Ultimate Appetizer Board

Appetizers & Beverages | November 20, 2017 | By

This Ultimate Appetizer Board shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #InspireWithCheese

Ultimate Appetizer Board ~ something for all ~ simple, customizable, no cooking. Elevated with creative touches + tips for easy, no-stress entertaining.

Are you in holiday mode yet? We’ve had a pretty warm fall here in the Midwest, so I’m not completely there yet. Yesterday I tagged a few holiday movies on Netflix, now I just need a little snow, a few more gift catalogs crammed in my mailbox and the first holiday song on the radio. In the meantime, I’m stocking the frig with some basics to create the Ultimate Appetizer Board. The holidays don’t make me frazzled anymore because I’ve learned some tips I’m sharing today that make entertaining stress-free and fun ~ even for the host.  

Ultimate Appetizer Board ~ something for all ~ simple, customizable, no cooking. Elevated with creative touches + tips for easy, no-stress entertaining.

The Ultimate Appetizer Board couldn’t be easier to assemble, is easily elevated with just a few creative touches and has something for everyone including the carnivores: Kaukauna® cheese balls, sliced cheese, seasonal fruits, smoked meats, crunchy crackers and breadsticks, but hey ~ I’m not giving away all my secrets here ~ read below!

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Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid

Appetizers & Beverages | November 13, 2017 | By

This Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #NotableHoliday #CollectiveBias

Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid ~ golden crescent filled with warm brie cheese, cranberry sauce, pistachios + fresh orange zest. The ideal holiday appetizer!

Fall brings a few of my favorite things ~ crisp, cool sweater weather, an explosion of fall colored leaves, the return of my favorite TV shows without reruns, cute leather boots and scarves. Plus holiday entertaining which I actually do enjoy! Entertaining used to be stressful back in the day and not as much fun, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way that I’m sharing today.Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid ~ golden crescent filled with warm brie cheese, cranberry sauce, pistachios + fresh orange zest. The ideal holiday appetizer!

One tip is not to get too fancy which makes a Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid perfect ~ warm brie cheese melted with tangy cranberry sauce, finely chopped pistachios and a burst citrus flavor, all beautifully braided inside golden, warm, flaky crescent dough. A glass of Chardonnay makes it even better and with a few other tips below, entertaining couldn’t be any simpler.

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Chorizo Queso Dip

Chorizo Queso Dip ~ warm, creamy cheese, bites of spicy chorizo & tomatoes plus fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with warm tortilla chips.

Appetizers & Beverages | November 5, 2017 | By

Chorizo Queso Dip ~ warm, velvety melted cheese, bites of spicy chorizo, tomatoes, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a light squeeze of lime juice. Serve with warm tortilla chips.

Before the turkey is carved, before the pies are sliced, before even one single drink is spilled, the Detroit Lions kick off on home turf every year on Thanksgiving Day and in our family, watching football on that special day is an endurance sport. That means that a ridiculous number of competitive-worthy appetizers are also needed on the field, like this Chorizo Queso Dip ~ warm, creamy melted cheese, bites of spicy chorizo, tomatoes, fresh cilantro and a light squeeze of lime juice blended together and scooped with the perfect vessel, warm, lightly salted tortilla chips. It’s not only a first down. It’s a touchdown.

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Creme Brulee Coffee

Appetizers & Beverages | October 16, 2017 | By

Disclosure: This Creme Brulee Coffee shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeijerCoffeeCreamerBundle #CollectiveBias

Creme Brulee Coffee ~ rich, creamy coffee and a crispy sugar brulee-type topping. The ideal cool weather beverage, perfect for holiday entertaining.

Bye-bye bathing suits, bon fires and outdoor movies. Hello cool nights with windows wide open, warm sweaters, Sunday football and bundling up for the last few boat rides around an almost-empty lake. Fall ~ my favorite time of year.

In our house, fall also means comfort food and decadent desserts (remember we said goodbye to bathing suits) so when I had a chance to combine two obsessions, coffee and anything off the dessert menu, I jumped with this Creme Brulee Coffee ~ because why choose between coffee and dessert?   

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Sausage Wonton Cups

Sausage Wonton Cups ~ wonton cups filled with cheesy sausage blend and baked until crispy for the ultimate and easiest appetizer.

Appetizers & Beverages | September 28, 2017 | By

Sausage Wonton Cups ~ wonton wrappers filled with a delicious cheesy, crumbled sausage blend, baked until crispy and the cheeses melted. The ultimate easiest, tastiest appetizer.

A few years ago my niece brought one of the best appetizers I’ve ever eaten to a family gathering. I wasn’t the only one who ate more than their share. They disappeared in minutes! 

