Archive for Appetizers

Double Bacon Meatballs

Double Bacon Meatballs

When I was looking through recipes for Baconfest – The Sequel, I came across Double Bacon Meatballs in the March 2014 edition of Food Network magazine. Of course, the name alone caught my eye. Bacon, Beef, Canadian Bacon…how could these possibly be bad? As I usually do, I changed the recipe up a bit as well as the cooking process, but I didn’t mess with the 3 main ingredients!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 30 min; Cook Time – 20-25 min

Ingredients:

2 lbs. lean ground beef

16 pieces of cooked bacon, finely chopped

8 slices of Canadian bacon, chopped

1 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 c. finely chopped onion

2 eggs

BBQ Sauce for dipping

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Wire Rack

Preparing Double Bacon Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Combine all ingredients together (except BBQ Sauce) in a large mixing bowl USING YOUR HANDS! I know it’s gross, but it really is the best way to mix all of the ingredients together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray. Form 1 to 1/1/2 in. meatballs and place on the rack.

Double Bacon Meatballs

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with BBQ Sauce.

Double Bacon Meatballs

Note: You will have to cook the meatballs in several batches. You can’t cook them all at once unless you have multiple wire racks.

Variations:

Change up the sauce however you like. You can even use mustard if you want! 

Grilled Appetizers

appetizer with prosciutto and ricotta

Grilled appetizers are some of the best appetizers that we make…and we make some pretty good ones!! Not only do we love the taste of these appetizers, but we also love that there is no mess in the kitchen from having to cook them. By the time the appetizers come off the grill, the “prep mess” is all cleaned up and the kitchen is ready for entertaining! Well….I guess that’s if you are a “clean as you go” kind of cook like I am! 

Here is a list of grilled appetizers that are always a hit with family and friends:

Pita with Tomato, Olives and Feta

Spinach, Tomato and Prosciutto Stuffed Mushrooms

Chicken Wings with Ranch

Peach Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini

Beef Tenderloin Sliders

Zucchini Flatbread with Boursin Cheese

Bacon Wrapped Figs

 

 

 

 

 

Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini

We’ve been making versions of bruschetta for nice and summer like appetizers for a long, long time. So, when we were asked to do a cooking demonstration at a local farmer’s market in Atlanta, this was a natural choice.

We wanted to showcase local produce vendors and thought this would be a great way to do so. We researched other vendors at the market and decided that Will’s Farm, Capra Gia Cheese Company and Sweetwater Growers were perfect fits for our tomatoes, goat cheese and basil ingredients, super fresh and super delicious!

The bruschetta was a huge hit, even with a couple of Italian women who know what good bruschetta is all about. We were so excited! We hope you enjoy the Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini too.

Now, we currently only sell the McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend at farmer’s markets. Reach out to us if you are interested! If not, just leave that part out and add some salt and pepper to taste. It’s not the same but is very good.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 10 min

Ingredients:

4-6 Ripe Tomatoes
10-12 Leaves of Basil
6 Cloves of Garlic
1T McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend ©
6oz Goat Cheese
2 T Olive Oil
2T Balsamic Vinegar
1T Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil for crostini
Baguette

How to make Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini:

Make a vinaigrette with the olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Whisk together.

Dice the tomatoes in a small dice. Mince the garlic. Cut the basil into a chiffonade. Add the McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend ©. Set in refrigerator for an hour or more to let the flavors blend together.

Slice the baguette on a bias into ¼” thick slices. Brush with olive oil and place on a grill or in a 400 degree oven until toasted but not hard.

Let the goat cheese come to room temperature. Smear goat cheese on the crostini and top with the bruschetta.

Important Tips:

Fresh quality ingredients are the key!! Fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and amazing goat cheese will turn this ‘simple’ every day dish into something your friends are begging for!

Variations:

There are lots of ways to make this different and amazing. Subscribe to McNack’s and you’ll find some great ideas.

Got Leftovers?:

This is great with pasta. Just cook your favorite pasta shape, sauté some of the bruschetta and toss with the warm, cooked pasta for a great dish. Add parmesan and olive oil as needed.

Simple Mediterranean Appetizers

Simple Mediterranean Appetizers. Melissa will have a field day with this one, just watch. “Does it really count if both dips are store bought?” Well, in my case…yes. Let me explain.

First of all, I have a true authentic hummus recipe which was passed down from previous generations. I make it, but I don’t share it. It’s just that simple.

Secondly, I have made Tzatziki sauce before, but I’ll be honest….it doesn’t hold a candle to the taste and convenience of the one I buy at Costco, so why bother?

