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.


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. 

Homemade Guacamole

All puns for the Golden Globes aside, we LOVE this guacamole recipe. It is the recipe that Tate’s mom has used for years, and as a result is the go-to guacamole recipe for everyone that tastes it. There is nothing sneaky about this recipe- it is just the perfect blend of all of the essential ingredients. 

Homemade Guacamole 
Makes: 6 appetizer servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes      Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 3 large, ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (ideally from fresh limes)
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 serrano chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Place the garlic, red onion, jalapeno, serrano, and cilantro in a small food processor. Pulse until all of the components are minced. Add to a medium-sized bowl. If you do not have a food processor available, finely chop these ingredients and be careful not to touch your eyes after chopping! 
  2. Cut the avocados around the middle with a good knife. Split in half and stab the pit with your knife to remove it. Use a spoon to scrape out the avocado from the skin and into the bowl. Immediately add the lime juice to the avocados to prevent browning.
  3. Use a potato masher to break down the avocados. We like our guacamole on the chunky side, but mash until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the texture you desire. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips and mixed vegetables for dipping.

Air Fryer Corn Dogs

This appetizer, “Tom Franks”, is named after this year’s Cecil B. deMille Award winner and all around legend, Tom Hanks. Like Tom Hanks, corn dogs are a classic. To ensure that we are honoring our New Year’s Resolution setting friends, we have chosen to air fry instead of deep frying. We were really happy with how the air fryer crisped up the corn dogs and the best part? No oil. None at all! 

Tom Franks – Air Fryer Jalapeno Corn Dogs with Cholula Ketchup
Makes: 18 mini corn dogs 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 23 minutes   

Ingredients For the Franks:

  • 1 package-6- hotdogs (we used Hebrew National)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 package of corn bread mix (we used Trader Joes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup of flour

Ingredients For the Condiments:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbs cholula 

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the cornbread by placing the full packet of mix in a bowl. Add one egg, oil, milk and jalapeno; stir to combine. Note that we have doubled the recommended amount of milk than the instructions on the packet.
  2. Chop the hot dogs into thirds.
  3. Scramble the remaining egg and keep in a separate bowl. Pour the flour into a separate bowl. You should have three bowls out at this point, one flour, one scrambled egg and one corn bread mixture.
  4. Assemble the corn dogs by dipping the hot dogs in the flour, scrambled egg and corn bread is that order. Do this for each hot dog and place the hot dogs on your air fryer pan.
  5. Cook the corn dogs on the air fryer setting at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. You should start seeing the corn bread mix turning brown on all sides. 
  6. Prepare the sauce by combining the ketchup and cholula
  7. Serve the corn dogs immediately with the ketchup.

Golden Globes 2020

Here at Tuck & Tate we love just about any reason to have a party. After the winter holiday season ends and New Year’s Eve has passed, we anxiously await the start of awards season. The Golden Globes nominees were announced a few weeks ago and we have been trying to cram in every movie and TV show we can before the show airs this Sunday. Each award show we host a small get together with lots of drinks, snacks, and voting ballots. We all vote for who we think will win each category and usually have a small prize for the winner. In the spirit of a good theme, we always try to make a punny dinner menu based on the nominees and award recipients. 

We created this menu with two things in mind: 1) you are probably just getting over the rush and stress of the holiday season and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, and 2) you may have set some health-related resolutions that you don’t feel like breaking in the first week of the new year. The two of us made this entire menu in under two hours, and with the help of extra hands could have done it all in 90 minutes. With the exception of the dessert, the dishes are all VERY healthy so that you can snack without guilt while you watch the Globes. 

We plan to serve all of our dishes at the same time, appetizer style so that everyone can grab what they want when the show starts. We like to keep it casual and let our guests help themselves as we anxiously watch the red carpet and show.

