How To Build The Ultimate Cheese Plate

I am so excited that December is here and the holiday season is upon us! Today for Healthy Food Friday with American Express let’s talk about an entertaining staple: How To Build The Ultimate Cheese Plate.

We have been entertaining so much lately and my favorite appetizer to throw together is a cheese plate. You can get so creative. And with this simple guide, you can put together some amazing flavor combinations that everyone will love! 

How To Build The Ultimate Cheese Plate | Lexi's Clean Kitchen & American Express 

How To Build It:


1. Platters 

Grab one or two platters. You may be surprised to find that you may already have things to use at home! 

  • Wooden Boards or Nice Wood Cutting Boards

  • Slate or Chalk Board

  • Marble Slab


2. Cheese (approximately 3 ounces per person)

Pick your variety of cheeses (3 or more) & add labels (P.S. separate knives for each cheese)

  • Aged: Cheddar, Gouda

  • Soft: Brie, Goat Cheese, Humboldt Fog, Fromager d’Affinois 

  • Firm: Manchego

  • Blue: Danish Blue, Gorgonzola


3. Crackers & Breads 

I always like an assortment that can work for anyone and everyone!

  • Gluten-free Crackers

  • Regular Crackers

  • Sliced Baguette

  • Breadsticks 


4. Meats

Cured meats are always great to accompany your cheeses.

  • Prosciutto

  • Salami

  • Pepperoni

*Try slicing your salami, tossing it in your favorite homemade teriyaki sauce, and broiling for 3-5 minutes!


 5. Nuts

Candied or regular nuts are a great accompaniment (or just to snack on)!

  • Candied Pecans or Walnuts

  • Marcona Almonds

  • Pistachios

  • Almonds 


 6. Something Sweet

Some fresh or dried fruit is always wonderful, along with jams (a must!).

  • Fresh Grapes

  • Fresh Figs

  • Melon

  • Sliced Apples

  • Dried Figs

  • Toffee Covered Almonds

  • Cut Up Chocolate Bar

  • Dried Apricots

  • Fig Jam

  • Honey

  • Red Pepper Jelly


 7. Other

Sometimes I’ll place a few bowls throughout the spread:

  • Roasted Red Peppers

  • Olives

  • Antipasto Salad

  • Artichokes 


 What do you add to your cheese plate?


 

Healthy Eggplant Parm Bites

You know what I’m hearing around our home lately? That FOOTBALL SEASON is HERE. Sundays will be filled with a ton of guys (and some ladies, of course) sitting around the movie theatre/TV ready to cheer on their team and check their fantasy football nonstop.

EggplantParmBites4

Now, if you’ve been here a while, you know I’m not so into sports. Nothing personal, just never has been my thing. I was the artsy kid, remember? What I am into is hosting and cooking, which explains the vast array of game day eats/party snacks and appetizers on this trusty ol’ blog here.

What does football mean for me? People who come over ready to eat, also known as TASTE TESTERS. My favorite, favorite, favorite!

EggplantParmBites

For this week’s Healthy Food Friday with American Express, let’s kick off Football season with some delicious (and healthy), Eggplant Parm Bites. Minus the Parm, but you can add that in if you’d like! 😉

EggplantParmBites1

Little bites of heaven.

EggplantParmBites5

EggplantParmBites3

Eggplant Parm Bites

Preparation 10 min 2017-09-20T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 15 min 2017-09-20T00:15:00+00:00

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine almond flour, Italian seasoning, garlic, sea salt, and optional red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese
  • In a separate bowl whisk together two eggs
  • Cut eggplant into cubes and sprinkle with sea salt
  • Place cubed eggplant into egg mixture, making sure all cubes are covered
  • Transfer eggplant cubes into the breading mixture and coat evenly
  • In a skillet, heat enough oil to cover 1/2 to-1 inch of your skillet
  • Once oil is hot, transfer eggplant cubes to the skillet
  • Let cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown
  • Repeat with any remaining eggplant cubes
  • Serve hot
  • There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my disclosure policy for more info!

