Cranberry Salsa

I was so excited when I found this recipe. First, it was another no-cooking-involved appetizer that was still fun and festive. Second, I knew any leftovers would be awesome alongside my favorite use of leftover turkey – Turkey Cranchiladas. Seriously, though – can you think of a better day-after-Thanksgiving meal?

If you’ve already have your Thanksgiving menu set, keep this in mind for Christmas. The color is such a beautiful, rich red that would be super festive on a holiday table!


Cranberry Salsa
(from Bake-aholic)
Makes about 2 cups

1 (12 oz.) package of fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
1 green onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin

Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips.

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread

I’m thankful for a lot. My husband who works so hard for our family in so many ways. My little guy whose smiles just make my day. That we’re all healthy, fed and safe. And my friends – because I really don’t know where I’d be without them.

Last night, we had some friends over to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. Friends I went to middle school with who have loved me since before I’d really learned to love myself. Friends from college who have been supportive of us as we dated, got married and grew the family. And newer friends, who helped me stay sane during the early months of motherhood. It was just a small cross-section of our friends, but as I looked around the table it reminded me just how lucky we are.

I think something that often gets lost in prep for these big meals is that the goal is really to spend time together – not hours cooking. With that in mind, I whipped up a few no-cook appetizers. This one is whipped up in about five minutes and can be ahead of time. For a busy day like Thanksgiving, it’s a definite winner.


Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread
(from Pen and Fork)
Makes about 2 cups

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup dried cranberries, plus a tablespoon for garnish
3/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, except cranberries for garnish, in a food processor and pulse until nearly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers or toast points.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I often tease my husband that he must have had a boring childhood because he doesn’t know 99% of the kid songs I know and he doesn’t get any of my Sesame Street references – and this started way before we had kids. There’s a few times he’s been able to tease me back – and making pumpkin seeds is one of them.

His family always roasted their seeds as a part of the annual pumpkin carving festivities. We never did. And now that I found a recipe I really like, I’m happy to incorporate them into our new family traditions.


This year was Jake’s first time helping with everything – he was unimpressed with the pumpkin and the seeds. Here’s to hoping he grows to love it!


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table)
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne

Rinse the seeds until they’re free of all pumpkin. Place in a pot and add 4 cups of water and the salt. Bring the pot to a boil then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter and spices. Add in the pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread out the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Hummus

I was lamenting to myself the other day that I had so many recipes bookmarked for football season that didn’t get made – and then I realized it’s March. March Madness is right around the corner! I’m very ready to binge-watch basketball and get annoyed when my bracket implodes.

For fun, I put together a bracket group for Kate’s Recipe Box readers. Click here to join and fill out your bracket once teams are announced. It’s free and I’ll be sending the group winner some goodies!

And if you need some game-watching munchies, this is a great option. I always associate buffalo flavor with junk food so, to me, this tastes “bad” without any of the deep-fried guilt.


Buffalo Hummus
(from Fettle Vegan)
Makes about 2 cups

1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. Frank’s buffalo sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp.olive oil

In a food processor, combine everything except olive oil and pulse until well combined. Add olive oil and process until well combined and at desired consistency.

Queso Blanco

Every once in a while, I have a meal I’m really excited about that ends up un-bloggable. This queso was part of one I made recently. It was one element of the burritos I was making. I made this ahead and really liked it – so much so that I was worrying all my chip-dipping wasn’t going to leave enough for the meal. I figured I’d photograph it quickly just in case.

And wouldn’t you know, the burritos kind of sucked. But they were drenched in this queso, so decent, but not worth blogging. Or making again. The queso, though? Totally something I’ll make again.


Queso Blanco
(from Center Cut Cook)
Makes about 3 cups

1 lb. white american cheese, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1/2-1 tablespoon oil
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
Black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering and then add the jalapeno and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the cheese and stir until almost completely melted. Stir in half and half until desired consistency is reached (you may use more or less than 1/2 cup, depending on your preference). Season to taste with pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with diced tomato.

