Sriracha Shrimp and Candied Bacon Crostini…and a Giveaway

Good news, you guys…I’m back.

Have you missed me?  Oh come on now…certainly ONE of you has.  Mom?

Yeah, okay.

Anyway, life has been a bit nuts lately, and travel and television spots have kept me beyond busy, but I’m still here and I’m still cooking.  This time…for National Shrimp Day.

Yes, it exists.

National Shrimp Day is May 10, just in time to kick off summer and seafood and beach trips and bonfires.  Grills will fire up and sandy toes will be the trendiest accessory.  I am SO ready for this.


Lucky for me, I was just recently approached by SeaPak to work with them on a long term basis, and I am THRILLED.  Their products were already in my freezer, they are available at my local grocery store, and we absolutely love the products.  If you’ve not tried it, you should…the quality is undeniable.  Living in the mountains means seafood is a treat for me, so to be able to get it in a safe, convenient, and great tasting way means a lot to me.  SeaPak delivers.

And yeah, I would have said that anyway.  No one needed to pay me.

So…National Shrimp Day. SeaPak has a huge collection of great ideas and recipes on their site, but I was challenged to create my own.   I wanted to make something perfect for summer entertaining.  The key is simple and yet delicious.  You don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. You don’t want to have to dirty up a million dishes.  You don’t want to be so busy prepping that you can’t enjoy your company.

Crostini is perfect.  Sriracha Shrimp and Candied Bacon Crostini is even better.


Oh Yes I Did.

Super simple.  So simple, in fact, I feel kind of lame calling it a recipe.

Bread, SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp, Candied Bacon.  That’s pretty much it.  But when it comes together, you have a symphony of yum.

To keep things even easier,  I take advantage of the grocery store and bakery, and I make no excuses.  Sure, I can make my own baguette, but why?  My local bakery makes them every single day and they are delicious!  And that lady needs a job, so, I’m saving my economy, right?  One loaf of bread at a time, kiddos.

The candied bacon? Easy as well.  I make a huge batch in advance and just keep it around for occasions that call for sweet, delicious candied meat.  A baking sheet full of bacon, sprinkled with plenty of brown sugar, then baked at 350 until crispy?  That’s all it takes.  Be warned though – it is terribly addicting.

And then the SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp.  Literally heat and eat. Plus, If you are clever and lay down a piece of aluminum foil on your baking sheet, you won’t even have to wash the pan!  You can thank me later.

Yes, there is a little more to the recipe than the above, but trust me, it’s a snap, and you’ll get rave reviews.  Pull it together for your next shindig and watch the plate disappear.



Sriracha Shrimp and Candied Bacon Crostini


  • 1 French Baguette, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 12 oz box SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp, prepared
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/2 cup candied bacon, chopped
  • Cilantro, to top



  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spread butter onto each baguette slice, then bake until slightly crispy.
  2. While bread is baking, combine mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl.
  3. When bread is crisped, remove from oven and top with mayonnaise mixture.  Top with prepared shrimp, then replace into oven for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove after baking and add candied bacon pieces and cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!



The Giveaway

To help YOU all celebrate #NationalShrimpDay, SeaPak is giving away one 12-Piece Rachael Ray Porcelain II Nonstick Cook Set and one free SeaPak product coupon, so that you can have all the tools you need to make your favorite shrimp dishes. Enjoying the fresh, coastal taste of shrimp would be so much easier with these great tools! Want more ideas on ways to enjoy shrimp? Head to SeaPak’s Facebook page for delicious ideas and ways to save!

Rachael Ray Porcelain II Nonstick 12-Piece Set, Red Gradient

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  I am an ambassador for SeaPak.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. Giveaway courtesy of SeaPak.

Game Day Party Chief with Hillshire Farm

Seriously, this one’s fun.

Funn-y, anyway.

As you are likely aware, I get asked to create lots of recipes for lots of companies. (I know, it shocks ME, too!)  Sometimes it’s a drink, sometimes a snack, sometimes a dessert.  But get this…Hillshire Farms asked me a week ago if I’d be willing to make something for the Superbowl.  Of course, I was planning on doing the GameDay thing anyway, so you know I said yes.

Then I read the fine print.

It’s a little whacky for me, being asked to create not a recipe, but rather a Party Animal.

Yep, you read that right.  There’s no real recipe here, just a Party Animal or two made out of none other than the famous Lit’l Smokies.  We all know Lit’l Smokies – we add them to chili, or wrap them in bread to make pigs-in-a-blanket.  But now – we are making them too cute to eat.