    EggplantParmBites2Grab. Dip. Devour. Repeat.

    I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American Express are my own.

    Are you a football fan?


     

    Thai Meatballs

    Happy Monday! I hope you had an amazing weekend. Ours was wonderful. You might have seen some snapshots of it via Instagram. We had a DIY sushi night on Friday. We took a sushi making class about 2 years ago and have been wanting to do this since. It was SO fun. On Saturday I did a TON of recipe development. We went out to dinner Saturday night for tapas at a great local place around here called Solea– just great vibes! Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Chestnut Hill Square where we took a class at SoulCycle (my first class there, ever), had lunch at Sweet Green, and a little shopping at Athleta. More to come about this! We then organized the pantry and had family over for dinner. Just lovely.

    Let’s get to more important things, though. Today’s recipe. It took me a good three attempts to perfect these Thai Turkey Meatballs. The first time, the flavors just weren’t there. The second attempt was better, but needed a little more. Third times a charm because these FLEW off the plate. We couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved them and wanted them again.

    Loaded with veggies and infused with the perfect flavor combination of ginger, chili, garlic, and more!

    Paleo Thai Meatballs | Lexi's Clean Kitchen   Thai Meatballs   Paleo Thai Meatballs | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    Paleo Thai Meatballs

    Preparation 10 min 2017-09-20T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 20 min 2017-09-20T00:20:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

    Ingredients

    Meatballs

    Sauce

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 375
    • In a bowl combine all meatball ingredients
    • Mix well and form into balls
    • Place balls on lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes
    • While baking, combine all sauce ingredients in a small pot over medium heat
    • Once boiling, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer
    • When meatballs are done pour sauce over it, or use sauce as a dipping sauce

    Recipe Notes

    • *Can sub sriracha for chili paste
    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my disclosure policy for more info!

    Paleo Thai Meatballs | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    Thai Meatballs


    New England Friends!

    Last week I shared with you the intro video about the new MyMixx App for Star Market. You can easily sign up online or download the app on your mobile device and instantly start saving! Some of the brands I use daily in my cooking can be found at a really good price at this market. I always head right to the organic produce section, followed by their section with gluten-free flours and natural/organic products.

    Some of my favorite finds? Al Fresco Chicken Sausage, Applegate Nitrate-Free Bacon, Enjoy Life’s Chocolate Chips, Kind Bars, Pure Bars, Larabars, Kefir & Zevia (for Mike), MaraNatha Almond Butter, Sambazon Acai, Simply Organic Extracts, C20 Coconut Water Spectrum Shortening, Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk, Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flaxseed, Tapioca, and Coconut Flour.MYMIXX

    What are your favorite type of meatballs?

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Star Market. The opinions and text are all mine.

    Crispy Buffalo Chicken Bites

    I’ve been kind of on a fry-all-the-things kick lately (healthfully, of course). Not really awesome for my Jamaica beach body I’m working towards but I mean, healthy fried chicken bites that aren’t dry and that are crispy, flavorful, and gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free? I. Just. Can’t. Stop.Crispy Buffalo Chicken Bites

    This week for Foodie Friday with American Express let me introduce you to your new appetizer, snack, or chicken dinner that nobody will guess is completely allergy-free!

    You can really coat this chicken in any sauce you’d like, but I always am a buffalo fan! My next move… chop the chicken bites up and turn them into a buffalo chicken pizza. Clearly the perfect use of this chicken!

    Guilt-free fried chicken bites for the win!

