Bacon-Jalapeño Cheese Ball
6 slices bacon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped and divided
crackers (for serving)
Cook the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool slightly, then crumble and divide in half.
While the bacon is cooking, preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parsley, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, half of the minced jalapeños, and half of the crumbled bacon until well combined. Season the mixture to taste with salt.
On a large plate, stir the toasted pecans, remaining minced jalapeños and remaining half of the crumbled bacon together until evenly distributed. Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball (the mixture will be sticky, I found it easiest to shape if I just barely wet my hands first). Roll the ball in the pecan mixture until coated on all sides.
Cover the ball and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Cheesy Bacon Potato Skins
8 small russet potatoes
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup sour cream
2 green onions, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Wash and scrub the potatoes, then pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the skin in olive oil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flesh is tender.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon or cook in the microwave until crispy. Let set until hardened, then chop into bits. Set aside.
Once the potatoes are done, let cool slightly enough to handle. Transfer to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut each potato in half, lengthwise. Use a small cookie scoop to scrape out the inner flesh (reserve for another use, if possible) leaving a small margin attached to the skins. Place the skins back on to the baking sheet.
Brush each side of the skins with olive oil and salt each side liberally. Turn the skins flesh side down and bake for 7 minutes. Flip, and bake another 7 minutes.
Remove skins from oven, then top with cheese and bacon. Return to oven until cheese is fully melted, 1 or 2 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream and garnished with green onions.
Sweet & Salty S’mores
40 Ritz crackers
3 Large Hershey Chocolate Bars
10 Large Marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On an ungreased cookie sheet, place 20 of the Ritz crackers flat side up. Next, place one small rectangle of chocolate on top. Then, place a marshmallow half. Carefully top with another Ritz cracker. Repeat for all crackers. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until marshmallows are slightly melted. Remove from oven and let them cool slightly. Lastly, gently press down on the top cracker to level out the s’mores. Do not bakes these goodies too long, as the crackers can become soft.
Yields: 20 S’mores
Buffalo Chicken Bites
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce (to taste)
3 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions.
Roll a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a 1½-inch ball and place onto a plate or separate baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Place flour in a shallow dish.
In a second shallow dish, place eggs.
In a third shallow dish, Place cornflakes.
Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
If freezing place the dipped and uncooked chicken balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready. When ready to bake, place the frozen chicken balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350˚F for 25 to 30 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
Sticky Wings w/ Honey Sriracha Sauce and Yoghurt Dip
For the wings:
24 chicken wings
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 c. honey
1/3 c. sriracha sauce
2 tbsp each hoisin sauce and lime juice
1 tbsp each soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds
For the yoghurt dip:
2 c. plain Greek yoghurt
1 c. grated cucumber, squeezed dry in paper towels
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
1 large garlic clove, grated
1 tsp each salt and honey
Wings: position oven rack in the middle of oven and set to 450. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Toss together wings, oil and salt. Arrange chicken on sheets and roast 30 minutes, rotating pans 180 degrees once. Let slightly cool and pour off fat.
Combine honey, sriracha, hoisin sauce, lime juice and soy sauce. Pour 1/2 sauce into bowl and toss with chicken wings. Decrease oven temperature to 425. Roast 10 minutes. Boil remaining sauce until thick. Brush thickened sauce on wings and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Roast 7 to 10 minutes longer. Cool 10 minutes.
For the dip: Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.