The Exact Cheeses I Love To Use For My Cheese Boards.

Here it is! The best cheese board cheese varieties – my all-time favorite cheeses to plate on a cheese plate! The exact kinds of cheese I use and love – ones that are hits every single time.  It’s summer cheese board season! Oh yes it is. I’ve shared a ridiculous amount of cheese board blog […]

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Here it is! The best cheese board cheese varieties – my all-time favorite cheeses to plate on a cheese plate! The exact kinds of cheese I use and love – ones that are hits every single time. 

It’s summer cheese board season! Oh yes it is.

the exact cheese to buy for cheese boards

I’ve shared a ridiculous amount of cheese board blog posts, methods and favorites over the last decade. But I’ve found that my favorite cheeses change depending on what’s available, the season and what people around me love. You guys are always asking me in comments and DMs exactly what cheeses to buy, so I wanted to put it here in one space! 

These below cheeses are ALWAYS my go-to choice. Of course, I don’t always need ALL of these cheeses on a cheese board, so I may grab one or two of these, or mix and match, etc. Some are very specific, some can be found throughout a few different brands. I know that way back when – when I would search for the exact kind of cheese I should buy for a cheese plate, I wanted clear instructions too! Like, tell me EXACTLY what cheese to buy to build a good cheese plate. And some of my favorite places (like ALDI) also have amazing limited edition cheeses (like I just bought a strawberry champagne one) that I will throw on depending on the season.

These below though? They are my classics, my ALWAYS go-tos. Never fails. The ones I crave! Okay I think you get it.

So here we are.

the exact cheese to buy for cheese boards

My Favorite Cheeses to Use on a Cheeseboard

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Fresh Basil Pesto

This Fresh Basil Pesto is as bright and delicious as it gets. Try it on pasta, in a sandwich, or simply with a loaf of crusty bread.  ‘Tis the season for planting our little garden around here. I usually kill everything – except mint, that stuff grows out of concrete! – but I still try for …

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This Fresh Basil Pesto is as bright and delicious as it gets. Try it on pasta, in a sandwich, or simply with a loaf of crusty bread. 

Small bowl of basil pesto surrounded by slices of baguette

‘Tis the season for planting our little garden around here. I usually kill everything – except mint, that stuff grows out of concrete! – but I still try for a small garden every year.

This year we have some tomatoes, cilantro, and basil. I always plant basil, even though the bugs usually get to it and the leaves end up full of holes. Not very pretty, but perfect for using for pesto.

Elle had never tried pesto before, but since she loves pasta I grabbed a fresh basil plant at Meijer (while we wait for ours in the garden to grow) and whipped up a batch of this homemade Fresh Basil Pesto for an easy pasta dinner.

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Roasted Artichokes

I make this roasted artichoke recipe whenever I see baby artichokes at the farmers market or grocery store. I have a soft spot for anything mini – from cherry tomatoes and peppers to skillets and spoons – so whenever the little, purple-stre…


I make this roasted artichoke recipe whenever I see baby artichokes at the farmers market or grocery store. I have a soft spot for anything mini – from cherry tomatoes and peppers to skillets and spoons – so whenever the little, purple-streaked artichokes catch my eye, I can’t resist buying them. They’re super cute, of course, but they have other advantages too. If you’ve ever cooked full-sized globe artichokes, you know that you need to scoop out the fuzzy choke inside the artichoke heart. That’s not the case here: once you peel off a baby artichoke’s outer leaves, you can […]

The Best Queso

I’m super excited to share this queso recipe with you. This Mexican dip is cheesy, creamy and full of fresh flavor. It’s surprisingly easy to make and…

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best queso recipe

I’m super excited to share this queso recipe with you. This Mexican dip is cheesy, creamy and full of fresh flavor. It’s surprisingly easy to make and utterly irresistible.

This recipe uses a simple secret ingredient—cream cheese—to achieve its gloriously creamy texture and light tang. No flour and no fussy roux required here (as a bonus, this queso is gluten free).

This stovetop queso possesses all of Velveeta’s positive attributes, but it tastes a million times nicer. It even cools down with grace, developing just a slight skin on top that really doesn’t detract from its appeal.

queso ingredients

If you’re like me, you probably don’t need an excuse to eat queso while sipping a margarita. I grew up around a lot of Tex-Mex food and like to consider myself a queso connoisseur. If queso is on the menu, I’ve likely sampled it.

