USA Empanada

Summer Olympic Beef Empanadas

Beef Empanadas

Ever since I spent a semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain, empanadas have been one of my all-time favorite foods.  I remember waiting in line at a local panaderia, taking in the smell of fresh pastry and the savory morsels of delish inside the perfectly sealed crust.  

In the spirit of the Summer Olympics kicking off tomorrow night, these are the perfect party appetizer to serve because you can decorate the pastry with Team USA and stars using a simple cookie cutter.  It’s a great way to get the kiddos involved and make it a DIY baking activity!  

USA Empanada


Adding in the hint of saffron with the combo of olives and raisins makes this a more traditional Brazilian flavored bite, a nod to Rio, host to this year’s Summer Olympic games.  Serving small portions like this encourages moderation, too!  3oz of lean beef only has about 160 calories.  

Beef is one of my favorite proteins to entertain with because it’s so versatile.  I partnered with the California Beef Council to create this recipe, and had the honor of meeting their staff and getting the know more about the beef industry in the Golden State!  Beef is the 4th largest commodity in California — and cattle ranchers there are often 4th and 5th generation farmers. One interesting fact is that these hard working ranchers also happen to be stewards of the land, since so many endangered species make their homes on the gorgeous, expansive farms throughout the state.

Golden state, golden empanadas, gold medals — and gold standard of taste.  Pretty much a win for TEAM USA!

*This post was sponsored by the California Beef Council, but all opinions are my own.

Beef Empanadas
Brazilian style empanadas filled with savory beef
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  1. 2 Tb canola oil
  2. 1/2 sweet onion diced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1.5 pounds ground beef
  5. kosher salt to taste
  6. 3 Tb tomato paste
  7. 2 Tb chopped cilantro
  8. 1 Tb hot pepper jelly
  9. 1/4 cup chopped green olives
  10. 2 Tb golden raisins
  11. 1 Tb smoked paprika
  12. 1 tsp cumin
  13. 1 Tb garlic powder
  14. 1 tsp saffron
  15. egg wash
  16. 1 box puff pastry (thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Saute ground beef in canola oil until meat is cooked through. Drain.
  3. Return to stove top and add onion, fresh garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, saffron and garlic powder. Saute until fragrant and onion is soft, about 7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add tomato paste (stir to combine into beef mixture), cilantro, pepper jelly, olives, raisins and kosher salt to taste.
  5. Lay out puff pastry on a cutting board and using a mug or biscuit cutter, punch out a small circle shaped pastry. Put a couple spoonfuls of meat in the center and fold in half, sealing the edges by pressing down with the tines of a fork.
  6. Prick the empanada with the fork in a couple spots.
  7. Using cookie cutters, make pastry stars or letters to decorate the empanadas.
  8. Brush with egg wash, then add the cut outs to each empanada. Brush again with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
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Roast Beef Appetizer

Roast Beef Crostinis with Horseradish Cream

Roast Beef Appetizer

Roast Beef crostinis with horseradish cream and caramelized onions are one of my all-time favorite appetizers!  It’s also an hors d’oeuvre you can serve during any season because it’s got the rich, earthy elements that are suited to fall and winter with the pop of flavor and freshness that are prefect for spring and summer entertaining.  

I’m obsessed with texture and mouth feel — I want crunchy, I want savory, I want sweet and I want smooth with some major wow factor.  Basically, I want layers of flavor that make you throw your head back and go, “OMGOMGOMGOMG!” These definitely deliver.

I partnered with the California Beef Council on a tour through California markets and had the delicious excuse to showcase these yummy crostinis.  California is one of the top producers of beef in the entire country!  The expansive farmland owned and operated by cattle ranchers is not only beautiful to look at, it’s also home to a number of endangered species, so these ranchers are truly stewards of the land.  

Beef is such a versatile protein– it can take on the flavor of whatever you mix with it.  One of my favorite combinations is adding that kick of horseradish to the roast beef.  Then, the caramelized onions really take it to the next level with a smooth, sweet finish!

Plus, you can feel good about knowing that there are only about 160 calories in 3 oz of beef– and with over 35 lean cuts of beef to choose from, you can get super creative!  Check out the link to my segment featuring the crostinis on San Diego Living.


