Bacon Chive Cream Cheese

Bacon chive cream cheese makes a great addition to your morning bagel! 

Bacon Chive Cream Cheese

College Park is a town best known for housing the University of Maryland’s main campus. When I first visited, it was a little run down with lots of empty store fronts. But now, it is crazy how fast it is filling up with new places. There are a ton of little hidden gems peppered in with the mainstream restaurants, of course. Usually, those hidden gems are way better than any Bobby’s Burger Palace. My most favorite is The Bagel Place.

This place, guys. I can’t really begin to describe it. They have every bagel flavor you could ever dream, paired with any cream cheese your heart desires. We used to get them on Fridays at the office and I’ve been pretty sad the tradition stopped. I was pretty loyal to one bagel/cream cheese combo in particular: the Old Bay bagel with bacon chive cream cheese. 

Bacon Chive Cream Cheese

If you’re from Maryland or live in Maryland or have been to Maryland or have driven past Maryland without stopping, you know Old Bay runs through the veins of this state. For people to say they don’t like it is akin to someone saying they don’t like Philly cream cheese or soft pretzels: illegal and morally wrong. I happen to love Old Bay and so this bagel spoke to me. But the stand out wasn’t even the bagel itself, it was the cream cheese. Creamy, loaded with salty bacon and chives, this bacon was the perfect compliment to that bagel. Since The Bagel Place is out of my way now, I’m making it at home non-stop. You should, too. Your bagels are naked without it!

Bacon Chive Cream Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a container and store in the fridge.
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Bacon Chive Cream Cheese

Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches for #SundaySupper

Italian hoagie style pressed picnic sandwiches take any picnic from boring to fabulous in one simple bite.

Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches

July is National Picnic Month, which is incredibly appropriate considering it is the warmest month of the year. And sure, maybe you don’t necessarily feel like slogging your goodies all the way to the beach in the oppressive heat. Or perhaps you aren’t into bugs and ants that undoubtedly swirl around any blanket or sheet you may lay down on top of a grassy area in your local park. If you put aside all the minor annoyances, however, picnics are awesome, especially if you can round up a great group of friends and family and encourage them all to bring their own fabulous dishes and drinks. 

I’ve wanted to make a pressed picnic sandwich for years but never had much reason to do so. And so this Sunday Supper event with Gallo Family Vineyards is basically the picnic of my dreams, the one I’ve truly been waiting for all year long. Gallo asked a few of us to come up with our best picnic wares to celebrate this month and I could not be more excited to see what everyone is bringing to the party. I of course brought the pressed picnic sandwich.

Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches

Now, if you know me well, you may be wondering why I didn’t bring a traditional hoagie. Here’s the answer: I just can’t. I’m a stubborn Northesterner and I can’t handle the conversation that will ensure over hoagie vs. sub vs. grinder. To me, it is and always will be a hoagie. Lingo and jargon aside, the flavors of a traditional Italian hoagie do me in every dang time. I cannot resist spicy capicola, stacked provolone and all the trimmings. I think pressed picnic sandwiches are meant to be classy foods but hey, I gave it a Philly spin by filling that fancy sandwich with all my favorite Italian hoagie ingredients. It goes perfectly with Gallo’s Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep richness of the wine doesn’t overpower but perfectly compliments the sandwich. And their mini bottles are completely picnic-ready, easily fitting into your adorable basket that you’ve no doubt packed. If you aren’t a deep red fan, try their Pinot Grigio with this as well, either works perfectly! 

The fun part about a pressed sandwich – besides stuffing it in your face – is in the preparation. You layer all of your ingredients onto the bread, make sure to pile ‘em sky high. Place the lid on top and then press between some heavy books. It causes the sandwich to collapse a bit, become this tiny bite so packed with flavor, you’ll wonder how all of that deliciousness managed to be in one bite. Plus the pressed sandwich makes you look more dignified – no ingredients falling all over our shirt. Try one and eat with dignity!

Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches

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Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf of Italian bread
  • 2 Tbsp. hoagie oil (found in the deli at your grocery store)
  • 8 slices capicola
  • 8 slices Genoa salami
  • 8 slices ham
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 2 to 3 large lettuce leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Begin by cutting your bread down the middle. Spread the hoagie oil over top of one half of the bread.
  2. Layer the capital on the bread, followed by the salami, ham and cheese. Top with onions and lettuce then place the second half on top.
  3. Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, then place a very heavy book on top (a dictionary works well). Let it sit for an hour, pressing the sandwich down.
  4. Place sandwich in the fridge until ready to slice and serve.
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Be sure to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper posts for a full picnic menu!

Picnic Appetizers:

Picnic Main Dishes:

Picnic Salads and Sides:

Picnic Sweets and Desserts:

Logo EJG Primary - New 2015Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.

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Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuna Cakes with Honey Mustard Aioli

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Bumble Bee Seafoods and am eligible to prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Tuna cakes with honey mustard aioli are an economical, delicious and healthy lunch choice  all year round. 

