Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Single serving snacks for safer entertaining

Happy race week! 

If you’re not from Indiana, you may not realize this, but the Indianapolis 500 race is a HUGE deal. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the little town of Speedway to be part of the festivities and watch the race.

But the race experience this year will be very different. No fans are allowed due to the global pandemic. 

Normally, the race is blacked out for central Indiana residents, but because of the current circumstances, the blackout was lifted, which means for just the fourth time in Indy 500 history, locals can watch the race live.

It’s very exciting for a lot of fans, and many are planning watch parties. However, I want to circle back and remind everyone that the reason you can watch the race is because of the global pandemic.

That being said, it isn’t practical to carry on with entertaining in the same way we always have. Sharing popular party foods like chips and dip will also result in sharing germs. It’s even risky for everyone to use the same serving spoon. So I created several recipes which focus on individual-sized portions and will allow guests to enjoy their snacks in a safer way.

Before I share the recipes, I want to make it clear that the best ways to avoid getting the coronavirus are to keep a safe distance from everyone, wear a mask, and wash your hands. I also feel the need to say the safest watch party is outside with a small group.

Buffalo chicken wonton bites


  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buffalo or hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Green onions to garnish, if desired


  1. Combine cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, Greek yogurt, buffalo sauce and blue cheese in saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir ingredients until cheese is melted, or about 7 to 10 minutes
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and fold in chicken
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  5. Spray muffin tin (mini or regular) with nonstick spray
  6. Place one wonton wrapper in each muffin tin cavity, pressing down gently 
  7. Bake in oven for about 8 minutes, or until wonton wrappers start to brown
  8. Remove from oven and spoon buffalo chicken dip into each wonton cup
  9. Return to oven and bake another 5 to 8 minutes, or until wontons are golden brown
  10. Top with sliced green onions and additional blue cheese if desired

Baked Asian Pork Meatballs


  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Hoisin sauce
  • 1 head butter lettuce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line baking sheet that has raised edges with aluminum foil and set aside
  3. Combine egg, almond flour, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, pepper, and salt in bowl
  4. Add ground pork to bowl and use hands to mix ingredients together until just combined
  5. Use hands to form 1-inch meatballs and place them onto baking sheet
  6. Bake for 10 minutes; switch oven to broil and broil meatballs until browned, or about 3 minutes
  7. Remove meatballs from oven and drizzle hoisin sauce on top
  8. Separate lettuce leaves from head of butter lettuce and place 1 meatball into each lettuce leaf before serving

Hummus phyllo cups


  • 1 box mini phyllo shells (found in freezer section at grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, finely diced 
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, mined


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Place phyllo shells onto baking sheet and bake 5 minutes
  3. Remove from oven and let cool several minutes
  4. Fill shells with 1 teaspoon hummus
  5. Divide cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, and parsley evenly between the shells

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Peanut butter and jelly grilled cheese with bacon

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I wanted to create a few state fair-themed recipes in honor of the Indiana State Fair that was supposed to start on Friday but unfortunately isn’t happening this year.

One of my favorite things to do at the state fair is visit the Indiana Dairy Association’s Dairy Bar. They serve a variety of grilled cheeses, milkshakes, and ice cream. It’s always delicious!

Each year the Dairy Bar features a unique specialty grilled cheese. So in honor of the Dairy Bar, I created my own unique grilled cheese sandwich: Peanut Butter and Jelly Grilled Cheese with Bacon!

Before I explain my grilled cheese creation, I want to preface it by saying I don’t add ingredients to a recipe without first having a clear vision for their purpose in the dish.

That being said, I’m going to tell you why this sandwich works so well and what role each of the key ingredients plays.

Here is the list of key ingredients: peanut butter, raspberry jelly, cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, and bacon.

I’m going to start by explaining the role peanut butter plays because its role in the grilled cheese sandwich probably raises the most eyebrows. First, let me bring up the fact that nuts are commonly found on cheese plates. That being said, pairing a nut spread with cheese isn’t that much different. Peanut butter adds a level of decadence and savory sweetness that is nonexistent on grilled cheese sandwiches without it. I recommend using a “natural” or no-sugar added peanut butter. My favorite peanut butter is the peanut butter from Trader Joe’s that is made with just peanuts.

Raspberry jelly also plays into the sweet and savory flavor combination. Really, you could use any flavor of jelly, but I like raspberry because it has a strong flavor that doesn’t get dominated by the other ingredients.

Now I want to talk about the cheese combination: cream cheese and white cheddar cheese. There are two types of cheese you want when making grilled cheese: creamy and stringy. Cream cheese is smooth and rich; white cheddar cheese has really good “cheese pull,” it’s sharp, and it packs a punch. Also, the sharpness of the cheddar complements the sweet raspberry jelly. I used Challenge cream cheese for this recipe because I know they use hormone-free milk from local dairies, resulting in all-natural and high-quality products. 

And last but not least—bacon! It adds a salty crunch and plays into the combination of textures and flavors.

Peanut butter and jelly grilled cheese with bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 Tablespoons natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry jelly
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 slices white cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Butter one side of one slice of bread with 1 Tablespoon butter. Place bread butter side down in skillet.
  3. Spread peanut butter on bread while it’s in skillet. 
  4. Spread jelly on top of peanut butter.
  5. Top with bacon and cheese slice.
  6. Take second piece of bread and spread cream cheese on it. Place bread on top of cheese with cream cheese side down to close up sandwich.
  7. Spread the other 1 Tablespoon butter on top of the bread.
  8. Cook until the bread on the bottom is golden brown, or about 3 minutes, and then flip over.
  9. Continue cooking until cheese is melted. 
  10. Serve immediately.

Fried baklava wontons

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

My favorite thing about the state fair is probably the sheer novelty of the wacky snacks people actually want to try. For example, I probably wouldn’t order a beef sundae or a pork parfait at a restaurant, but if it’s served at the state fair, count me in! I truly love over-the-top fair foods!

So as I was reflecting on state fairs from years past, I started thinking about which of my favorite foods would benefit from a “state fair makeover.” I decided to go with baklava—fried, covered in honey syrup, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

To do this, I filled wonton wrappers with a mixture of cream cheese, walnuts, sugar, honey, and a little cinnamon.

I used rich and creamy Challenge cream cheese because it's the only company I know that uses hormone free milk from local dairies.

Obviously, none of this is authentic, but the filling really encompasses the flavors of baklava.

I fried the baklava wontons in canola oil, and after they finished cooking, I drizzled them with a traditional baklava syrup made of honey, water, sugar, and cinnamon. And of course, a little sprinkle of powdered sugar on top makes everything better.

If you have issues with the wontons puffing up like pillows when you fry them, stick them in the freezer first—it doesn’t have to be for long, maybe a few minutes—and that should solve the issue.

Fried baklava wontons
Ingredients for the wontons
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 ounces walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • About 4 cups canola oil for deep frying
Ingredients for the syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
Directions for the wontons
  1. Combine walnuts, softened cream cheese, sugar, honey, and cinnamon.
  2. Lay out wonton wrapper and moisten edges with water. 
  3. Place 1 teaspoon filling into center of wonton wrapper,
  4. Bring two opposite corners of wonton wrapper up to meet over filling and pinch seams together in a triangular shape, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible while doing so.
  5. Preheat 1 inch of oil in frying pan over medium heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Drop wontons into hot oil, turning occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Make sure to not overcrowd pan.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
Directions for syrup
  1. Combine all syrup ingredients in saucepan and cook on medium heat.
  2. Let syrup come to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Drizzle syrup on top of wontons, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, and serve.

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