Roasted Vegetable Platter

We know that Thanksgiving 2020 is probably going to look a little different for most of us this year. If you are used to having a large gathering, downsizing your menu and vision can seem a little sad. Our tip for enjoying the holiday to the fullest is to prepare your menu as you would any other year. If Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without 10 side dishes, go ahead and make your traditional full menu! We suggest that this year you downsize the quantity but not the scale of your traditional Thanksgiving menu. We all need a little holiday cheer after the strangest year of history, plus, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?

Even with a small gathering, we love to have an appetizer out and ready for our guests to arrive. Because a traditional Thanksgiving menu is loaded with carby side dishes, we like to keep appetizers light. Save the baked brie for other winter gatherings. We love this roasted vegetable platter because all of the components can be made the day before. We love the addition of the romesco sauce and the lemon aioli to provide a zesty punch, but you can serve the vegetables with any dipping sauce you enjoy. All it takes is some quick assembly on Thanksgiving Day and you will have a gorgeous appetizer to set the tone for a festive holiday dinner. We have gone ahead and listed out every vegetable and dip on the platter that we used in the recipe below, but we encourage you to plan out your platter so that you do not have any repeating vegetables in your main dinner menu.

Roasted Vegetable Platter

  • Servings: 6-8
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A healthy and robust appetizer platter to have waiting for your Thanksgiving guests!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into florets
  • 1 acorn squash, seeds removed and sliced into wedges
  • 1 package petite rainbow carrots
  • 3 beets, rinsed, peeled, and sliced into wedges
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • romesco sauce, or dip of your choice
  • lemon & garlic aioli, or dip of your choice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep the vegetables that need roasting (cauliflower, squash, carrots and beets) so that all of them are peeled, have their seeds removed, and are chopped into large bite sized pieces. Lay the vegetables on a cookie sheet or two so that they are in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the vegetables until they are fork tender, anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let cool so that they are warm or room temperature. If you are making the vegetables the day before, refrigerate and bring out to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve the vegetables on a platter with romesco sauce and lemon aioli, or any dips of your choice. Serve with small forks and/or toothpicks to allow your guests to help themselves.


Spooky Pepperoni Pizza Dip

This recipe is a super fun, adult and kid pleasing, Halloween dip. You can basically do no wrong by creating pizza dip. This dip is everything we love about the topping of pizza (cheese, sauce, and pepperoni) combined and served in a pizza dough bowl. Feel free to add additional pizza toppings that you like to this dip- peppers, mushrooms, olives, really anything you like to eat with pizza. This recipe is assembled by using a bread bowl to be the spider’s body and creating dough legs to make it extra cheesy for Halloween. (See what we did there!) You can use the legs for dipping and add crackers and veggies for additional dunking options.

Spooky Pepperoni Pizza Dip

  • Servings: 8
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A simple, crowd pleasing dip that can match any “theme” based on the shape of your pizza dough bowl.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh pizza dough
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 package pepperoni, chopped (6 oz)
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature your pizza dough recommends (this should be on the package, but about 400 degrees if no temperature is listed). Take the dough out of the refrigerator so that it comes to room temperature.
  2. Create the dough bowl. On a clean countertop, divide one of the balls of dough into two equal parts. Roll one half of the dough out into a round circle. Spray the outside and bottom of an oven-safe, bowls shaped baking dish with cooking spray. We used a 2 cup baking bowl, but this can vary in size. Placed the rolled dough over the bottom of the baking bowl and place the dough right side up on a cookie sheet – the bowl will be upside down with the dough facing up. Use the remaining dough to create a ball “head” for the spider, if you are making this for Halloween.
  3. Use the other ball of dough to create the “legs”. Roll the remaining dough into 8 equal logs and place on the cookie sheet. Brush the scrambled egg over the legs, head and body of the spider and sprinkle Everything Bagel Seasoning on each leg. Place the cookie sheet with all of the spider dough into the oven and bake for 15 -20 minutes or until the dough is completely cooked through.
  4. While the dough is baking, in a medium pan melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent but not brown.
  5. Add the cream cheese and continually stir until the cream cheese is melted. Once melted, add the pizza sauce and mix to combine.
  6. Add the pepperoni and any additional pizza toppings you wish to use, turn the heat off, and set the dip aside.
  7. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, remove the bowl from under the dough bowl. Place on a platter and add the heated pizza dip. Assemble the legs next to the pizza dip bowl to create a spider. We topped ours with slices of bell pepper for eye balls. Serve as is or with additional vegetables/crackers for dipping.


