Host The Toast http://hostthetoast.com a Kitchen Kapers blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:13:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip http://hostthetoast.com/slow-cooker-sweet-heat-kielbasa-dip/ http://hostthetoast.com/slow-cooker-sweet-heat-kielbasa-dip/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:13:27 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3862 Happy Friday!  Happy Super Bowl Weekend!  Happy birthday to my wonderful hand model / reflector board holder / taste-tester / incredibly patient boyfriend! Such skill.  Look at the finesse with which James shows off this Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip.  Truly a thing of beauty. I’m not sure if I’m talking about his hand or the... 

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Happy Friday!  Happy Super Bowl Weekend!  Happy birthday to my wonderful hand model / reflector board holder / taste-tester / incredibly patient boyfriend!

Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip.  Jalapeno, hot sauce, and apricot preserves give this cheesy, meaty dip a ton of flavor!  Just throw it all in the crock pot and serve warm! | hostthetoast.com

Such skill.  Look at the finesse with which James shows off this Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip.  Truly a thing of beauty.

I’m not sure if I’m talking about his hand or the dip.  Both?  Probably both.

Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip.  Jalapeno, hot sauce, and apricot preserves give this cheesy, meaty dip a ton of flavor!  Just throw it all in the crock pot and serve warm! | hostthetoast.com

Anyway, since James’ birthday falls on Super Bowl weekend, we’re going all out– and by “all out,” I mean we’re not binge-watching HBO series and doing blog work like we usually do on the weekends.  I may even decide to leave my computer at home and not cook so that I have more time for celebrating (shocking, I know)!

Okay, I’m lying.  I have to cook; The Super Bowl is on Sunday.  It’s practically blasphemous not to.  But I’m telling you, I’m just throwing stuff in my slow cooker and calling it a day!

Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip.  Jalapeno, hot sauce, and apricot preserves give this cheesy, meaty dip a ton of flavor!  Just throw it all in the crock pot and serve warm! | hostthetoast.com

If it was possible to have an inanimate object as a soul mate, and if I believed in soul mates, and if James didn’t exist, then my slow cooker would be mine.  Instead of slaving away over a hot stove (that’s a thing that people say, right?),  I just chop, measure, mix, set it, and forget it– until it’s time to eat, that is.  It’s gloooorious.

Cuisinart 4 Quart Cook Central Slow Cooker

Buy Now: Cuisinart 4 Quart Cook Central Slow Cooker

This dip is a prime example of just how awesome simple slow-cooked recipes can be.  Jalapenos, hot sauce, apricot preserves, lots of cheese, and kielbasa come together with practically no effort at all to make a sweet and spicy starter that’s even easier to dig into.  It’s simple to make ahead of time and then just keep on the “warm setting” until you’re ready to serve, which is my favorite way to prepare for parties.

Slow Cooker Sweet Heat Kielbasa Dip
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs kielbasa, diced small
  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup apricot preserves
  • 4-5 jalapenos, diced, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Bread, chips, or pretzels, to serve
Directions
  1. Combine kielbasa, cheeses, mayonnaise, preserves, jalapenos, and hot sauce in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on low until cheese is entirely melted, stirring occasionally, about 4-5 hours.
  3. Taste and add salt and additional hot sauce as desired. Stir well. Switch to "warm" setting until ready to serve.
  4. Serve with french bread, chips, or pretzels.

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Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels http://hostthetoast.com/easy-ham-cheese-pretzel-pinwheels/ http://hostthetoast.com/easy-ham-cheese-pretzel-pinwheels/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:08:31 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3853 Here I am with another pretzel recipe, and I have to say that I’m not even the least bit sorry.  Especially because this time we’re not fussing around with making our own dough!  It’s easy to get excited about pretzel pinwheels that don’t take hours to make– simply pop open a can of refrigerated breadstick dough and you’re... 

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Here I am with another pretzel recipe, and I have to say that I’m not even the least bit sorry.  Especially because this time we’re not fussing around with making our own dough!  It’s easy to get excited about pretzel pinwheels that don’t take hours to make– simply pop open a can of refrigerated breadstick dough and you’re already ten steps ahead of the game.

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels.  These pretzels use refrigerated breadstick dough, so you don't have to worry about the wait required when making dough from scratch.  These come together in a snap and will be a hit at your next party!  | hostthetoast.com

Speaking of “the game”, these cheddar and ham stuffed appetizers would make an absolutely perfect party snack for your Super Bowl celebration this weekend.  Serve them with a little mustard on the side and a lot of beer to wash them down with and people will be begging for more.  You may want to make a double or triple batch.

