Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party

Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party ~ casual laid back entertaining iat home ~ perfect for wine and cheese lovers.

Appetizers & Beverages | April 13, 2018 | By

Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party ~ casual laid back entertaining at home ~ perfect for wine and cheese lovers.

GIVEAWAY!

When was the last time you had a girls’ night in? Your best girls at your house, good food, wine and of course plenty of laughs, catching up and sharing a little gossip. If you can’t remember when, it’s been too long.

Of course you can always meet at a restaurant, but that can be expensive and you lose the relaxed, ‘come as you are’ feeling of getting together in someone’s home.

Entertaining just got easier with step by step instructions for a drool-worthy charcuterie board, tips on how to host a wine and cheese party and if that’s not enough ~ a GIVEAWAY!

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Garlic Feta Dip

Garlic Feta Dip ~ loaded with the bold Mediterranean flavors of garlic and feta, balanced with fresh lemon and dill in a creamy dip. Serve with warm toasted pita and veggies.

Appetizers & Beverages | March 22, 2018 | By

Garlic Feta Dip ~ whipped ’til creamy, loaded with the bold flavors of garlic and feta, balanced with fresh lemon and dill, served up with warm, lightly toasted pita and veggies.

We vacation as a family in southwest Florida every year. My husband and I kick off the vacation and the kids join us a couple of weeks later.

Last week all the kids were in town and along with the volume and craziness they bring a wide variety of appetites. Meals range from Fruit Loops to hot dogs, to Chorizo Queso Dip and Chicken Tacos to and scallops and risotto for seafood night. In between there are rum drinks and wine but that’s for another post. 

We had a great time together with lots of laughs and swimming, kayaking, hunting for sharks teeth on the beach, catching some beautiful sunsets and even celebrating our granddaughter’s second birthday.

Garlic Feta Dip ~ loaded with the bold Mediterranean flavors of garlic and feta, balanced with fresh lemon and dill in a creamy dip. Serve with warm toasted pita and veggies.

My husband and I are here another week or so along with an odd assortment of food left in the refrigerator after the kids departed. I’m up to the task. I consider my personal challenge to use up *every* bit of it even if it kills me. That chicken though ~ vamoose. It somehow got shoved to the back of the fridge and really would kill me. 

Garlic Feta Dip ~ creamy, tangy feta, bold garlic flavor and the bright, fresh taste of lemon and dill has already used several ingredients plus some pistachios that became a garnish. This dip (insert sigh) is so delicious I’d ride this train ’til it won’t run any more.

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Jalapeno Popper Pigs in a Blanket

Jalapeno Popper Pigs in a Blanket ~ smoked cocktail sausages wrapped in warm, flaky, golden crest dough, filled with 2 kinds of cheese, spicy jalapenos and crispy bacon.

Appetizers & Beverages | January 28, 2018 | By

Jalapeno Popper Pigs in a Blanket ~ mini smoked cocktail sausages wrapped in warm, flaky, golden crest dough filled with two kinds of cheese + spicy jalapenos and crispy bacon.

I actually do kind of enjoy the football part of the Super Bowl even though our home team wasn’t even close to being there, but let’s face it, the commercials and the food come in 1st and 2nd in my book ~ and not necessarily in that order.

Football food is pretty much the best food around, especially on Super Bowl Sunday, which gives us license to eat all sorts of food we try to stay away from the rest of the year. 

On Super Bowl, home cooks become as competitive as the players on the field with first string recipes like Chorizo Queso Dip or Sausage Wonton Cups and Jalapeno Popper Pigs in a Blanket ~ mini smoked sausages wrapped in crescent dough and filled with two kinds of cheese, jalapenos and bacon then baked until lightly golden and flaky.  They’re a combination of the classic Pigs in a Blanket and Jalapeno Poppers, but better. So much better. . .

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BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip

bbq chicken pizza from A Gouda Life just out of the oven served with Stonefire naan dippers

Appetizers & Beverages | January 23, 2018 | By

BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip ~ tender tasty bites of barbecue chicken, 3 kinds of gooey, melted cheese, bell peppers and red onion all scooped with warm, lightly toasted bread.

You don’t have to know a lot about football to know that football food should have its own category on the food pyramid and if there’s justice in this world, that category would be at the very bottom of the triangle. Can I get a high five on that one? 

So even if you’re not going to be wearing a game jersey at your Super Bowl party if you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’re assembling an arsenal of MVP recipes like this BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip, Chorizo Queso Dip or maybe a batch or two of Sausage Wonton Cups. Basically all things cheesy, indulgent, cheesy and a little spicy.

Did I mention cheesy?