The Menu

Chicky Gervais Skewers- Chicken Fajita Skewers with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce 

Ricky Gervais- Host of the 2020 Golden Globes 

Mellen Degeneres Margaritas- Watermelon Margaritas

Ellen Degeneres- Winner of 2020 Carol Burnett Award

Tom Franks – Air Fryer Jalapeno Corn Dogs 

Tom Hanks- Winner of the 2020 Cecil B. deMille Award 

Guacine Phoenix – Homemade Guacamole 

Joaquin Phoenix- Joker- Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama

Christina Appletart – Apple, Thyme, & Mascarpone Tart 

Christina Applegate- Dead To Me – Best TV Actress Musical or Comedy 


Peach & Pecan Brie Bites

We are coming at you today with a quick and easy, crazy delicious appetizer for your last minute New Year’s Eve prep. We love to spend time in the kitchen, but every once in a while we need a quick, throw-in-the-oven recipe to help our entertaining plans take shape. This is where this Brie Bites recipe comes into play. Just a few ingredients and you’ll have a crowd pleasing appetizer in just about 30 minutes.

Peach & Pecan Brie Bites 
Makes: 24 small bites 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbs flour 
  • 1/2 lb pie dough
  • 1/3 – 1/2 lb wedge of Brie 
  • peach jam 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary 
  • 1 tbs butter 
  • 1 tbs brown sugar 
  • salt 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and brown sugar to the skillet, stirring until the sugar is melted into the butter. Add the pecans, rosemary, and a pinch of salt to the butter. Stir and cook the pecans until they are toasted and coated with the butter mix. Remove from the heat and pour onto a flat surface to let cool. You want to make sure they spread into an even layer so that the pecans don’t stick together.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on a flat kitchen surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough so that it is approximately 1/4 inch thick and a square or rectangle in shape. Take a small knife and cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares, re-rolling the dough as necessary until you have 24 pieces. 
  4. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Lay each piece of pie dough into each muffin insert- being careful not to tear the dough or push it too firmly into the tin insert. 
  5. Chop the brie into 24 small squares. Layer the brie, a teaspoon of peach jam, and a sprinkle of pecans into each of muffin tin squares. 
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pie crust is light brown and the peach jam is melted. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the pan. Use  a small pairing knife to gently release each bite from the pan and place onto a serving platter. 

Cheese Board: Winter Edition

It’s no doubt that we love ourselves a good cheese board at Tuck & Tate. When thinking about winter cheese boards, the first thing that came to mind was creating a board that was versatile enough to go to any holiday celebration, including New Year’s Eve. We wanted items that were tasty but felt light so as to not overshadow the decadence that typically comes with holiday menus. For detailed steps on constructing these appetizer dream boards, read through our Cheese Board: Fall Edition post found here.  

Cheese Board: Winter Edition
Serving Size: 8-10 servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients On This Board (all from Trader Joe’s):

  • 1 wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1 wedge of Creamy Toscana Cheese soaked in Syrah
  • 1 round of Camembert cheese 
  • 1 package assorted charcuterie meats
  • 1 package of asparagus
  • 1 package green beans
  • 1 tub of Everything Bagel Yogurt Dip
  • 1 container raspberries
  • 1 container blueberries
  • 2 cups of 3 seed beet crackers 
  • 2 cups of pistachio & pomegranate crackers 

Directions:  

  1. Start to assemble by placing the cheese on the board. Keep it spread to various corners. Add the dip to a serving dish and place in the center of the board.
  2. Add the ingredients on the board and try to mix types of foods and colors throughout. You can keep the board at room temperature for 2 hours before serving or assemble and serve immediately. 

Whipped Feta & Vegetable Platter

We know that this point in the holiday season can feel like a revolving door of guests and family coming over. There is a constant struggle of wanting to be the hostess with the mostest and also relaxing during the holidays. To help our cause we stock up on lots of  snacks so that we can throw together an appetizer board in just a few minutes. We love this whipped feta platter because it turns something ordinary into something much more extraordinary that really impresses your guests. Instead of a quick trip to the grocery to purchase the standard box of veggies and ranch, a trip through the produce section will give you the ingredients for this Martha Stewart-on-steroids Whipped Feta & Vegetable Platter. 

Making a Martha-esque veggie platter means expanding your horizons in the produce section of your grocery store. Instead of celery, opt for endive and asparagus. Instead of baby carrots, choose the longer rainbow variety to give your veggie platter some color. When making any type of appetizer board or platter, we always try to choose a variety of colors, textures, and tastes. This way there is something on the board for everyone. To compliment this array of veggies, we have made a Whipped Feta Dip with lots of fresh herbs. The feta gives the dip a nice punch of salt, Greek yogurt adds a nice tang, and the fresh herbs make it feel like summer even in the coolest of winter days. 

