Cowboy Caviar

IMG_0318Summer is in full swing which means its BBQ season! We just recently outfitted our patio with some bistro lights, a grill and outdoor table, it is the perfect place to eat dinner on warm summer nights. I typically prefer to cook outdoors in the summer because cooking inside gets so hot and using the BBQ while drinking a glass of wine just screams summer. I also prefer to eat cold dishes rather than hot ones in the summer months- when it’s 85 degrees out after work, I rarely feel like cooking. One of my favorite appetizers is this super simple cowboy caviar made with fresh corn, tomatoes and avocado. I like to cook my corn on the grill in tin foil or with the husk still on, however if you prefer to boil it on the stove that is great also. Stay cool out there!

FullSizeRender (2)Cowboy Caviar

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cooked ears of corn cut off the cob
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve with Frito Lays or Tortilla Chips

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Can be made a day ahead but keep the avocado out until ready to serve.
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“Appy Hour” Pear and Boursin Cheese

IMG_2332I’m always on the look out for fun new apps to try when we have people over. The problem with having a big tray of appetizers out to nibble on before dinner is I usually end up filling up on the snacks and I’m not hungry for dinner! I mean who can resist a cheese and charcuterie board?! This app is much lighter and slightly healthier then a basket of bread and crackers and you won’t fill up before you sit down for the meal. This would be perfect before Easter brunch or dinner this weekend! IMG_2333Added bonus, this appetizer is gluten free and I am always trying to think of yummy apps that are gluten free! One of my favorites are these smoked salmon and cucumber rounds with Boursin cheese (they are always a big hit!) So it turns out I might have a slight obsession with Boursin Cheese and this appetizer is proof of that! Find some delicious ripe pears at the store and serve them along side this cheese, its heaven on Earth!

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe pears
  • 1 container Garlic and Fine Herb Boursin Cheese

Directions:

  1. Wash, core and slice the pears (leave the skin on). Remove Boursin from its foil and place on a platter with the pears around it.

Wedge Fries with Sour Cream & Sweet Chili Sauce

IMG_2102Back in my college days (which seems like yesterday but was actually almost 6 years ago now!) I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand. I was hoping to spend my semester over there sight seeing and experiencing my first “endless winter.” I went down in July during our summer, which is actually New Zealand’s Winter and had intended to train and ski race while I was there (here’s a picture of me and Jake in Queenstown while I was abroad… we were just babies!)DSC_0342 I wanted to be ready when I returned to the States in November for my up coming season on the Bates Ski Team. Sadly, I blew out my knee just months before leaving for New Zealand and my plans of training while abroad when down the drain. My plans for eating my way through the country were shaping up very nicely however!

I tried all the traditional cuisine, beer, wine etc. I ate spicy sausages on white bread outside an All Blacks rugby game (not my favorite) but very traditional! One of my absolute favorite snacks were potato wedges served with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. The combination is a classic New Zealand staple and they serve it a many local bars and pubs. I know it sounds like a bizarre combination but I promise you, once you try it you’ll be totally addicted!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes, washed and sliced in to wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the sliced potatoes evenly on the baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and paprika over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Place the potatoes in the oven for 25-30 minutes tossing frequently so the potatoes don’t stick to the baking sheet.
  3. Cook until the potatoes are brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and serve with a bowl of sour cream and a bowl of sweet chili sauce.

 

Tzatziki Dip

photo-606I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! We had gorgeous weather in Park City, which was a welcomed change from all the rain and gloomy weather we’ve been having here. I keep telling myself that all this rain now… means LOTS of snow this winter, right? I kicked off my long weekend with a BBQ with some friends, like I am sure many of you did as well. I was looking for a different appetizer to bring to the BBQ than the usual hummus and carrots or veggie platter which are so over done!

We have been getting a lot of cucumbers in our CSA lately so I thought it would be perfect to use some of them up. This recipe for Tzatziki is super light and refreshing- it uses about half the amount of sour cream that most recipes call for, making this the perfect dip or condiment! I also love putting this Tzatziki on my Greek chicken gryo’s (recipe to come!) Serve this dip with some pita chips and enjoy!!

Greek Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced or pressed using a garlic press
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 4-5 turns of fresh pepper
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced (smaller is better)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (I use freeze dried sometimes too)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to combine, set aside.
  2. Peel cucumbers and slice them lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds from the flesh and discard them. Diced the cucumber into small bite size cubes.
  3. In another medium bowl, use a whisk to blend yogurt with sour cream.
  4. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir until none of the oil remains.
  5. Fold in cucumber and dill until fully incorporated. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
  6. Serve with pita chips

Jalapeno Poppers with Pineapple and Bacon

IMG_7869It’s hard to believe that kids are starting to go back to school already! Park City public schools start on Thursday, some other schools in the state started last week! But, but wait… summer was just getting started!! Even crazier… some of the leaves are starting to change already! I am not ready for this!

