My cousin, who married into a large Italian family, taught me how to make this recipe.  I have been growing my own basil every summer just so we can feast on this wonderful snack frequently.  They key to this recipe is using fresh ingredients.  Using high quality fresh tomatoes, and freshly picked Basil will provide you with a taste of Summer Heaven!


1 pkg Campari Tomatoes, chopped (you can also use one large can of Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained)

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped very finely

2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp of Kosher Salt


Sausage-Stuffed Jalapenos

I made these little guys for Super Bowl Sunday.  I was looking for a low carb snack and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  The peppers were not hot at all and were balanced out nicely by the cream cheese mixture.  Jessica, who will not normally eat jalapeno peppers loved these!

Jalapeños20 fresh jalapenos

1 16 oz pkg regular breakfast sausage

1 8 oz packages cream cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.  Cut stems off and slice jalapenos lengthwise in half.  Remove seeds.

2.  Heat oven to 375.  Brown sausage, crumbling while cooking; drain.

3.  Combine cooked sausage, cream cheese, parmesan cheese and garlic salt in a mixing bowl.

4.  Stuff each jalapeno with sausage mixture.

5.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the tops are browned and jalapenos are cooked and soft.

Tomato Pesto Appetizer

I have been looking forward to trying this recipe for a long time.  I clipped it out of the San Antonio Taste section of the paper in January and vowed to make it for Super Bowl Sunday.   All I can say is that it was worth the wait!   Just four ingredients, yet so delicious!

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese

English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, fr...

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1 7 oz jar pesto

1 6 oz container freshly grated parmesan cheese

6 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

crackers for serving

1.  Heat oven to 350.  Place both blocks of cream cheese in an 8 x 8 baking dish

2.  Pour pesto over cream cheese; sprinkle on parmesan cheese and tomatoes

3.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve with crackers

Broiled Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

Geoff and I love Buffalo Wings.  When I learned how easy they were to make, and how diet friendly they are for South Beach, I began to make them quite frequently.  We have these often during the football season while we watch our favorite games.

2 1/2 lbs chicken wings

3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot (get the heat level you prefer, but we like ours hot!)

3 large ribs celery, cut into sticks

1 recipe blue cheese dip (recipe follows)

Preheat broiler to high

1.  Place the wings on a broiler pan (make sure it is about 5 to 6 inches from the flame)and broil until the skin begins to blister and brown, about 10 minutes.  Turn the wings over and broil 10 minutes more.

4.  Transfer the wings to a large bowl and coat with Franks Hot Wing Sauce


1/4 cup plain Greek style non-fat yogurt

2 tbs mayonnaise

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

salt to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, and blue cheese.  Mash any large chunks of blue cheese with the back of a spoon to integrate the cheese into the dip.  Serve at room temp.

1/4 of the wings + 1/4 of the dip = 260 calories, 5 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of fat.

Bacon Japapeno Cheese Ball

Daddy Hughey loves to make cheese balls.  When I came across this recipe, I asked him to make it for our New Year’s Eve Party.  He doubled the recipe and added extra jalapeno and crumbled bacon.  The result was perfect!

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, diced, divided

6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled, divided (about 6 ounces)

Salt to taste 1/4 cup chopped pecans, roasted

Crackers for serving

Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, half of the diced jalapeños and half of the crumbled cooked bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings and add salt.
Place the roasted pecans and remaining diced jalapeños and bacon on a plate. Stir together so well mixed. With your hands, roll the cheese mixture into a ball, then place on the plate and roll in the jalapeños, bacon and pecans until covered.
Chill covered for at least an hour before serving. Serve with crackers.

Ham and Swiss Party Rolls

I first tasted these rolls when a friend brought them to work for a birthday celebration.  When my friend told me how easy they were to make, I knew they’d be perfect for my New Year’s Eve party!

  • ½ pounds Sliced Ham (I Use 1/2 Pound Per Loaf)
  • 5 slices Swiss Cheese (I Use About 5 Sliced Per Loaf)
  • 1 package King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  • ½ cups Melted Butter
  • ½ teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoons Dry Mustard
  • 1-½ teaspoon Onion Powder (or Dried Onion)
  • 1 Tablespoon Poppy Seed

The rolls will look like a large solid piece of bread. Leave the rolls intact and slice the loaf in half with a long knife to form a top layer and a bottom layer.

Place ham and cheese on bottom layer of rolls, then place top layer of rolls over ham and cheese and place in a 9×13 pan. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour mixture over rolls. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.

Let them cool slightly before cutting. They reheat well too, even in the microwave.

Jessica’s Guacamole

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

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The Hughey’s love guacamole.  It is part of almost all of our gatherings.  We usually put Jessica in charge of the guacamole and she never lets us down.

Jessica’s Guacamole

10 Avacados

1 pkg “Hot” Pico De Gallo (available in the produce section)

Juice of one Lime

Juice of one Orange

Kosher Salt to taste

3 Tbs Tequila

Mash all ingredients to desired consistency

Kim’s Famous Salsa

I have been making this salsa since 1998.  I learned the recipe from a coworker during my first year of teaching.  I’m almost embarrassed to publish the recipe because it is so easy to make.  I have had many people tell me that I should bottle this stuff and sell it.  My family loves it and I make it for them frequently.  I also made sure that each of the kids knew how to make it before they left home!

Kim’s Famous Salsa

1 Large Can of Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes (or other high quality tomatoes)

1 chopped jalapeno seeds and all

3-4 chopped green onions

1 “handful” of fresh cilantro chopped

1 Tbs Lawrys Garlic Salt (must be Lawrys!)

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor