Pimento Cheese Pinwheels

We’ve had a few private events at my wife’s boutique lately and we’re getting a little tired of charcuterie boards. OK, maybe making them, but I’ll eat one any day for breakfast lunch or dinner! I was looking for easy finger food that was easy to make, was a little salty and still looked great on a table. Enter, the pimento cheese pinwheels. Check out the easiest “fancy” recipe below.

PIMENTO CHEESE PINWHEELS

Ingredients

  • 1 Tube Crescent Rolls
  • 8 oz. Pimento Cheese Spread (or jalapeno version)
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Open crescent rolls and unroll into a single sheet. You used to be able to just buy them as a sheet, but I haven’t seen them in the store lately. Pinch all seams to make one solid sheet. Use your hands to even out roll to an even layer.
  • Spread pimento cheese in a thin layer all the way to the edge closest to you and sides. Leave about a half inch at the far end of the sheet. You can use store-bought pimento cheese, jalapeno pimento cheese or my homemade version: https://knifeandforkliving.com/2016/05/27/pimento-cheese-dip-and-blt-dip/
  • Starting with edge closest to you, roll crescent sheet tightly. Put into fridge for 15-30 minutes to firm up.
  • Remove roll from fridge. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice thinly – about 1/2″ slices.
  • Place each slice on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Sprinkle slices with fresh cracked black pepper – more or less to taste.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately or store for up to 24 hours in an air-tight container before serving.

These salty/spicy snacks are super easy and go great with your favorite cocktail! While not a ton of effort, you may be short on time for the big game or other event. Bake them in the morning or even the day before. Anything longer than that and the texture changed and they’re just not as good. Either way, dig in!

Sweet & Savory Party Nuts

The holiday season is fast approaching and that means plenty of entertaining.  It’s always good to keep some homemade snacks on hand for company or to take along as a hostess gift when visiting family and friends.  This recipe is a simple way to dress up mixed nuts for a salty, sweet and savory snack you can make over and over again.  A surprising hint of rosemary provides a contrasting flavor and slightly piney aroma that’s reminiscent of the holidays.

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SWEET & SAVORY PARTY NUTS

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Salted Mixed Nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tsp. Fresh Rosemary, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp. Fresh Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 Tsp. Water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, rosemary, onion powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and pepper.  Mix well with a spoon.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together egg white and water until frothy.
  • Add nuts to the egg white mixture and toss well to evenly coat.
  • Pour nuts into spice mixture and mix well to evenly coat nuts with sugar and spices.
  • Spray a 12-inch cast iron pan with cooking spray and pour nut mixture into it.
  • Bake at 275 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Remove nuts from oven and pour out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool fully.
  • Break up nuts and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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These nuts were a huge hit at trivia night recently.  I know we’ll make them often over the next few months with all we have going on.  Don’t have a cast iron pan?  Shame on you!  But you can definitely make these on a heavy non-stick baking sheet.  Also think about varying the herbs and/or nuts to your liking.  I’ve seen similar receipts with just pecans or cashews.  The addition of a little citrus zest would also bring another great flavor element.  Give them a try and tell me what you think.  Dig in!

Sweet & Crunchy BBQ Potato Chips

I’ve always wanted to make my own potato chips!  And frankly, for as easy as they were, it’s silly that I haven’t up to this point.  Grilling steaks for Father’s Day made for a great excuse to come up with a BBQ potato chip recipe.  It took a little taste-testing, but the recipe below had the right amount of sweet, savory and salty to stand up to the bold flavor of a perfectly medium-rare NY strip!

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SWEET & CRUNCHY BBQ POTATO CHIPS

Ingredients

  • 2 Lbs. Russet Potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 2 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Smoked Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Onion Powder

Instructions

  • Peel and wash potatoes.  Slice about 1/8-inch thick using a sharp knife or mandolin (much easier).
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and cover with cold water.  Toss with your hands, let sit for 10 minutes and then drain.
  • Pour vinegar over potatoes and then cover the rest of the way with cold water.  Allow to soak for 2 hours.
  • In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar, paprika, pepper and onion powder.  You’ve created BBQ seasoning!!  Set aside for when potatoes are cooked.
  • Drain potatoes and dry thoroughly.
  • Fry in small batches in 300 degree vegetable or canola oil.  Stir occasionally for even frying until light golden brown.
  • Remove and allow to drain on wire racks or brown paper.  Sprinkle with BBQ seasoning mixture and then place in a large bowl.
  • Continue with this process until all potatoes are fried, dusted and cooled.
  • Finally, toss the remaining seasoning over the bowl of potatoes and serve.

This is a very simple process that turns out delicious results!  My family said we will absolutely have to make these again in the future.  It was definitely a treat and a great causal side dish to serve with steaks.  The recipe above was easily devoured by a group of 8 people.  You can probably double it and still not have much left over.  Make ’em for your next occasion or when you’re experimenting on a weekend.  Dig in!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Preparing for Halloween festivities this weekend most-likely includes carving a few pumpkins.  I’m always nostalgic when doing so – scooping out the orange “guts” and then roasting pumpkin seeds.  Who doesn’t love warm crunchy-salty seeds right from the oven??  Try this recipe today or tomorrow when you’re making your scary creations.

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ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Fresh Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Onion Powder

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry pumpkin seeds.
  • Place seeds on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  They should be dry and slightly toasted.
  • Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle dry ingredients over seeds and toss on cookie sheet to evenly coat them.
  • Place back in oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until browned and crispy.
  • Remove from oven and cool.  They will store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Enjoy your pumpkin seeds as a snack or as a great addition to salads.  Simple, delicious and a reminder of the last day of October and the beginning of the upcoming holiday season.  Dig in and be safe trick-or-treating!!