Category Archives: Appetizers

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

Here’s a great recipe to make now that warm sunny days are finally arriving.  It’ll still be a while before all the snow melts away where I live, but at least the sun is shining brightly this morning.  And isn’t there just something so uplifting about a sunny day? 🙂

If you’ve never tried it before, black-eyed pea salsa may sound a little strange.  It really is delicious!  And this coming from a girl who really doesn’t care much for black-eyed peas unless they’re fresh, and this recipe calls for canned.

This recipe comes from Cooking Light, so you know it’s also healthy, another bonus.  They refer to it as a “salad” but since it’s meant to be eaten with tortilla or pita chips it kinda seems more like a salsa, wouldn’t you say?  So that’s what I’m gonna call it! I also made just a few tiny changes to the original recipe.

I hope you give this a try and enjoy it!  Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Black_Eyed Pea Salsa


  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (regular white vinegar works fine too)
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cups chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 Tb fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • pita or tortilla chips


Whisk together the first 5 ingredients (salt thru cumin).  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

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Filed under Appetizers, Beans, Vegetarian

Crunchy Potato Bites

If you cooked a big ham like I did for Christmas, then you probably have some leftover ham that would be perfect in this recipe.  As a ham lover myself, I’m happy as can be having all that chopped and sliced ham tucked away in my deep freeze!

This recipe comes from my Christmas with Southern Living Cookbook.  It’s quick and easy to make, especially if you already have mashed potatoes and ham on hand. I haven’t tried it myself, but I imagine these bites would freeze well too, so you could make them ahead of time and freeze for later which, for me, is one of the top things I look for in a recipe nowadays.  I love being able to pull dinner straight out of the freezer!

In the book these are in the “snacks” section, and they would be great as an appetizer too.  I made them probably about twice as large as the 1-inch balls specified and they were perfect for dinner.

Happy cooking!

Crunchy Potato Bites


  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup ground cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tb chopped green onions
  • 3 Tb mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes


Combine all ingredients except for cornflakes.  Depending on the stiffness of this mixture, you may want to refrigerate it for a bit until it firms up enough to shape into balls.  I needed to do this for mine.

Shape mixture into 1-inch (or larger if making for dinner).  Coat with crushed cornflakes.  Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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Filed under Appetizers, Pork

Ham & Cheese Ball

This ham & cheese ball was one of the finger foods I made for our Christmas Eve meal.  It’s delicious!  Great with crackers or whatever you want to serve it with.  I wanted to share the recipe straightaway because it would great to serve for New Year’s Eve parties as well.  It’s easy to make, and even better, needs to be made ahead of time, so all you have to do is bring it out of the fridge when you’re ready to eat.


Ham & Cheese Ball


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • 2 Tb minced green onion
  • 2 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley


Beat together cream cheese and yogurt until smooth.  Stir in all remaining ingredients except parsley.  Chill at least 1 hour, or until mixture is firm enough to handle.  Shape into a ball and roll in parsley.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

If I could caption this picture, it would be with the words, “It’s a rough life”.  Ha!

Seriously, don’t cats have it made?  They have just about the easiest life imagineable.  Sleep for a while, then get up and scratch around in the litter box, check out the food bowl, run around and play for about five minutes, then back to bed.  A cycle to be repeated all day, everyday.  Whew, so rough!

But we love our cats (that’s Shadow in the pictures) and can’t imagine life without them 🙂  Which means they are spoiled rotten, of course.  In fact, Jay recently bought one of those kitty water fountains that you plug in, and it keeps the water circulating so it stays fresher.  Because our cat Fritz is picky about things like that, so he finally got her her very own water fountain.  Spoiled, I tell ya!

Okay, enough cat stories, let me tell y’all about this recipe.  It comes from the Cooking Light 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook.  Which means it’s a quick and easy dip to throw together.  Even quicker if you cheated like I did and used bottled roasted red peppers.  Yep, I admit it, I went the cheater route.  And I threw the raw garlic straight into the food processor too.  Sometimes that’s just the way things have to be done!  However you choose to make it is fine, it’ll turn out yummy either way.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip


  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat broiler.  Cut bell peppers in half, removing seeds and membranes.  Place peppers, skin side up, on a baking sheet.  Flatten them slightly with your hands.  Place unpeeled garlic cloves on baking sheet as well. 

