Category Archives: Appetizers

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.
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*This post and segment were sponsored by The California Beef Council, but all opinions are my own.

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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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!  While you’re shopping, check out these gas grills ratings and recommendations to get helpful advice. 


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.
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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!


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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Beef Burrito Bowls

beefbowltortillaGet out of the taco box and INTO THE BURRITO BOWL, y’all!  

These are my new favorite dish because they’re simple, but the homemade burrito bowls make your guests feel special– and you can eat the whole thing without a fork, a knife or a plate!

This month is National Beef Month and Georgia Beef Month, and I’ve partnered with the Georgia Beef Board and the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association to create some outstanding beef recipes in May.  Twist my arm, why don’t you….you know I’m a low-carb lover and beef is something I crave for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Believe it or not, 3oz of lean beef only has 160 calories so you can power your day with protein and won’t get that dreaded snack attack mid-morning.  

For the burrito bowl, mix and match your favorite toppings– from sour cream to guacamole and black beans.  If you have a crowd coming over, it’s awesome to set up a “burrito bar” and let people help themselves and build their own bowls.  I cooked New York strip medium rare and then diced it up into bite size pieces for the mini burrito bowls, but feel free to change it up with another cut of steak– or even ground beef with taco seasoning.

Click here for a look at the burrito bowls live on WTVM in Columbus, GA!

Beef Burrito Bowls
Layers of burrito delicious inside an edible tortilla bowl.
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  1. taco size flour tortillas (corn tortillas don't hold their shape as well)
  2. sliced New York strip steak, cooked medium rare
  3. Mexican rice
  4. black beans
  5. guacamole
  6. roasted corn
  7. chopped cherry tomatoes
  8. chopped jalpenos (seeds removed)
  9. cotija cheese (or Mexican crumbling cheese)
  10. Hellman's Chipotle mayo
For the bowls
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and press tortillas into tins. Sides of the tortillas will fold inward a little-- just press them to the side and they'll end up in a cool shape.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes until hardened and slightly browned.
To build the bowls
  1. Layer with rice, beans, corn, guacamole and assorted toppings in whatever order you prefer.
  2. Drizzle with chipotle mayo.
  3. *To make your own chipotle mayo, mix 2 Tb adobo sauce from a can of chipotles into 3/4 cup mayo. Add 1 Tb honey and stir to combine.
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Easter Entertaining Part 2


First of all, how awesome does this set look?  Big shout out to Party City for the Egg-celent Easter decorations!  Now, let’s talk about what I like to call “deceptively delicious” menu planning.  I don’t have kids (yet!) but I do know from my experience with children that sometimes you have to get them to be creative when it comes to eating the “good for you” stuff.  It’s as easy as swapping out milk for Premier Protein in this delicious recipe.  They come out thin and crispy and super delish!  I added just a touch of Grade B maple syrup.


Then, the whole family gets a boost of energy without all the sugar.  The recipe calls for Premier Protein’s Vanilla Shake – which is packed with 30g of protein, only 1g of sugar and 160 calories.  It’s a yummy and healthy option for your family’s Easter brunch.

In the mood for a smoothie instead?  You can make a Carrot Cake smoothie that you, the kids (and the Easter Bunny) will rave about!

Carrot Cake Smoothie
A healthy alternative to carrot cake all packed into a smoothie with 30 grams of protein
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  1. 1 Premier Protein vanilla shake
  2. 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  3. 1/2 frozen banana
  4. 1 cup spinach
  5. 1 1oz box of raisins
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. Dash of ground nutmeg
  8. Dash of ground cloves
  9. Splash of honey
  10. 3 ice cubes
  1. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
What's on Parker's Plate?
Filling the kiddos’ eggs with sweets?  Swap out junk food for scrumptious, healthy Honey Bunches of Oats Crunch O’s.  Fill your kids’ Easter basket with colorful eggs stuffed with the cereal. It makes the perfect snack — as well as traditional cereal.


New Honey Bunches of Oats Crunch O’s is made with the addition of whole grain O’s to to the traditional mix of flakes and bunches, which adds more crunch, texture and variety in every spoonful.  My favorite is the Honey Crunch O’s!  You know when you finish a bowl of cereal and then there’s milk left over that the cereal has been soaking in?  OMG. Creamy, yummy sips of honey! 


Now let’s talk Farm to Table Sandwiches with Hellmann’s Organic Original Mayonnaise.  Specifically, Asiago & Prosciutto Toasts with Hellmann’s Organic Garlic Mayonnaise and an Open-Faced Salmon Sandwiches with Herb Cucumber Relish.  Can anyone say, Easter Brunch?  

