I am a Thanksgiving appetizer junkie.Â By the time I finish cooking the actual meal, I am so filled up on appetizers that I have no interest in dinner. Of course, the taste testing I just HAVE to do *innocent smile* as I cook doesn’t help either. Mind you, none of this stops me from loading up a full plate just in case. I then eat three bites, cover the plate and become a total turkey pig a few hours later.
But nothing matches appetizers for me. I love small bites, love being able to pick and choose from nibbles of fun finger foods. One thing I particularly love is cheese. Combine that with what all of you know is one of my downfalls, something creamy, and I become a total glutton. Many years ago, I saw a recipe somewhere or another for Boursin cheese and just had to give it a try. The rest is history. Now I make it each Thanksgiving and Christmas. The original recipe has changed much over the years and I don’t even make it as per the recipe anymore.
This cheese is so darn good! If you love creamy spreads, you’ll love it. It goes great on crackers, veggies, and one way I love to use it to stuff chicken or pork chops with it. I’m a total peasant myself; this cheese spread and some Ritz crackers and I’m in heaven. Add in a glass of wine and yeah, baby, I’m good! 😀
This goes together so quickly you’ll think you missed a step. The most time consuming part; all of three minutes or so, is finely chopping the green onions and the garlic. Such a workout. :-p Then just put it into a pretty serving bowl, set out crackers and others dippers and watch your family and guests go crazy for it. You’re welcome. 😀
You know the drill….. <3
Â Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup good quality Parmesan Cheese (not the grated stuff you sprinkle on spaghetti)
3 tablespoons finely minced green onion (about 1.5 green onions should do it)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon Fine Herbes
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon salt (do NOT use more without taste testing. This is a simple mixture and easy to over salt)
Â In a medium bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat well on medium speed until creamy and fluffy. Scrape bowl once, and beat for another minute or so.
Add in all the rest of the ingredients. Beat well to combine. Give it a small taste test for salt and seasoning. Keep in mind the saltiness of any dippers you may use before adding more salt to the cheese.
Spoon into a serving bowl; smooth top. Serve immediately or refrigerate until about half an hour before serving time.
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This is my last giveaway for 2014 as a Hamilton Beach Ambassador. I’ve had a blast promoting their products this past year! And obviously, I’ve enjoyed getting to own and use some wonderful kitchen appliances, as well as offering them to all of you to enjoy. Today, I’m reviewing and giving away a Hamilton Beach Stack and Snapâ„¢ 10 Cup Food Processor. So far, I’m loving this food processor. It took me a minute to get used to, because it has some differences from the typical one, including my old Hamilton beach processor, but once I figured it out (tip- don’t be like me. Do this weird thing called read the manual that comes with it 😛 ). With this new model, you have to snap the lid into place and you can’t start it unless you have. It also has a feature where you can’t use it with the chute open. You have to put what you want through the chute, then put the thingamajigger (I know… I use too many technical terms) back on. You also can’t, as with most types, pull the blade out when the container is off of the base. You have to have the base on and then snap out the blade. This comes in handy if you’re like me, with a habit of upending the container to empty it and having the blade come out and catch you in the hand. Yay for less 5 inch deep gashes on the hands! The theme the lovely people from Hamilton beach wanted us to follow with this appliance is making something for the holidays. I racked my brain and had thought of Christmas cookies… then 900 other thoughts, but I like waiting to do my posts as an ambassador until after every one else has done theirs (that way Hamilton Beach has people paying attention to them for more than just a couple of highly condensed weeks.), so Christmas ideas were out. So I decided to make a New Years Eve appetizer. Heaven knows that many people need to have some nibbles around to offset the amounts of booze they drink, lol. And I wanted to do something with a good amount of protein for the same reason. So where did I finally settle….? On a delicious Roasted Garlic Hummus. This stuff is sooooo good and this processor helped me create it so easily! if you are convinced you don’t like hummus, I am willing to bet that you haven’t tried it homemade. The flavor is infinitely better, infinitely fresher and this is one of the easiest appetizers (or dinners, if you’re like me at all) you can make. Make this for a party, set out some nice warm pita wedges of pita chips (I also love it with pretzel chips) and you have an immediate hit. This is one that goes fast because all people have to do is dip and eat. No mess, no fuss. I could eat hummus until it was coming out of my ears. It’s nutritious, but it’s so wonderfully creamy that you’d never know it. And you can vary the flavors in it so easily. Make this tonight for whatever get together you’re hosting or going to and then make more when you need a quick and easy game day snack. So when you run to the store today to pick up some more beer or wine, grab the following items too. You’ll love this hummus. Oh yeah… before you leave, make sure you enter to win one of these Hamilton Beach Stack and Snapâ„¢ 10 Cup Food Processor for yourself. I know you’ll love it and find a gazillion uses for it! The giveaway is at theÂ bottom of the page!
Roasted Garlic Hummus
2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, well drained (also known as Garbanzo Beans)
1 head roasted garlic, cloves taken out and lightly smashed (plus more for garnish. Whatever you donâ€™t use can be stored in the fridge)
2 tablespoons Tahini (Sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons lemon juice (more if needed after you give this a taste test)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (use the lower amount first, taste after processing, then add the extra 1/4 teaspoon if needed)
Dump the chickpeas into the bowl of your food processor. Add all the other ingredients on top.