And yet eat them we will.

In case you ever wondered, my husband Jon is a surveyor.  He’s been with the same company for almost 15 years now, and over the years, he’s moved up in ranks to what is lovingly referred to as a “Party Chief.”  Don’t ask me what that is, or what it means, all I know is that it’s a fun title to have on a business card.  It also sounded like a great title for a creature made out of a tiny sausage.

Party Chief.

My quest to make this crazy critter began by breaking some angelhair pasta into small lengths, then shoving said pasta into the end of the links.  And then?  I just boiled them for about 4 minutes, then drained them, then set about making their faces.  For the nose, tongue, and ears I used chocolate covered sunflowers seeds, and for the eyes? Tiny little balls of mozzarella and poppy seeds.


But so much fun!


Once Seven saw what I was doing, it was GAME ON.  What else could we do?  What else could we make?  He was so eager to help, and why not?  Who knows more about strange food concoctions than a 6 year old?

He invented the Octopuppies. (Get it?  Hot Dog turned Octopus?)

Great idea for getting the youngins in on the fun.  Just take the Lil Smokies, and cut into each one, making 6-8 little legs.  Yes, I am aware an octopus has 8 legs, but these things are tiny so pick your battles, okay?  Once they are cut, again, just boil them, and those little legs will contort, making them so cute!  Use mayo or mustard to make the eyes (I used more mozzarella balls and poppy seeds, but warning, that’s a little OCD and time consuming) – then you are all set!


So, hopefully this gives you something totally random to add to your game day set up…I bet no one else brings a tray full of Party Chiefs or Octopuppies.

You can thank me later.

Want to see more Party Animals?  I know you do.  You can find them here!  You can also see some cute videos…Prepare to Party and It’s Party Time!

You can also find Hillshire Farm on Facebook. 

Disclaimer:  As mentioned, I was asked to create this post for Hillshire Farm.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dark Chocolate S’mores Truffles



You knew I’d have to sneak in last S’mores post before the end of the year.  I couldn’t help it!  It was this time last year that I was eyeball deep in s’mores creating for the upcoming cookbook – and here we are, one year later – and I’ve been on a s’mores journey like none other!  Luckily I had Bree to gorgeously photograph the cookbook for me, Duff to write the fantastic foreword, a publisher that took an already fun book and make it beautiful, and then a book launch party in July that led to an amazing cookbook tour.  I can’t believe what a year it has been!

So yeah, here I am again, this time with Dark Chocolate S’mores Truffles.  No, this recipe isn’t in the book, but it should have been!  It’s super easy, delicious, and a true crowd pleaser.  If you have a holiday party to attend this week, THIS is the recipe you should make.  The guests will love you for it!

Dark Chocolate S’mores Truffles

makes 24-28


  • 8 ounces Dark Chocolate
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 24-28 marshmallows
  • graham cracker crumbs


  1. In a small sauce pan, combine chocolate, half and half,  and cream cheese, over low heat.  Whisk constantly, careful not to overheat, until smooth.  When chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and set aside until mixture reaches room temperature.
  2. Using a teaspoon or small spring loaded scoop, portion out chocolate, a bit larger than a cherry.  Place a marshmallow in the center of each as you roll into a ball. Coat in graham crumbs by rolling truffle in crumbs.  Repeat with remaining chocolate until all truffles have been made.  Keep stored in sir tight container.


The REAL Seal REAL Deal

This post was sponsored by REAL Seal – you know the folks – The REAL® Seal was created by America’s Dairy Farmers over 30 years ago to differentiate their products from imitations. Products bearing the REAL® Seal must meet specific guidelines and be certified by their dairy processing or food manufacturing companies. These companies register their products, provide information regarding product ingredients and certify that those products meet the required standards and contain no imported, imitation, or substitute milk or dairy ingredients.

The REAL® Seal is the only assurance that what you are buying is made entirely with the wholesome goodness of U.S.-produced cow’s milk. When you buy only products with the REAL® Seal, you can trust that you are buying only products or foods made from cows milk produced in the U.S. Milk and dairy foods are a core part of a healthy diet recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The DGA recommends 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products for those 9 years or older, 2.5 servings for those 4-8 years old, and 2 servings for those 2-3 years old. Americans are currently consuming about 2 dairy servings per day on average (1.8).

Milk is the #1 food source in the U.S. diet for calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.  Milk, cheese and yogurt provide nine essential nutrients (calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin). Working together, these nutrients keep the body in optimum health.

