Who doesn’t love onion rings or bacon? This fun Father’s Day side dish combines both for a flavor sensation. Then just to kick it up a notch, glaze the bacon with maple syrup! Insanely good! Treat Dad to a hearty, fun meal by adding an…
This savory appetizer recipe explodes with a cheesy, garlicky flavor. They make a delicious appetizer, but work well accompanying a cup of tomato soup or a caesar salad. Is it bad that I can make a meal out of appetizers? I do, quite often, especially…
Every Thanksgiving game-plan needs a great holiday appetizer. These scallops are my go-to for something to serve while finalizing the last of the dinner prep. They are salty, meaty, savory, and sweet from the honey bourbon glaze. I like making them year-round, they’re that tasty.
Scallops are called the ‘candy of the sea’. They are similar in taste to lobster but firmer in texture. They should be sweet, slightly briny, and very delicate. Like candy, it’s hard to eat just one.
HOW TO BUY SCALLOPS
Bay scallops are the smaller, sweeter variety that is typically available from April to September. For this recipe, we want to choose sea scallops.
Sea scallops are larger, up to 2-inches in diameter and available year-round. Most sea scallops are sold wet-packed, which means that the scallops are treated with a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate to preserve them as soon as they harvested. When cooked, wet scallops tend to be smaller and a bit tougher.
Dry scallops are just that – dry. They are not treated with a chemical water bath. They are a little more difficult to find and a bit more expensive, but the taste and texture are worth it.
- When buying scallops, look for ones that are firm, shiny, and creamy white in color. Avoid any that are gray or very bright white.
- Pass on any scallop that looks broken, cracked, or shredded. They are either old or mishandled. Neither is a good thing.
- If you see scallops that have an orange or pink hue, snatch them up. This means they are very healthy and fresh.
PREPARING THE SCALLOPS FOR COOKING
The scallops are one of the easiest things to prep for cooking. First, rinse the scallops under cold, running water.
Next, feel around them for a small side-muscle that will be a rectangular piece that will feel tougher and more fibrous than the rest of the scallop. Just pinch it and tear it away. Not all of the scallops will have this piece still attached.
ITEMS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS HOLIDAY APPETIZER:
- Checkered Chef Half Sheet Aluminum Rimmed Baking Sheets (set of 2) – I own 6 of these and love them.
- OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush – Use this on the grill, on chicken, pork and throw it into the dishwasher. Love that!
- Lodge Pre-Seasoned 3.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillets, Set of 4 – I use these little skillets for everything from a little grilled cheese, appetizers, single-serving side dishes.
Looking for more holiday appetizers? Here are a few more to try:
- Baked Brie With Honey And Pecans
- Pineapple Habanero Cheese Ball
- Roasted Red Pepper And Feta Dip
- Extra Flavorful Jalapeno Poppers
This holiday appetizer is a perfect starter for a beautiful meal that incorporates all the taste profiles – salty, sweet, and meaty.
24 large dry sea scallops
12 slices bacon
½ cup honey
¼ cup bourbon
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
Freshly-cracked black pepper
Soak 24 toothpicks in water for 30-minutes.
Lay the scallops on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer on the sheet. Bake for 7 – 8 minutes until the fat is beginning to render, but the bacon is still flexible and not crisp. You want the strips to stay pliable so they will wrap around the scallop.
Remove the bacon and allow to drain on paper towels. Cut the strips in half and set aside. Reserve the bacon fat.
In a small bowl, stir together the honey, bourbon, soy sauce, and melted butter. Set aside.
Lightly season the scallops with salt and pepper. Using a half slice of bacon, wrap around the scallop and secure with a toothpick that has been soaking.
Using one large cast-iron skillet or six small cast-iron skillets, grease the bottom and sides of the skillets with the reserved bacon fat.
Arrange the scallops in a single layer in the skillets.
Using a basting brush, liberally brush the sauce on both sides of the scallops.
Bake the scallops in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and brush both sides of the scallops with more sauce, being very generous.
Return to the oven and continue baking for another 5 – 8 minutes or until the scallops are just opaque and the bacon is very crisp.
Remove the pans from the oven and serve immediately.
- Category: Starter-Appetizer
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: holiday appetizer, appetizer recipe, scallop recipe, sea scallops, seafood appetizer, starters
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A quick and easy appetizer that is creamy, tangy, and chock full of delicious sweet heat. Covered in salty, smoky bacon and even more cheddar, this is wonderful served with crackers or bagel chips.
When I call this a quick and easy appetizer, I’m not kidding. With a mixer, it is literally a dump and mix, then roll and chill recipe. Plus, it looks pretty on a plate with crackers-making it perfect for entertaining.
WHAT IS PINEAPPLE HABANERO SAUCE?
Any sweet, savory, chunky sauce, preserve, or jam can be used. I personally like the Robert Rothschild brand. It is a blend of roasted pineapple, red pepper, mango, onion, and of course, spicy habanero chiles.
There are so many delicious types and brands out there, but if you’re like me and want to try making your own sauce, it’s not difficult. Here is the recipe from Momslifeboat.com that I found to try that is just delicious. It’s a much cheaper option if you have the time.
- Use Monterey Jack cheese instead of sharp cheddar for a milder flavor.
- Want a vegetarian option? Instead of chopped bacon, try rolling the ball in finely chopped smokehouse almonds. You still get the salty, smoky flavor without the meat.
