Category Archives: Appetizers

Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Blue Cheese Dip

God bless Pinterest. Over the weekend our neighbors put together a progressive dinner with “potluck style” apps. Since the apps were subbing for dinner, I wanted to make something that had a little heft to it but I don’t really make apps that often and didn’t have a go-to recipe in mind. I had recently run across this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Poppers from Iowa Girl Eats on Pinterest and thought it could be the perfect solution.

I used all the same ingredients as the original recipe but slightly tweaked the quantities and execution. Instead of cooking and cutting a chicken breast, I shredded up store-bought rotisserie chicken and mixed all of the filling elements together to cut down on prep time. I would do it that way again since it was not only easy and fast, but also made the filling extra creamy. The poppers were a gone in a flash and will definitely be made again!

Buffalo Chicken Poppers
makes 32 poppers
2 pkgs crescent rolls
3 1/2 C shredded rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts
1 8 oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 tsp ranch dressing mix powder
6 Tbsp Franks Red Hot buffalo wing sauce

Preheat oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and ranch dressing powder until well mixed. Mix in wing sauce. Remove meat from rotisserie, leaving skin and carcass behind. Shred chicken using two forks and transfer chicken to the bowl with the filling. Use a wooden spoon to mix chicken into filling so that it is evenly coated and mixture is creamy.

Roll out crescent rolls on the parchment paper. Slice the pre-sliced triangles in half so that you end up with 16 triangles on each baking sheet. With each triangle, use your fingers to gently spread the dough out a bit so that you have room for more filling. You may need to work in groups of 3-4 triangles. Scoop about 2 teaspoons of filling into the center of each triangle. Fold the corners of the triangle up to meet in the center and gently pinch together the seams between the points.

Once all poppers are formed, bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Avocado Blue Cheese Dip if desired.

Avocado Blue Cheese Dip
1 ripe avocado
1/2 C blue cheese dressing

Peel avocado and cut into small chunks in a small bowl. Add dressing. Use a hand mixer to cream together until avocado is mostly smooth. If you don’t have a hand mixer, simply mash well, however your dip will be a bit more chunky.


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Spicy Edamame Chickpea Snack Mix

With unseasonably warm weather reminding me that swim suit season is just around the corner (and I don’t have a prego bump as an excuse to opt out this year), I’ve been trying to eat healthier and limit my snacking. It’s obviously just a good habit anyways, but as a chronic light snacker it’s tricky.

My sister, who seeks out healthy foods due to multiple food allergies, mentioned that she had been snacking on roasted chickpeas lately. It inspired this easy, healthy snack mix that relies on zippy spices for big flavor. I’ll be able to keep this in my desk drawer at work and not feel guilty when those late afternoon munchies hit!
roasted chickpeas
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas & Edamame
1 can chickpeas
1/2 bag shelled, frozen edamame – thawed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4+ tsp sea salt
1/4+ tsp garlic powder
1/4+ tsp chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 400. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander and mix with thawed edamame. Let as much water drain as possible while you’re mixing your spices, then dab legumes with a paper towel to make as dry as possible. In a small bowl, combine cumin, brown sugar, salt, garlic and chipotle powders.

Transfer edamame and chickpeas to a medium bowl. Sprinkle spices over legumes and toss gently to evenly coat. Bake for 40-45 minutes, gently stirring every 15 minutes or so, until chickpeas are crispy on the outside.  Let cool and transfer to a small bowl.  Dust lightly with additional salt, chipotle and garlic if desired.
spicy roasted chickpeas and edamame

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Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

We interrupt this regularly scheduled holiday break with a word from our sponsors: Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dips!

It is almost New Year’s Eve and my guess is that many of you will scramble around the house this weekend looking for a quick and easy appetizer to bring to your New Year’s Eve party. Typically, I am a make (at least partially) from scratch kind of girl but sometimes, let’s face it, we don’t have time (or energy). We recently had the opportunity to taste a few of the Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dips and they are the perfect quick and easy fix. These lower calorie dip options can be found in the refrigerated area of the produce section of your grocery store (amongst refrigerated salad dressings, etc.) There are five delicious options: Cucumber Dill, Spinach Artichoke, Salsa Cilantro, Chipolte Cheese and Garden Herb Ranch.

Greek yogurt has been all the rage in 2011 and I don’t think the trend is going to stop any time soon and why should it? Greek yogurt provides that thick, creamy texture you would normally get out of sour cream or mayo without all the extra fat. I tried three out of the five flavors and sampled them each in different ways.

