wrap your filled Jalapeños with the partially-cooked bacon. Depending on the size of the Jalapeños, you can use a whole slice of bacon or cut it in half. A whole slice is recommended. Just tuck the bacon into itself or the jalapeño to keep it tightly wrapped.
  8. Place your wrapped Jalapeños back onto the wire cooling rack in your foil-lined baking pan. Return to the oven set at 350 degrees F and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked.

Mozzarella and Prosciutto Roll


Mozzarella and prosciutto roll
Ingredients

  • 1 (5-cm) thick slice fresh mozzarella
  • 6 to 8 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, as needed
  • Black pepper

Procedure

  1. From the fresh mozzarella, home made or store bought, slice off a piece and using a rolling pin, roll it out into a smooth flat piece, about 1-cm thick.
  2. Place the prosciutto and fresh basil on the mozzarella and season with black pepper.
  3. Roll the layers up, either tie or slice before serving.

Salami and Cream Cheese Roll-ups


Salami and Cream Cheese Roll-ups

My favorite late night indulgence is salami and cream cheese on crackers. Salty cured sausage, sweet creamy cheese, crisp buttery crackers, served with a refreshing chilled beverage…doesn’t get much better than that! However there are a few problems translating this delicious little snack into the ideal appetizer for a crowd. The traditional method of applying cream cheese to the cracker and adding a piece of salami results in a soggy cracker if left in the refrigerator for any length of time. The sodden cracker was the most important hurdle to overcome, but then came the painstaking effort and endless trials I had to put myself and the family through to get the salami to cheese ratio just right. Somehow we endured and these addictive little roll-ups have solved all the problems inherent to serving these tasty tidbits to guests, as a bonus they came out rather beautiful in the process. Feel free to add additional ingredients to/instead of the green pepper, such as jalapeno, shredded cheddar, thinly sliced swiss, or hot pepper cheese depending on your mood.

The three ingredients needed are raw, no actual cooking involved, but you will need a good sharp knife to cut the rolls. When entertaining I make up the roll 1-3 days ahead and on the day of the party I slice them thin and stack them in rows between wax paper, returning them to the refrigerator. To serve, I line a platter with crackers and then simply lay a sliced roll on each, they can be stacked pretty high with this method and it makes an impressive display. This keeps the crackers fresh and crisp but also makes assembly super quick and easy. Each roll will make between 55-70 crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 -3/4 pounds salami sliced thin (thinner is better as it rolls easier)
  • 1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced

Procedure

  1. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on the work surface. Place the cream cheese on top of the plastic wrap and cover with another piece of wrap the same size. With a rolling pin roll the cream cheese out into an even layer, approximately 1/4-inch thick. Watch the edges of the cream cheese as it rolls out because the top wrap can work its way under the cheese. To avoid this, occasionally pull the wrap off and replace it to continue rolling the cheese into a rectangle.
  1. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and add the salami, overlapping the slices until all the cream cheese is covered, lightly press the salami into the cream cheese to make it stick. Replace the plastic wrap and carefully flip the salami and cheese so that the cream cheese is again on top. Remove the wrap and place the sliced green peppers over the cheese.
  1. Roll the salami over the cream cheese being careful not to leave any air space (this make it harder to cut later) and use the plastic wrap to pull it tight as you work. Roll the meat log and press the outer layers tight to hold it all together. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight (it can be cut without chilling, but the longer it chills the easier it is to cut.) Cut the meat slices thin, taste one on a cracker, as large crackers may need a thicker slice, while smaller crackers will need one cut thinner. Enjoy with your favorite beverage.

Cheesy Mozzarella Bites


Cheesy Mozzarella Bites
Ingredients

  • Peanut or canola oil for deep frying
  • 1/3 cup Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 4 mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut into 4 (1-inch) pieces

Preparation

  1. In deep fat fryer or heavy saucepan, heat 4 inches oil to 350°F over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix sauce and dressing; set aside in refrigerator.
  3. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise in half.

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  1. Place 1 piece of cheese on pointed end of triangle, and roll up completely. Fold edges around cheese; press to close. Repeat with remaining dough and cheese.

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  1. Fry in batches in hot oil 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until browned all over, turning halfway through frying to ensure even cooking.
  2. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Serve with sauce.