Bacon Pops

What I thought would be a great addition to brunch turned out to be so successful I would add this to any breakfast, brunch or tailgate.  I always knew cooking bacon in the oven when preparing large quantities was easy.  However,  this time I  wanted bacon to be finger food and decided to thread the bacon on a stick.  I cut each piece of thick cut bacon in half, then threaded each piece on a six inch wooden skewer.  Brushed them all with maple syrup (you will see the syrup on the first piece on the top row), then I sprinkled the bacon with a brown sugar,ground  nuts and cayenne mixture.  In the oven it went …

bacon pops 1

 

and out came the most delicious bacon pops…

Bacon pops 3

Bacon Pops
Yields 22
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Ingredients
  1. 18 oz. package, thick cut bacon
  2. 22 six-inch wooden skewers
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/3 walnuts or pecans, ground
  5. 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Cut bacon in half crosswise. Thread each piece of bacon on one skewer. Place skewers on rack in a foil lined cookie sheet. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cayenne pepper. Brush each skewer of bacon with maple syrup. Try to avoid getting the end of the skewers coated (the skewers will be easier to serve when not sticky). Sprinkle each slice of bacon with brown sugar combination. Bake in preheated oven until the bacon is golden, approximately 35-45 minutes. Remove from rack when cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. These would also be a wonderful addition to a Bloody Mary bar.
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Ten Minute Appetizer Tray

If you are like me, during this time of the year, it seems like each day brings a new and interesting kitchen challenge.  This time, I needed an appetizer and I needed it fast.  After leafing through my recipes, nothing really inspired me and time was running short.  Well, one quick trip to the store and my appetizer was almost done.  With a shopping list in hand, I dashed to my local store.  My list read like this – 3 dried fruits, 3 cheeses, 2 meats, olives, nuts, crackers, and jam.   Here is how I tackled my list at the market – first I headed to the dried fruits, in my cart went dried pineapple, dates, and cranberries,  Off to the cheese section – cheddar with cranberries, Stilton with ginger and mango, and a nice piece of gouda with the red wax. Stopped by the olive bar and picked up 8 oz. of assorted pitted olives, crackers – I looked for three distinctive shapes, sticks, squares, and rectangles.  Picked up a few roasted cashews, one package each; sliced dried chorizo and sliced prosciutto  and one jar of fig jam.  Quick, easy and out the door.  When I got home, out came my holiday tray and quickly layered the tray full of my finds.  My appetizer was ready – no cooking required and absolutely delicious.  

ten-minute-appetizer

Vidalia Onion Dip

Vidalia Onion Dip was another one of my mom’s favorites that I discovered on a well used recipe card in my card file. You know this is a good recipe when she commented on the number of people that requested that she bring this over and over again.  You might wonder how I know these little facts, my mom (and now I do this same thing) wrote copious notes inside covers of her books, note books and recipe cards, these notes included everything from when she served it last, where she served it and any noteworthy fact she wanted to remember.  My daughter served this last weekend; after a day in the stadium watching our favorite college team play football.  This dip was perfect to serve on a beautiful fall day celebrating with great friends. This recipe is now a three generation favorite in our family!

vidalia-onion-dip

Vidalia Onion Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups finely shredded Swiss cheese
  2. 2 cups chopped Vidalia onions
  3. 2 cups mayonnaise
  4. 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine first three ingredients. Pour into a greased casserole dish, top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake 325 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with crackers.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be made ahead up to 2 days. Just refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Layered Crab Dip

This recipe has been a family favorite for many years.  I know it originated years ago and I think it is time for a Layered Crab Dip revival.  My mom always made this as well as her friends, this was their signature go to appetizer.  I am sure the fact that it is quick, easy and delicious is the reason they all made this recipe.  All I can say, I made it this past weekend, served it with water crackers and it was fantastic.  This goes back to the old saying “Mothers are always right” I know mine was with this recipe!

layered-crab-dip

Layered Crab Dip
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  2. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  3. 1/2 medium onion, grated
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  6. 1/2 - 3/4 cup seafood cocktail sauce
  7. 12 oz. fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
  8. 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
Instructions
  1. Assemble dip in the following order; spread on a serving plate
  2. Layer 1 - cream together the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, onion, lemon juice and mayonnaise; spread on serving plate.
  3. Layer 2 - spread cocktail sauce over cream cheese layer.
  4. Layer 3 - Spread crabmeat over cocktail sauce.
  5. Layer 4 - Top with minced parsley
  6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa

We just returned from the upper Midwest where the weather is beautiful, waters are wonderful and the farmers markets are at their peak.  When in the Midwest, you absolutely have to try the fresh sweet corn.  Abundant and oh so sweet, the ultimate taste of summer.  After I purchased corn at the market, it was back to stir up this delicious salsa.  I have to admit, it was so delicious, we just could not stop eating it!  Great as an appetizer served with tortilla chips, but this salsa would be equally delicious along side grilled chicken or over fish tacos.

fresh corn and avocado salsa

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ears of fresh corn, husk remove and kernels cut off of the cob
  2. 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  3. 1/3 cup olive oil
  4. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 2 avocados, ripe but firm, diced
  8. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  9. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  10. 4 - 8 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  11. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  12. 1/2 cup lime juice
Instructions
  1. Mix all vegetables together in a medium bowl. Combine olive oil, cumin, oregano, red wine vinegar, hot pepper sauce, chili powder and lime juice. Pour over vegetables and mix thoroughly, Salt and pepper to taste.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Tomato Toast

I cannot walk past a display of farm fresh ripe tomatoes this time of year.  I am such a huge tomato fan, my husband is convinced that I could eat them everyday for every meal.  He is pretty much on target with that comment.  Tomato Toast is my latest tomato creation.  Crispy grilled bread, cheese filling, topped with tomato slices – perfect for an appetizer or side dish.  

tomato toast

Tomato Toast
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Ingredients
  1. 4 slices of crusty bread cut 1/2 inch thick
  2. olive oil
  3. 1 large tomato, sliced
  4. 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  5. 2 tablespoons pesto
  6. 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  7. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare grill or grill pan. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Slice tomato. Combine ricotta cheese, pesto and parmesan cheese. Grill one side of bread until golden brown and crusty, turn bread slices. Spread grilled sides of bread with ricotta cheese mixture. Cover grill and heat until hot. Remove from grill. Top with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Caramelized Onion Tart

I am a great fan of picnics.   I think it dates back to when I first met my husband and we lived in Northern Michigan.  Beautiful parks and lakes were abundant and we always packed a picnic and headed out to explore the area.  A great picnic can consist of a run to the deli and a great bottle of wine or a few make ahead specialties that you can prepare in advance and serve cold or at room temperature.  This Caramelized Onion Tart is picnic perfect.  You can make early in the day and it is easy to transport.  I like to pack a bottle of good balsamic vinegar to drizzle on just prior to serving.

caramelized onion tart

 

Caramelized Onion Tart
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. Onion Topping
  2. 5 red onions, thinly sliced
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  6. salt and pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon sugar
  8. Crust
  9. 2 cups flour
  10. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 3/4 cup milk
  13. 1/4 cup olive oil
  14. 2 tablespoons melted butter
  15. 1/2 - 3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  16. Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Filling -In a large skillet melt the butter and the olive oil. Add the onions. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the thyme, salt and pepper (to taste) and sugar. Reduce heat to medium low and cook and additional 20 minutes, stir frequently. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Crust-In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the milk, olive oil and butter. Mix until all is incorporated. Place dough on a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll into a rectangle approximately 10 x 14 inches. Place on a baking sheet.
  4. Cover with onion filling. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
  6. If desired, drizzle with balsamic vinegar when serving.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upside Down Pizza

The name explains it all – the pizza toppings are on the bottom and the crust is on top.  You can add or substitute any pizza ingredients that you like.  You simply pour over the crust batter and as it bakes it puffs and turns golden brown.  Perfect to serve with a salad for a casual dinner.

upside down pizza

Upside Down Pizza
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, mild or hot
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 4 oz. can sliced black olives, sliced
  5. 1 cup pizza or marinara sauce
  6. 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  7. 1 green pepper, diced
  8. 10 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 cup milk
  11. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  12. 1 cup flour
  13. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  14. 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, crumble sausage and cook over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently until sausage is cooked and onion is transparent. Drain sausage mixture and return to skillet. Add olives, sauce, mushrooms, green pepper, and heat until bubbly. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with sliced mozzarella slices.
  2. In a blender, blend milk, eggs, milk, oil, flour and salt until smooth. Pour mixture evenly over mozzarella. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven until the crust is puffed and golden brown about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

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Cocktail Peanuts

You will find many versions of spiced nuts when shopping, how great it is to make your own in under ten minutes.  These peanuts are a little salty, a little sweet, and a little spicy.  They are quick to prepare and as the name says, perfect to serve along side your favorite cocktail.

cocktail peanuts

Cocktail Peanuts
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  2. 1/2 tablespoon butter
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon. curry powder
Instructions
  1. In a heavy frying pan, melt butter and mix in brown sugar and curry powder. Stir in peanuts and cook for 3 - 4 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the nuts are coated. Cool on foil, separating the nuts with a fork. Store in a covered jar.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/