Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Salsa

In honor of Cinco do Mayo I decided to share my favorite salsa recipe with you! After trying many different recipes I finally found “the one” salsa recipe that I truly love. I could literally eat this all day and never get sick of it. Yup, it’s that good!

This is super easy and quick to make. Just dump all of the ingredients in a food processor, pulse to your desired consistency, refrigerate, and devour! I love that you can easily make it to fit your taste buds. For instance, you can add more than two jalapenos if you want to really kick up the heat. Also, you can drain the canned tomatoes if you like a thicker salsa. I like to use two jalapenos and not drain the tomatoes. The red wine vinegar is essential to making this awesome salsa so please don’t skip it! This makes a large amount of salsa so be prepared and either buy a lot of tortilla chips (or make your own!) or cut the recipe in half. I usually just buy a lot of tortilla chips. :)


2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic.  Process until finely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor.  Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don’t overdo it).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

Source: slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats


PostHeaderIcon Baked Tortilla Chips

This is just a fun little way to make tortilla chips at home. These tortilla chips are super healthy, especially compared to store-bought tortilla chips. They are also very quick to make. Just cut the tortillas in triangles with a pizza cutter, place on a cookie sheet (do not overlap them), lightly cover with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and broil each side until crisp and lightly brown. I used olive oil cooking spray and sea salt and the results were delicious, I’m sure any type of cooking spray would work though. I served these tortilla chips with my slow cooker chicken tortilla soup and they complimented each other perfectly. Of course, I’ll still buy tortilla chips at the store, but this is just a fun way to make them if you’re in a bind or looking for a healthy alternative.

Baked Tortilla Chips


1 small package of white corn tortillas, taco size, cut into triangles
Cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)
Salt-to taste


Preheat the broiler to high. Cut the corn tortillas into triangles using a pizza cutter and place on a large baking sheet. Don’t overlap the chips. If you want to make a large batch, fill a second pan and only bake one at a time.

Spray the triangles lightly with cooking spray. Turn over triangles and spray again. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Bake in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Turn chips over and bake for another 3-4 minutes, or until chips are golden brown and crisp. Make sure you don’t go too far while the chips are in the oven. They will bake quickly!

Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


Source: Two Peas and their Pod


PostHeaderIcon Restaurant-Style Hummus

My husband and I are currently having a Terminator marathon. We watched The Terminator a couple weeks ago, so this past weekend we watched The Terminator 2 (yeah, I know, we’re a pretty cool couple). :) We have seen both movies but it has literally been ages so I decided it was time to re watch them. We loved the movies to say the least! Big 80′s hair on women + Arnold Schwarzenegger = a very entertaining (and pretty funny) movie. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen either movie I highly suggest you do!

I decided to make this hummus to snack on during the movie. I was excited to find a great hummus recipe from Cook’s Illustrated – where they test a recipe hundreds of times until it is perfect. This hummus is creamy, light, and I’m already looking forward to snacking on the leftovers this week. I followed the original recipe exactly except I used a little less tahini and cumin than originally called for, the recipe below shows these changes. I served the hummus with pita chips but hummus also goes well served with pretzels and vegetables.

Restaurant-Style Hummus


3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons tahini , stirred well
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced


Combine lemon juice and water in small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.

Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


PostHeaderIcon Queso Dip

My husband and I love a restaurant by our house that serves our favorite appetizer, queso dip. We both crave this stuff and go there for dinner just to eat this appetizer! I’ve been meaning to recreate this at home for years. Well, this past week I saw a recipe that looked similar to “our queso dip”, and with a few modifications it did taste similar. It wasn’t an exact match but it was darn close – and very delicious!

I made this while we watched the Packers vs. Bears game last weekend. It was devoured within minutes. I even saw my brother-in-law’s friend lick his plate clean! Yup, it’s that good! I knew I had to post this recipe soon since it would be perfect for The Super Bowl!

