Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

It’s impossible to make too many of these mini deep dish pizzas. They’re perfect for the big game or any get-together. They’re easy to make, and with a little imagination, you can make a variety of them to please anyone. We decided to go the simple route and just top these pizzas with cheese and mini pepperonis. We both thought they were fantastic.
Mini Deep Dish PizzasMake sure you leave the mini deep dish pizzas in the oven long enough to get a bit of a crunchy crust on them. They’ll also get a bit more crunchy after you take them out of the oven and cool a bit.

Also try my homemade pizza rolls.

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 32 mini-pizzas

Ingredients

  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 36-48 mini pepperonis
  • Dried Italian seasoning or oregano crumbled (optional)
  • Dried red pepper flake optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  • Working in batches, cut the tortillas into 2" circles using a circular cookie cutter.
  • Press the tortillas into the bottom of the muffin tins.
  • Top with a little pizza sauce, the cheeses, pepperonis and seasonings.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  • Let cool slightly before removing and serving.

Bacon Jalapeno Tots on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Oh yes, I’ve made bacon-wrapped tater tots on the Char-Broil Big Easy. Several times. And I love them. Lots. But, if you follow this blog, you know I like some kick to my tots. Hence these bacon jalapeno tots on the Char-Broil Big Easy. Same concept, but with some heat. Not a whole lot, but enough to be noticed. Served with a great creamy cheese sauce that also has a bit of a kick to it.
Bacon Jalapeno Tots on the Char-Broil Big EasyThe key to cooking bacon-wrapped tater tots on the Char-Broil Big Easy is to cook them until they just start to char. They won’t be super crispy yet. That happens after you take them out of the cooker and they cool. The bacon will crisp up as it sits.

If you don’t want to make this spicy version of bacon-wrapped tater tots, leave out the jalapeno slices and use Monterey Jack cheese in the cheese sauce. You’ll definitely still have a plate of fantastic treats.

Also try my bacon BBQ chicken bombs, also made on the Big Easy. For a super-easy snack, try roasting some peanuts!

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Bacon Jalapeno Tots on the Char-Broil Big Easy

You'll need a Bunk Bed basket for your Big Easy to cook all of these tots at once.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24 bites

Ingredients

For the cheese sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese or your favorite cheese

For the wrapped tots

  • 1 pound sliced bacon cut in half (you may not use all of the bacon)
  • 24 frozen tater tots thawed
  • 3 medium jalapenos stems and seeds removed, then cut into 24 small strips

Instructions

For the cheese sauce

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the salt, pepper and flour and whisk for 1 minute.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk.
  • Bring mixture to a very low boil. Add the cheese and stir.
  • Reduce the heat and peep warm until ready to use.

For the wrapped tots

  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Wrap a strip of jalapeno and a tot with a piece of bacon.
  • Place seam-side down into the Big Easy basket. Do not let the tots touch or the bacon will not cook evenly.
  • After all of the tots are wrapped, lower the basket into your Big Easy and cook for 20 minutes or until the bacon just starts to char.
  • Remove and let cool slightly before serving with the warm cheese sauce for dipping.

Frozen Yogurt Dots

Sure, I’ve heard of Go-Gurt, but I’ve never had a reason to buy any. Then I came across this idea for frozen yogurt dots that uses Go-Gurt. I had to get some and try it. Just like those ice cream dots you can find at the mall, these little dots are packed with great flavor. They really make eating yogurt fun.
Frozen Yogurt DotsWe don’t have kids, so I have an excuse for not knowing you can also freeze Go-Gurt tubes for great yogurt-flavored popsicles. People should tell those of us without kids these awesome ideas!

Frozen Yogurt Dots on Sheet PanYou can get a good number of dots out of a tube of Go-Gurt, about a half a sheet pan’s worth.

Frozen Yogurt Dots

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • Cut just the very corner out of a tube of Go-Gurt. Don't cut off much, just enough so you can squeeze the yogurt out through the opening.
  • Squeeze small dots of yogurt out onto the parchment paper.
  • Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours.
  • I found that the easiest way to remove the frozen dots from the pan was to use the back of a regular old kitchen knife, scraping it along the paper.

