Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

18 08 2014

I saw these fun little cheese balls in this year’s bacon issue of Food Network Magazine. I thought they were so cute and great for serving at a party, but didn’t want people to worry about having to spread them on something. So I came up with the idea to pop them in a mini phyllo cup and poof….the perfect individual appetizer, no utensils required!

Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

The following makes 45 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package turkey bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (fancy shred works well)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Chopped chives
  • Sunflower seeds (no salt added)
  • 45 mini phyllo cups, thawed (3 packages of 15 – you can find them in the frozen section of your grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350. Lay a cooling rack inside a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Lay bacon across the cooling rack in one layer. You will have to do this twice depending how many strips you can fit. Bake until crisp (check on the bacon every 10 minutes until it’s done). Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat and bake the final remaining strips of bacon. Allow all the bacon to cool.

While the bacon cools, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mustard, zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Crumble 8 pieces of cooked bacon, and mix in with the cheese mixture.

Roll into 45 mini balls, lay in a single layer on a tray and cool in the fridge. Crumble the remaining bacon and store in a tupperware container in the fridge.

To save myself time, I did all of the above the night before I wanted to serve these.

The next day I baked the thawed phyllo cups at 350 for 5 minutes or so, to crisp them a bit. Remove cups from the oven and cool.

Next, combine some of the crumble bacon you saved, some chopped chives and some sunflower seeds in a bowl – just eyeball it. You can always mix more if you run out, or if you make too much, serve the garnish over a salad for lunch later.

Remove the balls from the fridge and roll in the bacon, chives and sunflower seeds – pressing slightly to adhere. Place one ball in each phyllo cup, and arrange on a platter to serve.

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Twice-Baked Potatoes With Parmesan, Cream Cheese and Chives

22 04 2014

I served these fancy looking twice-baked potatoes at my family’s Easter dinner this past weekend, and they were a big hit! Deliciously creamy and so pretty to look at, they can be made ahead of time which is helpful when you’re cooking for a dinner party. Although I made 30 servings for the fam (that’s a lot of potats for real!), the recipe below is for two servings.

Twice-Baked Potatoes With Parmesan, Cream Cheese and Chives_Before

Twice-Baked Potatoes With Parmesan, Cream Cheese and Chives_Before

Twice-Baked Potatoes With Parmesan, Cream Cheese and Chives_After

Twice-Baked Potatoes With Parmesan, Cream Cheese and Chives_After

The following makes 2 servings (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Cuisine at Home):

  • 2 large russet potatoes, washed, thoroughly dried and pricked with a fork
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp chopped chives, plus more for topping
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Bake potatoes directly on the oven rack until tender, about 1 hour. Trim off potato ends evenly so they can stand up easily. Then halve the potatoes, and let them rest until cool enough to handle.

Using a small spoon, scoop out potato flesh from the four halves into a bowl, leaving 1/8-inch on two of the halves, you can discard the other two halves. Scoop out the flesh slowly to ensure the skins don’t crack.

Mash/puree the potato flesh until smooth using a hand blender or immersion blender with 1/2 cup parmesean, the cream cheese, butter, zest and the chives. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture looks too dry, you can add a splash of cream or milk.

Spray the inside of a Ziploc bag with nonstick spray. Add the potatoes to the bag, seal and cut a small tip off the corner of the bottom of the bag. Pipe the filling back into the potato shells in a swirling motion so that it almost has the appearance of soft serve ice cream. Top with more parmesan and chives.

At this point, you can chill the potatoes until you’re ready to serve. Bring them back to room temp before baking.

Bake potatoes on a baking sheet or pan until heated through and starting to brown on top, about 15 minutes.