Spicy Chorizo Queso

Last week Justin Timberlake said “it’s gonna be May” and just like that, here we are rolling into Cinco de Mayo. Last year’s cinco celebrations were a bit bleak thanks to Covid quarantine and a general dismal state of mind. We are feeling much more festive this year and ready for any type of party (literally). We are starting off our menu with this Spicy Chorizo Queso and have to admit we are pretty obsessed with it. We use a variety of ingredients to bring the heat, including fresh jalapeños, pickled jalapeños, chorizo sausage, and chili powder. Unlike a lot of recipes you see out there, we add the chorizo into the queso (hence the red color). It might not be quite as photogenic but it is bursting with flavor. The final result is a complex combo of flavors that have us wanting to eat the entire bowl and calling it dinner. We won’t judge if you go that route as well.

Spicy Chorizo Queso

  • Servings: 8-10
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A queso that is perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations or any gathering in need of a spicy dip.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz chorizo
  • 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup gently packed, shredded chihuahua cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • pickled jalapenos, for garnish
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo (removing any casing) and cook until the chorizo is just cooked through. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon into a bowl and drain all but 1 tbs of the fat from the pot.
  2. Put the pot back on the heat and reduce to the heat to medium. Add the jalapeno, garlic, and onion to the pot. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and half and half to the pot.
  3. When the half and half starts to simmer, add about 1/3 of the cheese and stir well with a whisk to combine. When the first batch of cheese is melted, add another 1/3 and whisk to combine. Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of the cheese and again, whisk until the sauce is completely combined. Use a slotted spoon to add all but 2 tbs of the chorizo back to the pot. You want to leave behind any fat that drained while it was resting. Reduce the heat of the pot to low and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the queso to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining 2 tbs of chorizo, lots of fresh cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. Serve with your favorite chips for dipping.


Classic Deviled Eggs

Whenever we think of creating an Easter menu, we always think of deviled eggs. We LOVE deviled eggs and rarely pass up an opportunity to make them or order them if we see them on a menu. We love all of the variations we see in recipes that really mix up the ingredients but to us, a good, classic recipe is hard to beat. Because we keep things simple when we make them at home, we are able to get more creative and add fun ingredients to our other brunch menu recipes without having overlap. We do include one surprise, however, and that is a dash of hot sauce in the bottom of each egg before we fill them. We took this note from Chrissy Teigan and love how we get that added kick from the hot sauce without discoloring the yellow of the egg yolks.

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
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Our simple recipe for classic deviled eggs that are a crowd pleaser every time we make them.

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • your favorite hot sauce
  • chives, finely chopped, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Gently add the eggs into the water and cook the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of ice water for 3-4 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water.
  3. Carefully crack the eggs and peel away the shells. There is normally a small hollow section in each shell; we feel for that section and start peeling from there to make things easy.
  4. Cut each of the eggs in half lengthwise, cleaning the knife between each cut so that the whites of the eggs stay clean. Remove all of the yolks as best you can and place them into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and cayenne to the yolks. Use a hand mixer to whip all of the ingredients together and make the mixture as smooth as possible. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the yolks need a little more of a kick, you can add a dash of hot sauce to the yolk mixture. Pour the yolk mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag.
  6. Lay each of the egg whites onto a serving tray. Carefully pour a dab of hot sauce into the bottom of each egg white. Use the piping bag to dollop the yolk mixture on top of the hot sauce in each egg. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately. The deviled eggs can also be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours in advance of serving.


Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

Passover is one of our favorite Jewish holidays because of the symbolism of the Seder. It’s always the holiday we bring non-Jewish friends to (pre-Covid) to learn about being Jewish. If you are not a member of the tribe and have been invited to a Sedar, you may have shown up starving and realized that you are in for a long night. (For a great rendition of this panic, watch this skit by Sebastian Maniscalco) To avoid the Sedar starvation panic, we usually start our Passover with a light appetizer before we begin. This recipe for Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto is perfect for any occasion and a great recipe to welcome in Spring. We use the term “pesto” loosely, as the topping for the labneh is everything we love in a pistachio pesto, but we haven’t blended the ingredients together. The result is lots of bright flavors on top of the creamy labneh with an extra crunch from the pistachios.

Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

  • Servings: 6
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  The perfect appetizer for your Passover seder or any spring gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups labneh (you can substitute whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spread the labneh into an even layer in a shallow small serving bowl or a small salad plate. Set aside.
  2. Put the parsley leaves, pistachios, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse the blender to finely chop the ingredients. Do not over-blend the ingredients, you are just looking for a fine chop. Remove the parsley mixture from the blender into a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and chili flakes to the parsley, stir to combine.
  3. Start by adding about half of the recommended olive oil to the parsley mix. You want the mixture to have the consistency of wet sand, but not drowning in olive oil. Add up to the full amount of 1/3 cup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dollop the parsley mix on top of the labneh. Serve with a variety of fresh vegetable and matzah, if desired.


