This is a sponsored post, of course all thoughts are my own.
It’s that time of year again, when we all have to plan what to serve guests, bring to a potluck, or prepare for our holiday entertaining. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s frustrating trying to come up with something new and delicious. Well friends, I bet it’s safe to say you haven’t thought of this one yet. If you’re looking for a new party food idea that is delicious, creative, and simple to make … you’re in luck.
Today I’m sharing easy bacon appetizers and party food ideas! You in? Okay, get ready to recreate at home – a “Bacon Bar!” (Plus I’m giving one of YOU bacon for a year! More at the end….)
Who doesn’t love bacon? The Smithfield Bacon Bar makes bacon the star and if a fun twist on typical party food. You can mix things up with different Smithfield bacon varieties like Peppered Brown Sugar, Sea Salt Caramel (Yes, FOR REAL), and Caramelized Bourbon Bacon. Talk about your food becoming a conversation starter. YUM.
There are so many ways to set up your bacon bar and it will work any time of day. Serve some warm flakey biscuits and set out some bacon jam guests can spread on top (YUM), add it to a Bloody Mary (best cocktail garnish EVER), use as topping on you’re favorite side dish–really you can get creative. Seriously, are you drooling yet? You’re guests are going to LOVE the unique flavors!
This bacon also really elevates any traditional dip recipe you might be serving. Here, this cheese dip became instantly upgraded when I added bacon crumbles to it!
Or, you can just eat the crumbles because……bacon.
I also like the idea of serving a flight of bacon with all of the different flavors guests can sample. Then have them vote on their favorite! Be sure to label each one and give guests paper and pencil so they can cast their vote.
Visit Smithfield.com/BaconBar for free printable labels, décor ideas, and recipe inspiration to give your Bacon Bar a personal touch and let guests know what each flavor is.
My head is pretty much on overdrive thinking of all the ways to set up a bacon bar. I’m pretty sure we could set this up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and guests would love it. What do you think? You better start planning because I have an amazing giveaway for you!
*I’m giving one lucky reader Smithfield Bacon for a YEAR! Want to win this tasty prize? Check out Smithfield.com/BaconBar and browse the different easy bacon appetizers and recipes, come back here and comment telling me your favorite Bacon Bar recipe in the comment section.
**UPDATE: Winner selected, congrats to Clarissa!
I’ll pick one winner and they will receive a coupon booklet for free bacon for an entire year. Giveaway closes 12-14-2016.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smithfield. All thoughts are my own.
If you’re looking for unique fall salad recipes, be sure to jot this one on your list (or better yet, save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later)! This Asian Slaw will be an unexpected burst of color and flavor at your next fall dinner.
I love to entertain during the fall season, and especially love to host Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s my favorite holiday to play the role of hostess. There’s just something about a holiday where the food is the star and the atmosphere is typically low-key and joyous that makes my heart sing. Every other year I get to host my family for Thanksgiving dinner (the other years, we head to my in-laws house in the neighboring state). One thing that trips me up when I do host is what to serve for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, we’re spending the entire day cooking in the kitchen for our feast and the last thing I want to do is make a big lunch that guests will fill up on. But, a crowd’s gotta eat, right? I decided that a fun and flavorful salad was the perfect option for a light, but satisfying lunch. And this recipe in particular is great because the flavors are complimentary to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner we’ll enjoy later, but just different enough to feel special and unique.
The salad is made up of a few fresh and bright veggies. Red and green cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and red bell peppers are tossed with a dressing made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce, which gives the salad a great Asian flavor. I like to offer the dressing on the side so guests can add their own desired amounts. Plus, if there is salad left over, you can store the salad and dressing separately and enjoy later (if you store the salad tossed with the dressing it will get soggy). Of course, if you don’t expect to have left overs, you can toss the dressing into the salad right before serving.
I also topped the salad with some fried wonton pieces, which gave it a great crunch.
What I love most about this fall salad recipe is how much flavor it packs. It would make a great addition to any fall or holiday dinner.
The dressing is actually really versatile. I can see enjoying it drizzled over fresh fish as well.
Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?
I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)
I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!
I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.
Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.
See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.
It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.
While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.
Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?
Place these mini cheesecake bites on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces
For the crust
1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
2 eggs at room temperature
2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Topping
5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
48 Candy bar pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.
Looking for a fun family game? This DIY cactus ring toss game was a huge hit with my family!
We like to play games together often (and we’re also a pretty competitive group so it gets interesting), indoors or out. Since summer is winding down, we’ve been trying to play more outdoor games and that’s what inspired this DIY cactus ring toss game.
The cactus trend is still going strong and I thought making a cactus ring toss game just screamed summer–so viola! It was really easy to make. We were playing within 30 minutes of putting it together (it’s triple digits with a dry heat so the spray paint basically instantly dried). We put ours in a pot so you can technically play this indoors or out (or even take it to the park for a picnic). (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Setting up a build-your-own bagel bar might be the best idea I’ve had in a long time. It’s the perfect breakfast or brunch spread when entertaining (think book club, bridal shower, baby shower), or when hosting out of town guests. Imagine your in-laws waking up to this spread! The whole thing really looks and feels so fancy when in reality it all takes only about ten minutes to set up (and requires zero cooking!). But, you don’t have to tell anyone that.
Plus, with a variety of toppings, there is sure to be something for everyone.
I like the idea of using mini bagels because then you can make a few different versions and get creative with your toppings without having to commit to a full bagel and be too stuffed to go back for another.
I also opted not to toast the bagels (if you can’t get on board with that I totally understand) because I like them a little soft and not warm when I pile my toppings on. You can set a toaster nearby if you want to give guests the option to toast theirs.
The secret to a good build-your-own-bagel creation is a good base of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It’s Spread it on the bagel before you add your toppings. Made with fresh milk, real cream and no preservatives, nothing else tastes like Philadelphia Cream Cheese so be sure to be generous with it.
In the next step you just can’t go wrong–add as many or as few toppings as you’d like.
My advice is to make a couple different creations and experiment with the flavors. My favorite combo ended up being topping my bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon, cucumber, red onion, and chives. YUM. You really can’t ever go wrong with avocado either if I’m being honest.
What do you think? Ready to impress guests with this easy bagel bar idea?
Serves: 8 Servings (One serving equals one mini bagel or two halves)
8 Mini bagels
8 oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick, softened
1 Avocado, sliced
18 Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
½ Red inion, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
8-ounce Smoked salmon
Fresh dill and chives for garnish
The purpose here is to have guests create their own bagels adding their favorite toppings. So, you’ll want to set out all the ingredients in a nice spread. Remove the softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick and place it in a bowl so guests can easily spread the cream cheese on their bagels. If the bagels are not already pre-sliced, you’ll want to slice them ahead of time. Set all of the other ingredients out in small bowls or on platters.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my build-your-own bagel bar
for out of town guests. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.