    Crispy Buffalo Chicken Bites

    Crispy Buffalo Chicken Bites

    Preparation 10 min 2017-09-20T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 15 min 2017-09-20T00:15:00+00:00

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb. organic chicken
    • 1/4 cup avocado oil, or oil of choice

    Batter

    Sauce

    Instructions

  • In a skillet heat oil until hot*
  • Cut chicken into bite size pieces
  • In a bowl, combine batter ingredients
  • Place chicken into batter and toss until coated
  • Carefully place chicken into hot skillet
  • Let cook for 4-5 minutes on each side
  • Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towels
  • In a skillet, heat hot sauce and butter over low heat until combined
  • Add in chicken and toss until coated
  • If you want your chicken extra crispy, after this step transfer chicken to a lined baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes on each side, watching carefully
  • Recipe Notes

  • *Splash a drop of water in the skillet, if it sizzles, it's hot and ready to go!
  • There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my disclosure policy for more info!
    Crispy Buffalo Chicken BitesCrispy Buffalo Chicken BitesCrispy Buffalo Chicken Bites

    I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American express are my own.

    Healthy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    Happy Friday! This week for our Foodie Friday with American Express, let’s talk about GAME DAY RECIPES. The big game is upon us therefore it’s currently ALL about finger foods, appetizers, dips, and festive main dishes for Football Sunday and the big day. I’m on board since these are some of my favorite types of eats! I love the challenge of making everybody’s favorite game-day food guilt-free.

    Spinach & Artichoke Dip is one of my FAVORITES. Every time I ordered the calorie content was always discussed making it slightly less enjoyable (slightly). I love cashew cream and its versatility. I use it to make savory creamy recipes and sweet vegan ‘cheesecake’ like recipes. Such a WIN.

    Healthy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    I topped ours with Kerrygold Grass-Fed Chedder, but simply leave it off for a fully dairy-free option, or if you can’t find a good quality cheese!

    Healthy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    Preparation 5 min 2017-09-20T00:05:00+00:00 Cook Time 20 min 2017-09-20T00:20:00+00:00

    Ingredients

    Instructions

  • In a medium size pot heat oil and garlic
  • Add in spinach
  • Mix for 4-5 minutes until spinach is wilted
  • Add in onions and artichokes and mix for 5-7 minutes
  • Remove from heat and add in spices and cashew cream
  • Transfer to a high-speed blender and pulse until the texture is as chunky or creamy as desired
  • Taste and adjust spices and salt as desired
  • If adding cheese, transfer dip to a oven-safe baking dish, layer with cheese and broil until cheese begins to bubble
  • Recipe Notes

  • *Make cashew cream by soaking 2 cups in water cashews overnight (about 1 cup water). Drain and place in high-speed blender with 1 tbsp water and blend until creamy.
  • **Leave off cheese for dairy-free
  • There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my disclosure policy for more info!

    Healthy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American Express are my own. 

    Find all of my game-day recipes here!

    What is your favorite dip?

    Spanish Eggplant Dip

    Spanish Eggplant Dip is hands down my favorite thing to serve guests when they come over. It pairs perfectly with veggies, homemade crackers, tortilla chips- you name it! 

    I’ve purchased a Spanish Eggplant Dip at the Whole Foods hot bar near me, and knew it needed to be recreated. The perfect flavor combinations, plus it’s delicious both cold and warm!
    Spanish Eggplant DipSpanish Eggplant Dip

    Spanish Eggplant Dip

    Preparation 5 min 2017-09-20T00:05:00+00:00 Cook Time 25 min 2017-09-20T00:25:00+00:00

    Ingredients

    Instructions

  • In a skillet heat oil and sauté garlic
  • Add in cubed eggplant and sliced onion, let sauté for 2-3 minutes mixing often
  • Add in water and cover for 3 minutes, mix, and cover again for an additional 3 or so minutes until eggplant and onions are soft and water has been soaked up- add additional water if needed
  • Add in tomatoes, raw honey, and spices and let simmer for 8 minutes or so
  • Transfer mixture to your food processor and pulse lightly (or more depending on how chunky you want the dip)
  • Remove and serve cold or warm
  • There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my disclosure policy for more info!
    Spanish Eggplant Dip

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes. I was compensated  for the time spent developing this recipe. All opinions expressed on Lexi’s Clean Kitchen are always my own. My sponsors help make this blog possible!

     

    What is your go-to appetizer for entertaining?