Roast Beef Crostinis with Horseradish Cream
Savory bites with roast beef, horseradish cream and caramelized onions
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For the crostinis
  1. French baguette, sliced and toasted with butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder
  2. 1/2 pound of roast beef
  3. Gorgonzola cheese
  4. Chopped chives for garnish
For the Horseradish Cream
  1. 3/4 cup full fat mayo
  2. 1-2 Tb prepared horseradish
  3. 1 Tb sour cream
  4. 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  5. Dash of worcestershire sauce
  6. pinch of kosher salt to taste
For the caramelized onions
  1. 1 red onion sliced into thin rings
  2. 2 Tb butter
  3. 1/4 cup red wine
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brush melted butter on sliced baguette and sprinkle with garlic powder. Toast crostinis for 20-30 minutes, flipping over after 15 minutes.
For the horseradish cream
  1. Mix mayo, lemon, horseradish, worcestershire and a pinch of kosher salt.
For the onions
  1. Saute onion rings in butter on low/medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red wine and crank up heat to cook off wine and then reduce to low, stirring for another 15 minutes until caramelized.
To assemble
  1. Spread horseradish cream on the toasted crostinis.
  2. Top with roast beef, then caramelized onions and sprinkle with gorgonzola and chopped chives.
What's on Parker's Plate?
*This post and segment were sponsored by The California Beef Council, but all opinions are my own.

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balsamic pork chop

Balsamic Pork Chop with Cranberry Horseradish Sauce and Shaved Green Mango Salad

balsamic pork chop with cranberry sauce

When cranberries come to mind, most people think of a Thanksgiving dinner table with all the lush fixings.  But even though this healthy, antioxidant rich super fruit is harvested in the fall, it’s the perfect ingredient to take your summer entertaining to the next level.

fresh cranberries

Cranberries are extremely versatile and are the perfect addition to sweet or savory summer recipes including cocktails, smoothies, salads, desserts and this…..Does that pork chop right there make you want to lick your screen?  I thought so!  This cranberry horseradish sauce only has 4 ingredients, but the layers of flavor are so nuanced and balanced, you’d think it was super complicated.

balsamic pork chop

One of the things I love about cranberries is that they come in so many forms (fresh, frozen, canned, sauced, dried, etc…) that you can get really creative.  This recipe uses the jellied cranberry sauce variety and when you warm it up on the stove, it melts down into a beautiful “saucy” consistency.  Adding the savory balsamic marinated pork chop and you’ve got a winner-winner cranberry pork dinner!  This cranberry horseradish sauce would also work beautifully on a pork tenderloin.

balsamic cranberry pork chop

Balsamic Pork Chop with Cranberry Horseradish Sauce
A savory summer dish with a tender, balsamic marinated pork chop and a cranberry horseradish sauce
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For the balsamic marinade
  1. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup olive oil
  3. 2 garlic cloves smashed
  4. 2 Tb honey
  5. 2 thick center cut pork chops
  6. 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb butter (to saute pork chops)
  7. kosher salt
For the sauce
  1. 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
  2. 2 Tb fresh garlic chopped
  3. 1 Tb olive oil
  4. 2 Tb horseradish
  5. 1-2 Tb brown sugar (depending on how much sweet you want to add)
  6. fresh thyme for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients well and marinate pork chops for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes take pork chops out of marinade and dry off on both sides with paper towel.
  4. Sprinkle chops with kosher salt.
  5. Heat up the 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb butter on a cast iron skillet or heavy duty non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  6. When butter is bubbling, add chops to skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, being careful not to move chops around. Let them sit in place in pan to caramelize.
  7. Put chops in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  8. Let chops sit out while you make the sauce.
For the sauce
  1. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add jellied cranberry and stir on medium heat until it melts down to a sauce-like consistency.
  3. Add horseradish and sugar and stir to combine.
  4. Pour sauce over pork chops when serving and garnish with fresh thyme
  1. You can use a pork tenderloin or pork roast with this sauce and it works beautifully.
What's on Parker's Plate?
You can feel even better about this dinner because a new survey reveals cranberry eaters are healthy, active and adventurous!  