Chicken Caesar Salad Dip

Football is a big seasonal sport in our house. For some in our household, football season is about actually watching the games. For the rest of us it is about making snacks to eat during the game. We love to have some type of chips and dip combo and this week we decided to mix things up by making a Chicken Caesar Salad Dip. This dip is everything you love about creamy Caesar salad dressing combined with cheese and baked. It’s a gooey, melt-in-your-mouth kind of dip that we can snack on all game long.

Chicken Caesar Salad Dip
Makes: 2 cups of dip
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot to boil with approximately 3 cups of water. Once boiling, add the chicken breasts. Boil over high heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked completely through. Remove from the water and set aside to cool.
  3. In a pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the cream cheese and milk and continuously stir until the cream cheese is melted and smooth.
  4. Add the Caesar salad dressing and mix to combine. Season the dip with salt and pepper to taste and pour the dip into an oven safe bowl. Top with the parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with bread, crackers, veggies or any other dipping vessel of your choice!

Jewish Deli Brunch Board

We aren’t sure if our Yom Kippur “break-the-fast” dinner is one of our favorite meals because it is breakfast-for-dinner on steroids, or if it’s one of our favorite dinners because we have spent the previous 24 hours abstaining from food. In normal (non-Covid) years, our mom hosts a huge Break-The-Fast with a bunch of our family friends. Everyone contributes to the menu and we usually have everything from Baked French Toast, to our Green Chili Egg Bake, to coffeecake and cookies. The star of the show, however, is the giant buffet of Jewish deli bagels and accompaniments. Today we are giving you a quick rundown of our favorite must-haves, and how to present them to wow your starving Yom Kippur guests or anyone coming over for a fun weekend brunch. As with any of our board recipes, you can make as much of the board ingredients as you like from scratch, but can easily cut back on time and effort by purchasing the items pre-made.

Break-The-Fast Jewish Deli Board

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes if you buy everything pre-made

Ingredients:

  • 8 assorted bagels, sliced
  • 16 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 16 oz smoked white fish
  • 16 oz egg salad
  • 1 lb lox (smoked salmon)
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved if they are large
  • 1 cucumber, sliced on a bias
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 boiled eggs, cut in half
  • 8 oz mixed olives (we used kalamata and castelvetrano)
  • Mixed herbs (dill, parsley, chives) for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Put the dips (cream cheese, white fish and egg salad) into small ramekins for serving on the board. Top each with appropriate garnishes and place on the board. We like to top the white fish with dill sprigs, the egg salad with chives, and the cream cheese with Everything Bagel Seasoning. Place each of the ramekins on the board, along with the smoked salmon.
  2. Add to the board with slices of tomato, cucumber, red onion, and avocado in various places, alternating with different vegetables in different spaces to distribute colors and ingredients to all sides of the board.
  3. Fill in the board with cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and mixed olives. Serve with sliced bagels and utensils for each of the spreads.

Nana’s Dill Pickles

We posted an Instagram a video of us making pickles with Nana a few weeks ago, and a lot of you loved seeing the Queen of the Kitchen at work. We have been making pickles with her every August since we can remember and it was so special to capture the process on camera and share it with you! We eat these pickles year round, but especially during the Jewish holidays. You will never find our Rosh Hashanah dinner table without a platter olives and homemade pickles. 

