The greatest meal on a busy holiday eve is a charcuterie board to graze on while you work.
This time of year can be stressful and super busy (normally pre-pandemic) so to make things easier we have gone to making charcuterie boards on the “eve” nights of holidays. The word charcuterie sounds a bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
Charcuterie Boards are suddenly all the rage, but the culinary art of preparing charcuterie boards dates back to the 15th century. The person who prepares the charcuterie board is a charcutier which literally means “Pork Butcher” in French. The original process/meaning was intended as a way to preserve meat before the invention of refrigeration, especially pork products.
The revived comeback of the charcuterie board brings it front and center to our tables and has been born out of the necessity of our busy lives as well as our love for farm to table and deli style meals that are also quick and easy.
Since the original meaning dealt with preserved meats, adding fermented, farm to table, home canned and prepared foods just falls into place along side the meats.
One of the best things about serving a charcuterie board at your own party is that there are NO RULES! It’s yours for the making – make it as simple or as sophisticated as YOU like. One of the greatest aspects of a charcuterie board is that you can mix it all up to fit EVERYONE’S taste.
You can make these as simple or as sophisticated as YOU like. For us it is ALL about favorites and yummy satisfying and filling “bites” of food. Below is a list of some suggestions for building your own charcuterie board for your next party.
Next year I’m going to do a “DESSERT” charcuterie board for a girlfriends party instead of a cookie exchange.
- Breads & Crackers – Crostini with toppings, Artisan Breads, Crackers, Fruitcake
- Spreads – Jams, Chutneys, Dips, Flavored Mustards, Sauces, Dressings, Flavored Honeys, Flavored Horseradishes
- Fermented/Pickled – Stuffed Olives, Pickles, Green Olives, Giardiniera, Peperoncinis, Pickled Carrots, Baby Corn
- Cheeses – Cheddar, Havarti, Brie, Baby Swiss, Gouda, Pimiento Cheese, Manchego, Bleu Cheese
- Meats – Salami, Roast Beef, Pancetta, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Ham
- Nuts & Seeds – Pistachios, Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamias, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Chocolate covered raisins
- Dried fruits – Dates, Prunes, Apricots, Golden Raisins
- Fresh fruits – Grapes, Oranges, Berries, Apple slices, Pears, Grape tomatoes, Kiwi, Starfruit
- Decorations – sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme or Basil
One of the things I have realized lately that is I have become TOO precise in my blogging. Some days it just seems to be a struggle to get the words out so I write my recipe precisely and get it posted without the commentary. Well, that needs to end. Not only do I need to add more commentary to the recipe, I need to get back to regular blogging.
I LOVE cooking and only post those recipes that are successful so I need to use more words and tell you WHY we love the recipe and WHY it works and WHY I use certain flavor combos and cooking dishes. I promise to try and get better starting with this recipe.
It’s fall y’all and tailgating season for NFL and NASCAR on top of that was what I wanted to be able to and intended to write, but time got the best of me and now we’re having it as an appetizer for New Year’s Eve 🙂
Who couldn’t resist this warm to the touch AND the taste buds creamy, cheesy, mouth watering re-fried bean dip???? It is so easy to make AND ALWAYS a crowd favorite, even if that crowd is just the two of us, when you add your favorite tortilla chips and garnishes for that extra crunch.
BAKED BEAN DIP
16 ounce can of FULL FAT re-fried beans
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
4 ounce can diced mild green chiles, drained WELL
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
1-2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Tex Mex seasoning
FRESH ground sea alt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
chopped grape tomatoes
a dollop or two of sour cream
Cotija cheese sprinklings
Tortilla chips, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a large bowl, combine the re-fried beans, sour cream, salsa, seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
- Spread the bean mixture into a 2-quart baking dish (8×8). Personally I like a nice enameled cast iron to retain the heat, but also make it easy to clean.
- Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Bake 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven.
- Top with garnishes of choices
- Serve warm with tortilla chips.
- You CAN use low fat ingredients, but I truly believe the flavor suffers if you do! You can also substitute the sour cream with Greek yogurt, but again I feel that the FULL fat sour cream works best.
- You can also add a protein if you want to load it up
ALTERNATIVE SEASONING BLEND
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika
DRIED BEEF PICKLE DIP
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon onion powder
5 ounces dried beef, chopped and rinsed WELL
1/4 cup small chopped dill pickles
- Beat together sour cream, cream cheese and onion powder, beating until smooth and well blended.
- Fold in dried beef and pickle pieces.
- Cover and chill 2 hours at least.
- Serve with tortilla chips and/or crackers.