Lobster Mango and Cranberry Salad

Speaking of healthy, a friend of mine recently introduced me to green mangos which are basically unripe mangos.  If you shave them with a peeler, they are a scrumptious not-too-sweet but perfectly tangy base to a salad.  I added dried cranberries, almonds and avocado to this salad and fresh Maine lobster with a sweet buttermilk dressing that is creamy and refreshing.  The cranberries give the salad a gorgeous pop of color and flavor, while the almonds lend the perfect textured crunch in every bite.  And well, lobster is pretty much my favorite kind of seafood, so it adds a decadence all on its own!

mango cranberry salad with lobster

table set with lobster green mango salad

Shaved Green Mango and Cranberry Salad with Fresh Lobster
A refreshing summer salad studded with cranberries and fresh lobster
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For the salad
  1. 1 pound fresh Maine Lobster
  2. 1 green mango shaved with a vegetable peeler
  3. 1 cup dried cranberries
  4. 1/4 cup almond slices
  5. 1 ripe avocado diced
  6. chives for garnish
For the dressing
  1. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  2. 2 Tb sour cream
  3. 1/8 cup sugar
  4. 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  5. pinch of kosher salt
  6. sprinkle of black pepper
  7. 2 Tb fresh chopped chives
  1. Top shaved green mango with fresh lobster, avocado, dried cranberries and almonds.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and fold onto salad.
What's on Parker's Plate?
All of this cranberry talk transports me back to the bogs of Cape Cod!  2 years ago, I had the opportunity to learn how cranberries are harvested when I visited the Rhodes family from Cape Cod Select.  It was so cool to put on those waders and immerse myself in a sea of cranberries!

Parker in the cranberry bog

80% of the U.S. population enjoy cranberries, according to a new survey commissioned by the Cranberry Marketing Committee. It turns out, eating cranberries—which ranked in the top three most popular berries—might have more benefits than many may realize. The nationwide survey found that in general, more cranberry eaters than non-cranberry eaters say they work out and are health-conscious, and are more likely to describe themselves as positive, and feel less stressed and more adventurous.  So, make this delish cranberry studded dinner and then plan your next adventure!

Check out some of my other cranberry recipes here:

Cranberry Dream Martini

Cranberry Bacon Jam

Cranberry Salsa

No Bake Cranberry Grand Marnier Cheesecake (Low-carb)

You can also check out for recipes.

*This post was sponsored by the Cranberry Marketing Committee but all opinions are my own.


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Chipotle Gouda Stuffed Chicken

Chipotle Gouda Stuffed Chicken with Cream Sauce

Chipotle Gouda Stuffed Chicken

What’s that old saying about feeding a man for a lifetime if you teach him how to fish?  Well, in my case, give me a chicken and I’ll teach you how to stuff it….Give me a chicken with chipotle gouda cheese and you’ll be getting requests for it for a lifetime, LOL!  This is one of those recipes where I tested it out on my man, JP, and he put down his fork, threw back his head and uttered something along the lines of, “OOOOOOOOMYGODPARKERTHISISTHEBESTCHICKENEVER!!!”

In the last 8 years, I have fed this man many a chicken dish, so I promise you, this one’s a keeper!

Stuffed chicken sounds fancy and complicated, but this recipe is really easy– you just need to pay attention to your cook time to make sure you don’t dry out the chicken.  I think the best way to cook chicken like this is frying it on the stove top and then finishing it off in the oven for a few minutes.  Always, always test it first to make sure it’s cooked through.

I created this deliciousness for the Western Dairy Association, who works on behalf of dairy farm families in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.  WDA is celebrating 80 years of helping dairy farm families tell their stories. Check out the Western Dairy Blog  to read about the families who have been dairying for over eight decades!  A whopping 97% of dairy farms in the US are family owned and operated, so it’s pretty cool that every dairy purchase supports those hard working families!  And, at about 25 cents a glass, few foods deliver milk’s powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable and available way.

You can make this recipe with any cheese you like– sharp cheddar would be delish, swiss cheese would be scrumptious, but I wanted to really take the flavor to a new level with the hint of chipotle peppers. The subtle spiciness of the chipotle gouda doesn’t overpower the dish at all– it’s actually really balanced.  I also really dig the textures of this meal– the crunch of the panko breaded chicken and the smooth, velvety cheese sauce are guaranteed to impress.

And, I mean, just look at that creamy, melty cheese in the middle!  

Chipotle stuffed chicken  I prefer frying the rolled up cutlets first, but you can bake them as well— just keep them in an oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  If you do decide to fry them, make sure the oil is not too hot.  I keep it on medium heat, just hot enough to hear a sizzle, but not snapping, popping hot.  If the heat is cranked too high, you’ll end up with a burned outside and raw inside– no bueno!

