Owen’s Jalapeño Cheese Roll

My husband likes to get creative in the kitchen- usually that means raiding the spice cabinet. This is one of his best creations. It’s a lot like those cheesy stuffed jalapeños or poppers, except it’s baked, not fried. (Which means it’s practically health food.) I have eaten a large portion as a meal, but my favorite way is to cut it into strips and serve it like an appetizer. The cheese really does give a nice balance and contrast to the heat of the jalapeño. I like things spicy… remember it’s a jalapeño roll. You know what you’re getting into.

As organic as possible:

4 oz. can or jar diced Jalapeños (do not drain)

8 0z. Cream cheese at room temperature

1 prepared or ready made Pizza crust, about 14 oz give or take

1-2 tsp Garlic Salt, plus more for sprinkling

2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Butter at room temperature, divided, plus more for pan

2 Tbsp flour, plus more for pan


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet. Set aside.

Sprinkle flour on hard surface and roll out dough in a rectangle, approximately 12 x 9 inches. Cut the dough in half, so you have two 6 x 9 pieces.

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, garlic (start with 1 tsp and taste for preference… you can always add more), 2 tablespoons of butter and jalapeños (including juice). Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated and creamy. Divide cheesy jalapeño mixture into 2 equal parts. Using half of the mixture, cover 2/3 of the prepared dough. Use the remaining half of the mixture and do the same on the other prepared dough sheet. Roll up 1/3 of the Flatten dough starting on the side where the cheese is on (cheese on top of cheese). Make sure the cheese is now all covered, bring the remaining 1/3 over the top. Gently pull the bottom sides out, fold over to the top, and pinch to seal in the cheese. Repeat with second roll.

On each roll, use 1 teaspoon of butter and rub on top of roll. Sprinkle with garlic salt (a light even covering). Place the rolls onto the prepared baking sheet, and put it into the oven. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and cut into 1 1/2″-2″ x 5″ slices. Serve as an appetizer or to accompany a meal. Please note these are spicy! And it pairs well with a side of Ranch dressing. 😉


Hot Artichoke Dip

I am a sucker for hot cheesy dips. Melted flavorful cheese is hard to resist. Period. Give me a cracker, a chip, or a spoon.  I know I’m not alone. The best part of these dips is that they are good all year round. Bring ’em to a pot luck or a party; you won’t disappoint anyone. I am also fond of artichokes. They are great hearty and healthy vegetables that can stand up to a lot of flavor. The combination is perfect as an appetizer, for a midday snack or a light meal …A little reminder that food can taste really good.

As organic as possible:

1 – 12 oz jar Marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 – 14 oz can Artichoke hearts, drained

8 oz Cream cheese

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 tsp granulated Garlic

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper

3 Scallions (green onion), chopped

3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place half of the jar of marinated artichoke hearts into a food processor and set the rest aside. Add the can of drained artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and scallions into the processor and pulse (not to liquify) until all is incorporated together.

Chop the remaining marinated artichoke hearts into small bite size pieces. In a large bowl add artichoke mixture, chopped artichokes and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until combined. Check for taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Spoon cheesy artichoke goodness into a medium sized baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until hot and bubbly (and maybe just starting to brown around the edges). Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. Savor.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Parmesan Kale Chips

I don’t know what you may or may not be thinking, so let me just clarify… These are Delicious! They are crispy and salty, with more depth in flavor than you can get from a potato chip. I think they would be a great side dish for any meal. But they are so good on their own, that my favorite way to serve them is as an appetizer or starter. They are perfect little finger foods to accompany aperitifs. Only four ingredients and completely guilt free, because it is kale after all!

As found in Barefoot Contessa’s Make it Ahead:

1 Large bunch of flat-leaf kale

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

With a sharp knife, remove and discard the hard rib from the center of each leaf, leaving the leaves as intact as possible. Place them on the sheet pans, drizzle or brush them with olive oil, and toss to coat lightly. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool and serve.

* I like to brush them with the oil for even coverage. And yes baking kale gives off a strange green leaf vegetable aroma, but it is so worth it in the end!

Gram’s Curry Dip

This dip graced the table of almost every holiday growing up. It’s beautiful color adds life to any table setting and the curry gives a flavorful burst I find myself craving. Something this special shouldn’t be so easy to make.

1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise**

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp horseradish

1 tsp dry onion (can substitute with fresh minced)

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp curry powder

Put it all in a bowl and mix. Now you’re awesome because you just made something delicious which happens to be treasured by many (I have a big family). Let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve as an accompaniment to your favorite dipping veggies.

**Gram used Hellman’s mayo and it is classic and delicious; but if you’d like to sub for organic I understand.