Â Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again. taste for salt and lemon; add more if needed and process for another 10 seconds or so.Â Spoon into a serving bowl.3. Add some extra roasted garlic on top for garnish.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4.Serve with warm pita wedges, celery or carrot sticks, or pretzels. Â Â Â
Unique, patent-pending design requires no difficult twisting & locking
Simple function guide shows you which blade to use & which button to press
Big MouthÂ® feed tube reduces pre-cutting
Sealed bowl prevents leaks
Powerful 450 watt motor
Reversible slice/shred disk
Chopping S-blade locks into bowl and stays put during pouring
Dishwasher safe blades, bowl, and lid
The easiest food processor assembly ever Gone are the days of complicated positioning and twisting the bowl and lid into place. With the Hamilton BeachÂ® Stack & Snapâ„¢ Food Processor, the bowl is specially designed to fit directly on the base (with no twisting required) and the lid snaps securely to the bowl with simple locking clips for safe operation. No more guessing whether itâ€™s put together correctly, just â€œstackâ€ and â€œsnapâ€ the parts into place! The kitchen helper you’ll use for every meal Mix up a quick pancake batter. Chop onions without the tears. Puree a bowl of nutritious soup. Slice cucumbers evenly for a perfect salad. Chill, then shred or grate your favorite cheese for a variety of dishes. Large feed chute means less prep work Are you still pre-cutting all your ingredients? If you’re doing that, why bother with a food processor at all? The Hamilton BeachÂ® Stack & Snapâ„¢ 10 Cup Food Processor accommodates both large and small ingredients, so you can spend less time pre-cutting your ingredients and more time enjoying them. Unique bowl features Many food processors come with a maximum liquid fill line, so if you are preparing soup you need to process multiple batches. The sealed bowl holds up to 10 cups of liquid, which reduces the need for multiple batches when processing soups or other liquids. Another great feature is the S-blade stays locked in the bowl when pouring, so you donâ€™t need to pick the blade out of the processor or worry that it might fall out when you are pouring. A simple snap secures the lid on to the bowl, with no twisting and locking needed. Includes everything you need This powerful food processor comes with a 10 cup bowl, which is the ideal size for most of your home cooking needs. It also includes a reversible slice/shred disc and S-blade for chopping, mixing and pureeing. Cord storage in the back keeps things tidy when not in use. Easy to use Disc attachments are reversible and labeled, which takes the guesswork out of processing. The label should face up for the desired function. When using disc attachment, do not process foods past the MAX LEVEL indicator on the bowl. Many processing options Between the S-blade and the reversible slicing/shredding disc, you have many choices available. Use the S-blade for chopping nuts, meat, garlic, onions, peppers, celery, herbs, bread (for crumbs), and crackers. Also, use it to mince/puree vegetables and fruits, mix salad dressings, puree soups or sauces, and to grate cheese. Use the slicing disc (slicing side facing UP) to slice cucumbers, apples, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, pepperoni, peppers, radishes, firm cheeses. Use the shredding disc (shredding side facing UP) to shred cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and cheese.
I think I have mentioned before that I have a strong love for the not so usual ethnic foods. I mean, I enjoy the ubiquitous Italian, Chinese and Mexican (most of which will be sadly Americanized), but when I really get excited is when I try something Indian or Thai or Middle Eastern. It all starts with the smells. The scents of what, to most Americans are, exotic spices, wafting through the house, just makes me happy. It also make me drool copiously but I just wear a bib and hope no one notices. It’s a cute bib with little pink duckies. Wait…too much info? Then the flavors, which may be familiar to those who grew up with them, but to my American palate, are still exciting, even though I have been eating and cooking “foreign” foods for close to 2 decades now.
So the following recipe is one I was so happy to find. I mean, what more does one need? It sends wonderful smells through the house while at the same time, it’s not so unusual as to make my kids balk. It also is made with potatoes that end up ultra buttery and ultra crispy. Crispy potatoes ftw!!
How did I get this recipe, you say? I was asked by a dear friend if I wanted to be part of a facebook based blogger group called Blogger C.L.U.E. Society (ok, so she actually said I had no choice so I may as well just gracefully accept) where, every month, we feature a recipe from a fellow blogger in the group. The twist is that we don’t know who has who until the day the blog posts go live and, the challenging part for me, as is obvious to anyone who has been reading here for a while, is that we can’t really modify the recipe. We are to keep it the way it was written. Do you have ANY idea how hard that was for me?!Â We search the blog we are given for a recipe fitting that months theme- this months is “Food that youâ€™d love to have on your Thanksgiving table”. I was all over that theme. You all know how much I love the foods this time of the year. This month I was tickled to get the blog Lawyer Loves Lunch. Azmina was a new blogger to me; I’m not sure how I had missed her! I love her dry wit and writing style and I absolutely LOVE these potatoes Crispy, buttery and they made my house smell fantastic. I will still have to make regular mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or my family will lynch me, but I also plan on making a batch of these.