Jalapeno Bottle Caps with Blue Cheese Dip

We love deep fried mushrooms. And deep fried pickles. It was just a matter of time until we made deep fried jalapeno slices. Oh my are we ever glad we did. These little jalapeno bottle caps with blue cheese dip are crazy good. They are not very hot but they do have a bit of a kick. If you’re leery of heat, fear not. They have great jalapeno flavor and a little crunch from the breading. I served them with a great, cool blue cheese dip.
Jalapeno Bottle Caps with Blue Cheese DipThe deep fry mix in this recipe can be used for anything from mushrooms to pickles to jalapenos to shrimp. Make a batch and keep it on hand in an air-tight container.

Also try my Nashville hot pickles.

Jalapeno Bottle Caps with Blue Cheese Dip

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

For the jalapeno bottle caps

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup deep fry mix see below
  • 8 tablespoons or more beer
  • 3 large jalapeno peppers seeded, and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Blue cheese dip

For the deep fry mix

  • 3 cups self-rising flour or combine 3 cups all-purpose flour with 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup self-rising white cornmeal or combine 1/2 cup regular cornmeal with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the jalapeno bottle caps

  • Heat a few inches of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 375 F.
  • Add beer to the fry mix and mix until smooth. You might have to add more beer. Don't make it too thin, you want it to stick to the jalapenos.
  • Add in the jalapenos and cover in the batter.
  • Working in batches if needed, deep fry the jalapenos 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
  • Serve hot with cool blue cheese dip.

For the deep fry mix

  • Combine all ingredients. Store unused portion in an airtight container.

Sweet and Sour Meatball Sliders

Sweet and sour meatball appetizers have probably been around forever. I’ve certainly made them a time or two. I was looking for a different way to serve them. Something new that makes people not realize they’re eating the usual. Something with a great sweet and sour sauce and more. And so I made sweet and sour meatball sliders.

Sweet and Sour Meatball SlidersThe crispiness (really a great contrast to the meatballs) and coolness of the cucumber really makes these sliders stand out in the crowd. As does the tomato. They’re quite yummy and addicting. Make a bunch for your next family get-together and watch them disappear. They assemble in just minutes, making them perfect for feeding a crowd.

Sweet and Sour Meatball Sliders

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 28 sliders
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 24 ounce bag pre-cooked meatballs, thawed (I used Johnsonville)
  • 4 cups sweet and sour sauce I made a batch of our easy sweet and sour sauce
  • 28 slider rolls
  • 2 large cucumbers sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Skewers

Instructions

  • Place meatballs and sauce in a large sauce pan or pot and warm over medium heat.
  • Place a slice (or two if they are small) of cucumber on each slider roll bottom.
  • Add a meatball with a little of the sauce. Note: I flattened the meatballs just slightly using a wooden spatula so they would look a little larger on the buns. If you're using larger meatballs you can probably skip flattening them.
  • Add top bun and secure with a skewer and tomato.

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Wild West Shrimp

These little copycats of Longhorn Steakhouse’s Wild West shrimp were incredible. The Prairie Dust mix had a great flavor and kick to it. And Peppadew peppers? I could eat them out of the jar. Sure, I “cheated” and used frozen precooked shrimp, but that makes these all the easier to make, perfect for feeding a small crowd in a hurry.

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Wild West ShrimpI served these Wild West shrimp with just your usual ole Ranch dressing, but really, you can just eat the shrimp like popcorn, one after another, without the dressing.

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Wild West Shrimp

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the shrimp

  • 1 18 ounce package frozen SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2-4 Peppadew peppers seeded, chopped
  • 3-4 teaspoons of Prairie Dust Mix
  • 1 green onion sliced (for garnish)
  • Favorite dipping sauce I used Ranch

Instructions

For the shrimp

  • Bake shrimp per package instructions.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add peppers and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and Prairie Dust mix.
  • Stir and cook until shrimp start to crisp.
  • Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain then transfer to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with green onion and serve with dipping sauce.

Glazed Kielbasa Bites

These lil glazed kielbasa bites are perfect for your next backyard get-together. They’re easy to make, grill up in just minutes, and they feed a small crowd. Every bite has a nice mix of Asian-inspired flavors, perfectly complimenting the grilled sausage. Mix things up by using different kinds of sausages, from kielbasa to smoked sausage to even andouille.

Glazed Kielbasa BitesFor little kick, substitute Sriracha sauce for the chili sauce. Any good thick sauce will work just great on these glazed kielbasa bites. Thinner sauces will not adhere well enough to stay around long enough to add flavor. Thicker is better.

