How to Entertain with a Cheese Tray

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sargento for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I’m all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

So, small confession here: as a food blogger, I often get a little stressed out when I’m entertaining. People expect you to serve something fancy and festive and quite frankly, by the time I’ve worked all week and gotten the house into a presentable shape, the last thing I want to do is spend hours preparing food.  Cheese trays are one of my favorite ways to entertain, simply because they’re so easy to put together.  I especially love them in the summer months, when it’s too darn hot to maintain a huge appetite or to turn on the oven.

You just need to grab some fresh fruits, jams, crackers, and wine (if you’re into that sort of thing), spread it out on a tray, and you’re good to go.

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

 

However, the specialty cheese case at my grocer can sometimes get a bit expensive.  When I’m shopping for four to five different varieties of good cheeses, $10 or so a piece doesn’t fit my budget.  That’s why I was super excited to find Sargento’s new line of eight specialty cheeses: at a suggested retail price of $2.69, they don’t break the bank!

If you’re like me, you love cheese, but don’t always know what to pair with the different varieties.  So I’ve put together a list of my favorite tips when entertaining with a cheese tray.

First, grab a few varieties of different crackers, pita chips, bread rounds, and/or pretzel crisps.

I loaded up on some over the weekend at Wal-Mart and found a great variety for not a ton of money.

  Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

Next, set out a few of your favorite jams or spreads.

 

After trying this Fig-Proscuitto Pizza, I’ve discovered that fig jam is my very favorite jam to serve with cheese. Below, I used a strawberry jam with Sargento New Zealander Cheese, which was simply heavenly. The New Zealander is a combination of creamy Gouda and sharp Cheddar (two of my favorites!), and I almost ate the entire block during this photo shoot. Oops?

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

 You’ll also want to grab a few cheese knives.

You don’t have to spend a fortune – you can find many for less than $5!

 

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

Fresh fruit is also a must: apples, grapes, berries, pears – even pineapple!

Pineapple and grapes are the perfect compliment to Sargento’s Fiesta Pepper Jack. This variety blends a buttery Monterey Jack with four fiery pepper varieties, and is one of my favorites.

The Medium Asiago cheese is smooth with nutty undertones, and is perfect paired with nuts, bell peppers, and a nice sauvignon blanc.

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

Apples and nuts are always great paired with cheddar cheeses. We enjoyed both the Aged Wisconsin Cheddar and the Aged Vermont White Cheddar along with some apple slices and roasted almonds.  Try serving a glazed nut blend along with the White Cheddar – yum!

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

The Bruschetta Jack was another super fun cheese.  It’s soft and cream and combines the flavor of natural Monterey Jack with staple bruschetta ingredients – you’ll want to serve this one with crisp bread slices and/or crackers and a red wine.  A Zinfindel would be perfect.

Summer grilling season is upon us, and I'm all about easy appetizers. With Sargento Tastings eight new varieties of specialty cheeses, you can make your next get-together a little less stressful by putting together a no-fuss cheese tray.

Whatever your plans for the summer, try entertaining with a cheese tray – it’s pretty much no fuss, which leaves you more time for visiting and relaxing.  And isn’t that the whole point? ;-)

Tell me: what’s your favorite kind of cheese?

You can check out more from Sargento here:

Sargento Tastings | Sargento on Pinterest | Sargento on Facebook

 

XO, Ashley


 


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Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza

This easy Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza is a breeze to put together, is always a crowd-pleaser, and will get even the kiddos to eat their veggies!

This easy Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza is a breeze to put together, is always a crowd-pleaser, and will get even the kiddos to eat their veggies!

My husband loves veggies and Ranch dressing.  I mean, seriously loves it.  While my snack of choice usually gravitates towards the sugary and calorie-laden, the Tall Boy always reaches for carrot sticks and Ranch dressing.  But lately, I’ve really been trying to eat more of the rainbow…and this Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza makes it super easy.