Garden Fresh Salsa

So, rolling with the tomato theme – the other way my husband will eat fresh tomatoes! You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

I’m loving this version because we have tomatoes, onions and hot peppers in the garden currently  – so I can walk out the back door and grab the ingredients whenever I want and mix this up in about ten minutes.

I’m going to miss the garden when the season is over!


Garden Fresh Salsa
(slightly adapted from
Makes about 2 cups

4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 small onion
1 hot pepper (I used a Serrano pepper)
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse one of the tomatoes, onion, hot pepper and garlic until finely chopped but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl.

Dice remaining tomatoes. Stir into the processed mixture. Stir in lime juice and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


You know how I said we had zucchini in the garden? That lasted for, oh, five minutes. Once again, our plants died off without producing much.

Tomatoes, though, are going strong. We’ve never had so many. Which is both awesome – I love it – and a pain in the butt – Mark doesn’t eat fresh tomatoes. Bruschetta is one of the only ways Mark will eat fresh tomatoes (salsa being the other), so I’ve been making this in force.


(Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

3-4 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced

Mix all ingredients together, except bread, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Toast baguette slices before serving.

Dill Pickle Dip

My friend Sarah brings up pickle dip whenever we start talking about appetizers. Or football food. Or any other snack-food occasion. And every time she mentions it, I think, I really should make that. I finally got around to it and I’m totally kicking myself for waiting so long.

I’m a huge pickle fan, so this was totally up my ally. Mark and I polished off an embarrassing amount of it while watching a basketball game. It’d be a great snack for March Madness (or, because it’s green, St. Patrick’s Day!).


Dill Pickle Dip
(from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2- 4 Tbsp. pickle juice (depending on how thick you want the dip to be)
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue

Mark and I aren’t big fans of going out on holidays – especially holidays when everyone else wants to go out – so we usually just do a nice meal at home for Valentine’s day. The last few years, we’ve picked up nice steaks, but this year we decided to do a fondue night at home.

This cheese was the hands-down hit of our Valentine’s Day meal. Mark cut up some green apples, broccoli and bread while I melted the cheese and then we chatted as we devoured it all. It was a nice meal to make and enjoy together – and we stuffed ourselves enough that we had to put off the chocolate course for a few hours. It’s definitely going in the “make again” file.



Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue
(adapted from For the Love of Food)
Serves 4 as an appetizer

12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 tsp. chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. Green Goddess salad dressing
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
French bread, green apples, broccoli and baby carrots, for dipping

In a small bowl, toss the cheese and flour together.

Add about 2″ of water to the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and pour chicken broth into the top pot. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add half the cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly, until all is melted. Stir in Green Goddess sauce and pepper.

Pour into a warm fondue pot and keep warm over low heat.

Recipe Swap: Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

The latest recipe swap was all about game-day eats – and as soon as I saw these on Sarah’s blog, I knew I had to make them. I’ve been on a huge pizza kick lately, so pizza in a sandwich form seemed like a great way to sneak it onto our weekly menu, again.

They’re also perfect for eating in front of the TV while you’re engrossed in football or basketball or hockey or the Olympics. Plenty of sports going around right now, so you have plenty of excuses to make them!

We loved them and if you’re a fan of pepperoni pizza, I bet you will too.


Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
(from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 1 dozen sliders

For the sandwiches:
12 slider rolls
3/4 cup pizza sauce
24-36 slices of pepperoni (about 1/2 lb.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the topping:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

In a 9×13″ baking dish, place the bottoms of the slider rolls. Spread a little pizza sauce on each one and top with 2-3 slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle cheese over the pepperoni. Spread a little more pizza sauce on the inside of the top of the slider buns and top.

Whisk together the topping ingredients in a small bowl and brush over the sandwiches with a pastry brush. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb, then cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes, until the tops are slightly browned. Serve immediately.

You can check out what the other swappers made below.