A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Baked Jalapeño Poppers Bacon-Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Dip Buffalo Chicken Dip Hot Swiss Bacon Dip White Bean and Rosemary Dip Crab and Artichoke Dip Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip Pecan

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Baked Jalapeño Poppers Bacon-Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Dip Buffalo Chicken Dip Hot Swiss Bacon Dip White Bean and Rosemary Dip Crab and Artichoke Dip Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip Pecan

14 Recipes to Make on Game Day

jalapeno poppers

Baked Jalapeño Poppers
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 1 dozen.

12 large jalapeño peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar, shredded
6 ounces plain goat cheese
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Wash peppers and pat dry. Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over jalapeños and toss. Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add panko and stir. Allow panko to brown on low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together cheddar, goat cheese, and salt. Fill each half of pepper with cheese mixture, allowing room for the panko. Brush the cheese mixture with the egg; top with panko. Place stuffed peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, panko side up. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with sour cream (optional).

Back to Top

Bacon-Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Dip
Recipe by Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr

1 pound Neese’s Hickory Smoked bacon
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup hot sauce
Pinch of salt
2 (4 ounce) jars pimentos, drained
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
Chips or crackers (for serving)

Cut bacon into slivers and cook over medium-low heat. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350º.

In a mixer, cream together shredded cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, hot sauce, and salt. Add pimentos, jalapeños, and bacon. Mix well to combine.

Transfer mixture to an 8-inch casserole dish or ramekin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbling and browned. Serve hot with chips or crackers.

Back to Top

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
¾ cup buffalo sauce (Texas Pete)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 green onions, sliced
1½ cups cornflakes cereal

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, toss shredded chicken and buffalo sauce until chicken is coated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add buffalo chicken mixture, ½ cup of the Cheddar cheese, ½ cup of the Monterey Jack cheese, and green onions. Stir to combine.

Spread mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan and top with remaining cheese and cornflakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with celery and/or pita chips and your favorite blue cheese dressing.

Back to Top

Hot Swiss and Bacon Dip

Hot Swiss Bacon Dip
Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yields: 6 to 8 servings.

½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) Swiss cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ sleeve butter crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350˚. Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, and Swiss cheese in a bowl. Stir in green onions and bacon. Spread mixture in a shallow 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle crackers on top. Drizzle butter over crackers. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot with crackers.

Back to Top

White Bean and Rosemary Dip
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 cups.

2 (14.5-ounce) cans navy or cannellini beans, drained
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Juice from 1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
¼ cup olive oil

In mixing bowl, blend all ingredients together. Mash beans with a fork, leaving some whole beans visible.

Back to Top

Crab and Artichoke Dip

Crab and Artichoke Dip
Recipe by Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr

Yield: 4-6 servings.

1 ½ teaspoon oil
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ cup light mayonnaise
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
8 ounces fresh or pasteurized crab meat
Salt to taste
½ cup sliced almonds (optional)

Sauté red bell pepper in oil for 3 minutes. Remove from stove top.

Preheat oven to 375º.

In a mixing bowl, combine sautéed pepper and all remaining ingredients except crab, and mix well.

Add in crab meat until just combined. Season to taste.

Add mixture to a small, greased baking dish. Top with sliced almonds if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown and bubbly. Serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Tip: May also be used as stuffing for mushroom caps.

Back to Top

Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

1 (12-ounce) jar Mt. Olive roasted whole red peppers, drained
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 (8-ounce) blocks feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
Crackers, bread, or sliced vegetables (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400°. Place roasted peppers on a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Roughly chop peppers and place in a mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir until well combined. Fold feta into cream cheese mixture.

Spoon cheese mixture into an oven-safe baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle olive oil and fresh lemon juice on top just before serving. Serve with crackers, crusty bread, and/or vegetable crudités.

Back to Top

Pecan Party Mix Recipe

Pecan Party Mix
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 cups.

3 cups Crispix cereal
2 cups Cheerios cereal
3 cups Cheez-It crackers
2 cups pecan halves
2 cups mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
8 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dill

Preheat oven to 300°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place cereal, crackers, pecans, and pretzels in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add butter, Worcestershire, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Pour seasoned butter over dry mix, and toss until all dry ingredients are coated.

Pour party mix onto baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to reach room temperature. Place in airtight container.

Back to Top

Candied Bacon Party Squares
Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

8 slices thick-cut bacon
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup grated Gruyère
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
Sliced party-sized rye bread

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place a wire rack inside a large baking sheet and arrange bacon slices in a single layer.

Bake until bacon begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

During the last five minutes of cooking, remove pan from oven and drizzle a little maple syrup and brown sugar over each slice; season with ground pepper. Bake until syrup caramelizes and bacon is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Cool and crumble bacon, reserving some crumbles for garnish.

In a bowl, combine bacon, cheeses, mayonnaise, and scallions.

Spread on bread slices and place on a large baking sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove pan from freezer and bake until toasts are golden brown and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Back to Top

Sausage Stuffed Japapenos

Sausage & Pimento Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños
Recipe by Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr

Yield: 10 appetizer-sized servings.

10 jalapeños
6 ounces cheddar cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon roasted pimentos
2 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cooked ground sausage

For garnishing (optional):
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon to crispy. Crumble and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Shred cheddar cheese and mix with cream cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise, salt, and paprika. Add sausage and stir to incorporate.

Halve and core jalapeños, and fill each half with a tablespoon of filling. Arrange stuffed jalapeños in a baking sheet.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until peppers have softened and cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top peppers with bacon and cilantro and serve hot.

Back to Top

Easy Pimento Cheese
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 cups.

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Place grated cheese in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, pimentos, hot sauce, salt, and sugar. Pour over grated cheese and stir with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy on sandwiches, crackers, burgers, or celery sticks.

Back to Top

Tailgate Ham Rolls
Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

8 ounces whipped margarine, softened
3 tablespoons regular mustard
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, finely grated
2 cups deli ham, grated or finely chopped
½ pound Swiss cheese, grated or sliced
4 packs small dinner rolls

Preheat oven to 400˚. Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Slice rolls horizontally, and lightly spread mixture on cut sides of bread. Place ham and cheese on the bottom half of rolls, replace roll tops, and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes.

Back to Top

honey ginger chicken

Honey-Ginger Chicken
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon white pepper
12 skinless, boneless chicken wings
¼ cup sesame seeds
4 green onions, sliced
Fresh lime wedges (optional)

In a food processor, mix garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and honey. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, oil, and pepper. Add half of the honey-soy sauce mixture and stir.

Pour vinegar and honey mixture into a large Ziploc bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place marinated chicken wings in baking dish. Discard plastic bag and any unused marinade inside. Baste chicken wings with some of the reserved honey-soy sauce mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken wings over and baste with more of the reserved honey-soy sauce mixture. Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with sliced green onions and fresh lime wedges before serving.

Back to Top

Shrimp & Guacamole Wonton Bites
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings (2 per person).

24 wonton wrappers
24 large, fresh shrimp (31/36 count per pound), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

For the guacamole:
3 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 3 limes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red onion, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each muffin cup, gently pressing the wrapper to the sides of the tin. Make sure the center stays open. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, add shrimp, olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt. Toss, making sure shrimp are completely covered. Spread shrimp on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and begin to curl. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the guacamole: In a glass bowl, add avocados and smash with a fork or potato masher. Add lime juice, salt, and minced onion. Mash mixture to desired consistency.

Fill each wonton cup with guacamole and top with 1 shrimp. Arrange on a plate or tray and garnish with fresh cilantro; serve immediately.

Back to Top

print it

This story was published on Feb 01, 2021

Our State Staff

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.