Category Archives: Appetizers

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Fall is my favorite. Seriously, I love summer, winter, spring & fall. But I don’t think that I anticipate any season more than FALL! Scarves, pumpkins, and leaves galore!

Last week we went to the pumpkin patch & got a few pumpkins to carve. Pax was not really a fan of participating in the carving~ but loved the finished product. He keeps saying “pumpkin” “happy” because Steve carved the pumpkin with a smiley face. It’s so adorable.

Today we added another word to his growing vocabulary…. Pumpkin Seeds. Seriously. Too cute. The child keeps asking for pumpkin seeds. The recipe below is the reason for that!

These are so good that I really want to go out & buy more pumpkins just so I can roast more seeds.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, washed & patted dry

Melt butter & mix with other seasonings. Then toss with pumpkin seeds. Roast in the oven at 275 for approximately an hour & 15 minutes stirring occasionally. The end result:


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Filed under Appetizers, Snacks

Greek Dip (and Cheesy Ham and Quinoa cups)

We had some friends over last night to play Euchre.

We would call Euchre a “Wisconsin” card game, but apparently, Indiana and Illinois like to say they own it too. Regardless, it’s a fun game to play with 4 people, good food and refreshing drinks.

I made two yummy recipes from Iowa Girl Eats website~

First, I made the cheesey, ham, quinoa cups ~ They were definitely yummy (but I forgot to spray the pan the first time!! AH. So not cool. They still came out, mostly :)). The second batch was better. Pax LOVED LOVED them. I’ll be making them again just for him. I modified Kristen’s recipe slightly… you essentially dump 3 eggs, 2 c. shredded yellow squash, 2 c. cooked quinoa, 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar, 1 tbsp grated red onion, 5 chives (diced), 2 tbsp grated parm cheese, 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (this is SO good in here!), 1 c. finely diced ham, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Then SPRAY a mini muffin pan and load up the cups 🙂 Bake at 350 for 20-25 min. Kristen said 15-20 but I found mine needed to bake a bit longer with the changes. Next time I think I’d add more seasonings as well. They could have used a bit of kick! Head over to IGE to see the amazing photos 🙂


The second recipe was this AMAZING greek dip. There aren’t words for how awesome this dip was… so awesome that I just ended in a preposition… (nerd alert).

You essentially just layer greek yogurt (I used Fage 2% greek yogurt) and hummus (I used roasted pinenut from Sabre) on a plate and then top with your traditional greek-ish toppings. I used tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden and then kalamata olives (pitted obviously), chives, and red onion (finely minced). Then you top it with parsley for a lovely look. I was suppose to put feta on top but I totally forgot!! I didn’t miss it though. 🙂 The Hummus was too darn good. Here’s the link to the original recipe.

Make this for a party or for a meal… full disclosure. I did both. Two days in a row. 🙂 First for the card game and then for my lunch the next day. The first night we served with crackers and then for lunch I ate it with fresh cucumbers. The hummus makes this dish so make sure you make or buy a tasty brand!


Filed under Appetizers, Baby "Pete"

Football Food…

AKA How to gain 10 lbs in one night

We are watching the Badger vs. Michigan State game and it’s giving me high blood pressure.

So I’ve decided to blog about the food I made tonight WHILE watching the game. The distraction is good for my pulse.

I made a bunch of yummy snacks for the 2nd to last badger game of the year.

  • White chocolate, cherry, cinnamon oatmeal cookies
  • Roasted garlic hummus
  • Baked feta artichoke dip
  • Bacon & brownsugar wrapped lil’ smokies

Here are the recipes for two of the 4…

Bacon & Brown Sugar Smokies
-1 pack Lit’l Smokies
-1 pack bacon (maple bacon is the best, but any kind works)
-Brown sugar

1. Cut the bacon into thirds (this could vary, depending on the length of the bacon you have, but you’ll want pieces that wrap all the way around the smokies).
2. Dredge the smokies in brown sugar.
3. Wrap each smokie in one piece of cut bacon.
4. Arrange in single layer in pan (they get messy, so I usually lay down foil for easy cleanup).
5. Sprinkle more brown sugar over wrapped smokies in pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bacon is cooked (again, this varies somewhat depending on the size of the pan and how close together the smokies are. Just make sure they don’t get too crispy because the brown sugar can burn and get hard).
7. Stick a toothpick in each smokie and serve hot.

Baked Feta Artichoke Dip

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped finely
6 oz feta cheese
1/2 red pepper chopped (I used a roma tomato for color b/c red peppers were SO expensive!!
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 c. mayo (I used light)

Mix together. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and top is a bit brown. I actually broiled it for awhile tonight to get a nice brown top :)

Serve with pita bread or ritz crackers.

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Snack Mix (aka, salty/sweet crack)

This stuff is addictive. Do NOT make it unless you want to consume handful after handful.

A few years back Steve and I went over to my cousin’s house and she made this snack. We couldn’t get enough of it. For some reason it came to mind a few days ago and I just had to make it!  This recipe is also very versatile. I actually forgot the fritos in this round~ but it was just as yummy. Some people use popcorn instead of the corn puffs… really you can toss anything “trail-mixy” in here and it will taste awesome.  Here is the Halloween version that made me remember this dish. Here’s a s’mores version… yummy. This one is next on my list!

