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Appetizers & Sides

How to Build a Seasonal Cheese Board

A holiday-worthy cheese & charcuterie platter
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

Building a seasonal cheese board, @waitingonmartha

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season find us doing a whole lot of sitting, a whole lot of visiting, and a whole lot of noshing.  And what’s better, or easier to nosh on then a crowd pleasing, seasonal cheese and charcuterie board that will be quickly devoured even when a huge meal is next up on the menu.  I mean this is the season of over indulgence is it not? 

If you may remember, I shared this easy cheese and charcuterie board for New Years Eve last year, and shared my usual suspects on this ultimate cheese platter.  No matter what you have on your seasonal cheese board, it should be hard to stop at just one bite.  So with that in mind, I like to cater everyone with picks for the savory & sweet, the soft & hard, and the indulgent & health conscious alike. 

So let’s pick it apart this seasonal board, shall we?  On my seasonal cheese boards, you can usually always find the following: four to five mixed cheeses, think soft, hard, pungent and mild, (you can never go wrong with Cow Girl Creamery and Midnight Moon).  Two to three meats (think thinly shaved prosciutto and high quality salami).  A variety of local honey (I always include actual raw honeycomb because it’s so much prettier on the board), jam and chutney (fig is my favorite), spiced and salted nuts, and for this time of year roasted root vegetables. Root vegetables are especially an unexpected treat on the board, yet they’re such a simple way to incorporate warm, rustic flavors that pair so perfectly with the season.  And last but not least, I like to toss candied ginger on the spread for a little aid in clearing the palette between bites.  Tell me friends, what’s a must-have on your seasonal cheese board?!  Truly, MKR

P.S. If you’re at a loss for which cheeses and meats to include, don’t be afraid to ask someone at the deli counter in Whole Foods or your local grocery store.  They’ll be able to point you in the right direction for a nice variety of flavors that no one can resist. xo

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Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion, White Bean & Mushroom Fall Nachos Topped With Fresh Arugula & Fried Sage

A hearty (dare we say semi-healthy??) indulgence perfect for this time of year
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

Fall nachos with sweet potato, caramelized onions and arugula. Recipe by @waitingonmartha Fall nachos with sweet potato, caramelized onions and arugula, recipe by @waitingonmartha

When it comes to nachos, lets just say I take my nachos very seriously (you may remember my queso drenched vegetarian nachos, an ultimate lesson in layering and loading). They’re simply the easiest food to dress up, get creative with and full-out nosh on.  So in the spirit of mixing it up, today I give you my latest nacho creation: warm and cozy fall nachos (because you know I love all things fall).  

Spicy sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, cremini mushrooms and Great Northern beans come together on top of hearty, whole-grain chips for a simple, yet incredibly satisfying crunch in every bite.  A perfect blend of savory, salty and a hint of sweetness make these sweet potato nachos a true crowd-pleaser—and needless to say—an elevated take on your run-of-the-mill chips and cheese.  Plus you can prep the majority of the ingredients up to two days before, so when you go to actually build the nachos and bake them, it should only take about 20 minutes.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve, however, when it comes to these fall sweet potato nachos.  See, the secret is in blending your sweet potatoes in a blender for a mashed potato consistency.  I also douse the sweet potatoes with cayenne to give them a subtle heat, blending and seasoning with cayenne, salt and pepper as I go. Once blended, I use a spatula and spread the spicy mashed sweet potatoes onto every few chips (I like to use the really intense, thick 12-seed kind of chips to hold the weight of the toppings), along with a layer of Great Northern white beans, cremini mushrooms (always wiped clean with a dish rag, never rinsed with water), caramelized onions and a MIX of shredded Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese.  Lastly, while the cheese is melting, I flash fry sage (it takes about 30 seconds!) for a delightful addition with the fresh arugula to top it all off.  

