Bacon, Spinach, & Artichoke Bites

Spinach and artichoke dip is one of my favorites to get whenever we decide to share on an appetizer at certain restaurants. I decided to put it together in a way that they can be served in one poppable bite. 

What was leftover of the dip was used as a regular dip too!

Start with chopped spinach and artichoke.

Preparing the fillo shells! How fancy, right?

Then garnished with bacon when finished to give it an extra layer of flavor.

Bacon, Spinach, & Artichoke Bites
Ingredients (serves 8 or more)
  • 2 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of frozen chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup of frozen Artichoke Hearts, thawed and chopped
  • 1 pkg Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese or Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 packet Lipton Vegetable Recipe Mix
  • 3/4 cup Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (optional)
  • 2 slices of Bacon, cooked and cut into bits
  • 2 pkgs Mini Phyllo Shells
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat a medium-size saucepan on medium high heat.
  3. Saute garlic until fragrant, then add spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, shredded cheese, vegetable mix, and mayo (if using). Stir together until heated through.
  4. Remove Phyllo shells from packaging and place onto cookie sheet or mini-cupcake pan.
  5. Spoon cheesy spinach and artichoke mixture into mini shells.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until filling is hot and bubbly.
  7. Garnish with bacon bits.
  8. Serve immediately.
Happy Eating!

- Vicky from Sugar Junkie Blog

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Tortilla Bites

These tortilla bites are so colorful and beautifully presented, but made with very simple ingredients. The pulled pork is made "carnitas" style with a store bought sauce then topped with a vibrant mix of just 3 vegetables! Sweet corn, diced tomatoes, and diced green bell peppers. Then we garnished with shredded cheese to hold the bites all together.

Pesto & Mozzarella Crostini

Where did 2013 go? The middle of December is already upon us! And that means prepping for holiday parties. The internet is already quite saturated with tons of holiday entrees and desserts so we thought we'd put the spotlight on holiday appetizers this week. We'll be featuring a number of appetizers that'll make your life easier. First up is an appetizer I learned to make during my recent trip to Tennessee in November. It's so simple it only requires 3 ingredients but it tastes way more complex!

Start with fresh french bread, sliced into thin slices. Then toasted slightly until barely golden brown.

I have used pre-sliced fresh mozzarella, ball-shaped fresh mozzarella that I sliced myself, and grated mozzarella in making these before. What works and tastes the best is whole, ball-shaped mozzarella because you can slice it thinner or thicker to your tastes and preferences. Thinly sliced cheese works the best for us!

This appetizer is seriously one of my favorites now and I've tried different variations of it already. Slicing tiny cherry tomatoes and placing them on top of the cheese is also another really good and beautiful way to make these. Or even switching it up and using other soft, fresh cheese. :)

Pesto & Mozzarella Crostinis
Ingredients (serves 8 or more)
  • Buitoni's Pesto with Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • French Bread loaf
  1. Slice french bread into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Toast slices in toaster oven or under broiler in conventional oven until slightly golden and toasted, about 2-3 minutes, flipping them halfway.
  3. Remove toasted bread slices from oven and let cool.
  4. Spread pesto onto slices and top with slices of fresh mozzarella.
  5. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
  6. Serve immediately.
Happy Holidays!

- Vicky from The Sugar Junkie Blog

Papa Turney's BBQ - Nashville, TN

During my visit to Tennessee, the one thing I absolutely had to do was try some BBQ. There were so many options though but Papa Turney's became my number one choice as it was close to the airport (about 8 minutes away) and it was rated highly on lots of review sites.

I didn't bring my camera, unfortunately, but took a few photos on my phone. Papa Turney's is located at the end of a small plaza right next door to a gas station off of the freeway. Definitely a humble, little restaurant. Once you stepped out of the car, you knew you were in the right place by the smells. 

And the sight of this smoker at the end of the lot, cooking away!

The place is filled with tons of hand-drawn paintings and pictures, as well as many photographs lining the walls. Once we walked in, we were welcome by a friendly gentleman who we assumed were one of the owners. The place was pretty empty and we asked him what people usually get. He recommended we get the two or three meat combo platter so that we could try several meats at once. I ordered the two meat combo platter with ribs and pulled pork. I got a choice of two sides so I went with the grilled cabbage and macaroni and cheese. A sweet tea as my beverage, natch!! 

The food didn't take too long, and it came out hot and prepared with love. It was life-changing. The grilled cabbage was really darn good. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and flavorful. The pulled pork was seriously just as amazing. If I could box another one of these meals up and bring it back home with me, I would have done it!  

The gentleman who took our orders (I'm so sad I've forgotten his name!) even came to our table to talk to us a bit and he even thanked our friends, Chris and Aaron, for their military service. Very humble and amazing people at this establishment. If you're in or around the Nashville area, or even have a few hours layover at the BNA airport, get your way over to Papa Turney's!  

Papa Turney's BBQ
3979 Bell Rd, Nashville, TN 37076

(615) 788-5000

Happy Eating!
Vicky from the Sugar Junkie Blog

Momo's Korean BBQ - Clarksville, TN

I just recently returned from a lovely trip to Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee. Where fellow blog writer Pheng and I got to hang out, cook some amazing food together, and eat some life-changing BBQ in the Nashville area. Towards the end of our trip, we ate lunch at Momo's. A Korean BBQ establishment in the Clarksville area. I absolutely loved their food! We had the dumplings as an appetizer and I ordered the Bulgogi and Teriyaki Chicken dish. Bulgogi is Korean barbecued slices of beef and it's seriously so tender and flavorful. I'm honestly going to have to find a restaurant here that sells Bulgogi or learn to make it myself.

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