There are some materials required in order to preserve the pickles, so be sure you get your shopping list covered before pickle making day! The pickles can be eaten as soon as 10 days after they are jarred but are eaten ideally two to three weeks later; be sure to make this recipe well in advance of when you want to eat your pickles. 

Nana’s Dill Pickles 
Makes: 8 mason jars (roughly 50 pickles) 
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 24 hour overnight soak to clean cucumbers
Total Time: 11 days (at a minimum for pickling, up to 21 days)

Items Required**:

  • 8 large mason jars
  • 8 NEW mason jar lids (this is extremely important in making sure the cucumbers pickle properly and are preserved well)

Ingredients:

  • 50-60 pickling cucumbers – Ideally, you will want to get as many SMALL cucumbers that you can find so that you can fit more in the jars.
  • 8 tbs kosher salt
  • 24 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • 8 tsp pickling spice
  • 16 whole, dried red chili peppers 
  • 4 large bunches of dill weed 

Directions:

  1. Clean the cucumbers by letting them soak overnight in cold water. Using a light brush, scrub off any dirt but be sure not to puncture the cucumber.
  2. Place the mason jar lids in boiling water and set aside.
  3. Put a rounded tablespoon of kosher salt, 3 sliced garlic cloves,1 tsp of pickling salt and 2 dried chili peppers in the bottom of each mason jar. If you want spicy pickles you can use up to 3 chili peppers per jar. 
  4. Fill the bottom of each mason jar with as many cucumbers as you can fit. You will want to put your largest cucumbers in this layer. Make sure the cucumbers are compact but not forced in the jar.
  5. Take a half bunch of dill and place in each mason jar.
  6. Using the smaller cucumbers, add as many as you can to fill up the remainder of the jar. Once full, fill each jar to the top with cold water. Seal each jar as tight as you can. 
  7. Place the jars in a cool area upside down so that they are standing on their lids. We typically put a paper towel underneath the jars so that we can tell if any of the lids are leaking. Leave upside down for 24 hours. 
  8. Flip the jars back over after 24 hours and re-tighten the lids. Store the jars in a cool place in your house for at least two weeks. As long as the jars are sealed and kept in a cool, dry location, you can keep them for up to 6 months. Refrigerate the pickle jars once they are opened. 

** Nana insists that if a woman is on her period while making this recipe, the pickles will be completely ruined. So if it is that time of the month, no pickle making for you! 


Ratatouille Tart

As you may have seen yesterday on our Instagram, we harvested our garden veggies before the snow came in Colorado and wanted a dish that we could really use up a good bulk of our produce. This Ratatouille Tart is gorgeous, garden veggie heaven. It comes together by slicing zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and layering them in a pie shell. If you want this dish to be a visual stunner, spend the time to alternate all of the vegetables as you layer them into the pie crust. Don’t make this for dinner on a weeknight when everyone is already starving. We have saved some time by purchasing a pre-made pie crust and marinara sauce, but if you really want to over-achieve, go ahead either from scratch, as well! 

Ratatouille Tart 
Makes: 1 pie; 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes        Total Time: 3 hours 

Ingredients for the Tart: 

  • 1- whole wheat pie shell, thawed if frozen (we love the Whole Foods frozen version!) 
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup marinara sauce 
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1/2 of 1 large eggplant 
  • salt 

Ingredients for the Herb Oil: 

