Tag Archives: appetizer

Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip

This hot cheese dip recipe works great with Wheat Thins!  Roasted red peppers and jalapenos make this hot cheese dip recipe spicy, and a fun Halloween Snack.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  For more fun Wheat Thins and Oreos ideas, search for #SpookySnacks on social media.  #CollectiveBias

Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip from JensFavoriteCookies.com - A warm and spicy crowd pleaser!At this house, we love cheese.

Robb’s kind of a mild cheddar guy, while I’m more of a pepperjack girl.  My favorite grilled cheese sandwich ever involves pepperjack cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic butter.  Seriously, it’s over the top, decadent heaven.

This week, I figured it was about time for me to put a bunch of cheese together and get it all warm and melty and eat it with Wheat Thins.  It was a brilliant and tasty idea.

And what’s a hot cheese dip recipe without a little heat to it?  I did something I don’t do nearly often enough, and I roasted some peppers.  They added a really flavorful sweet spicy component to this dip.  I couldn’t have done it without them, truth be told.

Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip from JensFavoriteCookies.com - A warm and spicy crowd pleaser!

I started out trying to roast the peppers on my stove.  But I wasn’t in love with how it was going.  It’s because I have one of those glass top stoves, so it’s impossible to get the pepper directly on the heating element.

After I fiddled with that a while, I went with plan B: roasting in the oven.

It’s what I should have done in the first place.

Roasting peppers in the oven is crazy easy.  Just line a baking sheet with foil, put the peppers on it, and throw them in the oven.  After a few minutes, they’ll need to be turned.  Once they are all done, I removed the stems and seeds, and diced up the pepper.

Roasted peppers are so different from raw peppers.  They have this slightly oily, slightly sweet, rich flavor.

Roasting Peppers for Hot Cheese Dip from JensFavoriteCookies.comRoasting Peppers for Hot Cheese Dip from JensFavoriteCookies.com

You can see from these pictures that the one I tried to roast on the stove has black spots.  Black spots are fine, by the way.  But the problem was, it wasn’t really cooking the pepper, it was just burning the parts that touched the heat.  Some spots were kind of impossible to get heat to.

After I took the photos of the raw peppers, I decided to roast some jalapenos too.  I mean, why not?

Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip from JensFavoriteCookies.com - A warm and spicy crowd pleaser!wheat-thins-walmart-2oreo-shelf-walmartWheat Thins are the perfect companion to this cheese dip.  They taste awesome, and stand up to the hot cheese without getting soggy.  It’s a win-win.

I got my Wheat Thins at Walmart, and you can too.  Coming up on the weekend of October 25th, 2014, many Walmart stores will be holding in-store demos featuring Fanta, Oreos, and Wheat Thins.  Check here to see if the demos will be at a store near you.

It’s a great combination, since Wheat Thins, Oreos, and Fanta are all perfect for entertaining during the holiday season, football season, or any season, really!  It’s easy to make a great party with these products.




 Want more?  Try these crowd-pleasing appetizers!

pulled pork tortilla cups thumbPulled Pork
Tortilla Cups
stuffed mushroomsStuffed
Mushroom Cups
caramelized onion dip and potato chipsCaramelized
Onion Dip



Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip
Recipe type: Dips
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  1. Roast the red pepper and the jalapeno by placing on a foil lined baking sheet, and baking at 400F for 20-30 minutes, turning once halfway through baking.
  2. Let peppers cool, then dice.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese and cheeses, stirring until melted and smooth. Add chopped roasted peppers and paprika, and stir well.
  4. If desired, place dip in a oven-safe serving bowl, and top with additional cheddar cheese. Bake at 400F for about 10 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly. Serve warm.
Since this is best served warm, you may want to keep it warm on the stove or in a slow cooker on the low setting.
This makes a rather large serving, so for smaller gatherings, I recommend cutting the recipe in half.



Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com   These delicious appetizers are made with hummus, pork loin, arugula, mozzarella, and goat cheese.I went to this pizza place with some friends the other day.  I had never been before.

I chose this pizza which was… don’t get me wrong, it was tasty… but it was basically a pizza with a salad on top.  It was a little difficult to eat.  The whole time, I kept eyeing my friend’s pizza, which had artichoke and spinach and arugula baked right in.

Leave it to me to wish for the one with more cheese and less salad.

I’m pretty sure I was dreaming of that pizza when I dreamed up these fun little flatbread rounds.  I think they would be an excellent appetizer, or even a pizza-ish meal if you put a couple of them together.

Since I made the hummus and the pork, I figured I would buy the flatbread.  I turned out to be a bigger chore than I imagined, since I apparently arrived at the grocery store before it had been stocked for the day.

I spend so much time at the grocery store, you’d think I would have the system down by now.

Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com

Anyway, I came away with these pita-like sandwich thins, and some naan.  As you can see from the photos, the pita rounds won, and the naan lived to see another day.  You’re welcome to use any old kind of bread you want, though.  Pita, naan, flatbread, even good old pizza dough. Continue reading “Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites” »

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip

appetizer meatball recipes; This meatball dip is quick and simple to make, and tastes great with meatballs or small sausages.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!Do your kids cook?  Mine do.