While I’m pretty set on this winning combo for fall, I do love that the beauty of nachos is the opportunity to switch it up and choose whatever toppings you desire.  So try these fall sweet potato nachos as is but, then go ahead and have a little fun with your own renditions too.  Enjoy!  Truly, MKR

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Fall Nachos with Sweet Potatoes, Great Northern Beans, Cremini Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions with Fried Sage & Fresh Arugula
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. For the nachos
  2. 2 cans great northern white beans
  3. 1 cup cremini mushrooms, roughly cut into 1/4 inch strips
  4. 1 block white cheddar cheese, shredded
  5. 1 block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  6. Hearty chips (look for thick, heavy and whole grain)
  7. cayenne, to taste
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  9. fresh arugula, to garnish
  10. fresh sage, to fry and garnish
For the caramelized onions
  1. 6 giant onions, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 tablespoons water
  4. salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, boil sweet potatoes until tender.
  3. Blend sweet potatoes in a blender to create a mashed potato consistency.
  4. Place chips onto baking sheet, spreading with sweet potatoes, a layer of beans, caramelized onions* and mushrooms.
  5. Cook nachos without cheese for 10 minutes.
  6. Take nachos out, sprinkle shredded cheeses on top, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until melted.
  7. While the cheese is melting, fry the fresh sage in about an inch of oil in a small saute pan. Be sure to wait until the oil is hot before flash-frying the sage. It will take only about 30 seconds to fry.
  8. Top nachos with fried sage and fresh arugula, and serve!
For the caramelized onions
  1. Remove skins of onions and slice them into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Melt the butter in your skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add onions to your pan and stir them, making sure to coat them with butter.
  4. Stir onions and scrape the skillet every 5-10 minutes.
  5. After about an hour of cooking, your onions will be properly caramelized.
  6. Once cooked through, pour the water into the pan, scraping all of the bits. Season the onions with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. To cut down on prep time, you can make your sweet potato mash and caramelized onions the night before. When blending the sweet potatoes, add a tiny bit of water to the bender if it seems too dry. Season and taste as you go, adding more water if need be.
  2. I usually put half to 3/4 of my caramelized onions on my nachos, and save the rest. They keep well up to 2-3 days.
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Peanuts & Green Onions

A Healthier, Vegetarian Option for Gameday & Beyond
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites recipe by @waitingonmartha2016-08-24_0004Being a vegetarian during tailgating season causes you to get a little creative, you know?  But this recipe actually is one that even the biggest carnivores will tear into; these spicy buffalo cauliflower bites give buffalo wings a run for their money.  Even the Mr. agrees. 

These spicy buffalo cauliflower bites are made with my trusty air fryer (which I use for chicken wings too), so they’re pretty healthy and super easy to makes.  Simply toss with buffalo sauce and throw them into the air fryer cooking until lightly browned ( only for a few minutes per batch).  And while I’m whipping these up for tailgate season they also make the perfect accompaniment to any main dinner dish.  

As far as taste, well they achieve that whole all-in-one bite that I always enjoy.  The peanuts and green onions offer a nice cool crunch to the cauliflower florets doused in buffalo wing sauce. And when dipped in ranch or blue cheese (your preference, of course), you get that creamy cool-off from all that heat.  When serving, you can obvioulsy grab them with your fingers (if you don’t mind a little mess), but I like to serve them with spoons to capture all those flavors from the peanuts and green onions in each bite.  Truly, MKR

P.S. If you want to know my favorite buffalo sauce, it’s definitely Wing Time Buffalo Wing Sauce. 

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Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Peanuts & Green Onions
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head cauliflower, cut to size of preferred bites
  2. 1 bottle buffalo wing sauce
  3. 1 cup peanuts
  4. 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  5. Ranch and/or blue cheese dressing for dipping
  6. 1 Lime
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl toss all the cauliflower and 1/2 the buffalo sauce until combined.
  2. Add batches of cauliflower into you air fryer and fry until the cauliflower lightly crisps (about 5 minutes per batch).
  3. Repeat per additional batches, until all cauliflower is "fried."
  4. Sprinkle peanuts and green onions onto bites, sprinkle with a bit of fresh lime juice and serve with additional wing sauce and ranch and blue cheese dressing.
Notes
  1. **If you don't have an air fryer place cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast about 10 minutes and broil until brown...approximately 1-2 minutes.
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

 

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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