All you need is a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix, crescent dough, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), and your favorite chopped veggies.  Broccoli and/or cauliflower would work great on this, but neither of my guys will eat either of those veggies, so then I’d be stuck eating this entire snack pizza on my own.  Wait, maybe that’s not a bad thing. ;-)

This easy Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza is a breeze to put together, is always a crowd-pleaser, and will get even the kiddos to eat their veggies!

The Tall Boy gobbled up this Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza last weekend during March Madness like nobody’s business.  And that’s even without the shredded Parmesan cheese I forgot to put on top. You should totally do that.

What’s super fabulous about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable, can be made ahead, and takes almost no time to throw together.  It’s perfect for entertaining or snacking!

This easy Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza is a breeze to put together, is always a crowd-pleaser, and will get even the kiddos to eat their veggies!

Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza

Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza

Ingredients

  • 2 packages Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 (1-ounce) package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh dill, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Unroll the crescent rolls and press into a 10x15-inch pan. Press the dough down to seal the seams. Bake until puffy and golden brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. While the dough is cooking, stir together your Greek yogurt and seasoning packet until completely combined. Spread in an even layer over the cooled crust. Top with the chopped veggies and shredded cheese and sprinkle with fresh dill, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve - serve cold!
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/veggie-ranch-snack-pizza/

This easy Veggie Ranch Snack Pizza is a breeze to put together, is always a crowd-pleaser, and will get even the kiddos to eat their veggies!

From dressings and dips to sandwich spreads and side dish solutions, the special blend of herbs and spices makes Hidden Valley the perfect addition to any recipe. For more delectable ranch recipes, visit www.hiddenvalley.com.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hidden Valley Ranch. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

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Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings

These baked Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are the perfect gameday appetizer.  The combination of sweet honey and spicy Sriracha are a great crowd pleaser in this easy to prepare dish!

These baked Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are the perfect gameday appetizer.  The combination of sweet honey and spicy Sriracha are a great crowd pleaser in this easy to prepare dish!

Well, it’s officially March Madness.  For my family, things usually get a little bit exciting this time of year.  While I’m generally more of a football fan, my husband and my father are huge NCAA basketball fans.  Historically, they’re huddled around the television cheering on the University of Kansas…but this year, it’s {one of} my alma matter that is getting all of the attention:

Wichita State University

The Shockers are entering the tournament with a 34-0 record, and the entire city is decked out in yellow and black.  Billboards along the highway boast the hastag #playangry, the Shocker mascot is everywhere you look, and strangers are high-fiving each other in stores and parking lots.  For a team from the Missouri Valley Conference that usually isn’t given a second thought {despite making it to the Final Four last year}, it’s pretty awesome.

Kinda like these Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings.

These baked Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are the perfect gameday appetizer.  The combination of sweet honey and spicy Sriracha are a great crowd pleaser in this easy to prepare dish!

So we’re munching on these tonight while watching selection Sunday…and I have a feeling we’ll me making them again as the madness of March progresses.

For this recipe, I used my Wilton Armetale Casserole/Baker.  It’s the perfect baking dish for these wings because it’s oven-safe, and pretty enough to serve in.  I don’t want to spend my basketball watching time washing dishes, you know? ;-)

Plus, Armetele keeps hot foods hot longer {and cold foods cold longer}, cleans up in a flash, is super durable, and offers a lifetime warranty against breakage {don’t use it in the microwave or dishwasher, though}.  I have quite a few pieces I received as wedding gifts years ago, but I’m loving this new casserole baker – I can even use it on the grill this summer!

These baked Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are the perfect gameday appetizer.  The combination of sweet honey and spicy Sriracha are a great crowd pleaser in this easy to prepare dish!

If you’re planning any game watching parties during March Madness, make sure you add these wings to your list!  And if you haven’t heard of Sriracha, it’s an Asian Chili sauce that you can find in the International food aisle of your grocery store (look for the green bottle with a rooster on it).

Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings

Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings

Ingredients

    For the Wings:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, split at the joints, tips removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the Sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha (or more, if you like things really spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish with vegetable oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, the melted butter, granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dry the wings with a paper towel. Pour the mixture over the wings and toss well to coat. Spread the wings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake the wings until browned and crisp, 45 to 55 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce:
  5. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the honey, Sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice and stir until the mixture bubbles gently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Carefully remove the wings from the baking sheet and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the warm sauce over the wings and gently toss to coat. Transfer the wings to a serving platter back to your casserole dish and drizzle with more honey if desired. Garnish with lime wedges, sesame seeds and cilantro.

recipe from Food Network

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/sticky-honey-sriracha-wings/

XO, Ashley

Wilton Armetale provided me with product to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Homemade Baking Mix

Skip the box mixes and keep this Homemade Baking Mix on hand instead.  With this basic baking mix you can make quick, tasty homemade biscuits in minutes—or use it in any recipe that calls for biscuit mix.

Skip the box mixes and keep this Homemade Baking Mix on hand instead.  With this basic baking mix you can make quick, tasty homemade biscuits in minutes—or use it in any recipe that calls for biscuit mix.

So, last weekend I wanted to make a coffee cake…more specifically, this coffee cake:

{recipe coming soon!}

cherry-coffe-cake---close

…but I didn’t have any Bisquick or boxed baking mix on hand.  Since it’s not something I use often, and because it takes up valuable space in my small pantry, I usually avoid recipes that require it.  But making your own mix is just about as easy as scooping out of a store-bought box, and you know exactly what that ingredient list contains!

Most likely, you already have all of these ingredients at home.  The great thing is that you may use this mix to make biscuits, pancakes, or any recipe that calls for baking mix.  And now the Tall Boy is thrilled I’m keeping this on hand, so he can have biscuits and gravy a little more often!

Skip the box mixes and keep this Homemade Baking Mix on hand instead.  With this basic baking mix you can make quick, tasty homemade biscuits in minutes—or use it in any recipe that calls for biscuit mix.

Homemade Baking Mix

makes 6 cups

Homemade Baking Mix

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter or margarine

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. You may freeze it for longer storage.
  3. To make Biscuits:
  4. Mix together 1/3 cup of milk for every 1 cup of mix. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 min.
  5. 1 cup of mix will yield about 6 biscuits.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/homemade-baking-mix/

XO, Ashley

 

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Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Batter Dip

Thank you, Pillsbury, for sponsoring this post and our Valentine’s Day Party!

All you need is just five minutes and a whisk to make this Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Batter Dip.  And by using refrigerated pie crust and heart cookie cutters, this fun snack is the perfect treat to share on Valentine’s Day {or you know, a random Thursday}.

This quick and easy Skinny Devil's Food Cake Batter Dip made with Greek yogurt tastes just like cake batter!

It’s been brutally cold here the past few days.  School has been cancelled since Tuesday, Doodle’s still recovering from strep {a cough is now creeping in}, and everyone is beginning to get a little stir crazy around my house.  We’ve been looking for things to do inside that are “exciting” and “fun.”  For a 6-year old boy, this means playing Fruit Ninja on the iPad and kicking bouncy balls at my head while I’m attempting to cook dinner.

For me, this means indulging in chocolaty-goodness and hiding with it in my closet so I don’t have to share.  What?  Is that wrong? ;-)

This quick and easy Skinny Devil's Food Cake Batter Dip made with Greek yogurt tastes just like cake batter!

Another fun cold-weather activity on our list this week: a mini-Valentine’s Day party.  Since the weather put a damper in hosting the larger gathering we’d originally planned, this ended up being an exclusive Doodle and mama only event.  Which, if you want to know the truth, is pretty much how I prefer it.  This kiddo is growing up waaaay too fast.

Since I ended up eating the majority of this Devil’s Food Cake Batter Dip on my own, I decided to make it a little more figure-friendly.  No, this isn’t actually “skinny,” but in my book, any way I can cut calories warrants “skinny” in the title.  It’s how I roll.

For dipping, we used refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts, and cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter.  Sprinkled them with sugar, and baked them for just a few minutes to crisp them up.  Super fun and easy, and Doodle loved the “just the right sized” dippers for his little hands.

This quick and easy Skinny Devil's Food Cake Batter Dip made with Greek yogurt tastes just like cake batter!