- Not looking for a cheeseball, add in ½ cup sour cream and spread the mixture into a shallow bowl. Top with the cheddar and bacon for a lovely dip or spread.
Let’s make it a full-on cocktail party! Here are a few ideas:
- Cosmopolitan Martini
- Spicy Roasted Red Pepper And Feta Dip
- Extra Flavorful Jalapeno Poppers
- Blackberry Goat Cheese Crostini from Gastronomblog.com
- A Classic Gin Martini by ABarAbove.com
This quick and easy appetizer is a delicious combination of sweet heat, smokey bacon, and creamy, tangy cheese. Serve this with crackers or bagel chips. This pretty cheese ball is perfect for game day, tailgating, or entertaining.
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup Roasted pineapple & habanero sauce (I use Robert Rothschild brand)
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, minced, both white and green parts
3 slices bacon, cooked very crisp and crumbled
¼ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
In a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, roasted pineapple and habanero sauce, 1 cup shredded cheese, and the minced green onions until well mixed.
Using your hands, roll the mixture into a ball. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the bacon crumbs and ¼ cup finely shredded cheese in a shallow bowl.
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: quick and easy appetizer, cheese ball, appetizer recipes, cream cheese recipes, sweet and spicy, game day recipes, tailgating recipes
This spicy, smoky, garlicky roasted red pepper and feta dip may be a party in a bowl. Ready in less than 10 minutes using simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand, this flavorful dip is sure to be your new easy ‘go-to’ recipe…
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These poppers are warm, cheesy, creamy, and spicy little bites of pure heaven. There’s a reason that jalapeno poppers are the ubiquitous tailgating or game day appetizer. They’re delicious and very easy. They’re also a huge crowd pleaser – so make plenty.
I think every home cook has his/her own recipe for jalapeno poppers. Some are fried. Some are breaded and fried. Some are grilled. The fillings vary and they may or may not have bacon. I’ve had some that included hot sausage in the cheese filling that was interesting and delicious. I’ve never met a popper that I didn’t like!
For this recipe, I added a few spices, some green onions, and additional cheeses to transform them into what has become known in my circle of family and friends as ‘the extra flavorful jalapeno poppers’.
Plus the thin coating of brown sugar and chili powder on the popper balances out the heat of the pepper and the richness of the cheeses. It’s an optional addition, but well worth the extra step. The sweet and spicy exterior is an unexpected flavor that makes these poppers unforgettable. They are basically the food equivalent to “crack”.
TIPS ON MAKING EXTRA FLAVORFUL JALAPENO POPPERS
- If you are using thicker bacon slices, cook them about halfway before wrapping around the pepper. This will help to ensure that your bacon gets a nice, crispy edge without overcooking the pepper.
- Allow your bacon to ‘warm up’ a bit before wrapping it around the pepper. I like to place the bacon on the counter while I whip up the filling and fill the peppers. Warmer bacon is more pliable and easier to get a pretty wrap on the pepper.
- Room temperature cheeses will incorporate with the other ingredients much faster and become creamier than cheeses straight out of the refrigerator.
- If you like heat, leave in some of the veins in the jalapeno.
- Not a heat fan? Be sure to remove all the veins in the pepper and rinse it under cold water just to flush some of the capsaicin away.
HOW TO PICK PERFECT JALAPENOS
- Look for jalapenos with smooth, unblemished, bright green skin for a milder pepper. Peppers with lines or wrinkles are older and will be hotter than the smooth ones.
- Red jalapeno peppers are older and will provide more heat, but they are also sweeter which helps to balance out the capsaicin.
- Choose larger peppers. They hold more of the delicious filling. Also, try to pick ones similar in size for even cooking.
Finally, I have a quick aside to the recipe. You may have noticed that I don’t have as strong of a filter as most people.
But we’re friends, right? Okay, here it is. When you clean your peppers, wear gloves. Trust me on this. The capsaicin in the pepper, the oil that brings the heat, doesn’t wash off as well as you’d think. You don’t want to rub your eyes or nose. It burns. A lot.
Also, you REALLY, REALLY don’t want to use the bathroom with residual capsaicin on your hands. Follow me here and think about it. It REALLY burns. A lot…and it’s embarrassing. I know. Take my word for it. Use gloves. You’re welcome.Print
The ultimate appetizer, tailgating dish, or game day snack, these extra flavorful jalapeno poppers will be a crowd favorite. Plan on making a double batch just to be sure to have enough.
- 10–12 fresh jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 green onions, very finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 10–12 slices of bacon (I like thin sliced bacon. It gets extra crispy)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Ranch dressing for dipping
- Prepare the jalapenos. Slice them in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seeds and veins. Set aside.
- Line a large baking pan with foil. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cheeses, green onion, and seasonings. Mix well. Fill each pepper half with the cheese filling, smoothing the top. Wrap a piece of bacon around the half, secure with a toothpick, if necessary.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and chili powder. Roll each bacon wrapped jalapeno popper in the sugar/chili mixture. Arrange the poppers on the prepared baking pan.
- Bake, uncovered, until the peppers are softened and the bacon has crispy, browned edges, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the pan for 10 minutes before serving.
- I like to serve these with ranch dressing for dipping.
- Serving Size: 8 - 10
Need help on cleaning all of those jalapenos? Check out this quick video:
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