Category Archives: Appetizers

Addison’s Italian Nachos

italian nachosI first had these nachos in college when I visited my sweet friend, Kaitlyn, for the weekend in Columbia, MO. I made the trip from Oklahoma with another good friend of ours.

It was the best girls’ weekend. We never stopped talking and if I remember correctly, we wore sweats the whole weekend.

One night we went to one of Kaitlyn’s favorite restaurants, Addison’s, for dinner and ordered their Nachos Bianco to split.

Addison’s used pasta chips instead of tortilla chips and Asiago and mozzarella in place of Mexican cheeses. Then the nachos were topped with fresh tomatoes, green onion, and banana peppers, which added a fantastic tangy flavor.

italian nachosIn my first attempt at recreating these nachos, I tried making pasta chips by breaking up lasagna noodles, boiling them, then frying them.

The chips tasted good as nachos but the cooking process was too lengthy for these to be the quick, easy nachos I had in mind. So I opted to do some research to find a better method.

There seemed to be a pasta chip consensus on the internet – use wonton wrappers.

They were the perfect solution because they fry up really quickly. It took me about 10 minutes to fry these up in a large skillet.

After the chips are made, all you do is sprinkle on the cheese and either black beans, chicken, or Italian sausage and bake until the cheese is melted, around 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the veggies and then DIG IN. Best when shared with friends. :)

Addison's Italian Nachos

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print

  • 20 wonton wrappers, cut in half to make triangles (makes 40 chips which covers 1 sheet pan)
  • roughly 1 c. canola oil
  • salt for the pasta chips
  • 1 heaping c. shredded good quality Asiago
  • heaping 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella (plus an extra pinch for good measure ;))
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • handful of sliced banana peppers
  • black beans, cooked chicken or cooked Italian sausage

For the chips:

In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Once the oil is hot, add the halved wonton wrappers in batches. They fry very quickly. The chips are done when they turn opaque, bubble up, and turn slightly brown at the edges. Let drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.

For the nachos:

Heat oven to 350º. Spread out the chips on a baking sheet, sprinkle on the cheese and either black beans, chicken or sausage. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle on the tomatoes, green onion, and banana peppers. Serve immediately.

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Recipes for the Holidays

Hey there!

Well, here we are at the WEEK OF Christmas. Boy, did that get here fast! Happy eve’s eve of Christmas eve! Wow, that’s a lot of eves. I can see why that hasn’t become a standard holiday greeting. :)

Anyways, I hope all is going well with your holiday plans. If you need some last minute recipe ideas for appetizers, sides, desserts, or even breakfast, I put together a collection of recipes from around my website for a little inspiration. Here you go!

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

a savory combo of mushroom, spinach, bacon, and thyme topped with cheese

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Fiesta Bites

refried beans & green chiles baked in a wonton wrapper topped with fresh salsa & green onion

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 Cornbread with Rosemary & Caramelized Onions

savory cornbread with the flavorful additions of fresh rosemary & caramelized onions

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Pear Pastries with Honey Whipped Cream

puff pastry baked with slices of pear topped with peach jam and a honey whipped cream

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Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and ginger

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Flat Apple Cranberry Pie

a single crust pie with apples and cranberries mixed with orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg

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Gingerbread Waffles

festive waffles with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sweetened with molasses

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Chai Spiced Muffins

muffins with all the spices of chai tea drizzled with a vanilla glaze

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Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

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I know Christmas decor has been up in stores for awhile and some radio stations already have 24/7 Christmas music but I just felt the excitement of all of the upcoming holidays this week.

It’s like the excitement you feel when you’re looking forward to that girls’ trip you’ve had planned with your besties or a special anniversary trip with your sweetie. Planning and dreaming about it is just as much part of the experience as taking the trip. The anticipation is half the fun.