My husband, on the other hand, exercises an impressive amount of restraint when it comes to queso. He tells me he doesn’t like it. (He’s generally a rational man, though I question him in cheese-related matters.) This queso is an exception to his rule. He loves it.

We both agree that this is the best queso we’ve ever had. Try it, and I hope you’ll say the same!

Continue to the recipe...

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Easy Mango Salsa

With Cinco de Mayo coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d pop in to share this mango salsa. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make throughout the spring and summer because it’s refreshing, fun, and so darn simple. Follow the recipe once o…


With Cinco de Mayo coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d pop in to share this mango salsa. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make throughout the spring and summer because it’s refreshing, fun, and so darn simple. Follow the recipe once or twice, and you’ll be able to leave the measuring cups in the drawer and just eyeball the ingredients. After that, you can change it up in all sorts of ways. Mix in avocado, or add some black beans. You could even toss in pickled jalapeños! Because this is such an easy, flexible recipe, it lends itself well […]

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Pico de Gallo Salsa is a fresh and healthy salsa recipe made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lots of lime. Goes great with chips, grilled fish, chicken, burrito bowls, and more! Pico de Gallo Salsa This fresh, uncooked salsa has the perfect blend of acidity that adds heat and flavor to anything you’re making. […]

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Pico de Gallo Salsa is a fresh and healthy salsa recipe made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lots of lime. Goes great with chips, grilled fish, chicken, burrito bowls, and more!

Pico de Gallo with a chip.
Pico de Gallo Salsa

This fresh, uncooked salsa has the perfect blend of acidity that adds heat and flavor to anything you’re making. You can adjust the heat and any ingredients to suit your taste. Because of these qualities, this salsa cruda is best topped on grilled fish or meats, on fish tacos, or served with chips. Some other salsas you may like Mango Avocado SalsaSalsa Verde and Corn Salsa with Lime.

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Mango Avocado Shrimp Salsa.

This shrimp salsa is a warm weather favorite and one I’ll be making all summer long! Made with mango, avocado, lime & cherry tomatoes, it is so delicious served with crispy tortilla chips or even in butter lettuce cups. Irresistible!  Okay, I have found our new go-to summer dish!! Seriously, this shrimp salsa is about […]

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This shrimp salsa is a warm weather favorite and one I’ll be making all summer long! Made with mango, avocado, lime & cherry tomatoes, it is so delicious served with crispy tortilla chips or even in butter lettuce cups. Irresistible! 

Okay, I have found our new go-to summer dish!!

mango avocado shrimp salsa

Seriously, this shrimp salsa is about to be on repeat the entire summer. Let’s just say for the next six months, until it cools down again.

tomatoes, mango, onion, cilantro in a bowl

I guess we could SORT of say it’s like a ceviche, but really only in texture and slight taste only. I didn’t want to use raw shrimp at the moment since I’m pregnant and also since I knew the kids would be in it. Also, because half of my family members probably wouldn’t eat it then. Ha!

So here we are.

It’s like a faux-ceviche and absolutely delicious!

mango avocado shrimp salsa

Let’s talk about how this is theeeeee absolute perfect go-to dish or the warm weather months.

First, you can prep nearly all of it ahead of time. I mean, you can fully assemble except for the avocado. Throw it all together, mix it up and add the avocado right before serving. Boom! Done. Incredible snack or app in just a few minutes.

Next, it’s SO easy. Again, just throwing everything together. If you find yourself in a super busy season of life right now, this is the dish to make. It feels elevated and almost elegant. But if you have some shrimp on hand, it just comes together so unbelievably fast. Even though I’ll have a newborn this summer, I can easily see this being a staple because of how simple it is. 

Third, it’s a great dish that you can serve outdoors with a few friends. Perfect for happy hour. I realize that right now, having a group of people dip chips into a dish may be a little dicey for sanitary purposes. Fill up mini cups with this shrimp salsa and serve with your chips! You could even throw the shrimp salsa in little martini glasses like some restaurants do with ceviche!  (more…)

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Pimento Cheese Poppers with Jalapeño Ranch.