Tuna Cakes with Honey Mustard Aioli

If you live in Maryland, then you know we are good for one thing: seafood. Or, more specifically, crabs. And Marylanders take pride in having the best crab cakes, chock full o’ plump, fresh crab meat. There’s a constant unspoken competition in creating a no-filler crab cake and having it shine, every time. Having judged a crab cook-off for a few years, I can tell you there are plenty of delicious crab cakes, crab soups, crab fritters and crab pretzels out there.

Crab, however, is not even remotely close to economical. I can’t often be bothered spending so much on crab meat, so I turn to tuna instead. Tuna is so practical and flavorful and filling. In college, I used to get a tuna noodle salad every Friday before editing class. It was so loaded with mayo, I’m sure it cancelled out any health properties the tuna had but man, it was delicious. Tuna itself is full of protein, so I love eating it for lunch. It keeps me full forever and a day, which is great when you’re trying to NOT eat everything in sight out of boredom.

My favorite way to prepare tuna these days is in cake form. Why should crab cakes get all the attention when a properly seasoned and well-prepared tuna cake can be just as perfect? I am very loyal to Bumble Bee brand and used their prime fillet to make one serious, virtually filler-free tuna cake. And to top it off, some honey mustard aioli. I’d had a crab cake at the Taste of Cambridge that came with this aioli – I almost called it mustard until a wiser, more experienced foodie corrected me. It is the perfect compliment to the tuna, giving it a nice zing but not outshining the flavors from the cake.

This year, make tuna cakes with honey mustard aioli your summer go-to!

*A note about fillers – breadcrumbs – in these cakes or in crab cakes.  Do not, under any circumstances, add breadcrumbs because you think they are needed to hold things together. Whoever told you that was trying to sell you a cheaper cake.

Tuna Cakes with Honey Mustard Aioli

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cans Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna
  • For aioli:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whip together mayo, mustard, egg, Old Bay and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Open the tuna and drain it well. Fold it into the egg mixture.
  2. Using a 1/3 cup measure, form patties with the tuna. Place them on plastic wrap, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the tuna patties on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through and browned.
  5. While they cool, make the aioli by whisking together mayo, mustard and honey. Dollop some on each cake.
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Mango Raspberry Breakfast Smoothies

When it comes to cold and refreshing drinks, there are few more appealing than mango raspberry breakfast smoothies. 

Mango Raspberry Breakfast Smoothies

When I was a teenager and worked in the mall, I used to get a smoothie nearly every day. This was before they were even super trendy so let’s consider me ahead of the game here. I doubt these smoothies had many health properties, I don’t even know if they really had actual fruit in them. But they were sweet and creamy and cold. I was loyal to a fault when it came to this little stand peddling fruit concoctions.

I forgot about smoothies for a long time and even now only occasionally make one. As healthy and fruit-filled as a real smoothie can be, it’s still a lot of calories spent on a drink that doesn’t necessarily fill me up. I cannot and will not replace any meal with a smoothie, even breakfast. It’s not substantial enough. However, on a hot day, a cold and refreshing smoothie still hits the spot. I love the tropical fruit smoothie from a few years ago and will always say yes to an orange creamsicle style one. 

The mango raspberry breakfast smoothie is my new favorite. I say breakfast because it can definitely provide a good pick-me-up on those rough, too-early-for-anything mornings. It shouldn’t replace your meal – or your coffee – but should compliment it. It’s got the sweetness of the mango and the slightly tart flavor from the raspberries. Layer it in a glass to make it look extra pretty and you’ve got a great breakfast side!

Mango Raspberry Breakfast Smoothies

Ingredients

  • For the mango section:
  • 2/3 cups frozen mangos
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • For raspberry section:
  • 2/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients for the mango section until very smooth. Place in glasses, half way to the top. Rinse the blender well.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the raspberry section in the blender until smooth. Place on top of mango sections.
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Mint Iced Coffee

In the summer months, there is little as refreshing as iced coffee. Mint iced coffee ups the ante in a big way. 

Mint Iced Coffee

I always forget about iced coffee. It’s great and I love it in the summer months but most times, I instinctively head towards the hot pot of coffee or espresso. My body is trained to prepare coffee in that way, so I look towards weekends when my eyes aren’t so bleary to make iced coffees.

Mint iced coffee is definitely my summer staple this year, if only because my mint plant has grown ridiculously out of control. I have googled a million different ways to use fresh mint and tried a ton of different recipes and STILL have a ton of it. I just keep making mint syrup to spoon over everything and especially into my coffee.

The method here is simple. Mint syrup, coffee or espresso, ice, cream. I know a lot of people use cold brew during the summer but I stick to normal coffee or espresso, it’s less time-consuming.  Throw it all together in a glass or jar and you’re good to go. Enjoy, friends!

Mint Iced Coffee

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • cream
  • ice

Instructions

  1. Plate water, sugar and mint in a saucepan over medium. Bring to a boil, then reduce and cook ten minutes until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Strain out the mint and place the mixture in a jar.
  3. To prepare the coffee, place 3 Tbsp. mint syrup in the bottom of a glass. Top with espresso then ice. Pour cream over top.
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