HOT ITALIAN SANDWICHES
1 package King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls
1/2 cup QUALITY mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Classico tomato pesto
6 slices provolone cheese
6 slices Tavern ham
6 slices Hard Salami
6 slices oven roasted turkey
6 slices Pastrami
1 cup giardiniera, chopped small
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup FRESH basil leaves
1/2 SMALL red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup River House Parmesan Herb dressing (or a zesty Italian)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Slice the rolls horizontally in half.
- Lightly spray a 11×7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise and pesto until well blended.
- Spread mayonnaise mixture over the cut rolls.
- Place roll bottoms in baking dish.
- Layer the provolone cheese followed by the meats in an even layer.
- Add basil in a single layer followed by the red onion slices and giardiniera.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Place roll tops over the ingredients.
- Gently press to flatten.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and and brush with dressing.
- Bake another 5 minutes.
- Cool slightly before slicing.
- Serve with pepperoncinis and giardiniera.
ALWAYS a favorite for ANY party!
CHEX PARTY MIX
3 3/4 cups corn CHEX cereal
1 1/2 cups wheat CHEX cereal
3 3/4 cups rice CHEX cereal
1 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons LAWRY’S seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon QUALITY garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon QUALITY onion powder
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl toss cereals and nuts together.
- In a small saucepan melt butter.
- Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and seasonings until well blended.
- Pour over cereal and nuts and toss until evenly coated.
- Spread on a large cookie sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring often and rotating cookie sheet as necessary until crisp.
originally posted 6-3-2014
CRISPY HOT HONEY WINGS
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons kosher salt
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Line a sheet pan with foil, then place a metal rack on the pan.
- Mix together the salt, pepper and paprika to make a dry rub.
- Pat the wings dry, then generously sprinkle with the rub on all sides.
- Place them on the rack, making sure they are not touching.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then pull them out.
- Use tongs to turn them over, then put them back in the oven and bake another 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
1 cup QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon Frank’s original hot sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
- Add the honey, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, jalapenos and serranos to a small pot over low heat, stirring to combine well.
- Bring to a simmer and continue cooking 20 minutes or so until reduced and slightly thickened. Stir regularly.
- Remove the wings from the oven and turn the oven to broil.
- One by one, dunk the wings in the sauce.
- Place them back on the rack and broil for 2-3 minutes to caramelize. Watch so they don’t burn.
GARNISH (if desired)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or green onions
Bleu Cheese dressing, for serving
- Place the wings on a platter and sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
- Serve with a bowl of dressing for dipping.
Like most men, my husband LOVES chili dogs. But, we don’t eat much bread these days. So, when I saw Sandra’s recipe for Chili Dog Casserole it was right up our alley! The only thing I did different was make a batch of 49er Chili! 49er chili is an OLD scrap of a recipe I found on one of our recipe box searches in antique stores. This casserole really is like having your chili dog and fries, all in one spot and gets rave reviews from everyone. It’s perfect for picnics, BBQs, church potlucks or backyard get togethers.
CHILI DOG CASSEROLE
6 hot dogs your favorite brand, sliced into small pieces
15 ounce can chili or 1 1/2 cups homemade
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained WELL (I used spicy seasoned)
1 cup shredded or very thinly sliced, carrots (optional – hubby didn’t care for them)
12 ounces crinkle cut French fries, frozen
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium sized skillet, saute the sliced hot dogs until nice and fragrant and seriously browned. We like them really charred 😀
- In a medium bowl, add the hot dogs, chili, tomatoes, and carrots.
- Stir until evenly combined.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Evenly arrange French fries in a single layer on top of the hot dog mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Evenly sprinkle the cheese on top of the fries, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Chile is one of the oldest dishes around and dates back to the Aztecs in Mexico. I assume this one received its name after an old gold miner’s recipe. I have revamped it a little as time went by, but we love it.
2 pounds SMALL lean beef pieces or ground beef
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 medium white or yellow onion, FINELY chopped
2 teaspoons chile powder
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tomato sauce/puree
3/4 cup room temperature beer
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
- Combine the beef, onions and garlic in a large dutch oven and brown SLOWLY.
- Drain off any excess grease.
- Return meat mixture to pan and add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.
1 LARGE can chili beans (optional)
- Stir in beans if using and and simmer 15 minutes more.
2 tablespoons corn flour
1/4 cup water
- Whisk corn flour and water together.
- Stir corn flour mixture into chile.
- Simmer 20-30 minutes more.
- Serve HOT with topping of choice.
Jess is certainly right about one thing – Meatballs are the “little black dress” of party foods. They are completely adaptable and go with just about everything. Whether you serve them for a wedding reception, BBQ, picnic, church potluck, cocktail hour, graduation party or an open house you always have the perfect crowd pleaser! This recipe is made from scratch, but is easy enough and such a refreshing replacement for the typical pre-cooked frozen meatball that you find at those events.