The winner for me has to go to the Cucumber Dill dip. Maybe it is because it reminds me of summer or my short trip to Greece a few years ago, but I loved the cool taste of the cucumber combined with the not too strong dill flavor. I spread the Cucumber Dill dip on a pita and topped it with sliced grape tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives and chopped cucumbers. This made for a different and delicious easy lunch, but would also work as an appetizer. You could also substitute the Cucumber Dill Veggie Dip for the cream cheese base on a veggie pizza.

I tasted the Spinach Artichoke with some garlic pita chips and veggies. I preferred the dip with the chips, maybe I just like some extra salt. The dip has a great texture and leaves you feeling much lighter after you eat it than your typical spinach artichoke dip. Lincoln loved it with the pita chips (veggies, hoorah)!

Last, I tried the Salsa Cilantro. I know cilantro can be an acquired taste for some, but this dip has just a touch of cilantro and a hint of southwest. It was great as a straight veggie dip and also good spread on a tortilla with some black bean and corn salsa.

These dips would be great served side by side with a lovely array of colorful veggies or separate and highlighted in their own ways, like some of the quick recipes I have described. However you decide to serve them, I think you will be pleased with the reactions of your guests.

So focus more on your glittery ensemble or fabulous cocktail this New Year’s Eve instead of your bring along appetizer, because Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip has it covered.

We will see you next year!

HAP was one of the blogs selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip review. They provided us with product to test and compensation for our time. However, our opinions are entirely our own.


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Cauldron Beer Cheese Fondue

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble
Easy crafts to make and be seen
Whip up some treats, it’s Halloween!

Halloween is such a fun time of the year, so why not dress up your party like you would yourself? We put together a Double Double Toil and Trouble witch-themed Halloween party for our stint as featured bloggers for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s Halloween Entertaining segment. We used just a few simple store-bought and/or DIY props and paired them with a few delicious fall treats featuring Wisconsin cheeses.

We kicked off our party with a creamy Beer Cheese Fondue, served in a cauldron-like casserole dish with thin Italian breadsticks and sliced baguettes for dipping.

Cauldron Beer Cheese Fondue
3 Tbsp butter
1 C milk
2 Tbsp flour
2/3 C Oktoberfest or amber beer
1 1/2 C Smoked Gouda, shredded
1 1/2 C Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Worchestershire
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour to thicken, taking care not to burn, and then gradually whisk in milk until mixture is semi-thick and smooth. Continue whisking while adding beer. Next, gradually whisk in cheeses allowing each addition of cheese to melt before adding the next. Once cheese is melted, whisk in mustard, Worchestershire and cayenne. Add salt and pepper to taste to bring out flavors.

Serve warm with thin Italian breadsticks and slices of French baguette for dipping. Stick breadsticks into the sliced bread to create “broomsticks”.

Be sure to check back later this week for more Halloween recipes and our Halloween decor ideas!

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Gouda and Apple Tarts

I love apple season and often find myself using apples to sweeten up my dishes.  I wanted to try my hand at a savory apple dish this year and these tarts were just what my taste buds were craving.  The combination of the sweet apple with the Gouda cheese was the perfect match.  These easy tarts can be made in no time and use only 4 ingredients!

Gouda and Apple Tarts

1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
1 apple, thinly sliced ( I used golden delicious)
1 cup shredded Gouda Cheese
Chopped fresh sage

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut your puff pastry into evenly sized rectangles.  I was able to cut mine into 12 pieces.   Place on a cookie sheet and top with about 2 Tablespoons shredded Gouda and a few sliced apples.

Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Top with chopped fresh sage and serve warm.

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The Art of Toddler Food: Snack Time

When Lincoln started on solid foods last year, I thought I had this whole food thing down pat. He ate every colorful vegetable I so lovingly pureed for him. Hooray! I do not have a finicky eater on my hands! Or so I thought…

Once Lincoln started to think a bit more independently (and by a bit, I mean VERY independent), meal and snack time began to change. My once blissful fresh produce state morphed into countless meals dropped on the floor and one frustrated mommy. I don’t necessarily believe it is the taste of the food Lincoln doesn’t like. He will eat peas one day and turn his nose the next. My little food critic decides what he will or will not eat before putting it into his mouth. So I have had to become crafty in making healthy and wholesome food for my pint sized Anthony Bourdain. If eating can be a fun experience, it is more likely the food will be consumed!

Enter: dip. The little man loves to dip his food in sauces. Most often he likes the sauce more than the dipping food. With the help of some healthy, creamy ingredients, I’ve started to create dips I feel better about than anything I can find in the store. (And they are great for moms too!)

