tailgating food shot.jpg

I get asked to share easy entertaining recipes all the time, so today I am delivering with two of my favorite simple party recipes.  These are great for tailgating season, or really any time of the year.  The best part is that they can all come together from start to finish in less than 15 minutes...including cook time.  Score!


The first recipe is my Black Bean Bites.  I actually make several different variations of these, including brie + pear and small buffalo chicken bites,  They are the perfect little bite sized app to have and they taste great straight out of the oven or room temperature, so they work really well if you are needing to make some of your dishes ahead of time.

Black Bean Bites.jpg


  • 1 package of phyllo dough cups (found in frozen section of your local grocery store)
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • salsa
  • Mexi-blend or cheddar cheese
  • pickled jalapenos
  • sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fill each phyllo cup with a small scoop of refried black beans.
  3. Top with salsa, cheese and pickled jalapeno.
  4. Bake fro 5-7 minutes.  It just needs time for the ingredients to warm up and the cheese to melt.
  5. Remove from oven and top with sour cream and/or guacamole.


This one is so easy it is almost embarrassing to call it a recipe.  Steve LOVES chicken wings, so I am always looking for different variations on wings that I can serve that are also a little bit healthier.  These little sliders are a perfect game day food and they are perfect if you are actually tailgating at the game because they have the same great taste as wings without the big mess.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders.jpg



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pull rotisserie chicken and toss with wing sauce.
  3. Put chicken on sliders and top with blue cheese crumbles.
  4. Bake at 350 until blue cheese has melted and bread is toasted.





Isn't he just the cutest? I spotted him last year at the party store and thought, you need to come home with me! I'm turning you into an appetizer, and a good one. He's the perfect thing to share at your next Halloween Party. It's equally delicious and festive. And people go CRAZY for this app. Plus it screams FALL, and one you'll want to serve now through Thanksgiving. Get ready for those savory + sweet and spicy taste buds to explode! 

Happy Halloween! 


  • 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese 
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 cup pecan pieces
  • 2 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper or flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  1. pre-heat oven to 300°F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, Worcestershire, red pepper, salt and garlic powder. Stir in pecans, and gently toss with chili powder to coat. 
  3. Spread coated pecans on a medium baking sheet, and cook 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove pecans and let cool. 
  5. Sit Mr. Skeleton on your platter of choice and place block of cream cheese on his lap. 
  6. In a small bowl mix apple butter and pumpkin together. 
  7. Spoon pumpkin & apple mixture on top of cream cheese.
  8. Sprinkle with spiced pecans and serve with crackers. 





It's game day, and you want to have a few people over to cheer on your favorite team. You've got the beer and know what time the game starts.... now, what are you going to feed the people? Sure, you could fire up the grill, but then you'd miss the game. Order pizza? Good idea, but why not put a spin on that classic game day eat. Next time try these Pizza Kabobs. They are delicious + fun to eat and even more fun to make. Set up bowls in your kitchen with all toppings and guests can stack up they're skewers how they like, bake and enjoy! FYI: Also makes for a great week-night dinner the kids will love! 


  • 3 green peppers, cut into 1” pieces 
  • 3 cups whole cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 cups button mushrooms 
  • 2 cups sliced pepperoni or cooked Italian sausage 
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough 
  • 3 table spoons olive oil 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 1 tbs Italian Seasoning 
  • wooden skewers 
  • 1 jar pizza sauce or marinara for dipping 


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400°
  2. Thread your wooden skewers with tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni and basil. 
  3. Flour your counter top and roll out pizza dough. Slice dough into 1/2 “ strips and wrap around veggies. 
  4. In a small bowl combine olive oil and Italian Seasoning. With a brush, baste each skewer. 
  5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until pizza dough is golden brown, about 15 minutes. 
  6. Remove and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Place back in oven and bake for 5 minutes more. 
  7. Serve with marinara sauce. 


Needing a quick appetizer? When I say quick, I mean like 5 minutes. It's one of my favorites to bring and serve at any gathering. People look forward to it. As a matter of fact I brought this last night to the 7th Grade Moms Night and it was a HUGE hit! Just 4 simple ingredients. Creamy goat cheese, topped with roasted pistachios and drowned in sweet honey and savory fig jam. Oh man, soooooooooo good. It also looks super fancy and is sure to be the talk of the party. They'll be asking......'who brought this?' 




  • 1 log of goat cheese (11 oz)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios
  • 2 tbs fig spread
  • 3 table spoons of honey
  • crackers or bread for serving. I think it goes best with rosemary nut crackers, like pictured. 
  • fresh rosemary for garnish



  1. In a ziploc bag place whole pistachios. Using a rolling pin to break up nuts into smaller pieces. 
  2. Place goat cheese on a small plate or platter. 
  3. Drizzle honey over cheese, allowing it to pool around on the plate.
  4. Sprinkle with pistachio pieces
  5. In a microwave safe dish, nuke fig spread for about 10-15 seconds. This will make it easier to drizzle on top. 
  6. Spoon fig spread over top, then sprinkle a the last of the nuts on top. 
  7. Garnish with rosemary and arrange crackers on plate. 