I suggest serving a simple salad with these— they’re rich enough and loaded with enough veggies on the inside that you really don’t even need another side dish!

chipotle stuffed chicken

Chipotle Gouda Stuffed Chicken with Cream Sauce
Chicken breasts stuffed with chipotle gouda, roasted red peppers and spinach with a creamy, cheese sauce.
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For the Chicken
  1. 4 chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
  2. 4 roasted red peppers drained
  3. handful of fresh spinach
  4. 4 slices of chipotle gouda (or chipotle cheddar) *not too thinly sliced!
  5. Italian seasoned panko or breadcrumbs
  6. flour
  7. egg wash
  8. canola oil
  9. toothpicks
For the sauce
  1. 1/2 cup chipotle gouda
  2. 1/2 cup full fat mayo
  3. 1/2 cup milk
  4. 1-2 Tb adobo sauce (the sauce that's in a can of chipotle peppers)
  5. kosher salt to taste
For the chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Wash and dry the cutlets.
  3. Lay out the chicken flat and layer with spinach leaves, then roasted red pepper, then cheese. The peppers won't be a perfect fit on the chicken, so cut them in pieces to lay flat on top of the chicken.
  4. Roll up the cutlets and secure with toothpicks.
  5. Dredge rolled chicken in flour first, then egg wash, then panko
  6. Heat up about an inch of canola oil in a wide rimmed frying pan on medium heat.
  7. Using tongs, place rolled chicken in oil and fry on all sides until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes total.
  8. Drain on paper towels and put chicken on a baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Make sure to test chicken before you put it in oven, and then again after 10 minutes or so. If the cutlets are super thin, they'll cook faster.
For the sauce
  1. Combine cheese, mayo, milk and adobo sauce in a small saucepan until melted and combined. Season with kosher salt to taste.
  2. Pour sauce over chicken when ready to serve.
  1. If you prefer to bake the rolled chicken without frying, bread the roll ups, then bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
What's on Parker's Plate?
 Happy National Dairy Month!  For the perfect dairy delicious dessert, check out my mini no bake key lime cheesecakes.

*This recipe and post were created for the Western Dairy Association but all opinions are my own.

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smoked salmon deviled eggs

Smoked Salmon and Herb Deviled Eggs

smoked salmon deviled eggs

I’m a deviled egg fiend.  Like, so much so that no matter what time of day, what time of year, or where I am, if there are deviled eggs on the menu, I order them!  It’s sort of become a “thing” and now I research restaurants wherever I am traveling to scour their menus and devour their deviled eggs.  One of my favorites is the combo of deviled eggs mixed with bacon, bourbon marmalade and fresh green onions at Smoke Ring in Atlanta. Like, seriously? Bourbon AND Bacon AND deviled eggs?  But, nothing beats the sultry, savory deliciousness of smoked salmon with just the right amount of mayo, mustard and sour cream, folded into an egg white with tarragon and dill.  Want to take it to a whole new level?  Pair it with a crisp Chardonnay– my summer go-to is Edna Valley.  

Edna Valley Chardonnay

This is like springtime in a wine bottle!  The Edna Valley vineyard is nestled between LA and San Francisco, and is considered the jewel of California’s central coast.  Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay has bright aromas of lemon oil and white flower.  On the palate, there are delicate layers of white peach and apricot intertwining with brown sugar and spice.  

I love doing wine pairings when I’m entertaining, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so…the crisp, fruitiness of the Edna Valley balances the smokiness of the deviled egg while accentuating that velvety, creamy mouth feel.  And can we talk butter for a minute?  The Edna Valley has a buttery feel to it which also brings out the secret ingredient in these little devils….that’s right!  BUTTER.  It’s a little trick I learned from the Queen of Southern cooking– Virginia Willis.  


It’s really divine!  Side note, I also just tried Edna Valley’s Cabernet this week and I’m sold on that one too.  It’s a medium-bodied red wine with ripe, dark fruit flavors with hints of vanilla, leather, anise and cocoa powder.  I had it with a filet and it was perfect!

Taste summer right here with this recipe and check out some of the delish on Edna Valley’s site– with more great ideas for pairings.