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All American Beef Sliders

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | January 14, 2018 | By

 

Classic All American Beef Sliders ~ mini ground beef patties infused with the flavor of caramelized onions then topped with even more plus a tangy pickle or two, gooey melted cheese slid between Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns

All American Beef Sliders ~ ground beef topped ~ and infused ~ with caramelized onions, cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard all on timeless, unpretentious Pepperidge Farm slider buns.

With the Big Game coming soon, you may have been all over Pinterest looking for that game-winning recipe because let’s face it, while some are counting down to kickoff, others (me!) are checking out the food that’ll be served because where else do you find a better spread?

Classic All American Beef Sliders ~ mini ground beef patties topped ~ and infused ~ with caramelized onions ~ warm melted cheese, plus tangy pickle slices all slid between Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns are crowd-pleasers; bet you can’t eat just one!

All American Beef Sliders ~ ground beef topped ~ and infused ~ with caramelized onions, cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard all on timeless, unpretentious Pepperidge Farm slider buns.

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Honey Bourbon Pub Style Steak Tips

Honey Bourbon Pub Style Steak Tips ~ pan seared steak tips just like your favorite restaurant + sautéed mushrooms and onions and the best potatoes ever.

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | January 11, 2018 | By

Honey Bourbon Pub Style Steak Tips ~ beautifully caramelized pan seared steak tips just like your favorite pub or restaurant, topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions and served up with the best potatoes ever.

We eat steak pretty routinely in the summer. It’s an easy go-to on the Weber but as cold as it’s been lately no one wants to draw the short straw to see who’s putting on their coat and hat to grill outside.

Cooking steak indoors means we stay toasty warm while still enjoying delicious, caramelized steak in just a few minutes. Of course, we could always get dressed and head to our local pub or favorite restaurant ~ pretty much everyone makes steak tips these days. But today we’re staying warm and enjoying them at home and you can, too.

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Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip

Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip ~ sour cream, French onion, plus everything else we love in a dip ~ spicy ranch flavor, cheddar cheese and bacon! 5 minute prep.

Appetizers & Beverages | December 28, 2017 | By

Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip ~ sour cream-French onion based + everything else we love in a dip ~ spicy ranch flavor, cheddar cheese and bacon!

Christmas is over which means in another week or so the ornaments will come down off the tree and carefully packed away along with the other decorations. Except one. For some reason, there’s always one decoration I don’t notice (despite that it’s glittery or red or a snowman) and forget to pack. 

It’s usually something you’d spot in a New York minute, but because I’m in a hurry to pack stuff away, that item is always missed and instead of joining the other Christmas decorations it’ll be shoved to the back of the linen closet until next year. It’s not a proud moment that I share my lack of organization, but facts are fact. 

I have every intention of eating a little healthier in 2018 (really I do!) with more veggies, lightened up meals that don’t include a generous pour of heavy cream, but in the meantime, I’m sharing my all-time favorite chip dip ~ the Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip, a guaranteed crowd pleaser every time.

It’s a great year around dip, not just for special occasions, is addictively delicious and way better than anything you’ll find pre-made in stores. It whips up in 5 minutes ~ the amount of time I *may* have spent looking for my glasses. . . while they were in my propped on top of my head and it transports easily, too.

Let the dip chill for an hour or so and the best gets even better. . .

. . . except your breath. That doesn’t get better, but I had to get it out of the way. Let’s get real, I can’t sugarcoat onion and the resulting onion breath, but as long as everyone’s dipping, it negates the onion thing you’ll all have going on. I swear.

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Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus, quickly sautéed makes a delicious side dish or appetizer.

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus, pan sautéed crisping the prosciutto and cooking the asparagus to tender perfection.

It may be mistletoe, egg nog, holiday cookies and ugly Christmas sweaters for now but New Year’s Eve will be here before we know it.

Last year I had a bright idea that we should go out for dinner, so we ditched our comfy pants and fuzzy slippers and embarked on our favorite neighborhood restaurant only to find our waitress frazzled, the place packed and the food not at all the quality we had come to expect there. 

This year we’ll ring in the new year with a delicious home cooked meal including Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ thin sliced prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus spears pan sautéed crisping the prosciutto and cooking the asparagus until tender and of course good company too because isn’t that what the best celebrations are about?

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Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese and broiled on top.

Appetizers & Beverages | December 16, 2017 | By

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese, broiled until golden and served with warm toasted bread.  

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese and broiled until golden. Serve with toasted bread.

Back in the winter of 2015 I posted a recipe for one of my favorite combinations, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese slathered thick on a lightly toasted baguette slices. Like women and good wine that recipe has improved with age and is now this Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer.  If you made it before, you’ll notice a couple of subtle changes to the process that in my opinion make the dish even tastier. 

It’s meant to be an appetizer but a nice glass of red or chilled Rosé, depending on the season along with some warm, crusty bread and for me, it’s dinner.

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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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