Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets Stuffed with Beer Cheese

It was almost exactly three years ago that I was spending my Winter Break at Rutgers, hanging out with whichever of my sorority sisters were still around, wasting countless hours at James’ fraternity house, and singing and dancing to Christmas songs with all of our friends who decided to stay in New Brunswick.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets Stuffed with Beer Cheese.  These make the perfect Super Bowl appetizer or party treat.  Grown-up chicken nuggets that make your taste buds smile. | hostthetoast.com

James and I weren’t dating yet.  In fact, I don’t think I even really realized that I had an actual crush on him at this point.  That, or I was avoiding admitting it because I had gotten out of a rocky relationship a couple of months prior and was still very, very firmly in the “I just want to be single and not deal with anyone’s crap” stage.

Regardless, I subconsciously started coming up with friendly excuses to hang out with James more, like making dinner for him and his fraternity brothers who I was good friends with as well.  After all, what college student would turn down a free meal?  I had mastered the art of boiling water and could make some passable pasta dishes, but after a few days of spaghetti I decided I should probably learn some more recipes if I was going to pretend to know how to cook.

Despite serious Google research into any meal I attempted to make, most of the time it didn’t work out well.  But sometimes– sometimes– I wound up surprising myself and nailing the recipe, like when James suggested I make Pretzel-Crusted Chicken.

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Cucumber-Wrapped, Feta-Stuffed Meatballs

Please do not ask me to detail what I have eaten in the past couple of weeks.  The holidays have turned me into a walking garbage disposal for all things fried, fatty, or fudgy, and just trying to remember exactly what that entails gives me a bit of a stomach ache.  I’m not saying that I regret it, but I’d rather just pretend it didn’t happen… maybe we’re on the same page here.

Cucumber Wrapped, Feta Stuffed Meatballs.  These Mediterranean-inspired meatballs are a HIT as an appetizer, and they're healthier than the usual options!  Served with hummus or tzatziki, they are perfect for parties!

One thing I definitely realized this year is that there are very few options for tasty and not-so-sinful appetizers out there.  (Or at least not that my friends and family members seem to be aware of.)

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Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasanga

This is the last thing I made before burning the ever-loving you-know-what out of my fingers.

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

About two weeks ago, I was making this Four Cheese Sausage and Spinach Lasagna and some Jack Daniels Burgers to bring to my friend’s surprise party. My lasagna was fresh out of the oven and I was trying to position it to take pictures, when my glaze that I had been ignoring for quite a while called out for my attention by angrily boiling over. (Sigh.  That’s what I get for attempting to multi-task.)

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Ultimate Herbed Garlic Bread Cheesesteaks

My two guiltiest of guilty pleasures are, without a doubt, toasted or crusty bread and massive amounts of cheese.  I once read that Americans eat the weight equivalent of 72 Titanics in cheese in one year– I’m pretty positive I make a significant contribution to that amount.  And while I’ll eat cheese in pretty much any of its forms (check out the majority of the recipes on the blog if you need confirmation), my favorite way to eat it is when it’s oozing over a hot sandwich.

Ultimate Herbed Garlic Bread Cheesesteaks!  This delicious spin on the cheesesteak uses plenty of garlic, herbs and mozzarella!  You won't believe how good these are! | hostthetoast.com

With that in mind (and remembering that I’m a resident of the Greater Philadelphia Area), it should be no surprise that the key to my heart lies in a good cheesesteak.

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Nut-Crusted Fried Brie Bites

I don’t know about you, but I feel like there is not nearly enough cheese in the traditional Thanksgiving spread.  Cheese, in all of its variations, definitely makes my “Grateful For:” list every year.

Nut-Crusted Fried Brie Bites.  This cheesy appetizer is perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast! | hostthetoast.com
As a result, I put cheese in my mashed potatoes, cheese in my dessert, and used warm, buttery, melted cheese as an appetizer.

These Nut-Crusted Fried Brie Bites feel right at home on your Thanksgiving table, especially when you dip them in your Raspberry Cranberry Sauce.

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