Yogurt Veggie Dip

1 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
1/3 C sour cream
1/2 large cucumber, finely diced
1/2 large carrot, finely grated
1 tsp dry dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp table salt

Add yogurt and sour cream to a large bowl. Stir thoroughly. Add cucumber and carrots, mix well. Add dry spices, mix well. Make sure to taste before serving to make sure the spices are to you or your child’s palette.

Serve with cut up fresh vegetables, crackers, pretzel sticks, pita bread or veggie chips.

I like to spoon the dip into individual containers. Lincoln finds himself to be pretty awesome when he has his own bowl in which to dip. It is a great and easy snack to have on hand.

If you don’t have kids, make this for yourself! It is a perfect lunchbox companion for those afternoon office munchies.

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{In the Garden} Heirloom Tomato Tart

I wait all year for my heirloom tomatoes to become ripe. From the smell of the plants to the funky shapes and colors of the tomatoes themselves, I love everything about them.

However a week or so ago, I went out to pick the first ripe one only to find that some critter had taken a nice big bite out of it already. GASP! I figured it was a fluke…until it happened again and again. Every afternoon I would check my tomatoes to see what would be ripe in the morning and every morning the newly ripe one would be compromised. Was it a squirrel? Rabbits? My dog, Lena? The creature was smart enough to only eat the ripe ones. This was war and not one I planned to lose.

I still haven’t figured out the culprit but my battle tactic has been to cage my plants with chicken wire. So far it seems to be working and I’ve been able to harvest a pile of gorgeous tomatoes to make this Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart and an all-fresh batch of our favorite Heirloom Tomato Soup. I’ve heard tales of pepper-vinegar sprays, dog hair, coffee grounds, netting and more deterring animals as well but haven’t tried them.

Have you had issues with garden thieves? How do you prevent animals from eating your tomatoes? What worked or didn’t work for you?
heirloom tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart
Tart Shell
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C shortening
1 C ice water
1/s tsp vinegar

Filling
1/2 C low-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 C half & half
4 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
1-2 heirloom tomatoes
1-2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
handful basil, chiffonade
drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375. Combine ice, water and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Cut in small balls of shortening, spreading them throughout flour. Spoon in 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar water and use a pastry cutter or your hands to work into a dough. Add more water, one Tbsp at a time until dough holds together but is not too sticky. (Tip: If you overdo it with the water, just add a sprinkle more flour to dry things out). Use your hands to push dough into an 11×7 tart pan, working dough evenly up the sides and flattening evenly across the bottom.

In another small bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg, half and half and parmesan cheese until creamy and well-combined. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour filling over dough. Bake for 10 minutes to just set filling. Remove from oven and layer tomatoes and goat cheese on top. Bake for another 30 minutes. Cool slightly and top with basil and a light drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.
heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart
heirloom tomato tart

More Tomato Recipes: FoodNetwork.com Summer Fest

We’re participating in FoodNetwork.com‘s Summer Fest summer vegetable recipe round up with lots of other great food bloggers! Check out these other tasty-looking tomato dishes with the rest of your garden bounty:
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
What’s Gaby Cooking: Zebra Tomato and Burrata Crostini
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox – Garlic Tomato Basil Pesto Bruchetta
Chez Us: Roasted Tomato Sauce
Daily*Dishin: Refreshing and Rustic – Tuscan Bread Salad
Glory Foods: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Dishin and Dishes: Tomato Tart Tatin
The Purple Cook: Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad
I Am Mommy: Tomato Crudite
Cooking With My Kid: Gluten-Free White Bean Chive Cakes with Heirloom Tomatoes
FN Dish: Easy Tomato Appetizers
Add a Pinch: Simple Caprese Salad Skewers
Sweet Life Bake: Salsa Cruda
Virtually Homemade: Farfalle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Bacon and Shaved Romano
Dixie Chik Cooks: Tomato, Basil and Olive Bruschetta
The Sensitive Epicure: Yemista – Greek Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers with Potatoes
Mooshu Jenne: Sun Burst Tomato Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Book Club, Tomatoes and a Recipe for Chicken Provençal?
Cooking With Elise: Tomato Parmesan Biscuits
From My Corner of Saratoga: Cooking from the Garden – Bruschetta Pizza
Fritos and Foie Gras: Tomato Terrine
Creative Culinary: Fresh and Savory Tomato Pie
Big Apple Nosh: Caprese Salad/Tomato Carnage
Spices and Aroma: Quick and Easy Paneer Curry
Zaika Zabardast: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Breakfast Rolls

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