Chunky Guacamole


  • 3 medium avocados, ripe, preferably Hass
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 14 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 14 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Halve one avocado, remove pit, and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Mash lightly with onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, and cumin with tines of a fork until just combined.
  2. Halve and pit remaining two avocados.  Slice into small pieces, while still in skin, with table knife. Gently scoop out avocado into bowl with mashed avocado mixture.
  3. Sprinkle lime juice over diced avocado and mix entire contents of bowl gently with fork until combined but still chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. 


I recently had friends over for a taco night and used this recipe for guacamole from Cook’s Illustrated.  It was super tasty and, yes, chunky.  Since I was serving it with homemade salsa I stuck to the recipe instead of adding chopped up tomatoes like I normally do.  I like my guacamole loaded!  

I find that the best way to save guacamole and keep it from browning is to store it in a narrow container and pour a thin film of water on top of it to prevent the air from contacting the avocado.  Before serving, you just pour the water back off and stir it up really well.  Works like a charm.

Mexi Cheese Dip

2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Velveeta cheese
12 pound cheddar cheese, shredded (Shred it yourself, don’t buy it shredded.)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
16 ounces salsa, medium preferred (I like to use salsa fresco, but stuff from a jar is fine too.)

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat and brown ground beef.  Drain well. 

2. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat until cheeses are melted, stirring occasionally. 

3. Serve with chips. 

Note: You can also make this in a slow cooker.  If you have a 3-in-1 slow cooker, you can even sear the meat in the slow cooker! 


This is a recipe that Art brought into the family and it’s a tradition in his family for gatherings.  I don’t make it that often, but it’s a nice addition to our New Year’s Day spread.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta

8 ounces pesto (storebought or homemade)
14 cup pine nuts
21 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
13 cup tomato paste
34 cup butter, room temperature

1. Combine pesto and 13 cup cream cheese in food processor and process until smooth.  Transfer to medium bowl and stir in pine nuts. 

2. Combine sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, and 13 cup cream cheese in food processor and process until smooth.  Transfer to medium bowl. 

3. Combine remaining cream cheese and butter in food processor and process until smooth and fluffy.  Season with salt and pepper. 

4. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and line with plastic wrap, extending plastic over sides.  Spread 34 cup cream cheese-butter mixture over bottom of dish.  Top with half of tomato mixture then 12 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, then half of pesto mixture.  Repeat layering with remaining tomato mixture, 12 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, then remaining pesto mixture.  Top with remaining cream cheese mixture.  Cover and chill overnight. 

5. To serve, invert torta onto platter and peel off plastic.  Serve with crackers or baguette slices. 

Note: You can skip the baking dish prep and just serve this out of the casserole dish without inverting onto a platter. 


This recipe is from Epicurious.  My parents received a similar torta from their neighbors while we were visiting at Christmas and it was delicious!  I decided to find something similar and this was delicious.  I do think it was a bit heavy on the sundried tomatoes, but that will be an easy enough thing to tweak next time and is just my own preference.  This makes a LOT, so be prepared.

Lemon and Feta Dip

8 ounces feta
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tablespoons of olive oil

1. Place feta, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

No photo

This recipe is from Love U Madly.  It was super lemony and awesome.  We ate it with crackers and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Bacon, Pineapple and Boursin Puff Pastry Bites

1 package puff pastry, thawed
12 ounces center cut bacon, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1 container (5-7 ounces) Garlic and Herb Boursin
1 can (14 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained
12 teaspoon curry powder
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 12 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 400*F. 

2. Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Drain well. 

3. Whisk eggs in medium bowl.  Add Boursin, pineapple, bacon, curry, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine. 

4. Cut each pastry sheet into 12 squares and arrange each square in a cup of a regular size muffin tin.  (You will need two muffin tins for this, or to bake two batches.) 

5. Evenly distribute egg mixture into puff pastry cups and top each with a sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese. 

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and cheese is melted. 

Bacon, Pineapple, and Boursin Puff Pastry Bites

This recipe is from Perfecting the Pairing and it was one that I selected for Appetizer Day – New Year’s Eve.  We all loved these and leftovers did not last long at all.  I heated the leftovers in the toaster oven to try to get some of the crispness back and that worked okay, but these are definitely best right out of the oven.

Lox Rangoons

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 ounces lox
2 12 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
24 wonton wrappers

1. Heat oven to 350*F. 

2. Combine cream cheese, salmon, and chives in medium bowl.  Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray then place a wonton wrapper in each cup.  Spray tops of wontons with cooking spray then bake 5 minutes. 

