CHEESE + CRACKERS ~ GROWN-UP STYLE

One quick and simple appetizer that’s sure to please a crowd is your classic cheese and cracker platter.  Who doesn’t love to nibble on this delish combo while enjoying that first cocktail of the night? (We do!) So we’ve just discovered a way to up the ante with a delish homemade CHEESY CHEDDAR CRACKER! This splendid cracker is the perfect treat to enjoy with a classic cocktail and trust us – these crackers are good. Way good!

CHEESY CHEDDAR CRACKERSCheesyCracker

TOOLS :: Cookie sheet, mixer, fork
EXTRAS :: Plastic wrap
INGREDIENTS ::
2 sticks of butter (soften)
2 cups of flour
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (room temperature)
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Blend in a mixer flour, cayenne and butter.
  • Gradually add cheese.
  • Mix until smooth. 
  • Cover mixture with plastic wrap, chill for one hour.
  • Once chilled, shape dough into small balls and flatten by pressing down with a fork.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until slightly brown.

 

Makes approximately 5 dozen.

NOTE ::
If you’re feeling adventurous and like a nutty taste to your crackers, flatten crackers down with a pecan half. Yummy!

 

LAST MINUTE SUPER BOWL MUST HAVE

Did you get a last minute invite to a Super Bowl party? Or have you been racing between sporting events for the kids and have had no time to prep an appetizer for the party you’re going to?  We’ve got you covered. A treasured classic that everyone at the party will love ~ DOTTIES ONION DIP.  At Gidget + LaRue our version of the classic onion dip is called “Dottie’s Dip”, named after a cherished Grandma. Dottie made the best onion dip around and always served it up with Ruffles potato chips. Classic. Love Dottie. All you need now is a packet of French Onion soup mix, sour cream and some chips. Easy! Now go watch the big game and have some fun!

DOTTIES CLASSIC ONION DIP

Everyone will love Dottie's Dip!

Everyone will love Dottie’s Dip!

TOOLS ::  Your favorite chip ‘n dip bowl + small glass mixing bowl
EXTRAS :: Potato chips (we like Ruffles) and/or matchstick veggies like carrots, celery, etc.

INGREDIENTS ::

  • 1 envelope French Onion Soup mix (we go old school and use Lipton’s)
  • 1 – 16 oz. container of Sour Cream (don’t go fat free – live a little)

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
In your small bowl, mix together all ingredients
Chill until ready to serve
Transfer dip into your fancy bowl and surround with chips or veggies

SCORE BIG WITH THESE PARTY POPPERS

Are you ready for some football?! Actually, are you ready for all your friends to rush your house for the biggest game of the season next Sunday? We’re here to help you kick off your game day celebration with G+LaR’s CHEESY PEPPER POPPERS. {say that 3 times fast ~ GO!} You’ll be scoring all the points this Super Bowl by whipping up these must-have snacks. Everyone loves cornbread and with the punch of jalapeno’s, these cheesy mini muffins are sure to be the first platter cleared!

CHEESY PEPPER POPPERS

Spicy, cheesy and DELISH!

Spicy, cheesy and DELISH!

TOOLS :: Mini muffin pan
EXTRAS :: Serving platter or basket, cooking spray
INGREDIENTS ::
1 box Jiffy Corn Bread mix
1 egg
¼ cup melted butter
2 Tbsp canned diced Jalapeno peppers {drain well}
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

 HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Pour muffin mix into large bowl for mixing
  • Add egg and melted butter into bowl, stirring to combine
  • Add remaining ingredients ~ milk, jalapenos and shredded cheese
  • Fold to combine ~ your mixture will be thick!
  • Grease mini muffin tin with cooking spray
  • Using a spoon, scoop mixture into muffin tin, filling compartment halfway
  • BAKE at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until Poppers are golden brown

NOTE #1 ::
This recipe yields about 24 mini muffins, depending on the size of your exact muffin tin. For a larger crowd, we recommend doubling the recipe. These POPPERS go fast, so more is better!

PRESTO ~ It’s PESTO!

