How to Make at Gourmet Cheese Platter at ALDI

This post is sponsored by ALDI.ALDI Gourmet Dinner Partya couple of weeks ago, i went to a special ‘Taste of ALDI’ event in Santa Ynez, where i was able to learn more about the ALDI brand. i left the event feeling very excited about all the possibilities of things i could create with the foods offered at ALDI. if you have never heard of ALDI, i wrote a very informative blog post about ALDI here. they just opened a bunch of stores here in Southern California, which is very exciting. so now, i can create some of the amazing food dishes that i got to enjoy at the ‘Taste of ALDI’ event.

one thing that impressed me about ALDI, was their selection of cheeses and meats. they really are your one-stop-shop when it comes to food for entertaining. during the event, we were offered this amazing cheese platter filled with unique cheeses and meats. we were also offered wine that paired perfectly with the cheeses and some great appetizers. and although i don’t drink…i can tell you that everyone was raving about the wine.

ALDI Cheese Platteri was so inspired by the cheese platter, that i thought i would share how you could create your own using products from ALDI. summer is coming up, which means summer barbecues and dinner parties. offering your guests a cheese and meat platter like this is the perfect way to begin the entertaining.

ALDI has so many products that can be used on a cheese platter. after walking the aisles at ALDI, i ended up with all these great items that i thought would be perfect on a cheese platter. some of them are standard items you will find at ALDI, some of them are ALDI Finds, which are items that are only available for a limited time. they are specials for a limited time, so if you see them and like them, you better get them fast before they are gone. from specialty cheeses, to salami and meats, to crackers, to dried fruit and nuts, ALDI had everything i needed to make a fabulous cheese platter. check out what i bought…

Best Appetizer Finds at ALDIALDI Gourmet CheeseDried Fruit and Nuts at ALDIALDI Cracker AssortmentALDI Assorted Crackerslook at the cheeses! here are just some of the great varieties i found – Happy Farms Preferred Brie Cheese, Specially Selected Aged Reserve White Cheddar, Specially Selected Gouda Cheese, Specially Selected Creamy Havarti…which also had dill and jalapeño flavors, Specially Selected Garden Vegetable & Sweet Basil, and Specially Selected Pepperoni Marinara which tastes like pizza! plus, the prices were amazing. almost all of them were under $3. i probably don’t need to tell you this, but i love cheese….so this made me really excited.
Assorted ALDI Cheesesnow to create the cheese platter, all i did was place the different cheeses on a nice cutting board. if you don’t have one, check out the ALDI Finds aisle in ALDI…you may find one. i got a nice circular slate platter at ALDI that would make a great cheese plate. but for this summery cheese board, i thought a wood one would be best.

after i laid the cheese out on the board, i filled in the open spaces with nuts, dried fruits, olives, salami and crackers. fresh fruit would also be great on the platter. ALDI has great fresh produce, so be sure to check it out. you can put the nuts directly on the board, or in little dishes like i did. i also cut some of the cheese into bite sized pieces and added some toothpicks. ALDI had some yummy Specially Selected Blackberry Fruit Spread on sale, i knew it was yummy because i tried it at the event. i decided to drizzle it over the creamy brie. the preserves and the brie complement each other, and can be served with crackers or apple slices. i really love how my board turned out. so much goodness on one plate!

Where to Buy Cheese in Orange CountyFruit Nut and Cheese TrayHow to Make A Nice Cheese TrayBest Cheese Platter IdeasPepperoni Cheese AppetizerHow to Make a Cheese Platter at ALDIALDI Pepperoni CheeseDiscount Grocery Store in Orange Countyhere is what my cheese platter ended up looking like. i can’t wait to make one for my next party. and these cheeses and other items aren’t just for entertaining. my boys have loved them in their lunches. i just cut the cheese into bite-sized pieces, include some crackers and salami, and they have a great snack for school. ALDI is a great place to shop when you are looking for unique items for entertaining. i will definitely be visiting often this summer to stock up on all the great food products…i love hosting summer dinners with friends, and it’s always nice to have something for them to snack on while they are waiting for the food to finish on the barbecue. plus, i can also purchase everything i need for dinner at ALDI. best of all, i will be saving money, prices at ALDI are amazing! especially considering the high quality of their products. i am so happy that ALDI has made their way to California.