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Smoked Salmon and Herb Deviled Eggs
A velvety deviled egg with savory smoked salmon and fresh herbs
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  1. 8 eggs
  2. 2 oz smoked salmon
  3. 2 teaspoons dill (plus more for garnish)
  4. 2 teaspoons tarragon (plus more for garnish)
  5. 1/3 cup mayo
  6. 2 tsp dijon mustard
  7. 1/4 cup sour cream
  8. 1 Tb soft, salted butter
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with cool water to 1 inch above eggs; bring just to a rolling boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold running water until cool.
  2. Peel eggs; cut in half lengthwise. Place yolks in a medium bowl; mash with a fork until smooth. Add all ingredients and stir well. Spoon mixture into egg white halves (about 1 tablespoon in each half). Garnish with dill and tarragon sprigs, if desired.
  1. Pair with Edna Valley Chardonnay
Adapted from Edna Valley
Adapted from Edna Valley
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Key Lime No Bake Cheesecakes

Mini No Bake Key Lime Cheesecakes

Key Lime No Bake Cheesecakes

This spring, I’ve been obsessed with mason jars– small, large, super sized mason jars for everything you could imagine!  I use them for vases, glasses, candle holders, table top terrariums, a DIY ice cream bar and now, ladies and gentlemen, no bake cheesecake jars!  The first time I used mason jars for dessert, I was catering a high-end dinner party and my cake didn’t set up.  I was horrified.  It was delicious, but it had collapsed in the middle and looked like a hot (yummy) mess.  As I was standing at the counter, hoping no one came into the kitchen and discovered my catastrophe, I remembered about a box of mason jars I had in the back of my truck. I quickly layered the warm, gooey mess into the jars with ice cream.  Then, I whipped up a little caramel sauce, popped some whipped cream on top and called it GOURMET.  My guests never knew about my baking crisis and later raved about the “moist” cake, LOL! 

It made perfect sense to style my Mini No Bake Cheesecake in these little jars!  And, in honor of National Dairy Month and my partnership with the Western Dairy Association, I created what I consider the perfect summer dessert.  I’m not a fan of super sweet anything, and the same goes for my cheesecake.  Lately, no bake has been my go-to, because, well, it’s NO BAKE!  No fussy water baths and springform pans.  With the mason jars, you just layer in the graham cracker crust, top with the key lime cheesecake filling, some whipped cream and they can chill in the fridge till you’re ready to serve them.

Key Lime No Bake Cheesecake

Before we get to the delish, check out some of these awesome stats… The average glass of milk costs only 25 cents a glass– few foods deliver milk’s powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable and available way. When you buy dairy products at your local grocery store or farmers market, you are supporting dairy families — 97% of the country’s dairy farms are family owned and operated.

The Western Dairy Association works on behalf of dairy farm families in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, and they’re celebrating 80 years of helping dairy farm families tell their stories. Check out the Western Dairy Blog throughout the month to read about the families who have been dairying for over eight decades!

Colorado is a great place to be a dairy cow –  their cows are second in the nation in milk produced per cow – a sign that they are happy and healthy.

And huge shout out to Western Dairy Association farms:  Colorado dairy farm families produce over 3.4 billion pounds of wholesome, nutritious milk each year. Montana dairy farm families produce 288 million pounds of milk each year and Wyoming dairy farm families produce over 123 million pounds of milk each year.  That’s a whole lot of healthy and happy!

Ready to dive into “Dairy Delicious?”  I know you are….

Here are some other yummy cheesecake recipes you might want to check out too:

Guilt Free Lemon Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Oreo No Bake Cheesecake

Peanut Butter & Jelly No Bake Cheesecake (scroll down for recipe)

Pebbles No Bake Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd

Mini Nutella Cheesecakes

*This is a sponsored post by the Western Dairy Association, but all opinions are my own.

Mini No Bake Key Lime Cheesecakes
Serves 4
A refreshing mini key lime cheesecake in mason jars.
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For the crust
  1. 2 Tb butter
  2. 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  3. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the key lime filling
  1. 1 (8oz) package of full fat cream cheese
  2. 3/4 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peaks
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1/4 cup key lime juice
  6. zest of 2 key limes
For the whipped cream topping
  1. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  2. 3 tsp powdered sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. zest of one key lime
For the crust
  1. Melt butter and mix in graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.
  2. Layer a couple spoonfuls at the bottom of each mason jar.
For the filling
  1. Bring cream cheese to room temperature and mix with sugar until smooth. Fold in heavy cream (whipped to soft peaks), vanilla, key lime juice and zest.
  2. Mix until smooth.
  3. Spoon on top of crust to nearly the top of each mini jar.
  4. Cover and keep in fridge for 3 hours or until firm.
For the whipped cream topping
  1. Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks are formed.
  2. When ready to serve, put whipped cream on top and finish with a little zest and a slice of key lime for garnish.
What's on Parker's Plate?