Broil for 4 minutes.  Turn garlic over, and broil another 4 minutes.  Remove garlic cloves.  Let the bell peppers broil a few minutes longer, or until blackened.

Place peppers in a ziploc bag, and let them sit for 15 minutes.  Remove peppers, and peel off the blackened skin.  Peel garlic cloves as well.

Place peppers and garlic in a food processer, and process until smooth.  Add cream cheese and process again.  Spoon mixture out into a bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.   Serve immediately, or cover and chill.

I like this best with Triscuit crackers!

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Filed under Appetizers, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Honey-Glazed Snack Mix

A word of warning here:  once you start eating this you won’t be able to stop.  Yes, I speak from experience.  In fact, I couldn’t even wait for it to finish cooling completely, I was already picking at it!  This recipe also comes from my Land O’ Lakes Treasury of Country Heritage Meals & Menus cookbook.  Can you tell I really like my new cookbooks??  I’ve been cooking almost exclusively from them since I bought them.  I definitely got my money’s worth with them 🙂

This snack mix is quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients.  I think you’ll love it!

Honey-Glazed Snack Mix


  • 5 cups crispy corn cereal squares (Chex cereal)
  • 3 cups pretzels
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey


Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the cereal, pretzels, and pecans in a large bowl.  Stir together the honey and melted butter and pour over the top.  Stir to make sure everything is well coated.

Pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir once, then bake another 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before transfering to a ziploc bag or a tightly covered container.

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Rosemary Breadstick Twists

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Today’s recipe comes from my third recent cookbook acquisition, the Land O’ Lakes Treasury of Country Heritage Meals & Menus.  These breadsticks will make your kitchen smell heavenly while baking.  I have to say that rosemary is an herb that I’m a bit picky about, but one thing that I do love it in is in baked goods.  A great thing about these breadsticks is that they’re a quick bread not a yeast bread, so there’s no rising involved, and you can whip up a batch pretty quickly. 

I actually  made these for a meal later on this week.  I let them cool a bit then stuck them in a ziploc bag and put that in the freezer.  I’ll just pull them out later this week when I need them.  Planning ahead is crucial for me to make sure a proper dinner gets put on the table during the busy work week, which is why I write out a detailed meal plan for the week and try to get as much prep work as I can done on my days off. 

This recipe calls for dried rosemary, but since I have a rosemary plant growing on the deck I used fresh.  If you want to use fresh as well, you’ll need 1 Tb of it.

Stay tuned because I’ve got lots of great recipes that I can’t wait to share this week with all of you! 🙂

I’m sharing this recipe at Mommy’s Kitchen’s Potluck Sunday.

Rosemary Breadstick Twists


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tb grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave.  Stir in the rosemary and garlic.  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, Parmesan cheese, sugar, and baking powder.  Stir in the milk just until moistened.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead 10 times or until smooth.  Roll out into a 12×6-inch rectangle.  Cut into 12 (1 inch) strips.  Twist each strip of dough 6 times.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the herbed butter mixture over the breadsticks.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Filed under Appetizers, Breads

Dill Dip, and My Determination to Stop Being a Hermit

Good morning!  Today I’m going to share my recipe for dill dip, which is probably mine and Jay’s favorite dip.  Every once in a while, he’ll say to me, “You know what you should make that you haven’t made in a while? Dill dip!”.  And because I love the guy, I oblige him.  And then proceed to gobble down most of it before he gets a chance to have any.  I’m terrible that way sometimes.  If you happen to have a huge dill plant growing in your garden like I do, then by all means use fresh instead of dried dill.  Just remember to use three times as much fresh as dried. 

My favorite thing about this dip is that it actually has lots of dill.  Crazy thought that dill dip should be full of dill, right?  But before this became my go-to recipe, I’d tried others that just didn’t have much flavor at all.  Not a problem with this one.  And all sorts of fresh veggies go great with this and crackers too.  I think you’ll love it as much as I do!

As far as my determination to stop being a hermit, I’ll just say that recently I realized I’ve been using my social anxiety as an excuse too isolate myself for too long.  So I’m determined (am I starting to sound redundant?) to rejoin the workforce and become a productive member of society again.  If you are familiar with social anxiety at all, then you know how debilitating it can be.  But I’m working on it, and hopefully my endeavors will soon bear fruit 🙂

Dill Dip


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tb dried minced onion flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tb dried dillweed
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt


Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate at least a few hours before serving.

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