Our schedule is crazy enough, it has given me a really good excuse to get the kids cooking.  They each have one night of the week, and they have to decide ahead of time what they’re making, so I can get the ingredients at the grocery store.

Our meals aren’t complicated, as you might imagine, but the kids are getting to be pretty good cooks.

Meatballs have become one of our staples.  We buy the giant bag of frozen meatballs at Costco, and put about half of them in the crock pot.  Cover them with sauce, add some veggies, and voila!  Dinner is served.

I love having meatballs as game day food, too.  They’re small enough to be a snack, but unlike the chips and cookies and breads we usually have, meatballs make you feel like you’ve eaten real food instead of just junk food.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!

This dip is my favorite thing with meatballs.

It’s crazy simple, just chili sauce, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar.  When I first heard about chili sauce, I wasn’t sure what it was, to be honest.  We’re not big on condiments, which makes me not very condiment savvy. Continue reading “Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip” »

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Simple garlic bread recipe;  Fun football party ideas from DiGiornio and Walmart.  This is the best recipe for garlic bread I have found.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!It’s funny, we’re not big sports fans at our house, but every year, we like to get together with family and watch the big game.

And when I say “family,” I mainly mean my dad.  The Lizard (our son) enjoys football and basketball, but doesn’t really enjoy watching games alone, so most of the time he just doesn’t watch them.  I know that if he lived with my dad, they would watch every game together.

Poor kid.  He has to live with us boring people.

So I do try to work out opportunities for him to get his sports fix, and dad to get some company.  It works out pretty good for everyone.

And, what’s a game watching party without food?  If you ask me, that’s what game days are for.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread! #GameTimeGoodies #cbias #shop

So good news!  The DiGiornio Pizzas are on rollback at Walmart for just $4.50.  I bought two.

I figured I could cut them into squares and serve them with cheesy garlic bread sticks.  And popcorn… and chips… and frosty beverages… you get the idea.

This is the part where I tell you about my absolute favorite way to make garlic bread sticks.  I love it because it gives you an easy way to create single servings that are just the right size, and also, the texture is perfect, just the way I like it!

The big secret is… drumroll…  hot dog buns.  Yeah.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Not to mention, the combination of DiGiornio Pizzas and homemade hot dog bun garlic bread is easy to make in less than 30 minutes.  What you do is put the pizza in the oven, then take a few minutes to put the breadsticks together, and let them join the pizza in the oven for the last 10 minutes of baking.

They come out of the oven at the same time.  Hot, bubbly, cheesy, delicious.  The perfect companion to the Sunday afternoon game.


Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Hot dog buns covered in garlic butter, herbs, and cheese.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 pieces
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 6 hot dog buns


  1. Melt butter in a bowl. Add cheeses, garlic, and seasoning, and mix together.

  2. Separate hot dog buns into two long pieces, so the top and bottom halves of the bun will each form one breadstick. Spread cheese mixture on top of each bun.

  3. Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Pizza Bites

This homemade pizza recipe comes in little bite-size pieces; A pizza recipe for bread filled with pepperoni and cheese.  Homemade pizza recipe.

homemade-pizza-recipeI’ve been trying to reduce my intake of carbs.  No white bread, I said.  No cheese, I said.

Aaaaand then I went and made this.

My BFF saw my picture on Instagram and asked me why I was making bread.  As if I had an answer.  “Torture!” she said.  “No doubt,” said I.

I’m kind of a sucker for cheesy bread, especially when it involves garlic.  Garlic might be my kryptonite.  Who can resist something like that?  When the cheese is all stringy and you can pull it for miles before it breaks?  It’s completely irresistible.  Admit it.

The other inexplicable thing about my making these pizza bites was my timing.  Normally we’re an eat-dinner-late kind of family, but Robb came home early, and needed to leave again, and I figured we had better get while the gettin’ was good.  So the pizza bites came out of the oven about the same time the veggies went onto the stove.  The kids thought the pizza bites were dinner.

They wish!


I’ll tell you the truth… I’m not a big fan of making bread.  All the kneading and waiting for it to rise and hoping your yeast is still good is just too much for me. Continue reading “Pizza Bites” »

Pulled Pork Tortilla Cups

This easy appetizer is made with pulled pork.  Recipe and directions for a pulled pork appetizer in bite-size tortilla cups.

pulled pork My sister likes to brag up all her amazing recipes.

Well, she is a pretty good cook, but don’t tell her I said that.

Recently, she was bragging up this sweet pulled pork she created.  She sent me the recipe, and I tried it myself.  And honestly… ?  WOW.  Yum.  I love this stuff.

I’m not going to put the whole recipe in this post, but here’s the gist of it: Marinate a big pork roast in Coke and brown sugar.  Then slow cook it in Coke with garlic cloves.  Then shred the pork, throw out the Coke it’s been cooking in, and put the shredded pork back in the slow cooker with brown sugar, enchilada sauce, and green chiles.