Queso Dip


1/2 finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tomato, chopped
1/2  4-ounce can jalapeno peppers (or 1 fresh jalapeno pepper)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 ounces mexican-style cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1.5 teaspoons cornstarch
1 8 oz package cream cheese, cubed
Tortilla chips for dipping


In a medium saucepan cook onion in butter until tender.  Stir in tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and cumin.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Toss shredded cheese with cornstarch.  Gradually add cheese mixture to saucepan, stirring until cheese is melted.  Gradually add the cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and smooth.  Heat through.  Serve with chips.

Source: adapted from Our Best Bites, originally from Better Homes & Gardens


PostHeaderIcon Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is my favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe! I have made several versions and this recipe stands out by far.

My family usually has a big lunch on Christmas Eve and then we have some TONS of appetizers at night while we open up gifts. I decided to make this spinach artichoke dip for Christmas Eve since I haven’t met a person who doesn’t love spinach artichoke dip. Cheese topped with cheese topped with more cheese served with tortilla chips!? Yum! Since it contains spinach and artichokes it has to be healthy, right? That’s what I keep telling myself…….

I took a picture of it before it was cooked since I knew there was no chance I would be able to snap a photograph of it before it was all devoured. And boy was I right, the baking dish was licked clean empty before it even had a chance to cool down!

My Favorite Spinach Artichoke Dip


1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Devour with toasted bread or tortilla chips!

Source: adapted from Allrecipes


PostHeaderIcon Nutty Granola

I have been on a huge yogurt kick lately. HUGE. I tend to go overboard with food, eat too much of it, and then never want it again. In hopes of that not happening, I made this granola to give a nice twist to my yogurt. And it did just that! I love how this granola is simple and delicious. I did swap dried cranberries for raisins since raisins are basically the one thing I won’t eat. I think I used to eat them growing up…… (maybe I overdid raisins as well?) :)

This recipe is a great way to use up whatever nuts and dried fruits you have on hand. There are no refined sugars in this recipe, just delicious maple syrup to sweeten it up.

Once you make this granola you will never want to buy granola again.

Nutty Granola


1.5 cups oats
1/4 cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pecans,  coarsely chopped
4 Tbsp. maple syrup (or 3 Tbsp maple syrup & 1 Tbsp honey)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 300 and spray a large baking sheet with cooking oil.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing well to  be sure everything is coated with the maple syrup. Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden  brown. Let cool completely before storing.

Source: adapted from Elly Says Opa!


PostHeaderIcon Jalapeño Popper Dip

This is such a great appetizer to have while watching football. I made this when my brother and sister-in-law came over to watch a Bears game a few weeks ago.

This was a huge hit and everyone definitely enjoyed it. This dip is spicy, cheesy, and delicious served with tortilla chips and baguette slices. I must warn you, this dip definitely has a kick to it so make sure you have something to drink by you! :)

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeños, and shredded cheeses.  Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish (9 x 9).

In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined.   Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden.  Serve warm with baguette slices, tortilla chips, vegetables, etc. as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from My Baking Addiction


PostHeaderIcon Texas Caviar

Ever since I can remember, my favorite part of watching a football game is all the great food!

I vividly remember getting excited when my mom would plan to have people over for a football game since I knew she would make tons of snacks and appetizers (How am I not morbidly obese? Never mind, don’t answer that.). I love to graze when I eat so a table full of appetizers is ideal for a gal like me!

I’ve seen this dish made two different ways. The first way is with a bottle of italian dressing, the second (and my favorite) is with a combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, and fresh lime juice. Both ways are delicious but the second way is my favorite since it uses freshly squeezed limes instead of bottled dressing. The original recipe only called for 1/2 lime but I used two limes and it was perfect! This dish is a great appetizer or side dish to some mexican food.

Texas Caviar


1 can (15 oz) black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) corn, drained and rinsed

1 whole tomato, chopped

2 whole green onions, chopped

2 whole jalapenos, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 limes, juiced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3 pinches ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight.

Serve cold on its own as a side dish or with chips as an appetizer!

Source: adapted from Tasty Kitchen