One thing I am ready for… football season! We are just two weeks away from the start of regular season NFL games and I am so excited. One my favorite fall actives is getting together at someones house and watching the Patriots play. It’s one of my East coast traditions I’ve taken with me to the West… Sunday is Pats day. Ok, so you don’t need to love football or the Patriots to love these jalapeno poppers because they are down right delicious and perfect for any occasion. IMG_8015The spice from the jalapeno, the creaminess of the cheese, sweet from the pineapple and salt from the bacon come together for one popping popper! Bring this to your next cocktail party, cook-out or tailgate party and you’ll be everyone’s favorite person. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Poppers with Pineapple and Bacon

  • 10-12 medium/large Jalapenos (or 15-18 small ones)
  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ¼ cup shredded white cheddar
  • 3-4 pieces bacon, cooked

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy, place on paper towels to cool. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Remove the stems of the Jalapenos, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and ribs. Be careful not to touch your face or eyes during this process you will burn yourself and regret it!
  4. In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, pineapple and cheddar cheese.
  5. Using a spoon stuff each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture so it is even with the sides of the jalapeno (about 1 or 2 tablespoons of filling depending on how large your jalapenos are)
  6. Place cheese side up on a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool about 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and serve!

**Thanks to Mia from Blonded by Style for taking the pictures. This post was part of our Mexican Fiesta, check out the whole menu here.

Red, White and Blue Ricotta Bites

photo 1-41Happy 4th of July… A few days late! Sorry I have been MIA for the last few weeks, I have been all over the U.S. of A on vacation, visiting family and going to a lot weddings! 3 weddings in 3 weeks, its a new record for us.

I feel like my liver might be failing at this point, especially since we followed up our three week wedding tour with a 3 day 4th of July weekend, which was heavy on the BBQing and drinking too. OUCH. Not to mention its been about 700 degrees here in Utah and I haven’t had the slightest desire to get in the kitchen to cook. I did want to make a fun and festive appetizer for our BBQ that didn’t require going anywhere near the stove.

Thus, these little ricotta bruschetta bites were the perfect option. I picked up the fresh berries at the Canyons farmers market with my mother and father-in-law, they were so fresh and delicious! photo 3-30There is nothing better than plump fresh blueberries. These little ricotta bites are great anytime, not just the 4th of July and as the warm summer months continue you’ll be happy to have a no bake appy for your next gathering!

Ingredients:

  • 1 crispy french baguette, sliced into 1/4-1/2″ pieces
  • 1 small container of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 container blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 container raspberries, rinsed and dried
  • honey for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Arrange the sliced baguette on a platter. Using a knife, evenly spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese on the bread. Place one blueberry and one raspberry on top of the baguette. Finish with a drizzle of honey over the top of each piece of bruschetta.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Best Guacamole

photo-590There are a few recipes that should be a staple in everyone’s home. I think guacamole is one of them. Especially in the summer, there is nothing better than a big bowl of fresh Guac and chips. When making a delicious guacamole, there are a few key things to remember…

#1 make sure the avocados are ripe… but not too ripe! no one likes a brown avocado or one that’s so hard you could bite into it like an apple! When picking avocados at the store, be sure they are slightly soft when you push your thumb into the skin, but not mushy.

#2 Dice your onions small, no one likes a big ol’ bite of bitter onion/bad breath! #3 Don’t over mix/mash your guac and leave a little chunk in your avocado, I think it tastes better and its easier to get more on your chip! Guacamole is great on its own as an appetizer or it’s delicious with tacos, burritos, and even on your breakfast sandwich! Happy Monday, hope you enjoy!

Guacamole (Serves 6)

  • 3 avocados, pitted, pealed and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced small
  • 1 roma (plum) tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mash avocados and lime juice with a fork, being sure to leave some small chunks of avocado.
  2. Mix in salt, garlic powder, tomato, red onion and cilantro. Mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with a pinch more salt if desired.
  4. Cut a piece of Saran Wrap just lager than the bowl, press the plastic wrap down onto the guac so there is no air between the plastic wrap and the avocado, refrigerate for 1 hour. This will prevent the guacamole from turning brown while it is chilling. If you don’t have time to chill it… Serve immediately!

