• taco dip

    Taco Dip

    Taco Dip is the quintessential McKeown family party staple. I think this has made an appearance at almost every party regardless of the season or event. Engagement party? Yep. Thanksgiving? Yep. Christmas? Definitely. The best part is that Rob loves it too; he almost immediately took to this dip. It is dangerous at parties since its so easy to eat; people can pretty easily forget that its so filling. The best part of this dip is how simple it is. It has three ingredients: cream cheese, salsa, and taco cheese. Once you have those three you simply layer them in that order. Its best to microwave the cream cheese for…

  • tempura veggies

    Technique: Tempura Veggies

    The first time Rob and I actually made tempura was in an Asian cooking themed cooking class at Sur la Table. We took this class way before I started working on the blog, but I was already pretty into cooking. The class taught us a lot about techniques and we made some great food, but it was also the first time we had ever fried anything. We fry things more regularly now, but tempura is pretty uncommon. We ended up doing this tempura because Rob saw Squash Blossoms at our farmers market. He had a rough idea of what to do with them (watching Food Network and Chopped they always…

  • spaghetti and meatballs
    Appetizer,  Dinner

    Chicken-Pork Meatballs

    Meatballs are such a versatile ingredient. You can eat them as a snack or over pasta. Plus they can be eaten right away or frozen to save for later. At any given time I probably have at least two dinners worth of meatballs in my freezer just waiting to be heated. I make meatballs in many different ways, more often than not based on the types of ground meat available at the grocery store. This trip, I was glad that they had chicken-based Italian sausage and ground pork. I didn’t want to double down on pork Italian sausage since I wanted to be able to build a little more of…

  • Prosciutto-Fig Crostini

    Prosciutto-Fig Crostini

    Crostini are one of my favorite appetizers. They are super simple and scale really easily to feed just a couple or a crowd. Plus you can really make them with any flavor you want. You really just need flavors that combine well and compliment each other. One of the most basic and classic crostini options is bruschetta. Its simple, easy to make, and probably the easiest to assemble. In really you don’t even need to assemble them ahead of time, just put out a bowl of the topping and some toasted bread… done! While I love bruschetta, there are times I really want a different, unique flavor. When I add…

  • Roasted Chickpeas

    Roasted Chipotle Chickpeas

    Today is the start of March Madness. For me, its a time for snacking and watching games. Sometimes those games lead to stress which leads to more snacking. That means I need a snack I can just keep munching on that is healthy and flavorful. Roasted Chickpeas are the ultimate healthy snack that you can munch on all day. Personally, I love a flavorful snack that isn’t sweet. Roasted Chickpeas make a really great canvas for flavor since on their own they are pretty bland. I have made them in a variety of styles in the past. You can go pretty basic or really experiment. My first batch years ago…

  • bruschetta

    Classic Bruschetta

    One of my favorite appetizers has got to be Bruschetta. It’s super easy and hard to dislike because of the simplicity. I also love that it has a bright, fresh flavor; you can eat a lot of it and not really feel all that full. Generally, I stick to a pretty classic recipe, but every so often I will do something to mix it up. Variations for me tend to come from using a flavored balsamic or olive oil to give it a subtle pop of flavor. To me, bruschetta is an awesome party food. It requires minimal prep work and if you want you can just do a self-serve…

  • Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Buffalo Chicken Dip

      Buffalo Chicken Dip is a staple at my family’s parties.  I do not think I can remember a party that this didn’t make an appearance before dinner, from holidays to birthdays and game watches.  I love this because its super easy, can be made ahead, and reheats really well. The original recipe for this buffalo chicken dip involved canned chicken meat, but I have started substituting shredded rotisserie chicken for the canned stuff.  Honestly, I find that it adds a bit more flavor and just less processed than the can. The other great this about the dip is that the spiciness is totally adjustable.    Want it mild? Go…

  • Meatballs
    Appetizer,  Dinner

    Classic Meatballs

    Surprising for having an Italian background, Rob didn’t really grow up eating meatballs.  The benefit for me is that I can really experiment with different meatball flavors and meat combinations.  I know a lot of people who have a family recipe that changing any aspect of would result in effectively disownment. The fun thing with meatballs is that they can serve multiple roles.  They can be an easy appetizer like you would see in Italy or over pasta in the classic American style.  Fun fact: spaghetti and meatballs is an American creation that you won’t find it in Italy where meatballs are a stand alone item, often in very large…

  • Cheesesteak egg rolls

    Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

    I am definitely a Philly girl at heart, so a cheesesteak is something that I love.  That being said, I am not always in the mood for a full-size cheesesteak.  I also sometimes want to share with other or need to entertain a crowd.  Enter the Cheesesteak Egg Roll.  It may not be fancy but they are fun, easy, and delicious. I made my egg rolls in a very classic cheesesteak style: meat, cheese, and onions.  That’s it.  I have seen so many places outside of Philly try to add a bunch of other ingredients like lettuce or tomato.  I am sorry, but NO!  A cheesesteak is a simple thing…

  • Grilled Pizza Flatbreads

    Grilled Pizza Flatbreads

    Grilled pizza flatbreads are the perfect way to make pizza on a hot summer day.  The only time I used the oven for the recipe below was to make the crust.  After the crust was finished, all you need to do is add your toppings.  Grilled pizza is so versatile, I have made it using the recipe below but I have also made it by using a variety of ingredients.  It is a great way to repurpose leftovers; like one I made with pulled pork topped with corn salad that was leftover from dinner earlier in the week.   Flatbread are also perfect for a weeknight meal but also for appetizers…