3. Spoon 1 tablespoon salmon mixture into each wonton.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until wontons are crisp. 

Lox Rangoons

This recipe is from The Way To His Heart.  It’s a baked take on crab rangoons that uses salmon instead of crab.  The original recipe doesn’t call to prebake the wontons but I wish I had so I’ve included that step in this recipe. 

The flavors were very nice and tasty, Lance and I had them as a lunchtime snack and finished them off pretty quickly!

Internet - The Way To His Heart

Potato Samosa Cups

For the filling
1 12 pounds potatoes cubed
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and minced
1 -3 fresh green chile peppers such as jalapeño, minced
1 12 tablespoons ground coriander
12 teaspoon salt or to taste
12 teaspoon garam masala
14 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas

For the assembly
1 package wonton wrappers

1. For filling: Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a large nonstick wok or saucepan over medium-high heat and add the cumin seeds; they should sizzle upon contact with the hot oil. Mix in the potatoes.

2. Stir about 2 minutes, then add the ginger, green chile peppers, coriander, salt, and garam masala, and stir occasionally until the potatoes are golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the cilantro and peas and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

4. Spray 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray and gently press 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.   Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and fill each cup with spoonful of samosa mixture.  (If you just have one muffin tin, do this in two batches.)  Bake 5 minutes or until hot and crunchy. Serve with chutney. 

Potato Samosa Cups

This recipe is sort of a combination of Potato Samosas and Ranch Sausage Cups.  I think it has potential but the cups weren’t quite crispy enough and I think it needs a little bit of work still.  I looked at some other (recipes for similar sorts of things and I might try puff pastry instead next time, but it definitely needs a little bit more experimentation before I’ll serve these to company.

Person - Gwen

Ranch Sausage Cups

hidden = true Ingredients
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded
1 cup ranch dressing
1 package wonton wrappers

1. Heat oven to 350*F. 

2. Sauté sausage, onion, and bell pepper in large skillet over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are soft.  Drain if necessary. 

3. Mix sausage and vegetables with cheese and ranch in large bowl. 

4. Spray 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray and gently press 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.   Bake 5 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and fill each cup with spoonful of sausage mixture.  (If you just have one muffin tin, do this in two batches.)  Bake 5 minutes or until bubbly. 

Ranch Sausage Cups

This recipe is from With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart.  The sausage cups were great, we devoured almost an entire pan and the leftovers didn’t last for a very long time either!  We loved these and all felt inspired for delicious ways to tweak the basic recipe to yield more delicious results.  Highly recommended appetizer recipe!

Internet - With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart

Art's Bruschetta

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup olive oil
1 loaf baguette, cut on bias into slices
1-2 bunches fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tomatoes, cut in half and sliced into half moons
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in half and sliced into half moons

1. Heat oven broiler. 

2. Puree garlic cloves and olive oil in small container with immersion blender. 

3. Brush one side of bread with garlic oil, place on baking sheet, and broil until toasted.  Remove bread from oven and top with basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and broil until cheese begins to melt. 


Art has been making this bruschetta for quite some time although, surprisingly enough, he hadn’t yet made it while I was blogging!  It’s delicious, simple, filled with garlicky goodness.  This is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes and basil during the summertime. 

Shown here with Avgolemono Soup.

Person - Art

Roasted Beet Hummus

4-5 small beets
1 (14-15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
12 cup tahini
1 tablespoon cumin
14 cup lemon juice
14 cup olive oil

1. Heat oven to 450*F.  Remove stalk from beets if necessary and scrub well.  Place beets on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Fold foil closed around beets to make a packet and roast 30 to 90 minutes or until tender when poked with a knife.  Remove from oven, cool, then peel. 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Sauté garlic and onions until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. 

3. Using food processor, process all ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides of processor bowl occasionally to ensure everything is incorporated. 

roasted beet hummus

This recipe is from Erin’s Food Files and it was delicious!  What a nice way to use up roasted beets.  The hummus was a gorgeous colour and the beets added a nice sweetness to the usual flavors of hummus.  I did miss the punch of garlic that my usual hummus recipes provide so I think that, in the future, I would skip sautéing the garlic and just add it in raw.  Cooking garlic really takes away that delicious garlicy bite.  If you love hummus and are looking for a way to use up beets, this is your recipe!  Even Art, who was worried that the addition of beets would ruin his beloved hummus, thought this stuff was fantastic.

Internet - Erin’s Food Files