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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.

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  • 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.

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  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.




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.

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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.

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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.