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Fruity Pebbles Ice Cream Treats

fruity pebble yogurt pops

Remember the end of a bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal?  When the milk would turn that pastel shade of pinky delish?  And it was like drinking liquid heaven?  This is the recreation of that in popsicle form!  Meet Strawberry Yogurt Fruity Pebbles pops… you’re welcome!

Strawberry Yogurt Fruity Pebbles Pops
Refreshing yogurt treat with crunchy fruity Pebbles
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  1. 5 Tb strawberry low-fat yogurt
  2. 2 Tb low-fat whipped topping
  3. 2 Tb chopped strawberries
  4. 3 Tb Fruity or Cocoa Pebble Cereal
  1. Mix yogurt and whipped topping until well blended; stir in strawberries.
  2. Spoon 1 Tb of cereal into 9oz paper cup; cover with half the yogurt mixture. Repeat latyers. Top with remaining 1 Tb of cereal. Insert popsicle stick halfway into center of cup.
  3. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Peel off paper cup to serve.
What's on Parker's Plate?
 Another fun summer favorite with either Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles is to make chipwiches studded with Pebbles! 

fruity pebbles chipwich

I mean, look at that melty delish!  I had the chance to include my favorite kiddos in this particular segment– I consider them my niece and nephew, but they’re the children of my best friend from high school.  Ethan and Gabby were EXPERT chipwhich builders!  See for yourself below…


These cuties made their debut on Fox 45’s Good Day Baltimore….I think they’re naturals, don’t you?

The chipwhich recipe couldn’t be simpler.  If you have time to make your own cookies, even better, but in a pinch, grab some store bought cookies in flavors you love.  For this segment I used classic chocolate chip cookies with chocolate ice cream studded with Cocoa Pebbles and lemon cookies with vanilla ice cream and Fruity Pebbles.  For a fun and easy trick to get the ice cream to fit perfectly, check out my video on Craft Box Girls TV.


Pebbles Chipwiches
Homemade chipwiches studded with Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles.
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  1. Cookies
  2. Ice cream
  3. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles
  1. Put your favorite flavor of ice cream between 2 of your favorite cookies.
  2. Roll sides in Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles
What's on Parker's Plate?
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Bacon Cheddar Burgers

Bacon Cheddar Burgers

Bacon Cheddar Burgers

A Star Studded Memorial Day is pretty awesome.  But a BACON and CHEDDAR studded Memorial Day is even better.  Better with cheddar…. see what I did there?  Of course you did, because resident Burger Bacon Babe is here with the delish!  Introducing bacon cheddar burgers…

Just look at those beefy nooks and crannies with cheese and bacon!  OMG.bacon cheddar burger

bacon cheddar burger

Just look at that cheese crust that forms on the burger patty!  ^^^^^  Aw, yeah, baby, that’s my kinda burger!

Bacon Cheddar Burgers
Bacon and Cheddar studded beef burgers
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  1. 2 pounds ground beef
  2. 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  3. 6 slices bacon thinly snipped with kitchen shears
  4. kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fold cheddar and bacon pieces into ground beef. Do not over work or the meat will get tough. Form into patties and sprinkle salt and pepper on each one.
  2. Grill until cooked through to desire temperature.
What's on Parker's Plate?
Seriously, you can mix up the flavors and do any kind of cheese your little heart desires– swap up with blue cheese and mushrooms, or a spicy havarti with jalapeno– the options are endless. I found these adorable star ramekins at Target and created a little burger bar on set when I was doing my segment at NBC in Macon. 

What a perfect way to wrap up my tour with the Georgia Beef Board and to pay tribute to the 15,000 beef cattle operations in Georgia– there are cattle in every single one of Georgia’s 159 counties, believe it or not!  