 

Jalapeno, Mango & Avocado Salsa

photo 3-9It has started to feel a lot like spring lately here in Park City. This weekend we had two gorgeous days of sunshine and warm weather, great for catching some rays and enjoying an apres drink after skiing… not so good for the snow! Practically all the snow around our house has melted and I’ve woken up the last few mornings to birds chirping outside my window and its only March 10th! photo-521Here is Piper… laying on the only patch of snow left on our lawn! I did get some great skiing and hikes in this weekend. After being cooped up all winter, its nice to finally get out and enjoy the sunshine! photo-520 And now that we’ve gained an extra hour of daylight at night I get to enjoy those late afternoon walks with the dog! Since I was feeling in the spring/summery mood this weekend I decided to whip up this delicious jalapeno, mango and avocado salsa!

I would put this salsa on anything! Its great with chips, on tacos, chicken, fish… the options are endless and you’ll wish the bowl of this salsa was endless too because it is so good! This salsa goes perfectly on my fish tacos with chipotle cabbage slaw… but you’ll have to check back tomorrow, Taco Tuesday, for that recipe!

Jalapeno, Mango & Avocado Salsa 

  • 1 large mango, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium avocados, cubed
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced (depending on how spicy you like it, remove either all or some of the seeds before chopping)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (if you don’t like cilantro, substitute mint)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together mango, avocado, jalapeno and shallots. Be careful not to over mix and smash the mango and avocado.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine lime juice and olive oil. Drizzle over mango mixture.
  3. Sprinkle cilantro, salt and pepper over the top and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Enjoy!

Wonton Mozzarella Sticks

photo 4-4Hello Monday! Hard to believe that the Olympics are over! I loved watching all the high lights and live games every night after work, what will I do now?! Cook I suppose? I saw a pretty cool photo on Instrgram yesterday from Park City Mountain Resort, If Park City were its own country we would be tied for 14th over all in the medal standings! photo-3Not bad!! Congrats to all the amazing athletes of Team USA, it was so much fun watching y’all kick some butt over in Sochi! This quick appetizer was one of my favorites for prime time Olympic viewing. Its so easy and fast, and with only 4 ingredients they are cheap to make too! Serve it with some marinara sauce and boom, its the perfect cheesy, salty and delicious snack for any time! Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 12 Mozzarella Sticks)

  • 6 Mozzarella Sticks
  • 12 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping

Directions:

  1. Cut mozzarella sticks in half. Place each cheese stick half onto the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip the tip of your index finger in a little water and moisten the top two edges of the wrapper, this will make it easier to seal the wonton around the cheese.
  2. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the cheese stick, follow by the two sides, then roll the top edge of the wonton to seal it.
  3. Pour 1 cup of vegetable oil into skillet and heat for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat until 325-350 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer test the oil by placing the edge of a wonton wrapper in the oil, if it starts to bubble right away the oil is hot enough (be super careful, it does splatter).
  4. Place wontons seal side down and cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Using tongs flip the wonton and cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove the wonton from the hot oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  5. Serve with immediately with warm marinara sauce for dipping. Enjoy! photo-513The beautiful sunset in Park City last night!

Original recipe from Alaska From Scratch

Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites

photo 3-3Super Bowl Sunday is almost here! Sadly, my beloved Patriots will not be playing in the big game (Tom is to busy paddleboarding with Gisele in the Bahamas, can you blame him?) Regardless of who is playing this weekend, Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite sports events of year! Football, friends and FOOD (obviously!) what could be better?!

So if you’re ready to show up to a Super Bowl party this weekend with a kick ass appy that’s sure to be the crowd favorite, check out these sweet potato bites. Cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and avocado… there is no better combination! And who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?

They are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and lots of other good stuff! So put down the greasy chicken wings and pizza bites and enjoy the game with these delicious morsels. Looking for some other game day favorites? Check out my Buffalo Chicken Dip, Baked Brie with Candied Pecans, Baba ghanoush, Ricotta dip with pesto & Sun-dried tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Hot sauce (Cholula or Tabasco or whatever you have on hand)
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 large avocado, diced into small cubes
  • green onions
  • sour cream
  • 2 pieces of bacon, cooked and cut into small bits (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Using a mandolin, slice sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch slices (leave the skin on). Place potato slices in a bowl, toss with olive oil. Mix garlic powder, chili powder and salt in a small bowl, sprinkle over potatoes and toss to combine. Place seasoned potatoes on a greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, remove from the oven and flip them. Bake another 10 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, slice the avocados, green onions and bacon if you are using it.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and place a dash of hot sauce on each round (if you like more spice, add more hot sauce). Top each potato with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove potatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the potato rounds on a platter, top each one with a small cube of avocado, sour cream and green onion (sprinkle with chopped bacon if desired).
  6. Enjoy!