1. Dairy is best known as an excellent source of calcium, helping to build and maintain bone mass and strengthening teeth. Calcium also is important for nerves, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.

2. Potassium helps regulate the body’s fluid balance and maintains healthy blood pressure, muscle activity and contraction.

3. Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generate energy in the body.

4. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissue, maintaining fluid balance, transporting nutrients, and aiding in muscle contraction.

5. Vitamin D is “the sunshine vitamin”. It promotes calcium absorption and enhances bone strength. Milk is one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. Some vitamin D-fortified cheeses and yogurts are also available.

6. Vitamin A helps with vision, skin, and strengthens the immune system. It is also important for bone growth.

7. Vitamin B12 helps maintain red blood cells and nerves.

8. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, helps convert food into energy for our bodies.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate real dairy products into your diet:

  •  Include milk as a beverage at meals
  •  Use low-fat or fat-free milk instead of water to prepare oatmeal & hot cereals
  •  Make a dip for fruits or vegetables from yogurt
  •  Top casseroles, soups, stews, or vegetables with shredded cheese
  •  Make fruit-yogurt smoothies in the blender
  •  If you are lactose intolerant, choose cheeses or yogurts that contain minimal lactose,or lactose-free milk

Need MORE?  Check out Real Seal on Facebook Here.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Real Seal.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Crescent Rolls

I can not fathom that it is almost Christmas.  Can. Not.

I swear, Seven just went back to school.  Right?  And here we are, putting up the tree, hanging stockings, juggling Christmas parties.  It’s…well, it’s just plain overwhelming is what it is.

Although I am freaking out a bit about it, I do have a way to help YOU.  Yep, that’s me, putting you, my favorite people on Earth, first.

I’ve created a recipe for you.  An easy one.  One you can cart off to holiday parties.  One you can whip up in no time, that will disappear in no time.  One that will likely not make it out of your own kitchen, should your husband and son get their hands on them before you get the carrying container snapped on tight.

Believe it.

These Buffalo Chicken Pizza Crescent Rolls are a mouthful, and in the best of ways.  And sure, they are perfect for the holiday parties.  But keep them bookmarked for game days as well, as there are tons of bowl games on the horizon.  Starting with the convenience of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (and a huge thank you to Pillsbury for sponsoring this recipe!), you’ll have the flavor of Buffalo and Pizza before you can say Buffalo Chicken Pizza Crescent Rolls.

You can thank me later.


Buffalo Chicken Pizza Crescent Rolls

Makes 12


  • 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup favorite Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella


  1. Sauté chopped onions in butter over medium heat. Once transparent, add chopped chicken. When chicken is done, add Buffalo Sauce and heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  3. Open both cans of Crescent Rolls and roll each into a large rectangle roughly 1/4 inch in thickness.
  4. Spread chicken and cheese evenly across each piece of rolled out dough. Starting from long side of dough, begin rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch ends when done. Slice into 1 1/2 to 2 inch rolls. Place on the baking sheet or in muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and dough is lightly browned. Serve and enjoy!

Disclaimer:  As mentioned above, this post was sponsored by Pillsbury.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Roasted Pumpkin, Pear, and Arugula Puff Pastry Tarts

I am a huge fan of puff pastry.  It’s got so many things going for it…sweet or savory, breakfast or dinner, appetizer, dessert, or main dish.  Buttery and rich – there’s just nothing it can’t do.  So imagine my delight when the folks at Pepperidge Farm® asked me to create a recipe that would be perfect for the holidays.

My mind went straight away to appetizers, because for me, the holidays are about gatherings, about standing around the table, nibbling on hors d’oeuvres, stuffing my face alongside my aunts and uncles and cousins.  We must eat twice our body weight, but everyone knows that food doesn’t count if you don’t put it onto a plate first.  Everyone knows this.

pumpkin tart2

These tarts, these Roasted Pumpkin and Arugula Puff Pastry Tarts, are absolutely perfect for that kind of eating.

Pick one up, pop it in your mouth, chew, repeat.

I took the idea for these tarts from my friend Mike, the chef of The Bank Food & Drink, who makes the most incredible Roasted Pumpkin Salad.  At first, I was totally against the idea of a salad made of pumpkin.  And then I finally tasted it.

Sweet goodness and mercy.  I just knew that salad could be made into bite sized perfection.

I was right.