And don’t forget the health benefits of beef…(OK, so bacon and cheddar aren’t exactly a health benefit– I consider them an accessory to the healthy part!)  But the stats are legit:  There are 29 lean cuts of beef and only 160 calories in 3 oz of beef.  Plus, it’s loaded with protein, iron and Vitamin B12. 

B also stands for Burger.  And Bacon.  And the next letter is C.  Which stands for Cheddar.  You see where I’m going with this, right?

Happy Memorial Day!  Get your grill on!

NBC Macon

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Memorial Day Deals and Delish


I love an excuse to fire up the grill and entertain friends– and Memorial Day is the perfect holiday– it’s got an awesome theme (Thank you to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country!) and with a few simple recipes, you can really take your party to the next level!

Let’s start with the must-have accessories and then we’ll get to the delish….

I partnered with Lowe’s to showcase their Char-Broil Advantage 4 Burner Stainless Steel Gas Grill.  What I like about this grill is that it is reasonably priced at $269 (and the purchase earns you a $50 gift card, so SCORE!) But it’s also a great size– not so monstrous that it’s intimidating– and it fits on patios or decks easily without taking up too much room.  But there’s plenty of room to fit all of your favorite grilling items with those 4 burners, baby!


Now that you have your grill ready to go, let’s talk patio accessories…. This is my new favorite patio set!  It’s the Garden Treasures 3 Piece Lunburg Balcony-Height Patio set, on sale TODAY, but not later this weekend, so hurry up and pick it up with the discount!


The set works beautifully on my patio (my pitbull Tom thinks so too!) but it is also the perfect size for balconies in high rise condos.  A lot of my friends have spectacular skyline views, and the raised height of this set is a must so you can take in the scenery!  Plus, Lowe’s has a huge selection of patio pillows to dress up the chairs.  I picked out these blue flower patio pillows that work perfectly with the burnt orange cushions.

Ready for Memorial Day eats?  Let’s kick it off with sausage, y’all!  I’m a huge fan of Johnsonville  and have worked with them on a number of yummy segments over the last year.  If you thought regular old burgers were good enough for your cook out, then hold the phone, y’all.  Can we talk about bacon and cheddar IN the sausage?  Um, yeah.  Johnsonville’s got these new Grillers in the flavors you would normally have to make as a side dish or topping on the sausages….like Swiss Cheese and Onion and Buffalo Bleu.  Hello, delicious!  In full disclosure, I was grilling these up for my Atlanta & Company segment and I had to keep adding to the grill pan because, uh, I was eating them.  More like CRUSHING them.  Alone.  In my kitchen at 2am.  Yeah, that’s how I roll.  So swap out the burgers for sausage– you won’t be sorry!  A fun thing to do when serving your sausages is to set up a “Brat Bar” and have all the toppings your guests will love with their bratwursts and grillers….But honestly, you really don’t need anything else to top them with because the flavor of these new sausages is so freaking good!


This adorable family watched my segment live and tried the sausages for the first time….their reactions are priceless!

 My go-to “grilling wine” is Wines of Sicilia DOC, which bring out the smoky, spicy flavors in the sausage.  Sicily’s signature grape, Nero d’Avola is the perfect match for grilling season — as soon as you feel that smokiness with a hint of spice, there’s a surprising fruitiness that hits your palate.  It’s divine and it transports me back to my travels through Italy when I was in college!


Now let’s get back to that cheesecake.  One of my most pinned recipes is the Guilt Free Lemon Cheesecake. I decided to take it up a notch and do a layer of peanut butter cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake and make it “no bake,” because let’s be honest.  Who has time for baking on a holiday weekend?  It’s basically the love child of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cheesecake!  Look at those layers….OMG.


