Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category


Black Eyed Pea Salad

Here’s a delightfully different salad recipe I got from Pioneer Woman.  However, as with most anything I set out to do, I don’t follow the rules and do it MY WAY.  I’ve never really been a fan of black eyed peas, but this salad is incredible.  Before passing judgement – be brave, be bold, and try it! 

I served this as a salad, but you could also serve it as a salsa/dip along with corn chips.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon fine ground black pepper


  • 1 sweet red pepper, cored, sliced, and diced
  • 1 sweet green pepper, cored, sliced, and diced
  • 1-2 fresh jalepeno peppers, cored, seeded, sliced, and diced (if you love HOT, leave some seeds)
  • 1 peeled, cored, diced cucumber
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped and diced
  • 2 cans drained black eyed peas

 Prepare dressing, set aside.  Chop fresh veggies.  Place chopped veggies in a large salad bowl.  Add peas and stir.  Pour dressing over veggies and peas. Toss to coat veggies with dressing.  Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving. 


I’ve already made this salad twice this week.  The second time, I used black beans instead of the black eyed peas.  When I make this again, I plan to add a chopped avacodo and a little fresh garlic in the mix.  I believe we have a new favorite at our house for the new year.


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Pineapple Cheese Ball

  • 2- 8oz packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1- 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon Lowry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl whip cream cheese until smooth.

Add the drained pineapple, chopped green pepper, grated onion.  Mix until blended.  Then add the seasoned salt.

Form 1 large, or 2 smaller balls with this mixture. (I like to wrap the mixture in wax paper to form a ball). Then roll the cream cheese ball in the chopped pecans to evenly coat.  Wrap completed cheese ball(s) in wax paper and refrigerate until firm (2-4 hours).  Serve with Wheat Thins.  We rarely have any of this cheese ball left over.  However, it is best when consumed within a day or two.

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Chocolate Ganache


Chocolate Ganache

  • 3/4 cup real whipping cream
  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until blended. 

Serve chocolate ganache with an assortment of dippers, such as fresh strawberries, pretzel sticks, pound cake chunks, marshmallows, apple slices, or other fresh fruit.  Great for parties!  Leftover ganache can be stored in an airtight container, then zapped in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

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It’s almost time to ring in a new year. I don’t know about you, but we’ve all had our fill of the traditional dishes like turkey and dressing, ham, rolls, heavy casseroles, and numerous desserts that now hang on our hips and thighs. We will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party at our home for our oldest son and his friends this year. This week, I will be sharing some recipes for our New Year’s Eve menu. Today, I give you the Stromboli.

This is so quick and easy and yet it’s one of those dishes your guests will think you spent a lot of time preparing. The first time I had this dish was at our church life group meeting. I still refer to it as Gina’s Stromboli, since this was her treat for our group to enjoy.

What you will need:

  • 1 tube Pillsbury French Loaf dough
  • 2 cups of shredded Italian or Mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ pound thin sliced deli pepperoni or salami
  • ½ pound thin sliced deli smoked turkey
  • ½ pound thin sliced deli ham
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or baking pan.

Open tube and remove dough, handling carefully. Find seam in dough and gently unroll the loaf of French dough on the greased pan. The dough should cover about a 12×8 area once it is unrolled.

Take slices of turkey and cover the entire surface of the dough. Repeat with the ham slices. Place pepperoni mainly in the middle area of the rectangle. If you really love pepperoni cover the entire rectangle.

Cover meats with the shredded Italian cheese.

Sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning (Oregano/Basil blend)

Starting on the long edge of dough, carefully begin rolling the dough toward opposite long edge. Pinch ends of dough together. Cut 3-4 slits on top of the Stromboli roll with a sharp knife.  (In the photo below, I formed a circle with the rolled up Stromboli to resemble a wreath for Christmas).

Place Stromboli in preheated oven. Cook until crust is golden brown, but not over done. This takes about 20 minutes in my oven, but ovens do vary a bit.stromboli

When Stromboli is brown, remove from oven and garnish top with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Let cool slightly. Transfer to your favorite serving platter. Cut into 1” slices to serve.


Use other combinations of meats and cheese. My sons like double ham with cheddar cheese. We’ve also used Boar’s Head Salsalita Chicken with Montery Jack cheese and a dash of chili powder. This could easily become a vegetarian dish made with cheeses and veggies like spinach, mushrooms, onions, red and green peppers, black olives, or even zucchini

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Fruit Dip Fluff

I love this dip because it works for most holidays and seasons. Many of our Christmas Eve’s are low key around here. I usually make trays of goodies the whole family can munch on throughout the day. Usually there’s a fire going too. But don’t limit this dip just to Christmas. It is refreshing on hot summer days too. And it may also be varied for fall by adding ½ cup of canned pumpkin to the mix.

  • 1 8 oz cream cheese – softened
  • 1 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 orange

Beat the cream cheese with mixer until “creamy”

Add orange juice and zest

Gently fold in the marshmallow cream

Store fruit fluff in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Serve with sliced strawberries, apples, pineapple, grapes, kiwi, pretzels, or even cubes of pound cake.

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Christmas Chutney Star

Here’s another quick and easy holiday dish that will tickle your taste buds. Need an appetizer for a Christmas or New Year’s Eve Party? Then keep these 3 ingredients on hand along with your favorite crackers and pretzels. Allow about 5 minutes tops to prepare this, but enjoy it all evening.

 I usually mix the chutney in one of my larger Tupperware bowls that has a lid. Not all my bowls have lids anymore, but that’s beside the point. This way, you can mix and store the chutney right up until serving time.

 Mix Together:

  • 1 small jar of orange marmalade or apricot preserves (I saved my jar for the ounce amount, but I can’t find my jar now because the kitchen is a wreck right now. I’m guessing around 8oz.)
  • 2 cups salsa

 Store in airtight container until ready to serve.

 Take 1 8 oz package of cream cheese and cut into 5 wedges to form a star. Arrange the wedges on a pretty dish in the shape of a star. For easier serving, let the cream cheese star come to room temperature. Then pour chutney over the star. Serve with crackers or pretzels, dip style. Warning, this is addictive. Bet you can’t eat just one cracker.


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Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomatoes

 Preheat oven to 325

 In a Dutch Oven, or casserole dish with glass lid add:

 4 boxes of cherry or grape tomatoes

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme

4-5 cloves pressed garlic

1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil

 Stir to coat tomatoes with oil and herbs. Cover tomatoes. Cook 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have begun to brown on top.

 Spoon onto Ciabatta , Asiago Cheese, or your favorite bread. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese



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