  • 2/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes 
  • 1 large clove garlic, mined 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. You want the eggplant to be roughly the same size as the squashes, so depending on the size, you may want to cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Lay all of the sliced vegetables onto kitchen towels. Season well on both sides with salt and let the vegetables sit for 30 minutes to purge most of their liquid. You will be rinsing the vegetables later, so really season them well to make sure enough liquid gets removed during this stage. 
  3. While the vegetables are purging, par-bake the crust. Use a fork to poke the bottom layer of the pie crust. Layer with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Par-baking the crust and using a layer of Parmesan helps keep the pie bottom from becoming soggy later on. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside until it is back to room temperature. 
  4. While the pie crust is in the oven, reduce the marinara sauce. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinara sauce to the pot and let it simmer and reduce. You want to reduce it by about 25%, so that it is thicker and more of a tomato paste than a tomato sauce. When it has reduced accordingly, remove from the heat. 
  5. The final step before assembling the tart is to make the herb oil. Combine the herb oil ingredients (olive oil – salt) in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. 
  6. We are finally ready to assemble the tart! Put all of the vegetables into a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat the vegetables dry with a kitchen towel. 
  7. Add the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer. 
  8. Starting with the outside edge, layer the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash in alternating patterns around the outside of the pie crust. To give the tart a nice visual texture, try to layer the vegetables as vertically as possible. Continue to layer the vegetables in the tart shell until it is completely full to the center. 
  9. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the vegetables with the herb oil. Be generous with this, but you might have some oil leftover. 
  10. Use thin strips of foil to cover the outside edges of the pie crust. You want to make sure you take the time to do this well before the tart goes in the oven so that the crust does not burn. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The tart is done with the vegetables are cooked through and fork-tender. 
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes (you can lightly cover with foil) before slicing. 

Mezze Board

Creating an appetizer board is our go-to vehicle for feeding mouths as they walk through our door. There is always a little something for everyone and for some reason having more appetizers feels less stressful than having one and hoping it’s a winner. We love Greek food and often make a dinner party menu featuring this type of cuisine. Keeping that in mind, we set out to make a board of Greek appetizers (mezze) that mostly stays away from our traditional meat and cheese boards. If you feel like over-achieving you can make many of these items from scratch, but to save time we have purchased them from Trader Joe’s. Pro Tip: whenever we purchase a pre-made dip from the grocery store, we always give it a little TLC before serving. For this board we used Trader Joe’s labneh and hummus; we transferred each into smaller bowls and drizzled olive oil and red chili flakes on the labneh and olive oil and everything spice on the hummus. It’s a small touch that makes the board look better and less like you just got home from the grocery store. 

Mezze Board 
Makes: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 25 minutes    Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 container small tomatoes on the vine 
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced on a bias
  • 1 block (6-8 oz) feta cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 container dolmas 
  • 1 jar of grilled, marinated artichoke hearts, drained 
  • 1 jar Greek olives, drained 
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Olive & Herbs Mixed Nuts, or similar 
  • 1 package pita, cut into small wedges 
  • 1 container hummus
  • 1 container labneh 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • red pepper flakes 
  • Everything Bagel Spice 

Directions: 

  1. Prep the ingredients that need a little TLC. Slice the cucumber into thick slices on a bias. Cut the feta into large chunks. Drain the dolmas, artichoke hearts, and olives. Cut the pita into wedges. 
  2. Transfer the hummus and labneh (or any other dips) into small ramekins or bowls that will fit on your board. Top each dip with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on the labneh and Everything Bagel Spice on the hummus. 
  3. Arrange the platter. Start by putting the two ramekins of dips onto the platter. From there, layer each of the ingredients in at least two places on a large board. We try and mix and match the ingredients but also make sure that dry ingredients like the pita or mixed nuts stay dry by being placed near a ramekin. Once the board is full and assembled, serve immediately. 

Tomato, Proscuitto, & Ricotta Bruschetta

A few months back we posted a recipe for how to make tomato confit, and we have been making it regularly ever since. The tomatoes can last up to four weeks in the refrigerator – just make sure they are completely cooled before they are sealed into a container. The tomatoes can also be frozen and used in recipes like our Angel Hair with Burrata & Tomatoes. We love to mix and match how we use them, and for this rendition we are using them as a bruschetta condiment. We love the combination of the sweet and herby tomatoes, the salty prosciutto, and the creamy whipped ricotta. You can serve this as an appetizer on baguette – we like to have everything separate on a board and let people assemble themselves- or use larger slices of bread for brunch or a light dinner. 