ALDI Cheese Platter Ideas

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Easy Bacon and Almond Stuffed Baked Brie Recipe

Bacon and Almond Stuffed Baked Brieone of my favorite things about the holidays are the appetizers. i am not a big fan of the big meals or even the desserts. it’s all about the appetizers for me. i gladly volunteer to bring my favorites to all the gathering we attend. one of my go-to dishes is a Bacon and Almond Stuffed Baked Brie. besides loving the creamy brie cheese, it’s a savory appetizer that goes great with apple slices, crackers, and even by itself. it’s also easy to make, the brie is wrapped with Pillsbury Crescents®.

Savory Bacon Baked Brie Recipe

to make Bacon and Almond Baked Brie you need: Pillsbury Crescents® which are available at Walmart, brie cheese, bacon, sliced almonds, and parsley. optional ingredients are green onions and an egg, but i highly suggest using them.

Best Baked Brie Recipe

start by making the bacon almond mixture. chop the bacon, almonds, onions, and parsley.

Savory Baked Brie Recipethen combine them all together in a small bowl. set aside.

Bacon Baked Brie

now, cut the brie in half creating two rounds.

Brie CheeseHow to Make Baked Brie

open a can of Pillsbury Crescents®. unroll dough; separate crosswise into 2 sections. pat dough and firmly press perforations to seal, forming 2 squaresBest Pillbury Crescents Appetizers

press all the seams together to create a single square of dough. then place the bottom round of brie on top of it.

Best Pillbury Crescents Brie Recipe

stack bacon almond mixture on top of the brie.

Bacon Almond Baked Brie

top with the other piece of brie, and then the other half of the dough. make sure all the seams have been pressed together.

Crescent Roll Appetizer Recipe

trim the excess corners off the dough. save the extra dough

Holiday Brie Appetizer Recipe

fold the bottom layer of crescent roll dough up towards the top, and then fold the top dough down over the bottom dough. press all the seams together really well. you don’t want any holes or the cheese will melt out.

Holiday Brie AppetizerBest Pillbury Crescent Roll Appetizers

if you would like, create a design with the dough that you trimmed off. i thought a criss-cross pattern would be nice, but you could also make some leaves or leave plain.

Easy Holiday Appetizer Recipe

brush lightly with egg wash. (optional, but it gives it a nice golden color in the oven.)Pillbury Crescent Roll Appetizer Recipe

place onto a cooking sheet and into a preheated 400ºF oven.

Best Pillbury Crescent Roll Appetizer Recipe

bake 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. too long will make the cheese collapse. but if it does, it is still yummy. cool 15 minutes.

Great Holiday Appetizer RecipeCheese Platter RecipeBrie Appetizer RecipeBacon and Almond Stuffed Baked Brie Title

1 – 8oz can Pillsbury Crescents®
1 round brie cheese (13-20 oz.)
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoons sliced green onions (optional)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bacon Almond Mixture:
chop bacon, almonds, green onions and parsley. in a bowl, combine them.

Prepare cheese:
cut brie wheel in half to make two rounds, if using crescent rolls: unroll dough; separate crosswise into 2 sections. pat dough and firmly press perforations to seal, forming 2 squares. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut crosswise into 2 rectangles. pat dough to form 2 squares. place 1 square on ungreased cookie sheet. place bottom cheese round on center of dough. top bottom cheese round with bacon mixture, and place remaining cheese round on top. (if you are using a smaller brie wheel, use less bacon mixture).  place remaining dough square on top of cheese round. press dough evenly around cheese; fold bottom edges over top edges. gently stretch dough evenly around cheese; press to seal completely. brush with beaten egg. top with cutouts; brush with additional beaten egg.

bake 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. too long will make the cheese collapse. but if it does, it is still yummy. cool 15 minutes. serve warm with crackers and apple slices.


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

Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe

This is a sponsored post.Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe #dinnerdone #shopmany of you know that we planted a summer garden a few months ago. we have been waiting patiently for everything to grow. so far we have grown lettuce, basil, cilantro, zucchini and cucumbers…SO MANY cucumbers. unfortunately, we haven’t gotten a single tomato yet. i’ve been waiting for those tomatoes to make a yummy Cucumber and Tomato Salad. it’s one of my favorite summer recipes. luckily, Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes will work out perfectly for this cucumber salad. Hunt’s Tomatoes are peeled using a special flash stream process using only water and no lye like some other brands. all their tomatoes are grown in California where they are picked and canned in less than 10 hours. that means they are vine ripe, 100% natural with no preservatives. it’s one of the best canned tomatoes around.

this Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad is a super easy recipe to make, and it tastes great as a side dish for your favorite barbecued meats or alone as a summer lunch or snack. it’s light, crunchy and low calorie.

to make this salad, you will want to use garden grown cucumbers or the English cucumbers from the grocery store. if you need to use the cucumbers with the thick waxy skin, make sure you peel the skin before making this salad. these are Japanese cucumbers that i grew in my garden. i also am growing Persian cucumbers, but they were so good we’ve eaten them already.

Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad #dinnerdone #shop

first, drain your tomatoes, letting them sit to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.


next, chop the cucumbers. first de-seed the wedges, and then cut into bite sized pieces or half rounds are good too. dice the onion, and chop the cilantro. i usually use a red onion, but today i had a yellow one…any kind of onion is fine. once you’re done chopping the vegetables, salt and pepper the tomatoes. you can even leave them in the strainer to do this.


now everything is ready for you to put the salad together. place everything into a bowl and toss together. add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, and the juice of one lime. taste your salad and adjust the seasoning to your liking. your Cucumber and Tomato Salad is finished!

Best Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe #dinnerdone #shopEasy Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe #dinnerdone #shop

cucumber saladingredients
3 Large cucumbers
1 can Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped onion (red or yellow)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
1 lime
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

drain tomatoes with a strainer, and set aside to drain. chop the cucumbers into bite sized pieces. chop cilantro and onion. take the tomatoes in the strainer and salt and pepper them. then put the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro into a bowl and toss together. add olive oil, the juice of one lime and minced garlic and toss together. eat immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


for more great recipes using Hunt’s tomatoes,
go to

 i found Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes at Walmart!Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe #dinnerdone #shop

Pesto Mac and Cheese Pizza


a few months ago, i was approached by Food Bloggers Los Angeles to collaborate on a Macaroni & Cheese Cookbook. together, 30 of us bloggers submitted our best and most favorite Mac and Cheese recipes to create an ebook which is available for a $1.99 digital download on Amazon. Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese: 30 Mouthwatering Recipes for America’s Favorite Comfort Food

this e-cookbook shares 30 delicious mac and cheese recipes that satisfy all palates, from decadent indulgence to healthy convenience. you can select from gourmet mac and cheese with home-cured pork belly, gluten-free and even vegan variations from top food blogs, including Sippity Sup, Shockingly Delicious, Worth the Whisk and NOURISH Network. PLUS you can feel good about your purchase because we are donating all proceeds from our sales of “Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese” to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

you are in for a treat, because i am sharing the recipe i submitted with you here…(however, i would love for you to purchase the full cookbook, after all it’s for a wonderful cause). my recipe is derived from two of my biggest comfort foods; pizza and macaroni & cheese, both just happen to be my family’s favorite dishes. so i thought it would be fun to combine them to create the ultimate comfort food — Pesto Mac and Cheese Pizza. by adding pesto and fresh mozzarella, this kid-friendly dish is now also adult-friendly too. yum!

you need to make the pizza dough. by first combining the yeast, sugar, water and letting the yeast activate….then adding the salt, olive oil and flour, you will begin to create a tasty homemade pizza crust.


once kneaded together, a nice soft dough will form. you will let it rise, doubling in size, for one hour.  you will now be ready to prepare your Pesto Mac & Cheese Pizza.


you will now flatten out the dough on a cookie sheet. if you like your pizza crust thin, then flatten the dough to a 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch for a nice thick crust.

next, spread the cooked macaroni evenly over the crust.


in a sauce pan, you will melt the sharp cheddar cheese with the milk, making sure to stir constantly.

after making the cheese sauce on the stove, slowly put it over all the macaroni making sure you don’t let it go off the sides of the pizza crust. then drizzle pesto to your liking over the cheesy macaroni. the pesto is strong, so you may prefer to use less. i love it, so i used a lot. you don’t even have to use pesto if you don’t like it.

then, place a few slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella over the top of the pizza.

if you like a crispy crust, you can brush the edges with olive oil (i didn’t though). now you can place your pizza in a preheated 500˚ oven. cook until crust is brown, cheese is bubbly and center is cooked. 


you will end up with a yummy and filling pizza with melty mac & cheese and a strong fresh pesto flavor. it is very filling and makes a great meal or appetizer if you cut the pieces small.


i’m craving this pizza as i type…it is a great comfort food that pleases kids and adults alike.

below is the complete recipe for this pizza. and again, i would love any support in purchasing the Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese: 30 Mouthwatering Recipes for America’s Favorite Comfort Food to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. it is alway great to help others in need.