We also made these fun Cinnamon Sweetheart Rolls.  These were a breeze to make and Doodle has already requested them again for breakfast on Valentine’s Day.  Heart-shaped cinnamon rolls + sprinkles and icing = the perfect breakfast any day of the week, if you ask me.

Heart-Cinnamon-Rolls

Finally, we made some Valentine’s Cookie Pops!  These were so easy, and Doodle loved eating them off the stick.  We’ll be making these again next week to take to his Valentine’s Day party at school – and package each one with a cellophane bag so that the kids can take them home easily if they want.

sugar-cookie-pops

We had an awesome time at our Valentine’s Day Party putting these fun little Pillsbury treats together.  And anytime I can share special one-on-one time with Doodle is a-okay with me, even if I have to bribe him with cookies and sweet rolls. ;-)

Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Batter Dip

approximately 2 1/2 cups

Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Batter Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cups Devil's Food cake mix {just the dry mix}
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • sprinkles for garnishing, if desired
  • For the dippers:
  • 1 refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust (one crust out of a pack of two)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • cinnamon and sugar, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Whisk together yogurt, dry cake mix and powdered sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
  2. To prepare the dippers, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Unroll pie crust and cut out heart shapes using a cookie cutter. Re-roll the scraps and repeat.
  3. Place cutouts on your prepared baking sheet, brush lightly with melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar as desired. Bake for approximately 7 minutes, or until cutouts are lightly golden brown.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/skinny-devils-food-cake-batter-dip/

XO, Ashley

 

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Making Healthier Choices with Weight Watchers

Thank you to Weight Watchers for getting my new year started off right. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Making Healthier Choices with Weight Watchers #SimpleStart

Hi guys. I wanted to check in with you one more time after starting my journey {again} with Weight Watchers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this isn’t my first rodeo with Weight Watchers, although their Simple Start plan is new to me. And now that I’ve had a chance to try it out for awhile, I have to tell you:

I really love it.

If you’re familiar with Weight Watchers at all, you know that historically their plans involve counting points, and that constant tallying can sometimes drag you down.  If I’m being honest, I actually kind of like counting points.  To me, it’s sort of a challenge to see how much food I can eat in a day and still stay within my point allowance.

But it’s nice – really nice – to not have to worry about points.  All you do is eat from a list of {power} foods that you can find in any grocery store.  They give you lots of delicious meal ideas or you can make your own.

It’s so simple!

When I’m eating healthy, I feel so, so much better.  And that’s really my end goal here.  While fitting into those skinny jeans would be super duper nice, what I really want is a healthy body and to set a good example for my son.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring – it’s all about making healthier choices.  So if you want a cupcake every once in awhile, then have one – and don’t beat yourself up over it.  Just get back on track, and remember: each day is a new one!

Want to see some examples of healthier options?  Here are a few of my favorites {click on the photo for the recipe}:

Guilt Free Blueberry Muffin from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - bursting with blueberries and a cinnamon struesel topping, these muffins are just 6 WW points+ each!

How to Bake the Perfect Potato: get crispy skin and a fluffy inside with this easy method! #SimpleStart

Szechuan Orange Chicken on www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - tastier than takeout in less than half an hour, and under 300 calories!  Use Minute brown rice to speed up your weeknight meals!

Filled with fruit, Greek yogurt, and a bit of flaxseed, this berry power smoothie is a #simplestart to a new you!

Tell me: are you interested in seeing more Weight Watcher recipes here?  

While it may not always look like it based on my blog posts, we do usually eat healthy most of the time around my house. ;-)

XO, Ashley

 

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Fiesta Pinwheels

With just five ingredients, these Fiesta Pinwheels are the perfect game day appetizer! 

{or lunch…not that I’m speaking from experience}

With just five ingredients, these Fiesta Pinwheels are the perfect game day appetizer!

Last month, when I had the opportunity to visit the Pillsbury Test Kitchens, we spent the first half of our kitchen time whipping up quick, easy, and mouthwatering appetizers.  In my family, finger-foods are our favorite way to entertain, so I was in appetizer heaven.