Some appetizers are more geared toward women, while others are more to the guys‘ liking.  Sausage Wonton Cups ~ mini cups formed from wonton wrappers and filled with a cheesy, crumbled sausage blend then topped with more cheese are hearty and absolutely delectable.

My niece went home with an empty tray and bragging rights for the best appetizer. 

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Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer ~ the bold flavor of blue cheese paired with sweet, locally sourced honey and warm, lightly toasted artisan bread.

Appetizers & Beverages | September 14, 2017 | By

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer ~ the bold flavor of blue cheese is paired with sweet, locally sourced honey and warm, lightly toasted artisan bread for a simple, 3-ingredient appetizer.

For the record, I can’t take credit for this Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer even though I ate it twice in just one weekend at Taste restaurant during a recent girls’ trip. The talented chef at Taste gets all the credit; I never imagined how outrageously good pairing these two flavors would be and I’m glad for the chance to share it with you. 

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer is hardly a recipe at all. It’s actually more of an idea, bordering on a recommendation (from me) and so easy I guarantee you can’t mess it up. Simple, understated, it packs serious wow factor and takes almost no time to assemble.

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Grilled Shrimp Scampi

Grilled Shrimp Scampi: a twist on the classic-fresh shrimp grilled basted in rich, buttery-garlic white wine sauce, topped with fresh mixed herb gremolata.

A couple of weeks ago I ooohed and aaahed at the adorable baby rabbits small enough to fit in a cereal bowl romping around my yard. Sometimes they’d come right up to the patio door. That was then. Now those little darlings have munched their way through my perennials and moved on to the vegetables like it’s their own private product market. Thankfully they don’t seem to have an interest in my herbs. Yet. So while I still have herbs left, it’s time to make Grilled Shrimp Scampi ~ a twist on the classic ~ fresh shrimp grilled and basted in a rich, buttery-garlic white wine sauce, topped with fresh mixed herb gremolata. This meal is quick enough to enjoy on a weeknight, but if you’re entertaining this summer, this is your meal. As light as white summer wine and loaded with flavor.

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Raspberry Mojito

Raspberry Mojito ~ a refreshing twist on the classic Mojito ~ tangy lime, a blast of cool, refresthing mint, a little sugar + fresh summer berries.

I’m usually a wine drinker but there’s something about summertime and the over abundance of everything from sunshine to fresh produce that practically begs for a cold, fruity cocktail like this Raspberry Mojito. I tasted my first classic Mojito ~ which isn’t fruity at all, but a citrusy combination of rum blended with a blast of cool, refreshing mint, tangy lime and a little sugar (stay with me, I’ll get there) ~ on a gorgeous sunny day in Mallory Square , a place in Key West where vacationers and islanders alike gather to watch the sunset. Some say Mallory Square is one of the best places to see a sunset anywhere. I can’t argue. It was breathtaking and that’s not the Mojitos talking. This Raspberry Mojito is a rum-based burst of summer fruit flavor with a twist of citrus and if you’d prefer a mocktail, skip the rum without sacrificing taste a bit.

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Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer

This Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #NotableSummer #CollectiveBias

Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer: tender, pan-seared scallops in a light, lemony garlic butter sauce. Serve alone or nestled in risotto.

Summer is probably my favorite time to entertain. Fresh ingredients, beautiful weather ~ it automatically puts everyone in a good mood and entertaining in the summer is about as easy as it gets.

What more do you need for a fun evening than family or a few friends, tasty food, some good wine and music to set the tone?

I like to keep the food simple, yet special like this Garlic Butter Scallops Appetizer and while I used to find the wine aisle a confusing place, that’s no longer so. Read on and see what I’ve discovered.

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Basil Spinach Pesto

Basil Spinach Pesto ~ a simple no-cook sauce delicious on pasta, pizza or as an appetizer, made completely in a food processor or blender.

Basil Spinach Pesto ~ a simple no-cook sauce delicious on pasta, pizza or as an appetizer, made in a food processor or blender.

I’m an accidental gardener ~ if I plant it and grows, it’s an accident.

My oldest daughter has a green thumb that I’m pretty sure she got it from my husband. Every year we plant tomatoes, a variety of peppers and some other veggies that my husband meticulously cares for. They yield more tomatoes than two people could ever go through. I’m in charge of flowers and herbs.

Every year flowers die off and need to be replaced and the herbs do okay, but the basil usually flourishes into a big, beautiful plant with the most amazing aroma and taste. There’s plenty for daily use in sauces, pizzas and caprese salads and a surplus that practically begs to be turned into Basil Spinach Pesto. If you aren’t growing basil you can still buy it practically everywhere and this recipe is spoon-licking good.

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