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 I’d easily spot, 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. . .

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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

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

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

 

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.

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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