Hellmann’s just introduced 2 new products – the first-ever organic mayonnaise and plant-based, eggless spread – both of which make great bases for lighter twists on classic spring and summer recipes– from salads to dips.  The organic mayo is USDA-certified with no artificial flavoring or preservatives and is available in 3 delicious flavors: Original, Roasted Garlic, and Spicy Chipotle.  This creamy delish from Hellmann’s, free from cholesterol, eggs, and artificial colors and flavors.


This is going to be my new GO-TO entertaining appetizer– I was literally licking the melty mayo cheese off the toasts after the segment on Atlanta & Company!  

Asiago & Prosciutto Toasts
A creamy, melty, savory topping with asiago, prosciutto and garlic mayo on crostinis.
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  1. 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  2. 1/3 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Organic Garlic Mayonnaise
  3. 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, about 5 slices, chopped
  4. 1 loaf (12-in.) French baguette, sliced into 18 pieces
  5. 3 Tbsp. balsamic glaze
  6. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Combine Asiago, Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Organic Garlic Mayonnaise and prosciutto in small bowl.
  2. Spread cheese mixture evenly on baguette slices, then arrange on baking sheet.
  3. Broil until golden, about 3 minutes. Arrange toasts on serving platter, then drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with basil.
  1. Tip: To make your own balsamic glaze, simmer balsamic vinegar over medium heat until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon.
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 The open faced salmon sandwich has an herb cucumber relish that takes it to a whole new level of awesome.  It’s so refreshing and tastes like spring!

salmon open faced

Open-Faced Salmon Sandwiches with Herb Cucumber Relish
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  1. 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods Organic Original Mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  3. 3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  4. 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs, (dill, tarragon or parsley)
  5. 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  6. 4 slices pumpernickel bread, toasted
  7. 1 cup lightly packed arugula
  8. 4 slices beefsteak tomato
  9. 8 ounces salmon fillet, broiled or poached, cut into 4 pieces
  1. Combine Hellmann's® Organic Original, cucumber, onion, herbs and mustard in small bowl.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon cucumber relish on each toast slice. Evenly top with arugula, tomato, salmon, then remaining relish.
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Now that the little ones have had their fill of the Easter candy, it’s time to get them to brush their teeth!  The dreaded before bed task!  Hello Toothpaste has flavors the kids will LOVE: choose from hello’s bubble gum, blue raspberry or fluoride free natural watermelon.


When I was a kid, my parents would always give us stockings filled with toiletries, like toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo.  Easter is the perfect opportunity to do a “Clean and Healthy Teeth” basket!  And, hello’s flavors not only get the kid’s teeth clean (after eating that chocolate Easter Bunny) the flavors tastes so good that they won’t argue with you!

Each toothpaste is as natural as can be with products free from dyes, parabens, microbeads or artificial sweeteners.

Just don’t be surprised when they start going through the tubes faster than normal!  On that note, hello and Happy Easter!

*This is a sponsored post by Premier Protein, Honey Bunches Of Oats, Hellman’s and hello toothpaste, but all opinions are my own.

Peanut Coconut Curry Soup


This is delicious on so many levels– the layers of spicy, sweet and savory are elevated by the combination of textures with the velvety soup and the crunch of the peanuts!  It could literally double as a sauce for chicken, beef, pork or shrimp.  It’s also so decadent, that you can serve it with a simple salad and call it dinner.  The “wow factor” comes from creamy peanut butter which is folded into the soup, while a can of full fat coconut milk adds to the exotic feel and taste!

I partnered with The Georgia Peanut Commission this month for National Peanut Month to create a series of scrumptious recipes with peanuts and showcase them on TV shows across Georgia, which happens to be The Peanut Capital of the World!  Peanuts are such a versatile nut– they can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and dessert so easily.  Plus, they help power your day with loads of protein!  In addition to their monounsaturated fat content, peanuts feature a number of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health. They are good sources of vitamin E, niacin and folate.

This is also the perfect time to really celebrate the hard working 3500 peanut farmers in Georgia, dedicated to an industry that provides over 50,000 jobs!  Stay tuned for utterly yummy recipes over the next couple weeks and make sure to hashtag #parkersplate if you post your versions on social media!

'I was meant to become a peanut butter, but someone forgot to cross the final t.'