Roasted Pumpkin, Pear, and Arugula Puff Pastry Tarts

makes 24


  • Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheetspumpkin-peeled
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch red pepper flake
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh arugula


Preheat oven to 400.  Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Cut each Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheet in to 12 squares.

Peel the pumpkin and cut in half, scoop out the insides and discard. Cut the pumpkin into small pieces. Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pumpkin, maple syrup and red pepper flake and stir occasionally  until the pumpkin is well coated and semi soft.  Remove from heat.

Place strips of pear followed by some arugula on the pastry squares and then top with some of the prepared pumpkin.

Bake at 400 until the puff pastry has risen and is golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Pumpkin tart1

There are lots more recipes on the Pepperidge Farm site, and you should definitely take a look!  I find so many great ideas there!  You can also follow along on Facebook – join the community!

Speaking of community – Sign up for Epicurious for even MORE great entertaining ideas…you won’t be sorry!

I’m always looking for ways to spark new creative ideas with my recipes. I hope you enjoy this recipe and don’t forget to check out more recipes at

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry. The opinions and text are all mine.

Crescent Change Up: Sweet and Savory Pear Crescent Rolls

It’s not everyday Pillsbury asks you to create a recipe using one of their tried and true favorite products – Crescent Rolls.  So when I got an email asking me just that, you know I said YES.  Because hello?  Someone at Pillsbury asked me to.  Someone there knew my name.


Sure, we’ve used Crescent Rolls for years – my mother, especially.  Everything from Apple Dumplings, to Chicken & Dumplings, to little pizza rolls, to tart crusts, you name it.  And of course, there’s the simple concept of rolling them up, as intended, and baking them as a tasty bread option for dinner.

Since there are so many holidays approaching, I wanted to make it easy on you, and offer  some quick additions to the standard, so that when those holidays DO roll around, you’ll have a couple of recipes to go to in a flash without worry.

I like simple, don’t you?

I know you do.

Here’s a favorite to try – your guests will be impressed!  The creamy addition of brie with sweet pears and caramelized onions makes for a delicious crescent roll that can be served with dinner or as a standalone appetizer.  Give it a try!


Sweet and Savory Pear Crescent Rolls

Makes 8


  • 1 Pillsbury Grands Buttery Crescent Rolls
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 tablespoons brie (or as desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Halve and core the pear, and cut each half into four wedges.
  3. Sauté the onion in the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and caramelized.
  4. When onions are ready and oven is at temperature, open can of Crescent rolls. Top each triangle of dough with one wedge of pear, a heaping tablespoon of brie, and a spoonful of onions. Roll into crescent shape.
  5. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or to golden brown. Serve warm.

Tips & Tricks

  • For a more intense flavor profile, consider using a goat cheese in place of the brie. It will be more tart, but is a wonderful punch!
  • Instead of rolling the Crescent dough into shape, you can make mini-tarts by pressing the dough into mini-muffin tins. Simple spray the tin, place the dough into each cup, then fill with the remaining ingredients.

Check back soon for yet another easy switcheroo – I think you’ll like it!

Disclaimer:  As mentioned, this blog post and recipe were sponsored by Pillsbury.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ranch Chicken Wings with Buffalo Dipping Sauce

I love chicken wings.

All kinds of chicken wings, really, but I prefer the ones that aren’t all goopy.  You know – goopy.  The kind that get you ridiculously messy just by picking one up.  Sure, I’ll still eat that kind of wing – they’re delicious – but I’d really prefer the drier variety.  And no matter what, I need ranch dressing.

Ranch dressing is key.


I’ll come right out and tell you now – Hidden Valley® Ranch is responsible for reaching out to me and asking me to create a recipe for them.  A task I gladly accepted.  You know why?

Because ever since I was old enough and wise enough to get a job – in a restaurant, of course – and I could purchase my own groceries – I made the conscious decision that if I was purchasing ranch dressing, I would be purchasing Hidden Valley Ranch.

They did not pay me to say that.  It’s 100% true.  It’s the best.

So, wings.  All wings require ranch dressing.  Except maybe these…

Ranch Chicken Wings.


A little different.

That kick of the ranch flavor really livens up these crispy wings, and paired with a Buffalo dipping sauce?  Well, it’s hard not to love them.  You could even be brazen enough to dip these Ranch wings in more ranch dressing.  I did.  It’s good stuff.

It’s all good stuff.