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels.  These pretzels use refrigerated breadstick dough, so you don't have to worry about the wait required when making dough from scratch.  These come together in a snap and will be a hit at your next party!  | hostthetoast.com

The key to the signature pretzel flavor we all know and love lies in alkaline.  When dough is dipped in a solution of high alkaline (pH) water, it turns the exterior of the dough into a glossy film and promotes enhanced browning and chewiness when exposed to heat.

The method usually used to get some extra alkalinity on our pretzels is a lye bath.  Lye gives that deep brown, ultra chewy crust that we’re used to seeing on Bavarian pretzels.  However, lye is a hazardous chemical, and it’s difficult to handle or get a hold of as a home cook.

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels.  These pretzels use refrigerated breadstick dough, so you don't have to worry about the wait required when making dough from scratch.  These come together in a snap and will be a hit at your next party!  | hostthetoast.com

For this reason, we switch out the lye for baking soda, which is slightly less potent but also much safer and most people will have it on hand already.  Instead of super dark pretzels, we wind up with something that’s much more similar to Auntie Anne’s pretzels, but pretzels none-the-less.  I, for one, happen to love those kinds of pretzels.  Can’t get enough of them.  If you’re also incapacitated when the smell of buttery fresh mall pretzels wafts in the air, then these are going to be a treat for sure.

Because we’re simplifying the pretzel-bathing, why not take it a step further and use pre-made dough instead of making it from scratch?  Pretzel dough is actually very similar to that used in pizzas and breadsticks, so a refrigerated can of Pillsbury dough breadsticks will work just as well.  These also happen to be just the right size to make pinwheels, so loading them up with meat and cheese just seems right at this point.

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels.  These pretzels use refrigerated breadstick dough, so you don't have to worry about the wait required when making dough from scratch.  These come together in a snap and will be a hit at your next party!  | hostthetoast.com

We roll everything up, bake until golden brown, and brush with butter to give it that great glisten that we’re used to.  A sprinkle of salt finishes it off and we’re ready to serve up our Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels, all hot and cheesy and utterly delicious.

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels.  These pretzels use refrigerated breadstick dough, so you don't have to worry about the wait required when making dough from scratch.  These come together in a snap and will be a hit at your next party!  | hostthetoast.com

Easy Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pinwheels
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24 pretzels
Ingredients
  • 2 cans refrigerated breadstick dough (24 breadsticks)
  • 4 cups hot water
  • ½ cup baking soda, plus more if needed
  • 1 lb deli ham
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese slices
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Coarse salt, such as kosher salt, pretzel salt, or sea salt, to top
  • Dijon or honey mustard, to serve
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the breadsticks and set aside. Using a pizza cutter, slice the cheddar cheese and ham to be the same width as the breadsticks. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk ½ cup baking soda into 4 cups hot water until it dissolves. The baking solution should be just slightly cloudy. Place a kitchen rag next to the bowl.
  4. Dip a breadstick into the baking solution for 30 seconds. Make sure the entire breadstick has been dipped. Transfer to the kitchen towel to let any excess water drip off.
  5. Layer the cheese and ham on top of the breadstick. Roll one end of the breadstick inward to create a spiral or pinwheel. Pinch the end of the breadstick to the side to seal. Place on the baking sheet and repeat until the baking sheet is full.
  6. Bake until golden brown and puffed up, about 15 minutes. Tent the finished pretzels with foil to keep them warm. Repeat for the next batch.
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter onto the pretzels and sprinkle with salt.
  8. Serve immediately with mustard to dip.

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Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls with Chipotle Dipping Sauce http://hostthetoast.com/cheesy-chorizo-cornbread-balls-chipotle-dipping-sauce/ http://hostthetoast.com/cheesy-chorizo-cornbread-balls-chipotle-dipping-sauce/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:05:06 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3842 If you’re anything like me in the way that your one, truest of all true loves happens to be Mexican food, and your second truest of all true loves happens to be appetizers in their many forms, then do I have a treat for you!  Also, we have a lot in common.  We may be kindred... 

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If you’re anything like me in the way that your one, truest of all true loves happens to be Mexican food, and your second truest of all true loves happens to be appetizers in their many forms, then do I have a treat for you!  Also, we have a lot in common.  We may be kindred cooking spirits.

Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls with Chipotle Dipping Sauce.  The upgraded version of Sausage Balls-- so good for parties.  Must have for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com
As I was doing my usual Pinterest-perusing for inspiration, I kept coming across Sausage Balls, which consist of just ground sausage, cheddar cheese, and bisquick.  I thought to myself, “Those sound like they’re good, but they have so much more potential.”  Gotta get some flava’ up in there.  Steal some inspiration from south of the border.  Swap out that boring old sausage for some spicy chorizo.  Forget bisquick, let’s use cornbread mix instead.  Throw in some extra corn for texture.  Jalapenos, because a little extra kick never hurt anybody.  Keep the tastiness comin’ with some green onion.  And so on and so forth.  I did stick with the cheddar, though.

Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls with Chipotle Dipping Sauce.  The upgraded version of Sausage Balls-- so good for parties.  Must have for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com
I was beyond pleased with the results.  Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls are the type of appetizer that you start eating and just CANNOT STOP popping into your mouth until there are absolutely none left.  Add in some super easy to make Chipotle Dipping Sauce, and any semblance of self control goes straight out the window.  These are addictive.

Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls with Chipotle Dipping Sauce.  The upgraded version of Sausage Balls-- so good for parties.  Must have for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com
I will make these again, absolutely.  They will have a special place in my Super Bowl spread (and my heart) from here on out.  Oh, and James loved them too, as evidenced by the above photo.  He makes such a great hand model and taste-tester.

Cheesy Chorizo Cornbread Balls with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
For the Chorizo Balls:
  • 1 lb uncooked chorizo, casings removed
  • 2 cups cornbread mix
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 large jalapenos, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup canned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cilantro or parsley, to garnish
For the Chipotle Dipping Sauce:
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • Canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus sauce, to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chorizo, cornbread mix, cheddar cheese, corn, jalapeno, onion, and salt. Mix until well-combined and no longer gritty.
  3. Shape the mixture into balls slightly smaller than your average meatball (or about 1"). Place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. As you wait for the Chorizo Balls to cook, prepare the dipping sauce. Combine ⅓ cup mayonnaise with ⅓ cup sour cream and mix well. Finely mince one chipotle chile and mix it in to the sour cream mixture, adding in about a half-teaspoon of adobo sauce (from the can) to start. Add more chipotles or adobo, to taste, until you reach your desired heat level.
  6. Serve the Chorizo Balls warm or at room temperature with the Chipotle Dipping Sauce and fresh cilantro or parsley, to garnish.

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5 Ingredient Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip http://hostthetoast.com/spicy-roasted-red-pepper-dip/ http://hostthetoast.com/spicy-roasted-red-pepper-dip/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:50:08 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3838 I don’t know if Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip would typically fall in the Super Bowl Snack category, but I’m here to say that it should.  It should be available at every party.  It should be omnipresent. This is the kind of dip that people eat once and get hooked on, because it’s so simple to make but... 

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I don’t know if Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip would typically fall in the Super Bowl Snack category, but I’m here to say that it should.  It should be available at every party.  It should be omnipresent.

5 Ingredient Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip.  This dip is a must-have for any party, and can be served cold or at room temperature so it's easy to make ahead! | hostthetoast.com

This is the kind of dip that people eat once and get hooked on, because it’s so simple to make but the flavors seem like they just keep coming.  Smooth cream cheese, salty feta, tangy red pepper, and spicy garlic and chipotle pepper make this dip unforgettable.

 

5 Ingredient Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip.  This dip is a must-have for any party, and can be served cold or at room temperature so it's easy to make ahead! | hostthetoast.com

One of the great things about this 5 Ingredient Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip is that it’s easy to make ahead and store– you can serve it cold or at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about heating it up when taking it to parties.  It also tastes EVEN BETTER after sitting over night, which is an added bonus in my book.

I especially like serving this dip with pita chips, but any kind of chips, veggies, bread, or pretzels would work well, too!  Once you make it, you’re going to want to put it on everything anyway.

5 Ingredient Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 roasted red peppers, skinned and seeded (you can use jarred roasted red peppers if you rinse and drain them)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canned chipotle in adobo, minced (plus more, to taste)
  • Parsley, to garnish (optional)
  • Pita chips, vegetables, or pretzels, to serve
Directions
  1. In a food processor, combine the feta and cream cheese. Process until the cheese is whipped and fluffy.
  2. Add in the roasted red peppers, garlic, and chipotle. Process until smooth and well-combined. Taste and add more chipotle if desired.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (the dip tastes best if chilled overnight).
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve with pita chips

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Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs http://hostthetoast.com/buffalo-chicken-mozzarella-logs/ http://hostthetoast.com/buffalo-chicken-mozzarella-logs/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:16:28 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3831 The Super Bowl is in less than two weeks, which means that I’m going to make as many appetizers as possible to pile into my face hole until the big game arrives.  Sometimes, I’ll even combine appetizers because I just can’t choose between them.  Who doesn’t love a little hybrid hors d’ouevre?  Anyway, I’ll be sharing... 