It seems as if the smell of summer herbs is bursting from every fresh veggie aisle in our  grocery stores ~ are we right? Just as you’re passing the lettuce section, the deliciously sweet smell hits you…its BASIL!  It makes us pause for a minute and take a deep breath in…Mmmmmm! Some of you might be lucky enough to have this amazing herb right in your backyard. Basil is a vibrant green leaf and is the main ingredient in today’s post: PESTO! Here’s why G+LaR loves Pesto ~ it sounds elegant and it looks gourmet but it is so simple to make! Your guests will be oh-so impressed by your cooking talents when they find out you made this fresh and from scratch. Our PRESTO PESTO recipe is quite versatile and can be used for appetizer spreads, a dipping sauce, grilling marinade and it is also delicious mixed into a simple pasta salad. We’re pretty sure that once you make G+LaR’s PRESTO PESTO it will become a staple for your summer gatherings. An added bonus: your kitchen will smell simply delish!

PRESTO PESTO

Become pesto friends with Basil! Haha!

Become pesto friends with Basil! Haha!

TOOLS :: Food processor or blender, spatula and measuring cup
EXTRAS :: Bowl for serving or container for storage
INGREDIENTS ::

2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of pine nuts ( can be left out if allergic)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • In a blender or food processor pulse together basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt until finely chopped.
  • With blender or processor still running, add in your olive oil until mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Spoon the blended basil mixture into bowl.
  • Stir in your parmesan cheese and season with more salt to taste.

NOTE ::
Adding salt will keep your basil from turning black.

BE A STAR ON THE 4TH OF JULY

Are you hosting an Independence Day party or attending a picnic and watching fireworks? If you answered YES, this is your lucky post because we at G+LaR want to make you the STAR of your event. Even better news: we can guarantee your stardom using one simple, in-your-fridge-already ingredient – a WATERMELON! You’ll be surprised at how simple this is to make.  With a little effort (and a big knife!) you can transform an everyday picnic dish into the dessert everyone will be talking about! While we’re at it, a big shout out goes to Martha Stewart for the inspiration.

We know you can do it and you will enjoy being the shining STAR. Happy 4th of July ~ love, G+LaR

THE NO-BAKE WATERMELON CAKE

Elegant and refreshing

Elegant and refreshing

TOOLS ::  Cutting Board, Large Knife, Melon Baller, bowl
EXTRAS :: Cake Stand or Plate + Bowl* for serving
INGREDIENTS ::

1 seedless Watermelon, washed and dried

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Lay your watermelon down horizontally.
  • Using your knife cut the top and the bottom thirds off the melon and set aside. Keep in mind ~ in the end, your center third of the melon should be about 4” tall. This is your cake!
  • Place the middle third of the melon onto your cake plate. If it doesn’t sit evenly, use your knife to shave small slivers to level off to make flat. Focus on the side of the melon that will sit on the cake plate. Don’t go crazy trying to level off the top because you will cover it up in melon balls.
  • Cut your new Watermelon Cake it into ~8 good size wedges. If you have a lot of people to serve, cut up to 10 slices but don’t make the slices skinny. You want the slices to be between 3” to 4”.
  • Take the two ends of your watermelon and using a melon baller, scoop out balls of watermelon. Place into a bowl to reserve.
  • Cover both the cake and the balls and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve your Royal Watermelon Cake, arrange the balls on top of the watermelon cake.  There isn’t a perfect way to arrange, just do what looks best and try to keep the rounded ball portion of each melon ball facing upwards. This looks nicer. If you’d like, you can garnish with mint.

NOTE ::
Our cake platters were in storage when we decided to make this cake, so we used an old trick handed down from our Moms ~ use a plate and bowl combo. Cake stands look beautiful if you’re going for a more formal look or just want to finally use that cake stand. For a more casual look, simply pick out matching bowl and plate, turn the bowl upside down and place the plate on top. Voila! Cake stand! This is a much easier option of you’re packing up for a picnic, too. Have fun!

RINSE -> SLICE -> BOWL = PARTY

It's Berry Delicious!

It’s Berry Delicious!

What could be easier or better? The plentiful supply of berries in the stores makes this appetizer a must for your summer entertaining. It’s simple, it looks beautiful and with little effort your guests will love serving up the refreshing taste. Simply rinse your berries, slice the strawberries, toss into a bowl and voila ~ you’re the party Superstar!

3-INGREDIENT HAPPY HOUR SNACK

We have 3 items for you to add to your shopping list before Friday night cocktail hour. The good news: you can get all 3 of these ingredients at one store! Just stop by Target, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Vons, etc…any supermarket near you to grab what you need for this delish and easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy appetizer. All you need is Naan bread, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, fresh Parmesan cheese and about 15 minutes to have the perfect accompaniment to your TGIF cocktail.