For me, that buzzing of holiday excitement doesn’t happen just because I see Christmas decor in the stores. It happens when I realize how close they are — next week! Thanksgiving is kicking off the holiday season and I, for one, am stoked for some family time and PIE. :)

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These mushrooms were a spur of the moment idea and a Saturday night experiment with my hubby. After a little tweaking, I really loved how they turned out! Bits of bacon are stuffed inside (always a nice surprise for your tastebuds ;)) and then topped with a garlicky, spinach filling and covered with allll the cheese. Mmm, I think I need to go make some more…

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: approx 12 mushrooms
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 10 oz. mushrooms with stems (I used baby Portobellas)
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1-2 slices cooked bacon or turkey bacon*
  • 1 c. shredded fontina cheese (you could also use mozzarella or Parmesan)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 t. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400º. Clean the mushrooms well, removing any dirt that may be on them. Carefully remove the stems by twisting gently at the base. Set the stems aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the mushroom stems, spinach leaves, garlic cloves, dried thyme, salt, and 1 T. olive oil. Pulse until there are no longer any large pieces of mushroom or garlic and the consistency is fairly smooth. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil, drizzle on 1 T. olive oil and spread around with clean hands. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, tops down. Tear or chop the bacon into really small pieces and place in the cavity of the mushroom. Next, cover the bacon with the mushroom/spinach mixture. Gently press & stuff to get as much as you can in the mushrooms. Top with the fontina cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.

*If you’re going to prepare a whole package of bacon, I recommend baking it. Then you can continue working on the mushrooms and filling while it bakes instead of having to keep an eye on it.

Spicy Garlic Parmesan Wings

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Sports! Game day! Stats! Tailgating! Playoffs!

I think this is what comes to mind for most people when wings are mentioned.

I grew up watching sports because both of my brothers played multiple sports. If I don’t personally know someone playing, I don’t really keep up with a team (local, college, or professional). Shocking for an Oklahoma girl, I know.

I have absolutely nothing against sports. They just aren’t on my weekly radar minus one exception. My hubby loooves the St. Louis Cardinals. He keeps up with them and I keep up with them through him.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a sports fanatic to enjoy some wings.

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I’m not going to claim these are healthy but I will claim they are probably healthier than restaurant wings. They are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and covered in garlicky-Parmesan.

These are baked and we’re actually using baking powder to get them crispy. What the what?! Fo realz… the baking powder helps dry out the skin which makes them crisp up and get golden brown. #chemistry I promise you won’t even know there was baking powder on them by the time they’re done baking.

Spicy Garlic Parmesan Wings; Recipe or Not

makes roughly 20-24 wings

For the wings:

  • 2 lbs. chicken wings (the small hot wing size)
  • 1 T. baking powder (trust me, you will NOT taste this)
  • a good pinch of salt & pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • pinch of dried parsley
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less depending on how spicy you like wings)

Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse the wings and dry them really well. Toss them with the baking powder, salt, and pepper then spread them out on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up. Bake them for 50 minutes or until they are golden brown and the tops are crispy. In the last few minutes of baking, prepare the sauce – stir together the butter, olive oil, garlic powder, and parsley. In a large bowl, toss the wings in the sauce, grated parmesan, and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

***Like this recipe? Share it with a friend and if you want free weekly recipes, click ‘Get recipes!’ on the top of the sidebar and enter your email address.

Mini Pepper Nachos

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A few weeks ago my husband and I were over at my parent’s house and I stumbled upon my diary from when I was nine. It included such treasures as this:

Dear Diary,

It’s me, Jordan. I just wanted to say that I love writing in this diary.

Love, Jordan

PS – I will probably write again later!

My family and I couldn’t stop laughing at the funny musings of my nine year old self.

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Ironically, I turned twenty-five over the weekend and it has me feeling like I’m really an adult now, as if the last few years were just the preteen stage of adulthood.

The good news is whether I’m a real adult or not, I can still stuff my face with nachos. Nachos are for all ages!

minipeppernachos

I made dinner out of these nachos but they could certainly be appetizers as well. They will satisfy your cheesy nacho craving while giving you a boost in your veggie intake. Mini pepper nachos for the win. :)

Mini Pepper Nachos; adapted from my sis-in-law, Emily

serves 4-6 as an appetizer, serves 2 for dinner

10-15 mini peppers*, cut in half, remove seeds
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast**, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 medium onion, diced
1- 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used a combo of pepper jack & monterey jack.)
Dash of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, & pepper to season the chicken
1 T. olive oil
Tomato & cilantro for topping
Salsa & guacamole for dipping

The Prep: Preheat oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken for about 10-12 minutes, seasoning with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Add in the onion and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the onions are becoming translucent, 2-3 minutes. In an oven proof skillet or 9×9 baking dish, lay the pepper halves on the bottom, next layer on the chicken & onions, top with the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are heated through. Top with fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Dip in salsa and guacamole.