Tradition in my house is serving appetizers on Christmas eve, sipping cocktails and playing board games. Fun for the whole family! I put of some of our faves and this Artichoke Spinach Dip hasn't missed a Christmas Eve yet! It's an easy one to whip together, even the night before. And I might mention, it travels well if you're asked to bring an app to a friends house. I serve mine with either  fresh bread +blue corn tortilla chips + or pita chips! Be forewarned, there will be nothing left in that dish. 



  • 10 oz box or bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash or two of red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix together spinach, artichoke and parmesan cheese.
  3. Using your hand mixer, combine the remaining ingredients. 
  4. Stir in spinach and artichokes.
  5. Spread in a medium sized baking dish.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. 

Makes about 4 cups. 




I love hummus. I love this recipe. I mean LOVE. It's one of those things I could eat straight out of the bowl.
No pita chips necessary. Although, that crunchy + creamy combo makes me oh so happy.
My girlfriends mom gave me this one a long time ago and I've been tweaking it over the years. It's that good, and good for ya. Did I mention the best part... It's by far the simplest thing to make. Seriously, like throw it all in your Vita Mix or food processor and BAM, it's done. There are so many variations of this delicious Middle Eastern dip,
but the two versions I love best are lemon, shocker I know, and avocado.

Give this one a try next time you've got a craving for hummus or were asked to bring an appetizer to the party. 
Once you make your own, you'll never buy store bought again. NEVER. Trust me.
You'll taste the freshness + difference immediately. 


  • 2 Haas avocados, scooped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil + garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • salt + pepper to taste


Put all ingredients into your vita mix or food processor and blend until creamy. That's it. Done. 





Roasted corn is a Summer staple for dinners at our house and plain ol' butter just won't do. Here's a simple recipe that will wow your tastebuds and your guests. Giving you Martha Stewart status instantly. Did I mention it also makes the best hostess gift. Great because you can whip up a bunch ahead of time, and have it
on hand for all those BBQ's you'll be invited to.


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and ingredients together with a hand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until mixed well. Tear off a piece of parchment paper about 8-10 inches long. Lay paper flat on countertop and with a spatula spoon butter onto center of paper. Fold the paper around the butter shaping it back into a stick with your hands. Use a bench scraper or spatula to push butter into a log by tucking the folded parchment paper around itself. I go for the 'just use your hands technique', so it's not perfect and and doesn't look store bought. But that's the point. I love the homemade look of it when it's done. Tie ends with bakers twine and trim excess paper on ends. Refrigerate for a few hours, overnight is best. 

{makes one 8oz stick, double or triple recipe for gift giving}

As a gift, tie a cute tag with to: and from: to one end, and a piece of fresh herbs before you go.






When I wrote my post on easy entertaining at the beginning of this month, I had so many questions about how to assemble to cheese plate that I thought it would be a good idea to do a whole post on how I put one together.  If you did read that post, you know that the cheese plate is my signature dish.  It is my go-to to through together if I am having guests over for last minute drinks.  I mean, who does not love a plate with meats, cheese, fruit and nuts.  Basically it is my idea of a dream meal.

landyn carrying cheese plate.jpg

The first step to a great cheese board is to use a really gorgeous wooden or marble cutting board.  I always keep my eyes out for boards that would work for cheese boards when I am Marshalls, HomeGoods, or TJ Maxx.  They always have great boards for cheap.  Keep this board in the pantry and make sure you use it only for the purpose of serving a cheese board.  This way you are sure that it stays free of knicks and scratches.  You can also do a half wood/half marble cutting board too.  If you are using a marble cutting board you are able to put the board in the refrigerator and it will help keep the cheese a little colder, longer.


When I start assembling the cheese board, the first thing I think about is the colors of the board and how all the cheeses and items on the board will look together.  You want a combination of milder cheeses with more pungent cheeses.  You typically want 3-5 cheeses on your board; always an odd number of cheeses.  My favorite cheese is brie, so you will always see one of those on my boards.  I also love using a blue cheese, goat cheese, something with a little spice to it, and I typically will include one type of cheese, like cheddar, that I know everyone will eat.


Once I have my cheeses laid out, I start filling in the spaces with all the other items I will have on the board.  I always include one or two different cured meat options.  My two favorites are prosciutto and a salami, but any kind of dried sausage or smoked meat will work well.  I love putting dried fruits on my boards and I use a combination of salty and sweet nuts.  My favorites are marcona almonds and honey roasted pecans.  I then add dried fruits like apricots and figs to my plate.  I love the color and texture they bring to the overall look of the plate.

cheese plate with champagne.jpg

The final piece I like to include on my board is bunches of grapes.  I always use red grape, never green. I then finish off the board with fresh herbs and viola you are done!  I like to put out a combination of gourmet crackers.  Some of my favorites are rosemary fruit and nut crackers, water crackers, and a good multi-grain that everyone will love.  The awesome part about cheese plates is that they are great to make ahead of time and pull out before the party starts.  I always pull my cheese board out an hour before the party begins to let the cheese come to room temperature. 


I am a huge fan of stress-free entertaining.  That is part of the reason why I love the cheese board.  It is simple, makes a big impact, and allows me to be the hostess I want to be and provide food for my guests without running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Always remember, your friends are there to visit with you not watch you slave away in the kitchen.