These pimento cheese poppers are crispy, cheesy bites that melt in your mouth! Dip in a jalapeño ranch or throw on top of a salad. Like goat cheese poppers, but better?! They are incredibly delish! Let’s make these pimento cheese poppers a THING!!! Okay guys. You are going to have to forgive me. Because I’m […]

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These pimento cheese poppers are crispy, cheesy bites that melt in your mouth! Dip in a jalapeño ranch or throw on top of a salad. Like goat cheese poppers, but better?! They are incredibly delish!

Let’s make these pimento cheese poppers a THING!!!

pimento cheese poppers with jalapeño ranch

Okay guys. You are going to have to forgive me. Because I’m frying dip and serving it with more dip. 

Yes. 

It sounds terrible. But it’s actually wonderful! 

I swear on the moon and the stars and the sky. 

ball of pimento cheese

Last week I told you I had one more recipe utilizing pimento cheese up my sleeve, and here we are! Since the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, these have arrived just in time. You should definitely make them for the one minute race! 

pimento cheese poppers

I have a little disclaimer for you. This recipe uses my pimento cheese recipe that I shared last week. While I’m rarely particular in what exactly you use in recipes, I highly suggest using my recipe because I know EXACTLY how it will work. Some store bought pimento cheese is delicious, but without knowing the exact consistency, I can’t promise you that these poppers will work. If the pimento cheese is creamier and more mayo-based, these will fall apart as they fry and never work.

If you use my pimento cheese recipe, it is guaranteed to work! 

pimento cheese poppers with jalapeño ranch

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.

So, I had fried goat cheese on my mind. You know? The wonderful, golden disk of fried cheese that tastes amazing with honey or on a salad? Yes, it was all I could think about.

Except I didn’t have goat cheese. I did have a batch of my pimento cheese in the fridge and figured it HAD to work. 

I love crispy goat cheese so much and could only imagine how good crispy pimento cheese would be. 

Thankfully, I was right. YESSSSSS.

pimento cheese poppers with jalapeño ranch

This recipe is simple, but there are some moving parts. Of course, you need to make the pimento cheese. You also need to roll it into balls and freeze it for a half hour or so. And yes, I do fry it in a bit of oil. You can most likely use the air fryer too. I didn’t test it out, but I have tried goat cheese in the air fryer before and include some instructions below based on that. Winning all around!

pimento cheese poppers with jalapeño ranch

Now what to do with the pimento poppers? Well, you could serve with them a simple honey drizzle. We put the leftovers on a salad and they were INCREDIBLE. I’m talking, so so good. 

Or, you could make this jalapeño ranch! 

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Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli

Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli is a layered potato and egg open-faced omelet. Serve it as an appetizer, snack, or main for breakfast/brunch or a light dinner. Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli My mom has been making Spanish Tortilla all my life. It’s usually something she’ll bring to a brunch or serve as an appetizer. […]

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Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli is a layered potato and egg open-faced omelet. Serve it as an appetizer, snack, or main for breakfast/brunch or a light dinner.

Slice of Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli
Spanish Tortilla with Pimenton Aioli

My mom has been making Spanish Tortilla all my life. It’s usually something she’ll bring to a brunch or serve as an appetizer. Her recipe has a lot more olive oil than this lighter version, but the great news is that you don’t miss it here! The pimenton aioli takes this tortilla to a whole new level, so don’t skip it (you may want to double it if serving guests). For more classic Spanish recipes, try my Mom’s Spanish Chicken and Rice, Pan con Tomate and Weeknight Seafood Paella.

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Stovetop Popcorn

What’s a good movie night without a bowl of freshly popped popcorn?! With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I thought I’d share a recipe for the stovetop popcorn that Jack and I love to make at home. Heads up – this stuff is seriousl…


What’s a good movie night without a bowl of freshly popped popcorn?! With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I thought I’d share a recipe for the stovetop popcorn that Jack and I love to make at home. Heads up – this stuff is seriously addictive. Salty, crunchy, and tossed with a savory sprinkle of nutritional yeast, it’ll ruin you for bagged popcorn forever. It’s crispier, it’s more flavorful, and it’s so simple to make that buying pre-popped popcorn is hardly easier. Seriously! You’re just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes away from a delectable salty snack. How to Make Popcorn […]