And with Superbowl just around the corner, I have big plans for a game watching party – with lots of appetizers!

 With just five ingredients, these Fiesta Pinwheels are the perfect game day appetizer!

{fun fact about me: I’m as girlie as they come, but when it comes to football…watch out}

And when it comes to appetizers and football, I want something simple and fast so I don’t miss any of the game or socializing time.

These fit the bill.

Just start with Pillsbury Seamless Crescent Dough – divided into two long rectangles.  Spread sour cream over each rectangle, and then sprinkle with Shredded Mexican Chicken, cheese, and green onions.  Roll ‘em up, and slice each roll into eight equal pieces.  You may also just as easily use any leftover chicken you have on hand {deli chicken works great}.  Just give it a sprinkle with some Mexican spices or taco seasoning first. ;-)

Then just bake the Fiesta Pinwheels until the crescents are golden brown and slightly crisp.

With just five ingredients, these Fiesta Pinwheels are the perfect game day appetizer!

I just love these tasty little appetizers. With a lightly crisp and flaky shell wrapped around my favorite Mexican flavors…these Fiesta Pinwheels are a fun finger-food for any occasion where you want a popable appetizer!

With just five ingredients, these Fiesta Pinwheels are the perfect game day appetizer!

Fiesta Pinwheels

makes 16 pinwheels

Fiesta Pinwheels

Ingredients

  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Mexican Shredded Chicken
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Mexican Four Cheese Blend shredded cheese {I used Kraft}
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • salsa, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut lengthwise into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle.
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons of sour cream over each rectangle. Sprinkle each with half of the shredded chicken, cheese, and green onions.
  4. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle and press the edge to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices and place cut side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm and with salsa for dipping, if desired.

adapted from Pillsbury

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/fiesta-pinwheels/

fiesta pinwheel collage

Find more game day appetizers here {click image for link}:

20 Awesome Dips for Superbowl | www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com

 

XO, Ashley

Disclosure:  Pillsbury paid for my travel and accommodations to the General Mills Headquarters as part of a Holiday Bloggers event.  However, all opinions in this post, as always, are 100% my own.

 

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75+ Fun and Festive Holiday Drinks

Over 75 Fun and Festive Holiday Drinks at www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com
Please allow a moment for the links to load.  Happy New Year, everyone, and if you’re drinking, please do so responsibly!


XO, Ashley

 

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Top 15 Recipes of 2013

Hi everyone!  Today I’m sharing my top viewed 15 posts from 2013.  Before I get started, I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you who have viewed, shared, and made recipes from my little old blog.  I never in my wildest dreams expected a fun little hobby to turn into such an obsession.

This year, I’ve had amazing opportunities to work with fabulous brands and companies, bake in the Pillsbury Test Kitchen (!!), and watch my Facebook page explode.  Even better, I’ve formed some great relationships with readers and with other bloggers, which is definitely the icing on the cake to this whole blogging thing.

So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Top 15 Readers Favorites of 2013 from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com

I had so much fun looking to see what you all enjoyed looking at this year – and maybe not so surprising…my top viewed post this year was also my highest viewed post last year.  I’m especially proud of this post, because I feel like it was around this time that I started to get a handle on what this blogging thing was all about. ;-)  Also, it’s one of our favorite family dinners, and I’m glad it’s one of yours, too!

Tell me: what recipes would you most like to see in the new year?

Jalapeno Popper dip - perfect for snacking or entertaining!  #recipe #dip #gamedayfood www.kitchenmeetsgirl.