Ranch Chicken Wings

makes 2 pounds

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 7-9 minutes



  1. Preheat frying oil in a large Dutch Oven to 350-360 degrees.
  2. In a large plastic zipper bag, combine olive oil, Hidden Valley Ranch Mix, garlic, and salt.  Shake the bag to combine.  Place chicken wings into the bag and shake vigorously to combine and coat the the wings.  Allow to rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes while the oil comes to temperature.
  3. Once temperature reaches 350-360, drop the wings in batches into the hot oil.  Increase stove temperature while wings are frying.  Wings should be done after 7-8 minutes.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.  Return temperature of oil to 350 before frying additional batches and repeat until all wings have been fried.  Serve hot with Buffalo Dipping Sauce or Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

Notes:  Buffalo Dipping Sauce:  Combine 1/2 cup of your favorite Buffalo Wing Sauce with 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.  Stir to combine.


Hungry for more?

This recipe is the featured Hidden Valley Ranch Remix Spotlight recipe for May…but there are lots of other great recipes to be had, so check them out!


Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Cheesy Bacon & Jalapeno Pockets

I do not like basketball.

There are lots of reasons, but I’ll list, oh, three.  Three is a good, round number.

1.  The uniforms. They’re baggy, they’re shiny, and they are nothing like what the players in the 1970s wore.  Now THAT was a sport, keeping those tiny little shorts from riding up while running at top speed and bouncing a ball.

2.  It’s a filler sport, like every other sport that isn’t football.  No one tailgates a basketball game.  No one really even understands basketball.  So much running, and jumping, and intentionally knocking the bejeezus out of someone on purpose, just to stop the clock.  It’s weird.  It’s not even sexy, like hockey, where the enforcers yank each others shirts up over their heads and they try to fight on ice skates.  At least that’s entertainment. And sexy.  Yes, definitely sexy.

3.  The sound.  The sound of a basketball game is enough to send me right over the edge.  Squeeeeeeek. Squeeeeeeek.  Those freaking shoes squeaking up and down the court is nerve grating and it’s all I can hear.

I had to go over to the ESPN website to even see if the March Madness thing was still going on.  Heck, I don’t know these things.  I know there is a bar in Grapevine, Texas with leather loungers (and about the best darned nachos you’ve even eaten) that will be the host to some sexy men in gray tee shirts, but whether they are watching Bball, I can’t say.

ESPN says yes.

But if you can’t afford a ticket to Dallas, and the ridiculous cab fare over to Grapevine, well, I get it.  It’s a pretty big expense for nachos and young men with just the right amount of facial hair.  Not saying it’s not worth it, just saying I GET it.


So I made you something that will make up for it.  And?  It’s perfect for the Final Four games.

Spicy. Creamy. Crispy. Flaky.

Cheesy Bacon and Jalapeno Pockets.

Kraft recently asked me to create a recipe for you, using the brand new Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeno Spread.  It just hit stores a couple of weeks ago, so – brand spanking new.  And by spanking, I do mean for your taste buds.

It’s hot!

Punched full of fresh jalapeno bits for an intense flavor, I can see this spread being really versatile.  Use it in dips, as a spread – anywhere you want a little heat and deliciousness.

For my recipe though, I went the way of a country girls spanakopita. I used the Philly Jalapeno Spread, cheddar cheese, fresh jalapenos, and of course – BACON – all wrapped up in buttery phyllo dough.


A plate of these at a tailgate would be awesome.  But, tailgates aren’t happening again for oh, 5 more months, so, sitting around in loungers listening to squeaky shoes will have to be reason enough.

Get on it!


Cheesy Bacon & Jalapeno Pockets

  • 1/2 pack Athens Phyllo Dough Sheets
  • 1/2 cup Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese Spread
  • 12 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick butter, melted


  1. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Flatten one sheet of phyllo dough, and brush with melted butter.  Place another layer of dough on top of the first piece, brush with butter.  Repeat with a third layer. (If desired, you can do 4 layers, but we chose to do 3 and got great results.)
  3. Using a sharp knife, divide the prepared phyllo sheets into 3 even strips, roughly 2-3 inches wide and 10-12 inches in length, depending on phyllo brand.  Place a large spoonful of Philly Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese at the bottom end of each strip. Top that with a sprinkle of cheese, bacon, and jalapeno.   Fold over, like making a paper football, triangular shaped, until you reach the end of the strip.  Place on prepared baking sheet and brush with a bit more butter.  Repeat process until all filling or phyllo sheets are used up.  Refrigerate until ready to use, or, bake right away.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400.  Place in oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.   Enjoy!


I have to say, I was thrilled to be asked to to participate in the Spicy Jalapeno Blogger Program.  Why?