  • 1 bag Fritos (the regular size)
  • 1 bag Pretzels (I like the mini twists)
  • 1 bag white cheddar corn puffs (OR popcorn but the corn puffs are SO MUCH BETTER!)
  • Approx 1 c. nuts, any kind (I used pecans)
  • 1 large package M&Ms
  • 1 pkg. Almond Bark (white chocolate coating)

I set out 2 large jelly roll pans and tossed all of the ingredients except the almond bark on them. Then you melt the almond bark in the microwave and drizzle over the other ingredients. Toss to coat (this is easiest with your hands!) Flatten out on the pans and let sit till hard. I actually needed the white chocolate coating to harden in a hurry so I popped the pans in the freezer for a few minutes each. Presto yummy 🙂



Filed under Appetizers, Dessert

Mostly Sweet & Semi-Savory Spiced Pecans

Regardless of what you call them…. “Pee-c-ah-ns”, “Peh-cah-ns”, or “Pee-ceh-ns”… these are YUMMY and super versatile.

Just before Easter, Steve & I picked up dinner to go at Whole Foods. He got a broccoli red onion salad and LOVED it. I decided to recreate it. One of the ingredients was a type of spiced pecan. My recreation of the pecans is below 🙂 and in case you were wondering…. the broccoli salad was a big hit too!!

  • 2 c. Pecans
  • 2 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey (a good glug)
  • 1 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp canola oil

Spray a light colored cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients with your hands; it’s the easiest way to coat them all! Spread on the cookie sheet.

Bake at 300degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 min or so. Take out when they seem coated & start to become fragrant. I removed them from the pan immediately and put them on a plate to cool. The coating gets crunchy after cooling

These are GREAT in a Red Onion & Broccoli Salad! Mixed with some granola. In trail mix. In a chicken salad sandwich.  YUM! The ideas are ENDLESS!


Filed under Appetizers

Salmon Cakes

YUM! Salmon cakes baby!

I’ve always L.O.V.E.D. crab cakes, but crab is just so darn expensive. Salmon cakes make a great alternative! Above is a shot of the “pre-cooked” cakes & below is a shot of the completed ones 🙂

Salmon Cakes Ingredients

  • 1 package salmon, chicken of the sea brand, vacuum packed
  • 3/4 c. bread crumbs (I’ve used both seasoned & unseasoned), divided
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp pimento
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1  egg white
  • 1/3 c. lowfat mayo

Sauce ingredients

  • low fat mayo
  • grey poupon

Take about 1/4 c. of the bread crumbs and 1/8 c. of the parm cheese. Combine & set aside on a small plate.

In a large bowl combine the rest of the salmon cake ingredients. Shape into 4 portions (if you’re serving as a meal). This will yield 2 servings (2 cakes per person). You could also make them smaller if you’re going to use them as appetizers!

Flatten each portion between your hands & press both sides into the bread crumb/parm mixture. Put in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes. Turning once in the middle of the cooking time.

Mix up sauce ingredients at a 1:1 ratio (or however you’d like!) Serve warm.

I wish I had more to say today~ unfortunately I’ve got 60 6-7 page papers to grade! Time to get at it!! Have a great weekend.

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Filed under Appetizers, Recipes, Seafood

Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

Well, life is crazy busy right now, but when isn’t it? I like to try to take time to cook as it calms me down! So here’s a recipe that my good friend Kim gave me last year. It’s taken me awhile to make it, but it was well worth the wait. Super yummy. This one’s a real crowd pleaser.

If I didn’t have to teach tonight, I would definitely be mixing up a yummy dip like this one for the Packer-Viking game… Did I mention I am beyond nervous about that match up. Yeah. Stressed about a football game. Probably best that I won’t be able to watch. I just pray the both teams play with professionalism and good sportsmanship. We’ll see…

On to the dip!


Artichoke Jalapeno Dip
Adapted Kim’s recipe 🙂

Time:  45 minutes ** However, if serving cold it needs to chill for at least 4 hours before serving
10 servings

•  1 tablespoon vegetable oil (omitted)
•  2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped finely (I used only one can of artichokes b/c steve is not a fan)
•  4 garlic cloves, chopped
•    1 cup mayonnaise (low fat)
•    1 block cream cheese, softened (low fat)
•  1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
•  1/2 cup drained and chopped bottled pimiento
•  1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (used romano)
•     ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
•  1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
•  4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
•  3 bottled pickled jalapeno peppers, or to taste, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
•  1 teaspoon celery salt
•   2 tablespoons fresh rosemary and 2 tbsp fresh chives (used dried rosemary & skipped the chives)
•    I added in 1 green pepper, cayenne pepper & cumin to the mix!

I liked this  A LOT better warm… served with ritz crackers.

Brit’s notes… [Used a food processor & pulsed the green pepper till almost pureed. Add the  the artichokes, jalepenoes, garlic & scallions to the processor and roughly chop. Added in the liquid/creamy ingredients. Pulsed till just blended. Bake 375 for 30 min.]
Kim’s detailed instructions 🙂

In a large bowl combine the bell pepper, artichokes, mayonnaise, cream cheese, scallion, pimiento, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice, rosemary, chives, Worcestershire sauce, jalapeno peppers, and celery salt, blend the mixture until it is combined well.
The dish can be served cold or hot.  If serving cold, put above mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
If serving hot, transfer the mixture to a buttered ovenproof 2 quart chafing dish or baking dish. The dip may be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.  Bake the dip in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the mixture is bubbly.


This mixture freezes well. I actually froze the entire mixture post-baking b/c we weren’t able to eat all of it. Then dethawed (in the fridge) and re-baked the dip a week later. It was just as good (if not better) the 2nd time around. Be sure to dethaw in the fridge though… I would imagine microwaving this from frozen might separate out some of the dairy products? (not sure… just a guess).


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Filed under Appetizers, Recipes