Peanut Butter and Jelly No Bake Cheesecake
The love child of cheesecake and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
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For the crust
  1. 1 stick salted butter
  2. 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
For the peanut butter cheesecake layer
  1. 1 (8oz) package of full fat cream cheese
  2. 1 tub of Cool Whip
  3. 1/3 cup sour cream
  4. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 1 Tb vanilla
  6. 1 cup powdered sugar
For the strawberry cheesecake layer
  1. 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  2. 1 tub cool whip
  3. 2 cups frozen strawberries
  4. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. 1 Tb vanilla
For the topping
  1. Whole strawberries (with the tops cut off)
  2. Blueberries
For the crust
  1. Melt 1 stick butter in pan.
  2. Add graham cracker crumbs and vanilla.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Cut out a circle of parchment paper and put it on the bottom of a springform pan.
  5. Spoon out the graham cracker crust on top of the parchment and press down (I use the bottom of a mug or measuring cup)
For the Peanut Butter Layer
  1. Mix ingredients in food processor with paddle attachment until smooth. Pour over graham cracker crust.
  2. Freeze for 30 minutes before adding strawberry layer.
For the strawberry layer
  1. Pulverize frozen strawberries in food processor until they are a puree consistency and set aside.
  2. Mix the rest of ingredients in food processor until smooth.
  3. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of batter and put in fridge (this will be the top layer of the cheesecake.)
  4. Add frozen strawberry puree to batter and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour strawberry layer on top of peanut butter layer and wrap entire springform pan in tin foil.
  6. Put in freezer for at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve
  1. Take cheesecake out of freezer 30-45 minutes before you want to serve it. Spread the 1 1/2 cups of topping on top of strawberry layer and decorate with strawberries and blueberries.
  1. Freezing the peanut butter layer is not totally necessary, but it helps keep the layers separate.
What's on Parker's Plate?
Now let’s talk about appetizers, because chips are not the answer!  This peanut curry dip is another recipe I worked with the Georgia Peanut Commission on and I am so excited about it.  Everyone on set who tried this was blown away!   Peanuts are a great way to power your day, keep your energy levels up (and your hunger levels down.) Peanut butter is easy and fun to incorporate into recipes because it’s “eat it out of the jar with a spoon) kinda good!


Peanut Curry Dip
A high protein, delicious dip for entertaining
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  1. 1 cup greek yogurt
  2. 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  3. 2 tsp fresh ginger (I love the tubes of fresh ginger from Gourmet Garden)
  4. 1 tsp fresh roasted garlic smashed
  5. 1 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  6. 2 tsp curry powder
  1. Combine ingredients until smooth.
  2. Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips.
  3. For the roasted garlic, preheat oven to 375.
  4. Slice off the top 1/3 of a head of garlic. Put cut side (face side down) in a small baking pan with about a cup of water. Cover with tin foil.
  5. Bake for an hour.
  6. Let cool and squeeze out garlic-- it will come out like a paste!
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 Happy Memorial Day, y’all!

Check out my Memorial Day Deals and Delish video with Christine Pullara on Atlanta & Company!


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Meatball Lollipops


Can we talk for a minute about meat on a stick?  This is not the carnival style version or boring old shish kebabs.  These are meatball lollipops, people!  And they will make everyone at your party come back for seconds– including the kiddos.

My grandma Ronnie taught me the best trick for tender meatballs while avoiding those chunks of onion and garlic and parsley that can sometimes ruin the mouth feel of the best bite.  Instead of doing the work to chop and dice, simply pop the onion, garlic and the parsley together into the food processor (or blender) and pulverize it.  You get a savory puree that gives the ground beef all of the flavor without all the chunks.  Brilliant!  Granda Ronnie was a baller in the kitchen– she LOVED making Italian food and I’m still working to replicate her sauce recipe.

You can sear off the meatballs in a fry pan before putting them in the oven, but I’ve found baking them is easiest and super low maintenance.  You can also make a larger portion of the meatball batter and freeze it for a later date. Or add some variety to the menu and pop the meatballs into slider rolls to serve at your next party.  They’re always a hit!


Meatball Lollipops
Tender, savory meatballs dressed up with sauce and lollipop sticks for easy eating.
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  1. 2 pounds ground beef
  2. 1/2 large sweet onion
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. handful of parsley (about a cup loosely packed)
  5. 3/4 cup grated parmesan (not the bottled fake stuff)
  6. 1/4 cup tomato pesto (sub tomato paste if you can't find the pesto)
  7. 1/4 cup cream
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1 Tb Italian seasoning
  10. 1 Tb garlic powder
  11. 1 tsp kosher salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  12. 3/4 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  13. Lollipop sticks (you can find them at your nearest craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Put onion, garlic and parsley in food processor or blender and pulverize until pureed.
  3. Add puree to beef mixture and fold in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs.
  5. Spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray and bake meatballs for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Flip over half way through cooking.
  6. Insert lollipop sticks and lay out on a tray.
  7. Spoon your favorite tomato sauce on top of meatballs lollipops (and more cheese if you'd like) before serving.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley.
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