Bacon Wrapped Dates w/Goat Cheese and Rosemary Almonds

There is this restaurant that I just love in Aliso Viejo, CA called Opah.  It’s kind of my “go to” place for good food and great lemon drop martini’s.  You say “hey let’s meet for drinks after work” and I say “Opah”! Usually when we go there we are in time for happy hour and it never fails that we’ll order their bacon wrapped dates. Hence this post was inspired.  I haven’t been to Opah in a few weeks so I was somewhat “jonesing” for these little morsels.

I decided to give my own twist to my favorite happy hour appetizer  bacon wrapped dates w/goat cheese and rosemary almonds.  It’s a mouthful I know, but so are these luscious flavored dates with a subtle taste of goat cheese and a crisp Marconi almond in the middle.  The drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. Did I mention that the almond has rosemary and sea salt all over it too?!

Is your mouth-watering yet?

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Rosemary Almonds

Did you know there is an International Bacon Day?  Yep, that’s right. How cool is that?  It’s the Saturday before Labor Day Monday. Click here for more info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bacon_Day.  This idea of an International Bacon Day was what spurred my interest to revive my love of these little goodies.

They take a little time, but they are well worth the effort.

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Superbowl Snackers – Deli Swirlz

I came across these roll-ups from Taste of Home and modified them a bit by adding my favorite vegetable – asparagus.

Superbowl Snackers - Deli Swirlz

Ingredients:
1/4 pound of turkey (about 6 slices)
1/4 pound of ham (about 6 slices)
1/4 roast beef (about 6 slices)
1 package of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons of dill weed
9 spears of asparagus
1-1/2 avocados

Directions:
Trim and steam asparagus spears for approximately 6 minutes.  Mix cream cheese and dill weed together in a small bowl; set aside.  In another bowl, smash-up the avocado. Take two pieces of roast beef and lay on cutting board and overlap a small section to make one large piece.  Gently spread cream cheese mixture over the meat, then spread the avocado over that.  Place asparagus at the edge of the meat and gently roll the meat over the asparagus.  Repeat with the other meats.  Cut into bit sizes pieces and serve.

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Superbowl Snackers – Candied Meatballs

Everyone knows that Superbowl is about the food and the commercials. Right?  Ok, well that’s what Superbowl is to me. But I’m somewhat tired of the same old, same old when it comes to SB food.  I have a few recipes that are super simple to make and will break you free from the boring chicken wing streak you’ve been in for years.  Hey, no offense to the chicken wing lovers out there, just thought it was time for a change in the line up.

My personal favorite of this series is my Candied Meatballs.  These tasty little nuggets are probably the most labor intensive of the group here, but so well worth it in the taste.

Candied Meatballs

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 pound of ground pork
2 bottles (12 oz each) Chili Sauce
1/2 cup cherry preserves (but you can use grape or raspberry)
1 cup coca cola (do not use diet)
1/4 cup of gluten-free bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
2 tablespoons of garlic and herb seasoning (McCormick Seasonings)
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions:
Mix ground beef and pork together in large mixing bowl and mix by hand.  Add gluten-free bread crumbs, seasoning and egg; mix thoroughly by hand until all blended. Set aside.

In a slow cooker, mix chili sauce, cherry preserves, coca cola, brown sugar and Dijon mustard together until blended.  Set on warm for the time being.

Go back to your meat mixture and make 1 inch size balls (approximately 60-65 depending on how you roll them).  Sear meatballs in a lightly greased pan just until browned all over. Transfer meatballs to sauce mixture.  Turn temperature up to low and let cook for approximately 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Be careful when stirring as meat will be tender and will fall apart if mixed too much.  Put in a bowl for serving or leave in pot and let them serve themselves.

These are so good you’ll want to make them for all your pot lucks!

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