Black Bean Hummus

Looking for a healthy appetizer you can quickly throw together? Whip up a batch of my Black Bean Hummus in less than five minutes. Keep canned beans in your pantry and garlic and lemon in the fridge to make this a go-to dish when you want a delicious homemade snack. It is so easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought variety. Serve it with carrot sticks, tortilla chips or whatever you like to dip. Make it a meal by spreading hummus in a wrap or on a slice of bread topped with your favorite roasted vegetables.

Barbecue Pork Nachos

Barbecue nachos are a game day favorite in my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., and they are about as popular as Elvis around my old stomping grounds. For my take on this southern classic, I recommend a tangy and slightly sweet sauce. I keep my pantry well stocked with my favorite barbecue sauces so I am ready for the Football World Series or any good sports event throughout the year.

Bourbon Maple Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

The aroma of grilled meat lofting through the air makes me hungry, even if I’ve already had a meal. Add a little bourbon, maple syrup and dijon mustard in the mix, and the smell of your pork tenderloin on the grill may even bring your neighbors over for dinner. Paired with creamy goat cheese mashed potatoes, this recipe is simple enough for a throw-together meal and impressive enough to serve when entertaining. It also makes a wonderful hearty appetizer for a crowd, and doubling the recipe will give you more to pass around. Serve this dish with your favorite bourbon of course.

Eggplant and Summer Squash Stacks

Summer is not over yet, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to some of my favorite seasonal produce. If you are like me and want to savor these flavors as long as you can, fire up the grill and celebrate these last couple of weeks before we welcome fall. Eggplant is a great match for summer squash stacked between layers of melted fresh mozzarella and homemade pesto. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a simple salad and a glass of your favorite white wine for an easy dinner outdoors as you watch the sunset.

B-Kale-T Bites

Move over lettuce, sautéed kale is a new match for crispy bacon and juicy tomato slices. Served over toasted baguette slices, these bites make a hardy appetizer that is easy to eat with your hands. It’s an easy dish to make with two farm-fresh ingredients from your Community Supported Agriculture share or with summer favorites from the Farmers’ Market. This dish pairs well with an earthy Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon. Just make this simple recipe, open a bottle of vino and you are ready to entertain.

Winter Vegetable Tacos

These vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, are comfort food you can feel good about devouring. I use butternut squash, but any winter squash would work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Beet Bites with Goat Cheese and Pecans

Beets, with their ruby-red-jewel tone, make a festive plate presentation during the holiday season. This is a perfect appetizer to bring to your next Christmas party. You can save time by roasting them the night before and assembling right before you are ready to enjoy. Leftovers are delicious served over leafy greens with balsamic vinaigrette.

Acorn Squash and Swiss Chard Mini Frittatas

There is no better way to spend Thanksgiving morning than with a breakfast that tastes like fall. Loaded with acorn squash and Swiss chard, these mini frittatas are a healthy way to fuel up for a day of holiday cooking. This is also an excellent dish to serve for brunch with whole wheat toast, bacon and a Bloody Mary. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, they are delicious reheated on a busy workday morning.

Watermelon, Tomato and Burrata Cheese

When I think of summer, watermelon and tomatoes immediately come to mind. They are two of my favorite seasonal foods and they compliment each other nicely in this appetizer with creamy and decadent burrata cheese. The outer layer of this cheese is fresh mozzarella, and when you slice it in half you will discover a luscious, creamy center made of mozzarella soaked in cream. It is the perfect cheese to pair with this summertime appetizer.

Strawberry and Brie Toast

This appetizer features one of my favorite fruits in a savory fashion, using olive oil and red wine vinegar to compliment the sweet berries. This recipe is easy and elegant for entertaining. It is a perfect dish for a Champaign brunch, or go ahead and make it a meal on a busy weeknight by pairing it with a simple salad.

Sweet Piquante Pepper Cheese Spread

This spread is a unique take on pimento and cheese made with piquante peppers, which give it a sweet heat kick. These cherry tomato shaped peppers are often labeled under the brand name Peppadew® and are commonly found in the olive bar section of grocery stores.

Loaded Salmon Mashed Potatoes

Enjoy the flavors of a stuffed baked potato with this dish, but with the velvety smoothness of mashed potatoes. These creamy spuds are topped with baked salmon, farm-fresh kale, grated Parmesan cheese and crunchy bacon.