Peanut Coconut Curry Soup
A creamy, savory Thai inspired soup
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  1. 1 Tb canola oil
  2. 1/2 sweet onion diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic diced
  4. 1 red bell pepper diced
  5. 1-2 Tb red chili paste
  6. 1 Tb fresh ginger
  7. 2 Tb brown sugar
  8. 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  9. 1 tsp fish sauce
  10. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  11. juice from 1/2 a lime
  12. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  13. pinch kosher salt
  14. crushed peanuts for garnish
  15. fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. Saute onion, garlic and pepper in canola oil on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add red chili paste and continue stirring another 30 seconds until fragrant. (I added 2 Tb to my recipe because I like it spicy, but add less if you want to bring down the heat!)
  3. Add the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
  5. Serve with crushed peanuts and chopped cilantro sprinkled in middle of soup.
What's on Parker's Plate?

Super Bowl Sammies: The Peyton Manwich vs. The Ham Newton



I had soooo much fun coming up with these recipes for my segment on Good Day Atlanta!  Little secret here, when the Super Bowl comes around, I’m usually far more interested in what the menu is– than what teams are playing.  Sandwiches are one of my favorite things on the planet– so in the spirit of “SUPER BOWL,” here are some SUPER sized Sammies paying tribute to the quarterbacks on each team:  Peyton Manning from the Denver Broncos inspired The Peyton Manwich and Cam Newton from the Carolina Panthers inspired the HAM Newton.  See what I did there??

Since Colorado is famous for both buffalo and green chilies, I thought I would add some cheesy, crunchy glory and create the love child between a burger and burrito– Burgerito, anyone?  First, you start with 2 buffalo burgers topped with green chilies and pepper jack cheese.  Then, you wrap the burgers (buns and all) with a large flour tortilla, then top with cheese, and bake till the cheese is melty and the burrito is crunchy.  Then add green chili sauce and jalapenos.  Oh, yeah, meet the Peyton Manwich….



Gooey, cheesy, crunchy yum!

Gooey, cheesy, crunchy yum!


The Peyton Manwich
A Double Buffalo Burger with cheese wrapped in a burrito and topped with green chili sauce.
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For the Buffalo Burgers and Tortilla Wrap
  1. 1 1/2 pounds ground buffalo
  2. 1/2 pound ground chuck
  3. 3 Tb crunchy onions (in spice aisle)
  4. kosher salt and pepper to taste
  5. slices of pepper jack cheese
  6. green chilis
  7. Large flour tortilla
  8. shredded cheese
  9. pickled jalapenos
For the Green Chili Sauce
  1. 2 Tb canola oil
  2. 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  3. 2 garlic cloves chopped
  4. 4 Tb flour
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1 (27 ounce) can roasted green chills (diced)
  7. 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  8. 1 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 tsp black pepper
  10. 2 TB fresh lime juice
  11. 2 Tb honey
For the burgers
  1. Combine buffalo and chuck, fold in crunchy onions.
  2. Form into patties and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until rare (they will cook more in the oven)
  4. Put 2 patties in buns and top with diced green chilis and pepper jack cheese.
  5. Wrap in a large flour tortilla and top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 until cheese has melted. Top with green chili sauce and jalapenos.
For the Green Chili Sauce
  1. In a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions, garlic and jalapeno and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour and stir constantly until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the can of chilis 1 cup water, the vinegar and salt and stir until the liquid is smooth and all the flour is dissolved and sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add honey, lime juice, salt and pepper. Puree in a blender or food processor. Adjust to taste for salt and pepper. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
To serve
  1. Spoon green chili sauce onto tortilla after it comes out of the oven.
  1. Green Chili sauce adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe.
What's on Parker's Plate?
Next on our Super-sized menu, The Ham Newton!  Years ago, I did a BBQ story at a local joint in South Georgia and they had a massive sandwich called The Big Jim.  It was loaded with various BBQ meats and topped with coleslaw and onion rings!  Like, Heart Attack on a Platter kinda sandwich!  Here we go….

TheHamNewton That’s 7 layers, y’all:  Texas Toast, Ham steak, pork BBQ, beef brisket, bacon, coleslaw and crispy onion rings.  OHHHHHEEEEEEMMMMMMMGGGGGGGEEEEEE.


The Ham Newton
7 layers of meaty delish
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  1. 2 pieces Texas Toast buttered and toasted
  2. 2 Tb mayo
  3. 1 small ham steak
  4. 1/4 pound pork BBQ
  5. 1/4 pound beef brisket
  6. 4 pieces of bacon
  7. 1/4 cup coleslaw
  8. 5 crunchy onion rings
  1. Toast bread and spread with mayo.
  2. Layer with ham, pork BBQ, beef brisket, bacon, coleslaw and onion rings.
What's on Parker's Plate?
 And, there I am, stuffing the Whole Ham Newton into my pie hole on live TV.  SCORE!  The sandwich is actually bigger than Fox 5 anchor, Denise Dillon… ( :

Enjoy the game– and the sandwiches, folks! 