YUM.  It’s lucky Robb was working over the weekend, or I wouldn’t have had anything left to share with you.


By the way, these totally adorable tortilla cups were crazy easy to make.  Way easier than I expected, even.

You just cut circles, press them into a muffin tin, and bake.  I don’t know what I thought would be hard, I guess I figured making them look perfectly cute would require some sort of super power that I don’t possess.

Turns out it doesn’t.  Lucky me!


I did test this out with both corn and flour tortillas, and I liked the flour tortillas better, for sure.  The corn version baked up a touch chewy, and they were a little hard to eat.

You don’t have to use the sweet pulled pork I made, you can use any old shredded or ground seasoned meat you want.  I will warn you to serve them right out of the oven, since the cool pretty quickly and they definitely taste better hot.

After this, I may have to start making my sister’s french onion soup, too.

stuffed mushroomsStuffed Mushroom Cups garlic brie breadGarlic Brie Twists caramelized onion dip and potato chipsCaramelized Onion Dip

Continue reading “Pulled Pork Tortilla Cups” »

Stuffed Mushroom Cups

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite appetizers.  Since I kind of love appetizer recipes, I decided to remake this old classic with a new twist.

stuffed mushroomsI can’t remember where I learned to make stuffed mushrooms, if that tells you how long I’ve been making them.  I have a vague sense that this tradition began when I was in college.

At least, I remember being kind of mean and nasty to my college friends, and making them eat the stuffed mushrooms, even if they were mushroom-averse.

I’m nicer than that now, just so we’re clear.  And if any of my mushroom-phobic college friends are reading this, I’m sorry.

These days, if you don’t like the stuffed mushrooms, it just means there’s more for me.  And now whenever I make them, people get really happy and excited about it.  They never last long.

By the way, what is the story with people disliking mushrooms, anyway?  I used to kind of understand this, but the older I get, the less I understand it.  Mushrooms are SO amazing.

stuffed mushrooms

I remember my junior high French teacher, when we were learning fruits and vegetables vocabulary, telling us quite animatedly about her love of mushrooms.  “J’aime les champignons!!,” she said.

I did think it was a little weird to love mushrooms as much as she claimed.  Now I dream of Stroganoff with fresh mushrooms, and garlic sauteed mushrooms on my steak, and mushroom bisque with crusty bread for lunch.

Madame Baigue was totally right.

appetizer recipes

I don’t have that many occasions to make appetizers, to tell you the truth.  I wish I did, because they are so fun to eat.  When I had some friends over this week, and needed some appetizers, I wanted to fall back on my old standby.

However, I had these cute-as-heck fillo cups in my pantry, and these babies were calling my name.  Now I had a decision to make.

Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…  Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…

And the answer is: Both.  Obviously.

appetizer recipes

Normally, I fill the mushrooms with sausage and cream cheese.  To make them suitable for fillo cup filling, I added some finely diced shrooms.  You could throw in a little onion if you wanted, too.

Another nice thing about this appetizer recipe is that you can make it a few hours ahead of time, and pop it in the oven right before everyone comes to the door.  Then they walk in to the lovely aroma of sausage and mushrooms, and see you pulling them out of the oven, all ready to eat, like you’re Holly Homemaker or something.

They’ll never know how totally easy that was to do.

They don’t need to know.

P.S.  These fillo cups are not always easy to find.  I did find them at my local grocery store, but when I went back for more, they were nowhere to be found.  It might take a little hunting to come up with them.  Or you could just grab them from Amazon.
Mom Blog to Money Blog
Continue reading “Stuffed Mushroom Cups” »

Lime Cream Cheese Wontons

cream cheese wontonsIn the twelve years we have lived in our home, we have had some strange experiences with pesky animals.  The worst, for me, are the mice.  Because I’m a mouseophobe.  Or rodentophobe.  Wait, I’m not afraid of hamsters or squirrels.  Let’s stick with mouseophobe.  And ratophobe.

I. HATE. Mice.  I can’t word that strongly enough.

So one day, a couple years ago, when Robb was conveniently out of town, I heard this weird scratching noise in the basement hallway.  After dark.  I stood in the hall to check it out and the noise disappeared.  I walked away, and it started again.  I came back and it stopped.  It was like a horror film.

Exactly like a horror film.

Continue reading “Lime Cream Cheese Wontons” »

Chunky Guacamole and Fresh Corn Chips

A recipe for a fresh and chunky guacamole and corn chips.

Saturdays were made for snacking.  And so was guacamole.  I didn’t come to love guacamole until later in life.  I was influenced in this by my brother, who spent some time in South America and came home with a love affair with avocados.  He later married a woman who is from Mexico, which is somewhat fortunate for me, because it means I get to use their incredibly delicious and authentic Mexican guacamole recipe.  I’ve been eating it almost every day lately, after my doctor suggested I eat more avocados.

Best. Prescription. Ever.

Continue reading “Chunky Guacamole and Fresh Corn Chips” »