HOISIN MEATBALLS aka ASIAN KETCHUP MEATBALLS adapted from Cooking is my Sport who adapted it from Food Network Magazine and Cooks Illustrated
3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
2 tablespoons FINELY minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 1/2-2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 LARGE eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Line two baking sheet pans with aluminum foil and place two wire racks on top of each pan. Lightly spray with non-stick baking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and sausage with the ginger, garlic, sugar, pepper, and scallions.
- Add the liquid aminos and eggs.
- Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the panko breadcrumbs and mix together by hand, but don’t knead it too much though, or the meatballs may be tough. If the mixture seems too wet, you can always add the extra 1/2 cup more of the panko breadcrumbs to tighten it up.
- Shape into meatballs (about 2 heaping tablespoons each).
- Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) rack in an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes on the middle rack, or until browned.
3 teaspoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 cups orange or pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, white and green parts sliced 1/8 inch thick on bias
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Sesame seeds, optional
- Melt about 3 teaspoons of avocado oil in a medium sized saucepan and heat until shimmering.
- Add the grated ginger and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant.
- Add the Hoisin sauce, juice, and broth and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the saucepan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces and thickens to desired consistency.
- Stir in the sesame oil and the scallions.
- Season with FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.
Okay, this sounds like a strangely weird combination of ingredients, but guess what? They work together REALLY well! These go fast and are asked for often so indulge yourself and enjoy!
CHILI LIME CHICKEN WINGS
2 1/2 pounds whole chicken wings or thighs
1 cup PURE maple syrup
2/3 cup chili sauce
Juice of lime juice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons paprika
Neutral oil for frying
1 bunch green onions, sliced
- In a large sauce pan whisk together the maple syrup, chili sauce and lime juice.
- Bring to a SLOW boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30-45 minutes until reduced and sticky thick.
- Combine the flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag.
- Add chicken pieces, tossing to coat, shaking off excess.
- Heat oil in dutch oven to 375°.
- Fry chicken pieces 6-8 minutes until cooked through. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN!!!!
- Drain chicken pieces on paper toweling.
- Transfer chicken to a large shallow baking dish and pour sauce over, turning chicken pieces to coat well.
- Garnish with green onions and lime wedges.
- Serve immediately.
NOTE: I often use a stick of butter or crisco and fry the chicken pieces like grams taught me – cooking on one side until the bleed and then turning them for the same amount of time on the other side.
SEVEN LAYER DIP TACO CUPS Servings: 12
6 flour tortillas (8-10 inch)
1 14-ounce can re-fried beans
2 cups grated Cheddar Jack cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup salsa
¾ cup sour cream
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 tomato, finely diced*
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Cut flour tortillas into large squares and then divide each into quarters, making 4 smaller equally sized square pieces, per flour tortilla.
- Generously coat a standard-size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- Line each cup of prepared muffin tin with a tortilla sheet.
- Spoon a tablespoon of re-fried beans into each sheet.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese over each sheet.
Place another sheet of tortillas on top of the bean/cheese mixture and press so it flatten.
- Cook for 15 minutes.
- Spoon in a tablespoon of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa into each cup then top with green onions and tomato.
NOTE: I sometimes skip the fresh tomato if I don’t have one and use a can of Rotel original tomatoes, drained WELL!
Using the air fryer to make these chicken wings is, in my opinion, THE best way to prepare them. They are PERFECTLY seasoned, SUPER crisp, salty, peppery and garlicky ALL at the same time! They have crisp salty skins with a hint of garlic, lemon and pepper in EVERY bite. These are seasoned to perfection and cook so fast with no marinating required!
LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN WINGS (AIR FRYER) serves 4
1 pound chicken wing drummettes
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon Frank’s Original hot sauce
2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Hidden Valley ranch powder
- Thoroughly pat dry chicken wings with paper towels and place in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the hot sauce and avocado oil.
- Toss to coat in oil and hot sauce mixture.
- Sprinkle with garlic salt, lemon pepper and ranch seasoning.
- Toss to evenly coat with seasoning.
- Place on air frying basket, spacing evenly and air fry at 400˚ for 7 minutes per side, a total of 14 minutes, or until chicken wings are crisp and golden brown on the outside.
- Serve with a side of your favorite ranch or bleu cheese dressing. We use Bob’s Big Boy.
BLOODY MARY SHRIMP COCKTAIL adapted from Ree @ Pioneer Woman
1 cup jalapeno ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/2 tablespoon vodka
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
16 peeled, de-veined and cooked extra-large shrimp (about 1 pound), tails on
1/2 celery stalk, finely diced, plus 16 small celery stalks with leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Mix together the ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, vodka lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the sauce to 16 shot glasses, then top each with a shrimp and a sprinkle of diced celery.
- Place a celery stalk with leaves into each glass.