Also try my mini-chicken and waffles!

Grilled Glazed Kielbasa Bites

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cooked smoked sausage or kielbasa sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 14 ounce can pineapple slices, in juice, quartered, 1 tablespoon of juice reserved
  • 3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Frank's sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill.
  • Spread out the sausage pieces cut side down and grill until you get grill marks.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the pineapple juice, Teriyaki sauce, chili sauce and honey.
  • Flip and top with a piece of pineapple. Skewer with a toothpick.
  • Brush bites with the glaze and grill until you get grill marks on the bottoms.
  • Glaze one more time and remove from the grill.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

After making a delicious roasted red pepper hummus the other day, I decided to make a variation. This roasted garlic hummus was another big hit. Perfect for game-time snacking. I also like to pack a little for Anita to take in her lunches. Hummus holds up great and tastes just as good the next day.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I roasted the garlic for this hummus in my oven. I’m also a big fan of slow cooker roasted garlic. If I have a grill fired up, I’ll just throw it onto the grill for a while instead. There is no substitute for it so take the time to do it right.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 large heads garlic
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic not roasted, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin more or less, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less, to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Cut about 1/4" off the bottoms (non-root side) of the garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil. Wrap in foil and put into the oven for about 45 minutes or until softened. Remove and let cool. Remove the roasted garlic by squeezing on the garlic bulb.
  • Place lemon and Tahini into a food processor and puree for 1 minute.
  • Scrape down the sides of the processor and puree for another 30 seconds.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt.
  • Process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and puree another 30 seconds.
  • Open the can of peas. Drain the liquid into a cup, then rinse and drain well.
  • Add half of the peas to the processor and run for 1 minute.
  • Add the remaining peas and process another 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
  • Add in the roasted garlic. If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit of the reserved chickpea liquid, but not much.
  • Serve drizzled with oil.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Anita loves hummus, so for last weekend’s race I made this fantastic roasted red pepper hummus. Hummus is good (and healthy) game-watching food! .I also like to pack a little for Anita to take in her lunches. Hummus holds up great and tastes just as good the next day.

Roasted Red Pepper HummusI’m looking forward to making this roasted red pepper hummus again. It’s easy, and uses ingredients that I always have on hand.

There are a lot of options for roasting red bell peppers. Of course, there’s the oven. I also like Mezzetta’s deli sliced roasted bell pepper strips. And my other favorite, roasting peppers on my Char-Broil Big Easy.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin more or less, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less, to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup roasted red bell peppers chopped

Instructions

  • Place lemon and Tahini into a food processor and puree for 1 minute.
  • Scrape down the sides of the processor and puree for another 30 seconds.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt.
  • Process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and puree another 30 seconds.
  • Open the can of peas. Drain the liquid into a cup, then rinse and drain well.
  • Add half of the peas to the processor and run for 1 minute.
  • Add the remaining peas and process another 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
  • Add all but 1 tablespoon of the peppers and process another 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit of the reserved chickpea liquid, but not much.
  • Serve topped with the reserved peppers plus a light drizzle of oil.

BBQ Pigs in a Blanket

This is a simple twist to the old classic. BBQ pigs in a blanket will have your party guests wondering why anyone ever made them the ‘old way’. Great BBQ flavor, served up with a nice creamy honey mustard dipping sauce.

BBQ Pigs in a BlanketFor ‘normal’ BBQ pigs in a blanket, I use Weber’s Original BBQ sauce. Any old-school flavored BBQ sauce works just fine. But for kicked up bites I use Weber’s Kick’N Spicy sauce. If I’m serving both spicy and non-spicy I’ll put a little table sign by them so people know which is which.

Also try my southwestern pigs in a blanket.

BBQ Pigs in a Blanket

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 24 mini-smokie weenies
  • 1 8 ounce tube crescent dinner rolls
  • Honey mustard dipping sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place BBQ sauce and syrup into a small saute pan and heat to a slow boil.
  • Add sausages and heat through, about 5 minutes.
  • Unroll crescent rolls and divide into triangles.
  • Cut each triangle into 3 thin, long triangles.
  • Wrap dough around the weenies and pinch the ends closed.
  • Place on am un-greased baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until browned.
  • Serve with dipping sauce