You know the drill…. 🙂
Crispy Tandoori Smashed Potatoes
1 lb mini Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper
Boil potatoes in a large pot in salted water until they are easily pierced but not falling apart.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with oil (I also lined mine with foil to make cleanup quicker). Line up the potatoes on the sheet with about 2 inches between each one.
Use a potato masher to smash each potato. You want more or less flat potatoes with nice ridges on them, to help hold all the buttery goodness.
In a small bowl, microwave the butter and spices. Brush each potato with some of the spiced butter.
Bake at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and crispy and browned around the edges.
What did we think- we loved them! Like I said up there, buttery, crispy potatoes with a ton of flavor. What’s not to love?
What would I maybe change up next time?-Â I think I might add a bit more of the spices, plus maybe add some curry powder or garam masala.Â Otherwise, not a thing. These are delicious!
There are some other bloggers in this group who you really need to check out. I have a list for you of everyone who is participating. Go and give them a look and see who they got and what delicious recipe THEY chose to make! Somewhere in there you’ll find the person who got my blog *bites nails nervously* I don’t know who it is, just know that I hope they liked whatever they created!
I remember back in the day when I waitressed. I’ve been lucky enough the last few years to be a stay at home mom because I have the most awesome husband ever, but I worked in all forms of the service industry for many many years. Back in the mid 80’s, during my first marriage, I worked at a restaurant called T.J. Applebees. Yep, that was how what we now know as Applebees started. This was in Houston and was one of their first restaurants.
This place was big on appetizers, beer and TV’s playing sports; one of the original sports bars/restaurants. Every Friday night they would have appetizer and drink specials to lure in the hungry masses. You could get ten cent wings (Gosh, I miss the days of ten cent wings lol. Now if you’re lucky, you can find 50 cent wing specials), quarter draft beers, 2 dollar pitchers of margaritas (more tip money spent on those than I care to recall hehe) and a plate of potato skins for a buck. Back then, potato skins weren’t as common. You could find them at places like T.J.’s and the like but no one really made them at home. Now though, they are a common game day snack.
I wanted to make them a bit more upscale though. I absolutely love the original way with cheddar cheese and bacon but I figured they could be made a bit more “knife and fork worthy” if that makes any sense. So instead of the normal toppings, we have some pan browned pancetta, creamy brie (mixed with a bit of Monterey Jack for tang) and some shallots that have been sliced thin, dredged in a touch of flour then fried in the drippings from the pancetta. Then each skin is sprinkled with some Fleur De Sel. Serve these with a bowl of sour cream and green onions and you have a snack worthy of eating with your pinky held out haughtily.
This is a multi step recipe but none of the steps is difficult. The most time consuming part is scooping out the potatoes. After that, it’s all prep.
You know the drill. Git to cookin’.
Potato Skins With Pancetta, Brie & Fried Shallots
6 medium potatoes
8 ounces cubed pancetta
12 ounces good quality brie, room temp (preferably a triple creme brie)
4 ounces freshly shredded monterey jack cheese, brought to room temp AFTER grating)
5 large shallots, sliced thin and tossed in 1 tablespoon flour
Fleur De Sel or Sea Salt
1 cup sour cream
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Take each potato and wrap tightly in a piece of foil. Why? Because if you bake these, then bake them again later to melt the topping and crisp them, you end up with shriveled potatoes. Boiling them in foil gives you very pretty unwrinkled potatoes.
Simmer the potatoes in water in a large pot for about 40 minutes or until a fork poked into the middle of the biggest one goes in easily.
Carefully remove the foil and let potatoes cool completely on a wire rack.
When cool, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, carefully spoon/scrape out the center of each potato half, leaving about a quarter inch thick shell.Cover the scooped out potatoes and save to use for something else. You could toss it also but why waste perfectly god potatoes?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then lay the potatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Make sure they are right next to each other touching because they can then support each other and prevent tipping over once the toppings are in them. Spray the potatoes liberally with cooking spray and place in a 400 degree oven.
While the potatoes crisp up, start on the pancetta. In a medium pan, over medium heat, fry the pancetta until nice and crispy and browned.Â When done, use a slotted spoon to remove to a bowl, leaving the drippings in the pan. Set aside for now.
In the same pan, drop your dredged shallots and cook over medium high heat, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking and burning, until browned and crispy, about five minutes. Spoon out and set aside. If you’re anything like me, do the dishes now because it’s driving you crazy. 😛
In yet another small bowl, mix together your brie and monterey jack. It will be sticky and kind of turn into a sort of cheese ball. This is actually what you want 😀
Take the pan of potatoes out of the oven and fill each skin with a scoop of the cheese mixture, some of the pancetta and some of the fried shallots. Sprinkle each skin with some Fleur De Sel or sea salt.
Place back in the 400 degree oven for about five minutes or until the cheese is totally melted.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and green onions. Serve the potatoes with the sour cream for dipping.
You can serve these potatoes as an appetizer or as a light dinner with a salad. Either way, they are totally delicious!