Tomato, Prosciutto, & Ricotta Bruschetta 
Makes: 16 appetizer pieces 
Prep Time: 1 hour if preparing the tomato confit    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 recipe for tomato confit (you want to use 1 1/2 lbs of tomatoes)
  • 1 baguette, sliced on a bias into 16 slices 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (approx. 16 oz) 
  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1 container of basil leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped 
  • balsamic glaze, for garnish 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the tomato confit as instructed in the link above. Set aside and let the tomatoes cool to room temperature. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  3. Slice the baguette and drizzle the olive oil over top of the slices. Toss to coat on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until they are crispy. 
  4. Use a hand mixer to whip the ricotta on medium-high speed for at least two full minutes. You can use a whisk for this and do it by hand if you want a workout, but it will take a few more minutes. The ricotta should be light and fluffy and a visibly different texture than it was in the container. 
  5. Assemble the bruschetta by layering a spoonful of ricotta onto the bottom of the toast. Top with 2-3 tomatoes, a few pieces of prosciutto, and basil. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze and serve immediately. 

Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower

Substituting chicken for cauliflower is one of those swaps that, when done right, makes you forget the original. Don’t get us wrong, we are not trying to pretend that we don’t love good chicken wings, but when we need a healthier swap, we turn to cauliflower. This recipe is super simple and can be used in a ton of different ways. You can serve the cauliflower as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dip, put it in a wrap or tacos as a substitute for protein, or on top of a salad.

Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower

Makes: 4 – 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower or 16 oz cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 cup of hot sauce (we used Franks)
  • ranch or blue cheese for dipping, optional

Directions:

  1. If you did not buy prepackaged cauliflower, prepare the cauliflower by removing the stem and cutting the florets into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a medium sized sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce. You don’t need to bring the mixture to a boil, you just want to make sure that everything is evenly blended.
  3. Turn the heat off and add the cauliflower. Stir until all of the cauliflower is coated with the hot sauce. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet for your air fryer. Set the temperature to 400 degrees and air fry for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and crispy.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, in a wrap, on a salad or straight up!

Loaded Bahn Mi Fries

Every once in a while we get a wild hair to create food that is epically decadent. Tuck’s mom had been browsing recipes for bahn mi sandwiches- a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with pork, cilantro, and pickled vegetables- and decided all of those ingredients would taste way better loaded onto baked french fries. What can we say? We play for the tie when it comes to quick, easy recipes and stupidly over the top recipes. We try to keep it interesting!

Taking one look at this ingredient list will show you that this dish has a ton of components. If you aren’t feeling like spending this much time and effort in the kitchen you can easily modify or skip ingredients all together. However, if you go all in you will love this recipe. It’s sweet and spicy, crispy and crunchy…. everything you want from a messy, delicious, mega appetizer. We hope to double it and make it for a giant party once quarantine is over.

Loaded Bahn Mi Fries

Makes: 4 entree servings, 6-8 appetizer servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Fries:

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha

Ingredients for the Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 thai chili, left whole

Ingredients for the Pork

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the potatoes into fry shaped sticks. Toss the fries in the vegetable oil and season them with salt and pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or two and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the fries are crispy on the outside and cooked through the center.
  3. While the fries are cooking make the pickled veggies. Combine the ingredients for the pickled veg (carrots- Thai chili) in a medium mixing bowl. Add enough water to the bowl to submerge the vegetables. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. After you have completed the picked veg make the ground pork. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for about 4 minutes. After that time, drain most of the fat away from the pan, reserving about 1 tbs. Add the remaining ingredients (ginger- Sriracha) to the pork and cook another 5 minutes, or until the flavors have combined. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  5. Lastly, make the Sriracha mayo by combining the two ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1 tbs water if the mayo is too thick to drizzle over the fries.
  6. When the potatoes are out of the oven, lay the fries on a large serving platter (we just use the cookie sheet from the potatoes as it becomes a giant mess anyway). Layer the pork on top. Drain the pickled veggies well and scatter them over top. Top with the Sriracha mayo, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno to serve.