ARTIE’s EASY-CHEESY FLATBREAD

Just ask Artie ~ he LOVES it!

Just ask Artie ~ he LOVES it!

TOOLS :: Cooking Sheet, Cutting Board, Measuring Cup and Pizza Cutter
EXTRAS :: Flat Platter for serving

INGREDIENTS ::
2 Naan Bread {Flatbread can be purchased at any grocery store, Trader Joe’s and even Target}
½  cup chopped Marinated Artichoke Hearts
½  cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Place Naan Bread on cooking sheet. Spread artichoke hearts evenly on both breads. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Slice with your pizza cutter and serve!

NOTE ::
We love the marinated flavors and oil provided by the jar of artichoke hearts, but if that doesn’t fit into your flavor preference, feel free to sub out canned artichoke hearts and this is a delicious recipe.

EASY APPETIZER FOR CINCO de MAYO

Yesterday we introduced you to our Grand Margarita, so today we’re following that tequila-lime wonder with a tasty appie to serve at your Cinco de Mayo fiesta. The CHA-CHA-CORN-SALSA is sure to wake up any chip on your platter or you can use it to liven up a chicken dish as well. We’re sure you won’t be surprised to see you’ll be able to use those limes again…seems to be our trend this week. Gotta love that fresh citrus! Now you’re all set for throwing a great Cinco de Mayo party and we’re fairly certain that the CHA-CHA-CORN SALSA, when combined with the Grand Margi, will have your guests eating and drinking their way into a conga line of fun at your party.

Even your chips will be happy with the Cha-Cha-Corn Salsa!

Even your chips will be happy with the Cha-Cha-Corn Salsa!

CHA-CHA CORN SALSA

TOOLS :: Medium mixing bowl, colorful serving bowl and basket for chips
EXTRAS :: Lime slice for garnish

INGREDIENTS ::
1 can sweet corn {drained}
1 can black beans {drained and rinsed}
1 can rotel {diced tomatoes and green chilies}
¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Juice your lime.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Add fresh lime juice and toss to coat.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Place your Cha-Cha-Cha Corn Salsa in a colorful bowl and serve with a basket of your favorite tortilla chips.

Don’t forget the Grand Margarita!

EASY + SOPHISTICATED SPRING APPETIZER

One sure sign of spring is fresh asparagus in the produce aisle. The plant brings a delicate and bright flavor to this wonderful outdoor party appetizer ~ ASPARAGUS WITH DIJON MUSTARD SAUCE. The colors and flavors of this dish will delight your guests (and we won’t give away the G+LaR secret about how easy it is!). When choosing your asparagus, make sure to choose bunches with slightly closed tips and no flowering. The stalks should be bright green and firm.  Once you have your veggies in hand, you can make the sauce the night before to save time. Have fun and add this healthy spring veggie (it’s filled with potassium, vitamins B6 + A + C and fiber) to your next party menu. You’ll be a hostess superstar! 

ASPARAGUS WITH DIJON MUSTARD SAUCE

Beautiful on display and DELISH!

Beautiful on display and DELISH!

TOOLS ::  Large pot for boiling water, bowl filled with ice water, flat serving platter, small decorative bowl for dipping sauce
EXTRAS :: Lemon slices for garnish
INGREDIENTS ::
2 lbs of  Asparagus (approx. 40)
¼  cup mayonnaise
¾  cup sour cream
1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  •  Wash and snap the ends off the asparagus to make them an easy size to pick-up as an hors d’oeuvre.
  • Drop them into a pot of boiling water to blanch.
  •  Cook for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your stalks (you want them to be crisp, not soggy).
  •  Once blanched, immediately transfer the asparagus into the bowl of ice water until no longer hot.
  •  Keep chilled in the refrigerator.

 Dipping Sauce

  •  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
  •  Store in refrigerator with asparagus until ready to serve.
  •  Place asparagus on platter and serve sauce alongside.
  •  Garnish with lemon slices

FISH FRY FRIDAY No3

When we posted our first Fish Fry Friday (FFF) we were excited to promote the social aspects and history of FFF’s, but as we launch this latest addition, we were excited to promote the healthy benefits of this delicacy – Smoked Salmon. By now, everyone has heard that smoked salmon is a delicious addition to any meal. But did you know all of the benefits of this fantastic fish? The healthy nutrients inside smoked salmon are priceless to the human body. Studies have shown that smoked salmon can help fight off coronary heart disease due to the Omega-3 oils it contains, so there couldn’t be an easier or more delicious way of getting your Omega-3!

