Now that our social lives are getting back on track, we feel a little rusty in the dinner party/entertaining game. We find ourselves going back to the basics as we dust the rust off and have more people over for dinner. One of our simple hacks to make entertaining easy is to have an interactive appetizer as part of the menu. While our guests are having a drink they can also stay busy making their first bites of food. This way, we can be in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner. We love this caprese bruschetta because the ingredients are so simple but the taste is so impressive. By swapping fresh tomatoes out for garlic roasted tomatoes, traditional fresh mozzarella for creamy burrata, and simple basil leaves for homemade pesto, we have made each ingredient feel more special with hardly any effort. This appetizer is bursting with flavor and perfect for any summer gathering.
Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and the sliced garlic. Lay everything in a single layer on a cookie sheet and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just bursting. Use a slotted spatula to remove the tomatoes and garlic from the pan and into a serving bowl, leaving any juices and oils behind. Toss the baguette slices with the oils from the pan and put in the oven. Toast for about 5 minutes, or until the baguette is crispy.
While the tomatoes are cooking, make the pesto. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a small bowl for serving.
Drain the burrata and pat it dry with a paper towel. Carefully slice the burrata into segments and lay it in the serving platter. Season the burrata with a little salt and freshly cracked pepper. Assemble the serving tray with the tomatoes, pesto, and baguette slices. Serve immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We love any holiday that has eating at the forefront of activities, so you can imagine that we go pretty big for Super Bowl Sunday! Tate’s dad has his favorite team – the Buccaneers – playing in the Super Bowl this year, which means we have an even bigger reason to celebrate. Today we are giving you the best of the best when it comes to Super Bowl feasting options. We always like to have lots of appetizers at the start of the game and an entrée that can slow cook until halftime. We don’t want to have to watch the halftime show while slaving away in the kitchen! Most of these recipes can be made in advance so that you can enjoy the game from start to finish.
Kale & Artichoke Dip – our favorite OG party dip that is sneaky healthy. You won’t have to feel bad if you crush the entire bowl in the first quarter.
2. Homemade Pretzel Bites – this is the appetizer that Tate’s dad’s is famous for at parties. We cook some of the pretzel bites in a ring with the Kale & Artichoke Dip in the center and bake the rest on a cookie sheet for dipping. These look very impressive for guests but are actually easy to make.
3. His & Hers Air Fried Wings– we love a recipe that tastes indulgent but is actually on the healthy side. These air fried wings are crispy and packed with flavor. “His” wings are traditional buffalo flavor while “her” wings are a savory Indian inspired chicken wing with turmeric and tandoori powder. They give a little something for everyone to pick at during game time!
4. Homemade Guacamole – this is our go-to recipe for homemade guac. Once you make this you’ll never go back to anything bought at the grocery store. This guac is a great as an appetizer but is also a nice topping for some of the entrees below.
5. Buffalo Chicken Dip – this is one of our favorites as Tuck’s dad loves buffalo chicken. Our version is a little different than other recipes out there- we have lightened things up a bit with Greek yogurt as the base of the dip and have a garlicky bread crumb topping that is pretty much to die for.
6. Seven Layer Dip Nachos – one of the newest recipes to our list, we love this take on the traditional seven layer dip. Turning the dip into nachos makes the cheese and refried beans hot and melty, while keeping the sour cream and guacamole chilled for dipping into.
7. Jalapeno Poppers – another one of our favorite recipes for people that like some heat in their appetizers! Our poppers are stuffed with all of the flavors of a cheesesteak, minus the steak. Lots of cheese, caramelized onions, and bell peppers make these incredibly tasty and a crowd favorite.
8. Buffalo Cauliflower – it’s always nice to have some vegetarian options on the table, and this Buffalo Cauliflower is one of our go-to recipes. We have again used the air fryer for this recipe, which makes the cauliflower crispy without making it greasy. This is another appetizer that can be served in tacos as an entree for vegetarians.
9. Pepperoni Pizza Dip – you can probably tell from the photo below that we originally made this dish for our Halloween menu last year. It is SO good for any gathering, which is why it made the list! You can easily shape the dough into a football for the Super Bowl if you want to theme it out your party foods.
10. Air Fryer Corn Dogs – the air fryer strikes again, this time for mini corn dogs! We made these for last year’s Golden Globe Awards menu and they were such a crowd pleaser that we make them regularly for a fun snack. They are healthy and easy to make thanks to cornbread mix and the air fryer.
11. Beer Braised Instant Pot Chicken– we love making recipes in the Instant Pot because we can set it, forget it, and keep watching the game. This spicy pulled chicken has a burst of citrus from the limes and a nice little kick from the Corona. We like to serve this chicken as tacos with our homemade guacamole recipe above.
12.Octoberfest Chili– this is a great choice for your menu if the weather is supposed to be cold. This chili might be vegetarian but it’s rich and hearty – we promise you won’t miss the meat. Serve this with our Cast Iron Corn Bread below for a stick to your ribs sort of meal.
13. Smoked Brisket on the Big Green Egg– if you are an “egg head” you know that smoking a large brisket is a labor of love, but one that we are glad to put the work into! We smoke a big brisket (15+ lbs) and serve it sliced with barbecue sauce and all of our favorite bbq side dishes like our Everything Bagel Coleslaw, Cast Iron Corn Bread, or Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese. We use the leftovers for everything from chili to tacos to breakfast hash.
14. Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork– another Instant Pot recipe that is great for game day. We love this BBQ Pulled Pork in sliders or sandwiches, served with barbecue sauce, homemade pickles, and our Everything Bagel Coleslaw below. It would also be great in tacos or on our Seven Layer Dip Nachos, above.
15. Italian Beef Sandwiches– one of our newest recipes on the blog! If you have lived in or visited Chicago, you know Italian beef sandwiches are a classic. Tate’s mom has perfected this recipe over the years and it is always a favorite of ours. We serve these sandwiches with provolone, giardiniera, and lots of jus for dipping. We practically drown our sandwiches the jus is so good, so serve them with lots of napkins!
16. Chicken Tortilla Soup – while the Super Bowl is known for some pretty heavy eating, that doesn’t mean that every dish needs to have a health warning attached. This is a healthy recipe that is quick and easy to prepare. It’s also one of those recipes that the longer it sits, the better it tastes- perfect for game day! You can create an easy and delicious Mexican inspired menu with our Seven Layer Nachos above and Skillet Corn Bread below.
17. Chicken Chili Verde– green chili is a signature dish in Colorado and this is one of our many versions that we have developed over the years. We love the punch from the tomatillos in this chili and that it’s lighter with chicken. We serve this with ALL of the toppings and have our guests make their chili dreams come true.
18. Cast Iron Corn Bread– this is one of our favorite side dishes to make for just about any dinner! This crunchy corn bread pairs well with everything from Instant Pot Beer Braised Chicken to Oktoberfest Chili. While we love it piping hot out of the oven, it can be prepared ahead of time and served at halftime with your favorite entree.
19. Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese – another great side dish option for nearly everything, but we love to serve this hatch mac with our Big Green Egg Brisket or our Chicken Chili Verde. It makes a huge batch and holds well in the oven, making it a great game day recipe.
20. Everything Bagel Coleslaw – this coleslaw was featured on our 2020 Super Bowl Menu. We topped it onto sandwiches with our Instant Pot Pulled Pork and it was an immediate hit! Serve this with any of our smokey meat entrees for a killer combo.
22. S’mores Blondies– every good dinner menu needs a dessert, and we love these bite sized S’mores Blondies. They are a favorite for all ages and can be made ahead of time so that no one has to miss the game!
23. Heath Bar Brownies – another bite sized dessert that is perfect for the 4th quarter. These brownies are made extra decadent with a hint of caramel from the Heath bars.
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.
A simple, crowd pleasing dip that can match any “theme” based on the shape of your pizza dough bowl.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Add the cream cheese and continually stir until the cream cheese is melted. Once melted, add the pizza sauce and mix to combine.
Add the pepperoni and any additional pizza toppings you wish to use, turn the heat off, and set the dip aside.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Prepare the tomato confit as instructed in the link above. Set aside and let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
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.
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.
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.
We named this classic appetizer Guacine Phoenix in honor of Joaquin’s role in The Joker, but 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.
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!
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.
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.
Keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serve with tortilla chips and mixed vegetables for dipping.
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
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.
Chop the hot dogs into thirds.
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.
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.
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.
Prepare the sauce by combining the ketchup and cholula
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.
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
2 tbs flour
1/2 lb pie dough
1/3 – 1/2 lb wedge of Brie
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbs fresh rosemary
1 tbs butter
1 tbs brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.