15.  Jalapeno Popper Dip

This blueberry cheesecake galette is super simple, yet elegant - a perfect recipe for even a novice chef! #recipe #blueberries #pie

14.  Blueberry Cheesecake Galette

You don't have to spend hours making lasagna anymore with this 30-Minute Stovetop version! Get the recipe at www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com #recipes #lasagna

13.  30-Minute Stovetop Lasagna

This marshmallow pumpkin pie is light, and fluffy, and tastes like pumpkin pie and whipped cream all in one.  Get the recipe at www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com #pumpkin pie #marshmallows

12.  Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie

superbowl collage 1

11.  20 Awesome Dips for Superbowl

Pina Colada Poke Cake from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - so SIMPLE to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! #recipe #cake #pineapple #coconut

10.  Pina Colada Poke Cake

This Firecracker Chicken is the perfect mix of spicy and sweet and beats take-out hands down! #recipe #chicken #rice

9.  Firecracker Chicken

Pina Colada Icebox Pie on www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - a three-layer pineapple, coconut, and cream pie!  So good!  #recipe #pie

8.  Pina Colada Icebox Pie

This cheesy chicken Doritos casserole comes together fast and easy, and will please even the pickiest of eaters! #recipe #dinner #Mexican

7.  Cheesy Chicken Doritos Casserole

cheesecake popsicles from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com

6.  Cheesecake Popsicles

This dark chocolate peanut butter banana bread is the ultimate in decadence! www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com | #recipe #banana bread

5.  Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

honey-sesame-chicken-1

4.  Honey Sesame Crock Pot Chicken

Copycat King's Hawaiian Rolls from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - these taste just as good as the store bought version, and are so easy to make: even for the novice bread maker like me! #recipes #bread

3.  Copycat Hawaiian Rolls

These easy sopapillas need only three ingredients and 15 minutes in the oven.  Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!  #recipes #cincodemayo

2.  So Easy Sopapillas

chicken skewers title

1.  Honey Lime Chicken Skewers

 

 

 

XO, Ashley

 

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“Kiss”-mas Tree Centerpieces

In the holiday spirit for a festive centerpiece, but aren’t super crafty? These “Kiss”-mas Tree Centerpieces made with Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates are super easy to make and are a fun project to work on with kiddos!

In the holiday spirit for a festive centerpiece, but aren't super crafty? These "Kiss"-mas Tree Centerpieces made with Hershey's Kisses are super easy to make and are a fun project to work on with kiddos!

I’m super excited about this post, because I’ve teamed up with some other fantastic bloggers to bring you festive ideas using Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to get your holiday planning started off right!  If you’re looking for some great ideas for holiday entertaining, these gals have you covered:

 In the holiday spirit for a festive centerpiece, but aren't super crafty? These "Kiss"-mas Tree Centerpieces made with Hershey's Kisses are super easy to make and are a fun project to work on with kiddos!

I’ll admit it: I’m not that mom who spends hours working on craft projects with Doodle. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s mainly that crafting and I don’t work well together. I don’t have that “crafting” gene and it’s unlikely at this point in my life that it’s going to make an appearance.

But creating a cute little red, white and green tree made with Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates is something even I can handle.

Bonus? Doodle thought I was super cool when we put these little trees together.

{on a side note: our trees have already been eaten, so if you have little kids around who might ask say a million times if they can just have one Kiss off of the tree…you might want to wait just a bit closer to the holidays to assemble these}

In the holiday spirit for a festive centerpiece, but aren't super crafty? These "Kiss"-mas Tree Centerpieces made with Hershey's Kisses are super easy to make and are a fun project to work on with kiddos!

All you need for this quick and easy project are some cone-shaped pieces of foam – I got mine at Michael’s in both the 6-inch and 9-inch sizes.

I used approximately three bags of Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates for the 9-inch tree and two bags for the 6-inch tree.  I snapped toothpicks in half, and inserted each half into the bottom of a Kiss.  These were a little difficult to press in, so I had my husband poke tiny holes with a super small screwdriver (cleaned first, of course) to get things started.

Once the picks were inserted into the candies, I let Doodle go to town sticking them into the foam.  We used a decorative cupcake pic we found at my local cake supply store for the tree topper, but I think you could easily find something similar at your favorite craft store (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.).

In the holiday spirit for a festive centerpiece, but aren't super crafty? These "Kiss"-mas Tree Centerpieces made with Hershey's Kisses are super easy to make and are a fun project to work on with kiddos!

What’s your favorite way to use Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates in your holiday baking?  Or do you prefer to eat them plain?  I like to taste test ‘em while I’m working. ;-)

XO, Ashley

 

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