Whipped Feta Dip and Vegetable Platter                                                                                                                        
Serving Size: 8-10 appetizer servings                                                                                                       
Prep Time: 30 minutes      Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Feta Dip :

  • 8 oz feta cheese 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh herbs, finely chopped (we used dill, rosemary & chives)
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for the Vegetable Platter :

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed 
  • 1 bunch of radishes, rinsed and quartered 
  •  1 zucchini, cut into spears 
  • 1 package rainbow carrots, stems trimmed and peeled 
  • 2 bunches endive, leaves removed 
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced on the diagonal to make spears 
  • 1 small bunch of cauliflower 
  • 1 package green onions, ends trimmed and outer layer removed 

Directions:  

  1. To make the dip, put the feta in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the feta until it starts to become fluffy- three to four minutes. Add the Greek yogurt and continue to mix. If the mixture is still dry (this will depend on the type of feta you buy) add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has a thick, dip-like consistency. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Be aware the feta is very salty, so add the salt sparingly until you get the taste you want to achieve. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.   
  2. The reason this recipe has a 30 minute prep time, even though the dip takes 5 minutes or less to make, is so that you take the time to prep the vegetables. Wash everything thoroughly and pat dry before assembling on a platter. You can mix and match the veggies we have used in this platter or use up whatever you have in your refrigerator! Just be sure to choose a variety of colors and textures. 


Cheese Board: Autumn Edition

When hosting events, there is nothing we love more than putting together a cheese board. It can be assembled ahead of time and is a great distraction for your guests if you are still doing some preparation in the kitchen. It is the perfect vessel for putting many different foods together and looks spectacular when people walk in the door. We made the Autumn edition of our cheese board for Thanksgiving using ingredients that were seasonally fall – apples, Autumn Cheese, Pumpkin and Ginger Crackers. The options are endless when it comes to make these boards and the best part is that you don’t have to do much with combining flavors. With other dishes we would tell you that less is more, but when it comes to a cheese board, more is more. We love to dig through the aisles of Trader Joe’s to find items to mix and match. 

Our Cheese Board Tips:

  1. Use small ramekins and bowls to help separate foods that might run together, like marinated olives. This allows you to prepare the board a little more in advance and keeps all of the items on the board fresh for longer. 
  2. Stick to the rule of 3: three types of cheese, three types of charcuterie, and three types of crackers. This is a great base for a board for a party of 10-12 people. There will be enough variety that everyone will find something they like.
  3. Buy cheeses with a variety in taste, texture and type of milk they are made from. If a cheese is really hard (like a Parmesan) cut it into bite sized pieces for the board. The same goes for brie in a large wheel. Cutting the cheese up helps your guests have an easier time digging into the good stuff. 

Cheese Board: Autumn Edition
Serving Size: 8-10 servings 

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients On This Board (all from Trader Joe’s unless homemade):

  • 1 wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1 wedge of Rosemary Asiago 
  • 1 wedge of Chimay Autumn Cheese 
  • 1 package assorted charcuterie meats
  • 2 apples, thinly sliced 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 bell peppers, medium chop 
  • 1 cup+ marinated olives 
  • 1 cup+ honey roasted sesame cashews 
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash dip 
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Cranberry Crisp crackers 
  • 2 cups Trisket crackers 

Directions:  

  1. Start to assemble by placing the cheese on the board. Keep it spread to various corners. Next add the items that will go in bowls on the board. These should be for dips and more liquid items like the olives so that they don’t spread into the other ingredients. 
  2. Now add the charcuterie, folding it into different sizes to create different textures on your board. We like to fold the circular cuts into quarters and roll other larger pieces to give each item a different look. 
  3. Follow Step 2 with the vegetables and fruits, making sure to give the apples a squeeze of lemon juice before placing them on the board so that they do not brown before serving. If you are making the board in advance, stop at this point and refrigerate. 
  4. Complete the board by filling the the various holes with crackers, nuts, and other dry items. You may need to shuffle items on the board around, but the more the merrier! Serve at room temperature.