*If you can’t find mini peppers, cut regular bell peppers into 2 inch pieces. I would estimate 2-3 bell peppers to be equivalent.

**You could also use beef or turkey or for a vegetarian option, use black or pinto beans. Use the same seasonings.

Grilled Caesar Salad

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I love finding cooking inspiration at restaurants.

Whenever I eat out, I make mental notes of dishes that really stand out to me.

It doesn’t happen often but every once in awhile, I’ll come across something that really peaks my interest.

Today, I’m bringing you one of those restaurant-inspired dishes.

I had this Caesar salad as a side dish once and was so intrigued by the grilled romaine and the flavor it added. It was topped by big Parmesan shavings, thin, crispy flatbread, and a house made dressing that had a hint of lemon. YUM.

The flavor of that salad stuck with me and I just had to give it a try myself!

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So here we are with a big ol’ plate of grilled Caesar salad.

Since I live in an apartment and don’t have a grill, I borrowed my dad’s. It was really nice having a co-griller. (Thanks, Dad!)

My family was around and got to sample the goods. It was fun for me to share it with them (and nice having people to help eat all the salad so I didn’t have a ton of leftovers). The grilled romaine was a hit!

Grilledcaesar

We’re not grilling the romaine to a charred crisp. I would just call it… flavor enhancement. We’re cutting the romaine in half and grilling each side for a few minutes. It’ll get slightly brown and a little wilted but not in a salad-left-in-the-fridge-too-long kind of way and the rib of the romaine leaves still have their crunch.

This was super fast to put together and could be a weeknight dinner if you added some chicken, shrimp, or other protein.

Grilled Caesar Salad; Recipe or Not

serving size: one head of romaine would be enough for a dinner salad for two if you add chicken, shrimp, or some kind of protein. As a side salad, it would probably be enough for 3-4 people. 

  • 1 head of romaine, cut in half
  • 2 slices of bread cut in half
  • Your favorite Caesar dressing
  • Grated Parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice, optional
  • Several tablespoons of olive oil

The Prep: Rinse and pat dry the romaine halves. Lightly brush both sides of the romaine halves and bread with olive oil. Heat grill to medium heat and grill both sides of the romaine and bread for 4-5 minutes. The romaine should have some browning but not be burnt and the bread should be toasted and crispy. Gently cut up the romaine to bite size pieces and toss with the dressing, Parmesan, black pepper, and lemon juice. Enjoy with the grilled bread!

Fiesta Bites

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These little bites are actually quite hearty with a refried bean and green chile filling contrasted by fresh salsa and a pop of green onion. All this goodness is contained by a crisped wonton wrapper and perfectly sized for party munching!

I’m telling you upfront – it’s all about the salsa here. Fresh salsa is what puts the fiesta in these fiesta bites. Bad salsa = No fiesta. Got it? Mmkay, good because we want fiesta and lots of it!

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Fiesta Bites; Recipe or Not

Makes 24 bites

1 can refried beans

1 small can diced green chiles

Fresh salsa (I love the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, get it here!)

Diced green onion (a couple tablespoons should do)

1 pkg of 24 wonton wrappers

The Prep: Preheat oven to 350° and spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Carefully press each wonton wrapper into the cups of the mini muffin pan, make sure the edges don’t fold in. Mix the the refried beans and green chiles and spoon the bean mixture into each wonton wrapper cup. You may need to press down to the get the bean mixture to the bottom of the cup and the cups should be fairly full. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the wonton wrappers start to turn brown. Let the bites cool for a few minutes, then spoon salsa on the tops of each one and sprinkle with green onion. Enjoy!

Notes: I ended up with some leftover bean mixture and suggest making bean burritos if you have any left – delish!