Chicken Sausage

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites 2 Ways

Chicken Sausage

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites

My new motto is “Sausage Swap,” y’all!  It really is the new bacon, if you haven’t heard.  Skewer some for a garnish on your Bloody Mary and add it to Dirty Rice for a “Quick and Dirty Dinner!”

I teamed up with Johnsonville again to bring you even more sausage delish– so you can sausage-ize your favorite Game Day dishes.  Instead of boring old buffalo chicken wings, swap out with sausage– I made 2 different versions of Buffalo Chicken Sausage bites.  You’re not only swapping out for big flavor, you’re also saving on calories, sodium and fat.  Chicken sausage has 50% less fat than classic smoked beef sausage and 25% less sodium.  I also love how versatile it is–  in one of these recipes, you’re simply slicing the sausage as is— in the other, you pull it out of the casing and form meatballs with the addition of jalapenos and mango for a sweet and spicy kick!  

You can use buffalo sauce right out of the bottle, but if you add a little melted butter, a few Tablespoons of blue cheese and a bit of white vinegar, the sauce tastes soooo much better.  Trust me on this one!

Another tip, once you form your chicken sausage meatballs, saute them in a pan to brown the outside– it also seals in the juicy flavor— and then cook them off in the oven.

Chicken sausage meatballs on the set of Great Day Washington.

Chicken sausage meatballs on the set of Great Day Washington.

Great Day Washington

With Great Day Washington hosts Chris Leary and Markette Sheppard.

It’s actually a miracle I made it to the set, since I got trapped in the “Pre-Blizzard Ice Storm” that hit the DC area Wednesday night!  I didn’t make it home with my groceries until after midnight (what should have been a 20 minute commute took 4 1/2 hours!) Thank goodness Mama Parker stepped in and helped me prep and cook till 3am!  

Here’s the link to the segment on Great Day Washington and see below for the recipes…..

*This post and segment was sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage, but all opinions are my own.

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites
Yummy, savory chicken sausage with buffalo sauce and blue cheese
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  1. 1 cup Canola oil
  2. 1 package Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage
  3. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  4. 2 teaspoons corn starch
  5. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  6. 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  9. 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. In a 4 quart saucepan, heat the oil on moderate heat. While the oil is heating, cut the sausages in 1/2 inch coins, and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the chili powder and corn starch and combine thoroughly.
  3. When the oil is hot (350 degrees), add half the Chicken Apple Sausage slices and fry until brown and the casings are shrinking just a bit.
  4. Remove and drain on a pan lined with paper towels and cook the remaining sausage. Coat with melted butter and hot sauce.
  5. Make the dip by combining the blue cheese and sour cream, adding lemon juice until it reaches your desired consistency.
  6. Serve with the buffalo chicken sausage bites.
What's on Parker's Plate?
Buffalo Chicken Sausage Meatballs
Spicy chicken sausage mixed with jalapeno and mango, drenched in tangy buffalo sauce with blue cheese dressing.
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For the meatballs
  1. 2 lbs. Johnsonville spicy chicken sausage taken out of casings
  2. ½ onion finely chopped
  3. 1 cup mangoes diced
  4. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  5. ¼ C. cilantro chopped
  6. 2-3 tbsp. finely diced jalapeño
  7. 1 eggs
  8. 1 Tb chili powder
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp cumin
  11. ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  12. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
For the Buffalo Sauce
  1. 1 bottle of buffalo hot sauce
  2. 3 Tb melted butter
  3. 2 Tb white vinegar
  4. 3 Tb blue cheese
  5. Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and serve warm.
For the Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. 1 cup sour cream
  2. ¼ cup blue cheese (plus more if you want)
  3. 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
  4. kosher salt to taste
  5. chives for garnish
For the meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Add all ingredients into a bowl and combine thoroughly. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.
  3. Saute meatballs in 1 Tb butter and 1 Tb canola oil until browned all over (but not cooked through).
  4. Put meatballs on parchment paper or a greased rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Pour buffalo sauce over meatballs and drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Sprinkle with more blue cheese and chives.
For the Buffalo Sauce
  1. Combine ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat and pour over meatballs (or dip in with sauce on side).
For the Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. Combine ingredients and drizzle over meatballs.
  2. Serve with chopped chives sprinkled over meatballs.
What's on Parker's Plate?