Parmesan-Pepper Jack Cheese Crisps

Makes 20 to 24.

Note: You may have heard of Parmesan crisps, the one-ingredient wonders. I think these cheese crisps are less salty than the Parmesan crisps I’ve had before, and the pepper Jack adds some nice heat. From Jennifer Palcher-Silliman.

• 1 c. shredded pepper Jack cheese

• 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the 2 cheeses, then form into roughly 2-inch circles on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


Spicy Maple Bacon

Makes 16 slices.

Note: Bacony goodness is never out of season, but this version provides a zesty touch to your party table. The maple/mustard/Sriracha sauce is very versatile. Make extra to brush on grilled chicken, pork or salmon; glaze a baked ham; or serve as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders or pigs in a blanket. Just keep the proportions the same — two parts syrup, two parts mustard and one part Sriracha. This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten.

• 8 slices thick-cut smoked bacon

• 2 tsp. pure maple syrup

• 2 tsp. yellow mustard

• 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the slices of bacon in half. Place a baking rack on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the rack. Bake the bacon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges start to get crispy.

Stir the syrup, mustard and Sriracha together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven very carefully. Using tongs, turn the bacon slices over on the rack. Brush each slice with the sauce until coated. Return bacon to the oven and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until desired crispiness.

Baked Brie With Pecans

Serves 20 to 24.

Note: My mom has been making a version of this indulgent treat for years. We usually serve it as an appetizer, but it would be great as a dessert, too. From Jennifer Palcher-Silliman.

• 1 (5-in.) Brie round

• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

• 1/2 c. brown sugar

• 1/4 c. chopped pecans

• Sliced baguette, apples or pears


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the Brie in an oven-safe serving dish. Bake the Brie for 8 to 10 minutes to soften.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir, cooking until the mixture is well incorporated and bubbly. Stir in the pecans.

Remove the Brie from the oven and pour the pecan mixture over the cheese. Serve immediately with sliced baguette, or if you prefer, sliced apples or pears.