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The Super Bowl is in less than two weeks, which means that I’m going to make as many appetizers as possible to pile into my face hole until the big game arrives.  Sometimes, I’ll even combine appetizers because I just can’t choose between them.  Who doesn’t love a little hybrid hors d’ouevre?  Anyway, I’ll be sharing all of these recipes right here, on the blog, so consider this your one-way ticket to tasty-town.

Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs.  This mash-up of everybody's favorite appetizers (wings, mozzarella sticks, and egg rolls)  is just begging to be made for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com

I’m proud to announce that this year I cracked down on the whole “learn to actually understand football, and not just the ‘field goal’ and ‘touchdown’ parts” thing.  It went well.  In fact, it went really well– I now know things like who belongs in which conference, what a two point conversion is… who got arrested, and… uhm… other extremely relevant things.   Really, there are other things.  I promise there are other things, I just can’t think of them right now.  I’m feeling pressured.

OK, I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but that’s probably just because I was multitasking making Game Day snacks all season long and therefore couldn’t absorb it all.  Just nod along.

Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs.  This mash-up of everybody's favorite appetizers (wings, mozzarella sticks, and egg rolls)  is just begging to be made for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com

Anyway, to reward myself for my new NFL knowledge which totally exists, I decided to make the ultimate football snack to close out the championship games: Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs.  It’s a mash-up of Simple Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken, Mozzarella Sticks, and Egg Rolls.  Do you feel that?  I think that’s the feeling of our collective salivary glands all going into overdrive.

Would you believe me if I said that this three-in-one recipe was actually super easy?  Because I’m about to do that.  As long as you have a slow cooker, the Buffalo Chicken comes together with only a few minutes worth of effort (and it’s truly fool-proof).  After that, all you need is a pack of mozzarella cheese sticks, a pack of egg roll wrappers, and some oil to make magic happen.

Simple Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken.  This recipe is a must-have for the Super Bowl and is so easy to make!  Only 4 ingredients necessary, and it's way healthier than fried wings (although it tastes just as delicious!)! | hostthetoast.com
If, for some strange reason, you aren’t a fan of buffalo sauce, try the same thing with BBQ sauce or pizza sauce instead.  Yum!  As long as you don’t transfer too much sauce to the egg roll wrapper, you can be as creative as you like!

Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs.  This mash-up of everybody's favorite appetizers (wings, mozzarella sticks, and egg rolls)  is just begging to be made for the Super Bowl. | hostthetoast.com

Buffalo Chicken Mozzarella Logs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Simple Shredded Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken
  • 1 pack of 12 mozzarella string cheese sticks
  • 1 pack of 12 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 large egg white
  • Oil, for frying
  • Buffalo sauce, ranch, and/or blue cheese, to dip
  • Green onion, to garnish
Directions
  1. Prepare the buffalo chicken.
  2. Heat 1" of oil in a high-walled, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and a tablespoon of water. Set out the egg roll wrappers, covering the stack with a lightly dampened rag or paper towel as you work so that they don't dry out.
  4. Take one egg roll wrapper from the stack and place it down in front of you so that it is positioned like a diamond (one corner pointing toward you, one away from you). In a line down the center of the egg roll, scoop 2 tablespoons of buffalo chicken. Make sure that you let excess buffalo sauce drip off before placing it into the egg roll wrapper so that the wrapper doesn't get soggy.
  5. On top of the buffalo chicken, place a mozzarella string cheese stick.
  6. Fold the top corner of the egg roll wrapper down. Fold the bottom corner up. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture on the right side of the egg roll wrapper.
  7. Fold the left side of the egg roll wrapper over the buffalo chicken and cheese, and tuck the corner under slightly, like you would a burrito. Roll the egg roll over so that the egg white sticks the right side to the rest of the egg roll. You should now have the typical egg roll shape. Check to make sure there are no tears or gaps (if they are, push them together and seal with egg white). Set aside.
  8. Continue until all of the egg rolls have been formed.
  9. When the oil reaches 350 degrees F, place in 3 of the egg rolls, seam-side down. (You can tell the oil is ready when you stick the handle of a wooden spoon in the very center of the pan, and the oil begins to bubble around it.) Cook until golden and crisp, turning to brown evenly. Remove the egg rolls from the oil and let drain on a paper towel while you fry the next batch.
  10. Serve warm with buffalo sauce, ranch, and/or blue cheese, and green onion to garnish!

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