Olive Tapenade & Whipped Goat Cheese Bruschetta

If you know us personally, you know that we go a bit overboard for awards season. We love television and movies, and use the award shows as an excuse to make a fun and often punny themed menu for us to enjoy while we watch. This years Golden Globes is no exception. We are kicking things off for the award season with this Olive Tapenade & Whipped Goat Cheese Bruchetta. This is a perfect appetizer to make in advance so that you can have a plate ready to serve when your friends and family arrive. We love doing a homemade olive tapenade so that we can include the olives that we love the most – castelvetrano and kalamata. You can easily swap for other olives of your preference or substitute with what you have on hand. The whipped goat cheese adds a touch of creaminess and helps temper the salty tapenade for a great way to kick off the show.

Olive and Whipped Goat Cheese Bruchetta

  • Servings: 16 pieces of bruchetta
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz castelvetrano olives, pitted
  • 8 oz kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems removed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 french baguette

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cut the baguette into one inch slides. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each side of the cut bread and place on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes so the bread is nice and toasted. Remove when the slices are crunchy.
  3. In a blender, combine the olives, olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Blend until the olives are ground or until the consistency of the tapenade is your desired texture. If the mixture is too thick, add additional olive oil. Set the mixture aside and clean out the blender.
  4. In the same blender, add the goat cheese and water and blend until the goat cheese is a creamy texture. Use your judgement on the consistency and add water as needed. It should be creamy but not runny.
  5. Assemble. Spread a layer of the goat cheese on one side of the bread and top with a generous dollop of the olive tapenade. Serve immediately.


Valentine’s Day Cheese Board For Two

When coming up with our 2021 Valentine’s Day Menu, we admit , we were feeling a bit indulgent. We know that most couples will be spending Valentine’s Day in their own homes this year, so we wanted a meal that felt decadent and different than just an average weeknight dinner. We are starting our menu with the appetizer course, a cheese board for two. The best part of this cheese board is that the ingredients fit seamlessly to be an appetizer or a dessert board depending on your preferences. As with all cheese boards, you can mix this up however you like, and we encourage you to use ingredients you already have at home. As an appetizer, we recommend more savory ingredients like bacon jam and mixed nuts. For dessert, you can incorporate chocolate, candies and any other sweet treats you crave.

Valentine's Day Cheese Board

  • Servings: 2
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The perfect appetizer or dessert cheese board for two!

Ingredients

  • 1 small brie wheel
  • 1 brick sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jelly
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • peanuts
  • chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Prepare the cheese. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart in the center of the brie wheel. Discard the heart (by eating in while you prepare the board) and place the brie in the center of your cheese board. Cut out “I” and “U” shaped letters from the cheddar cheese brick. Place them on each side of the brie wheel.
  2. Assemble the cheese board. Surround the I ❤ U with the grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peanuts and chocolate. We like to have a mix of the foods all over the board to have a range of color and texture throughout. Be sure to incorporate the snacks you like and enjoy with your loved ones!


Seven Layer Dip Nachos

We have arrived at Super Bowl week! We have always loved celebrating the Super Bowl with huge food spreads, lots of friends, and family, but this year is most exciting for Kidd because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing. Kidd has been a Bucs fan through thick and thin, so this year we have set out to make a menu that is extra special. While our gathering may be a bit smaller, we fully plan to indulge in an epic Super Bowl spread.

Jamie hates seven layer dip. Let’s just put that out there into the world and get it off our chests. The layering of all of these different ingredients- some of which should be hot, some of which should be cold- is just a huge no no. The only problem with her dislike of seven layer dip is that everyone else in the family loves it. Can’t get enough. When brainstorming recipes for this year’s Super Bowl, we knew we had to form some sort of compromise so that the seven layer fans get their fix, but make sure that Jamie wouldn’t be repulsed by the idea of eating cold refried beans. Enter Seven Layer Dip Nachos. A recipe to make all of the people happy. We have baked the chips, cheese, refried beans, and chiles before topping them with all of the ingredients we prefer to have cold. To spice things up, we have made a chipotle lime sour cream and added our homemade guacamole. If you’re not in the mood to cook any more than you have to, you can easily purchase sour cream and guacamole at the grocery store and call it a win. These nachos are a gorgeous heap of cheesy goodness and the perfect game day appetizer for hungry football fans.

Seven Layer Dip Nachos

  • Servings: 8-10
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Our version of Seven Layer Dip made into nachos!

Ingredients for the Nachos

  • 1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 can (4 oz) green chiles, drained
  • 2-3 tbs sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo, drained well
  • 1/2 recipe of our homemade guacamole

Ingredients for the Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice from one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay half of the chips onto a small cookie sheet in an even layer. We like the nachos to be piled high, so if it looks like the sheet tray is getting little crowded, that’s okay! Just make sure the chips are in an even layer so they don’t spill in the oven.
  2. Use a spoon to dollop half of the refried beans, green chiles, and shredded cheese over the first layer of nachos. Add the remaining tortilla chips on top of the first layer and repeat the dollops of refried beans, green chiles, and cheese. Bake the nachos in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted.
  3. While the chips are baking, make the sour cream. Whisk the sour cream, chipotle in adobo, cumin, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. When the cheese is melted onto the chips, remove from the oven and let the topping games begin! Dollop the sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole around the chips, trying to get the toppings into all of the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle with the olives and serve immediately.


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.