We hope you enjoy this latest hors d’oeuvre. Not only will it look beautiful on your table but with this G+LaR recipe, your friends will leave your party just a little bit healthier.

SMOKED SALMON

Healthy and delicious!

Healthy and delicious!

TOOLS :: Kitchen Scissors, Flat Platter, Cheese Spreader Knife
EXTRAS :: Lemon, Dill for garnishes
INGREDIENTS ::
1 – 4oz Smoked Salmon Fillet
½  Tbsp of Capers
1 Tsp of minced fresh Dill
Juice from ½ lemon
*Sliced red onions, optional
Sliced French bread baguette or crackers

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Place smoked salmon fillet on flat serving platter.
  • Use kitchen scissors to mince fresh dill and sprinkle on top of fillet.
  • Add capers and squeeze lemon on top.
  • Sprinkle sliced red onions on top if desired.
  • Garnish with extra lemon half (slice if you wish) and a few sprigs of fresh dill.
  • Serve with baguette slices or your favorite cracker.

AH, SPRING!

Not sure about all of you, but we are ready for Spring! The season gets underway tomorrow, March 20th, which is actually a day earlier than previous years. The dates for the seasons are determined by the shifting sunlight, which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis. In fact, in only 3 years (2016), those living in the Pacific, Mountain and Central time zones will see spring begin even earlier on March 19th. Who knew?!

Regardless, we’re ready to embrace Spring because it brings more daylight and warming temperatures. We’re ready for a season where ladybugs land on screen doors, flowers begin to bloom and the smell of the BBQ floats through the air in your backyard. To kick-start the season, we’re happy to share an appetizer that will get you into the mode of Spring and have you in front your grill by the weekend.  Grab your charcoal (or propane) and get ready to entertain. Spring is here!

ROSEMARY CHICKEN SKEWERS

Rosemary + Italian seasonings are sure to please!

Rosemary + Italian seasonings are sure to please!

TOOLS :: Indoor/Outdoor Grill
EXTRAS :: Skewers, Ziplock Bag
INGREDIENTS ::
1 Bottle Of Bernsteins Italian Dressing
24 Chicken Tenders (fresh is great, but we used the frozen tenders from Trader Joes)
6-10 Sprigs of Rosemary

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Combine (defrosted or fresh) chicken with entire bottle of Bersteins Italian Dressing and 3 sprigs of your rosemary in a gallon ziplock bag.
  • Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Cook over indoor/outdoor grill until chicken is done.
  • Let cooked chicken sit for a few minutes (if your chicken is too hot, it will shred).
  • Skewer chicken onto each stick, making sure to leave room on the bottom half for your guests to grab the skewer easily.
  • Add skewers to platter and garnish with extra rosemary.

FISH FRY FRIDAY No2 – ACTUALLY, IT’S FISH DIP FRIDAY!

As you can tell, here at G+LaR we’re pretty into our vintage dips. Most of our recipes have been inspired by traditions carried though our families for many years. Hopefully you remember our Dottie’s Dip, named after a cherished grandma. This week’s recipe comes from Shirley, who’s been entertaining with this dip for over 40 years. You’ve gotta love a classic that works – kind of like the jell-o mold. You’re not sure about it until you dive in, then you can’t get enough. So for our 2nd installment of FISH FRY FRIDAY, enjoy Shirley’s Clam Dip as a new addition to your meatless Friday menu.

SHIRLEY’S CLAM DIP

Shirley's Clam Dip ~ Don't knock it until you try it!

Shirley’s Clam Dip ~ Don’t knock it until you try it!

TOOLS :: Mixing Bowl and Blender
EXTRAS :: Decorative Bowl with a basket for chips
INGREDIENTS ::
1 can minced clams
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
Few drops of hot pepper sauce (we use tabasco)

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Drain clams, reserving liquid.
  • Beat together ¼ cup of the reserved liquid, the clams and all remaining ingredients.
  • Season to taste the hot pepper sauce.
  • Serve with potato chips or use a crisp crackers.