Pesto Mac and Cheese Pizza

Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 cups flour

Pesto, Macaroni & Cheese Topping
10 ounces cooked elbow macaroni pasta
5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
6 ounces fresh mozzarella
1/8 – 1/4 cup basil pesto

• Preheat oven to 500º F.
• In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to react. Add the remaining warm water. Add the salt and oil. Mix. Add one cup of the flour, mix well. Add another cup and continue mixing. Add the remaining half cup and mix until fully combined. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. If the dough is sticky, add an additional 1/4 of flour. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes in a stand mixer.
• Let the dough rise for at least an hour before using. You can refrigerate it to use the next day or freeze it. When freezing, let dough thaw in the fridge for 8 hours before use.
• Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and return pasta and set it aside.
• While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce. Heat a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add milk and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Set aside.
• Roll or stretch out your dough on a cookie sheet, pizza stone or pizza pan to create a 15″ pizza. Spread macaroni shells in an even layer over pizza dough. Drizzle cheese sauce over the pasta shells. Next, drizzle pesto over the macaroni. Use more or less depending on your liking. Lastly, place fresh mozzarella slices on top.
• Bake at 500º F for 12-18 minutes until bubbly and browned. Keep an eye on the pizza when cooking at high temperatures as this.
• Serves 6





The Easiest Cheesy Quiche You can Make

so, what’s for dinner….or should i say brinner? i am always late on deciding what to make my family each night, and most of the time, am just opening the fridge at 6:00 trying to find something to make. at least once a week…even twice i end up making breakfast for dinner. none of my kids complain about these kind of meals, they love breakfast foods, so they are definitely a favorite of mine. many times i make my all-time favorite breakfast or pancakes, bur we also love eating quiche. this cheese quiche recipe is my favorite. it’s easy to make and delicious.

believe it or not, quiche is easy to make. you can fill it with practically any kind of veggies and/or meat. and i love the fact my kids are getting some vegetables into their bellies. paired with some fresh fruit and juice, you have the perfect brinner….IMO. at the end of the post, i have the entire Easy Cheese Quiche recipe and a free printable recipe card  as well.

here is how you make it….
i prefer to use the Bisquick easy pie crust recipe instead of the traditional pie pastry dough. who has time to make pie dough on a busy school night. not me. all you do is mix the Bisquick, butter and water into a soft dough, and press it into the pie pan. i made it look a bit fancy here (hey, i wanted it to look nice for this tutorial)…but usually i just make sure the dough is evenly spread out around the pie pan.


then i take my meat (which is totally optional) and spread it evenly along the bottom of the pie crust. sprinkle the green onions over that. white, yellow or red onions will work too.


then sprinkle layer the rest of your veggies over the top of that. i used asparagus here, but any kind of vegetable you have can work. fresh spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, etc., will all work great. just make sure they are chopped into small pieces so they will cook easily. then sprinkle cracked pepper over the top.


next you will make the egg filling by whisking together the eggs, cream and salt. i love using Happy Eggs. if you haven’t heard of them, check out the story behind the Happy Egg Co. here. i never though much about where i got my eggs until i learned about how this company treats their chickens.


generously sprinkle your favorite cheese over the top of the vegetables.


after you have completely covered the vegetables in cheese, carefully pour the egg mixture over everything. be careful to only fill it up to 1/2 below the top of the pie crust or less. sprinkle with cayenne pepper (optional)


place the prepared quiche into a 400˚ preheated oven. bake for 30-40 minutes until edges are golden brown and the center is set.


once the quiche is done, let it cool for ten minutes. then you can cut and serve it. enjoy!


feel free to modify any of these directions to suit your needs. you do not have to have meat, and use vegetables that you like. i love that i can use what i have in my fridge, everytime our quiche is just a little bit different.

1-1/4 cup Bisquick mix
2 tablespoons very hot water
1/4 cup butter
bacon, ham or your favorite meat (approx. 6 slices or 6 oz.) – chopped
fresh veggies – chopped
2 tablespoons green onion – chopped
cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup shredded cheese
1-3/4 cup half and half
cayenne pepper
directions: preheat the oven to 400°F. mix the Bisquick and butter together until blended. add boiling water and mix until soft dough forms. evenly press the dough along the bottom and sides of a pie pan. form a nice edge along the top of the pan.  sprinkle the meat and onions over the crust. sprinkle cheese over the meat.  in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, and salt until well blended. carefully pour into the crust, over the cheese, vegetables and meat. bake 30 to 40 minutes, until edges are golden brown and the center is set.
{ this is not a sponsored post. all thoughts and opinions are my own. }