Lastly, we have ALL been to homes where people serve store bought dips (which we do, too). However, the dips are still in the container in which they were bought (which we would never do). The real point of this post is to remind people that store bought dips are really ok, just turn them over into your pretty dish before serving. It makes all the difference! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 10 min.

Ingredients:

Naan 

Tzatziki Sauce

Hummus of choice

Paprika

Preparing Simple Mediterranean Appetizers:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Transfer hummus into small serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Transfer Tzatziki sauce into a separate serving bowl. Place the Naan directly onto oven rack. Flip after 3-4 minutes. Take the Naan out and carefully cut into triangles. Dip the bread into the sauce or hummus for a nice mouth watering appetizer. 

Meditteranean Appetizer Dip

Ok, so I’m not going to freak out over the store bought appetizers. But, isn’t this ‘Greek’ week? You’ve expanded to include all of the Mediterranean, oh and why not throw in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal for the Naan!

And you say I change the rules. Seriously!? Portioning a whole beef tenderloin into individual steaks is not breaking the rules. Maybe the theme for the week should have been ‘stuff that didn’t originate in the US’ instead. ~Melissa

You know geography was never my strongest subject. Give me a break! I told you that “Greek Week” just sounded nice. I’ll chose my words more carefully next time ~ Denise

Pimento Cheese with Candied Bacon

bacon pimento cheese

I was tasked with bringing an appetizer to a recent potluck and was trying to think of something simple but delicious. I wanted something different but also didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it. As I was browsing through McNack’s Kitchen recipes, I decided to put two amazing things together because I thought they would make the perfect marriage.

Pimento Cheese with Candied Bacon!

bacon pimento cheese

Oh my! The creamy and cheesy Pimento Cheese with a kick of cayenne heat paired with the crunchy, sweet and salty bacon were a match made in heaven. I loved it!!

Best part, both of these are already available on McNack’s! It was just the thought of putting the two together. Remember, the start to great pimento cheese is awesome cheese. Please don’t start with the pre-grated generic cheddar stuff. You’ll never be happy.

Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Snack

Marshmallow and Strawberry cat in the hat snack

Today, I had the pleasure of being the Mystery Chef at my daughter’s school. This entails

1) Keeping a secret

2) Obtaining the ingredients for a fun and edible snack

3) Working with the kids to make it

 

Each year, the kids celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday so that was the theme. We made these adorable Cat in the Hat Skewers for the snack with strawberries, marshmallows and a grape.

Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Snack

The kids had a great time making it and eating their finished product. This would be a fun snack to make at home for the kids too.

For each snack you will need:
3 marshmallows
3 strawberries (one whole strawberry and two sliced strawberries)
1 grape
1 skewer (you might want to remove the point)

cat in the hat snack with strawberries and marshmallows

Beef Tenderloin Sliders with Horseradish Sauce and Pickled Red Onions

beef tenderloin slider horseradish

I had a few people over at the last minute to watch the Super Bowl and eat dinner. Since, it is all about the football for me, I wanted food that would be great but was essentially all complete before anyone arrived. Seriously, there is no time to be in the kitchen during the Super Bowl because you have to watch the commercials and the half time show and the game….if you don’t get that and want to get why football can be that much fun for women, check out Flip the Field, but I digress.

Anyway, on the abbreviated menu were sliders. But not your average ‘small sandwich’… we are talking about an elegant and extremely tasty finger food of beef tenderloin sliders with horseradish sauce, pickled red onions, mixed greens and gouda. Oh my!

beef tenderloin slider horseradish

How to make Beef Tenderloin Sliders with Horseradish Sauce and Pickled Red Onions

Rolls – Awesome, fresh, soft slider rolls are the first ingredient because with sliders, it all starts with the bread

Beef Tenderloin – I grilled a whole beef tenderloin and let it rest for a couple of hours before I even thought about slicing it since I was going to serve it room temperature anyway. Because of the shape of the tenderloin, you’ll have a nice mix of rare, medium rare and a couple of pieces of medium if you cook it like I do. I just can’t cook beef tenderloin past that.

whole beef tenderloin

Horseradish Sauce – I make something similar to this but use some Greek yogurt to cut back on calories.

Horseradish Sauce

Pickled Red Onions – these really are the bomb!

how to pickle an onion

Mixed Greens – you can use any lettuce of your choice but I like the look and taste of mixed greens on this one.

Gouda – I used the un-aged ‘soft’ gouda not because it is my favorite cheese but because I wanted something creamy and that would not overpower the other flavors. It was a mild cheese taste with a great creamy texture.

I had the pleasure of being invited to this impromptu get together at Melissa’s house. I must say, these sliders were truly amazing. So tender and delicious! – Denise