Well, I love Philly.  I always have a fridge full of it, because it’s so versatile.  Cream sauces, cheesecakes, icings, fillings – just love it.  PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese has been around since 1872, and is made with fresh milk and real wholesome cream.  They source from farmers that are local to their production, making sure their products are amazingly fresh…and that’s something I can get into.  It’s nice to see companies I know and love being smart, and smart sourcing.

Check out this fact – I had no idea…
From Farm to Our Fridge in Just Six Days: Fresh milk from nearby farms is made into
cream cheese and refrigerated at PHILADELPHIA creameries in Beaver Dam, Wis. and
Lowville, NY in just six days.  Six days?  I can’t eve make my bed in 6 days.  Something else I didn’t know? No preservatives are found in the cream cheese brick varieties.  Huh.

For their flavored spreads, Philly uses fresh ingredients, like jalapenos, nuts, honey, and herbs.  So many varieties!

Do you have a favorite?  If so, what do you do with it?  And have you tried this new Jalapeno blend?  How do you think you’d use it?  I can’t wait to come up with more things to do with it!

For more great Philly recipes, head on over to – you’ll find plenty!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese Spread.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Especially about basketball.

Pork Belly, Jalapeno and Duck Breast Poppers

Don’t run off!!

I know these ingredients aren’t the norm in the everyday kitchen.  Heck, they aren’t even easy to get around here, but believe me – If I can get them, YOU can get them.  And I didn’t even have to search long and hard.  And I will tell you something else…the search will be worth every second.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally sat down and watched a little television.  That doesn’t happen a lot – I rarely get to watch TV.  But, Jon and I were perched in the kitchen watching a little Triple D – That’s Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives for those of you not in the know – when a segment came on about these amazing duck poppers.


I sat, open-mouthed, during the entire segment. Literally, I couldn’t close my mouth.

A cream cheese filling and a bit of jalapeno, wrapped in duck breast, and then wrapped in bacon.

I mean, really.

I took it up a notch though, believe it or not.  I used pork belly instead of bacon. Sure, you can use bacon, but if you can get your hands on the belly, do it.

And then duck?

Have you even HAD duck breast?  I hadn’t, not until last year.  I finally found a local vendor who sells it, and it was gorgeous.  The flavor is meaty – like a red meat, but to me, a little like turkey as well, if that makes any sense at all.  It’s delicious, and that’s what you need to know.  So, to be paired with jalapeno and bacon?  Well, I am a goner.

I think you will be, too.


These poppers are HUGE.  I cut each one into about 4 bite sized pieces, and that’s perfect for us.  I really can’t wait until football season, as I think all of the tailgaters we hang out with will go nuts over these.  Of course, they would also be great at any appetizer event.  Tender, creamy, just a little spicy (just a little, really!), salty, and ever so incredibly delicious.

Now – please, do as I say, and not what you see in the photos.  In these pictures, we added only a small ring of jalapeno.  For me (and I’m not a huge hot pepper lover) – it needs MORE.  So, not pictured here are poppers made with half of a jalapeno.  Do that.  Follow the recipe.  That amount of pepper offers the most flavor, it pairs perfectly with the other notes in the recipe, and well – it’s just the right thing to do.

Make them.  Love them.

Thank me later.


Pork Belly, Jalapeno and Duck Breast Poppers

makes 16 poppers


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 8 Jalapenos, halved & seeded
  • 2 pounds duck breast, sliced thin
  • 16 slices pork belly or bacon
  • 8 skewers (2 poppers each)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine cream cheese and spices in small bowl. Spoon mixture into each pepper half, until level.
  3. Wrap each in sliced duck breast, then wrap in pork belly or bacon, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bacon is done. Remove, slice,  and enjoy!




Yes, you can grill these, and that’s what we intended to do, but alas, it was cold outside, and the gas grill didn’t want to cooperate.  So what to do?

Broil them. 

So into Gilda, my KitchenAid range they went.  I love that it has a meat thermometer built in to the range, and it keeps track of the temperature of the meat.  No guesswork, no having to keep pulling the tray in and out to test the temp.  It just does the work for me, then beeeeeeps when its done.  And – it STEAMS.


I like when things are made easier. And fancier.

So – broil them, grill them, or even fry them if you like.  Just take note – if you do grill them, lay down aluminum foil, as the fat will definitely cause a lot of burning.  You won’t want that.

However you decide to make them – MAKE THEM!

Now – have a great week everyone!