Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread

One week from Memorial Day means this cheesy goodness ↓

A close-up shot of easy, five-ingredient Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

And this cheesy goodness goes by no other name than (somewhat obvious): Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread! I’ve been wanting to make this perfect cookout accompaniment for quite some time now, and I figured what better time to do so than for the holiday weekend that basically kicks off summer!


And I’m not stopping there. That’s right, this week I’ll be bringing you all kinds of fun BBQ-friendly dishes to get you loaded up with recipes before the hubs and I skip town and head up to Tahoe for a much needed getaway with a few of our close friends. My hubby’s birthday happens to be on Memorial Day this year so we thought, what better way to celebrate than at one of our favorite places with some of our favorite people? We’re keeping it fairly low-key, though, with a spa day penciled in and surely lots of time just relaxing around the house and catching up! I hear there may still even be snow there, which would be pretty cool.

Sorry, just a little digression, because what I’m really here to talk about is this Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread. I’m very happy to report that it turned out just every bit as good as I had imagined. And it’s so easy! We’re talking about FIVE ingredients and FIVE minutes on a high heat grill (or under the broiler.) That’s it!

Looking down on a delicious loaf of ooey-gooey Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

Of course, if you wanted to be really adventurous, you could whip up your own BBQ from scratch, but if your household is anything like ours, you probably have at least a bottle or two of your favorite premade stuff hanging around your pantry or refrigerator.

I was lucky to have some of the Sweet ‘n Spicy BBQ Sauce from Montana Mex on hand (thanks, Eduardo!) and decided to give it a spin for this recipe. If you haven’t heard of Montana Mex or Chef Eduardo Garcia, it’s about time you did. (Sorry, just another little digression and, no, this is not sponsored! I truly was just incredibly impressed by Eduardo’s story so I wanted to share it here.)

Every year, Chris and I are lucky enough to attend some of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s events through his company’s sponsorship connections. When we heard we’d be getting tickets to the opening film this year and what the film was about, I have to admit I was a LOT more excited than I had been for the films being screened in previous years.

Charged is a film about Chef Eduardo Garcia’s survival and inspiring recovery from being charged with 2400 volts of electricity while out hiking in the woods one afternoon. Although not for the faint of heart, the film is full of Eduardo’s unwavering positivity in the face of adversity and perseverance through some very challenging obstacles.

We were lucky enough to get to chat with him after the film, and I was honored when he offered to send me a box of his company’s products. Chef Eduardo founded Montana Mex after he became frustrated with so many of the Mexican food products available here in the United States that were laden with chemicals and preservatives. So he and his business partner set out to make a line of Mexican-inspired condiments without all of the gunky stuff. Which you know is right up my alley!

A close-up shot of gooey and delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

Charged won’t be released to the general public until September (at which time you most definitely need to go see it), but if you come across any film festivals that might be airing it before then, GO! If you like inspiring stories, survival and food, you will not be disappointed.

Eek, ok! Let’s get to this Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread. Good thing it’s so easy to make because I have been rambling for far too long already and I’m sure we all have more important things to be doing on a Monday morning.

So here’s what we do: We start with a huge loaf of fresh, crusty bread. A pain rustique or ciabatta (something with lots of little air pockets in the dough) would be ideal here. We want lots of nooks and crannies for all of the butter, garlic and BBQ sauce to ooze into.

The beginning stages of making Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread - slather on butter, BBQ sauce and fresh garlic!

We slice the bread long-ways for maximum surface area, then start slathering on the good stuff – first butter, the BBQ sauce and garlic, then cheese. Because this BBQ garlic bread is CHEESY.

The second step to make Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread - slather it with cheese!

Throw the loaf halves onto the grill (if you have space to spare) or pop them under the broiler and you’ll have delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread in as little as five minutes. If that’s not the perfect cookout side dish, I don’t know what is!

Another close-up of this ooey-gooey delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread!

A close-up shot of easy, five-ingredient Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.
Print
Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Not your average garlic bread! This version is loaded with zesty BBQ sauce and smothered in melted cheese, the perfect BBQ side dish!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf fairly flat, crusty bread (such as ciabatta or pain rustique,) sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4-6 tablespoons melted butter (depending on how large your loaf of bread is, mine was pretty big)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups shredded Asiago cheese (or Parmesan, or your favorite cheesy bread cheese!)
Instructions
  1. Place halves of bread cut side up on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. If using the grill, turn it on high and let it begin warming up. If using the broiler, turn it on high to preheat.

  2. Spread melted butter evenly onto loaf halves, then do the same with the BBQ sauce.

  3. Sprinkle on the minced garlic and then cover the loaf halves evenly with the shredded cheese. 

  4. If using the grill, place the bread (topping side up) directly onto the grates. If using the broiler, keep the bread on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling and edges of bread are browned. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread | CaliGirlCooking.com

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Or as those of you who love cocktails as much as I do may call it, Cinco de Drinko! I am beyond stoked to bring you today’s cocktail because (a) it is only the second frozen cocktail I’ve ever posted on the blog (second only to this delicious Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria, which would also be perfectly fitting for this occasion) and (b) it is the ultimate spring-summer hybrid, so perfect for this time of year! Yes, this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita I’m sharing with you today is so refreshing and tasty, you’re going to have to seriously pace yourself because you’re just going to want to be drinking these non-stop today and all through the weekend.


Unfortunately, seeing as I’m busy learning and hobnobbing with the big names at the Everything Food Conference in SLC today, I won’t be able to enjoy any of these for this festive holiday, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find some way to celebrate, and there will be plenty of time to enjoy a Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita down the road as the weather gets even warmer in sunny California!

And since I won’t be making my normal rounds to all of the Mexican restaurants/bars with the hubs and his work crew this year, I’m dying to live vicariously through all of you. Tell me, what fun things are you up to today to celebrate? I’ll probably even be jealous if your plans amount to no more than making huge vats of Kimchi Bacon Guacamole and Spicy Homemade Salsa (and maybe some Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas?) and enjoying them in front of the TV in the comfort of your own home. Ain’t no shame in that game and you’ll probably find me doing the same once I’m done with the conference for the day.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, about this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita, there’s really nothing genius about it, just a whole lot of really fantastic flavor. Now, I’m not one for frozen drinks that are made “frozen” by a heavy scoop of ice, as I find this just makes them incredibly watered down as they melt. Instead, I prefer to freeze my fruit (or any other solid ingredients you’ll be using) so it both makes the cocktail icy but also imparts a whole lot of flavor whether you drink it all right away or want to nurse it a bit (which is always a good idea with tequila!) That being said, I froze both the watermelon (seedless, mind you) and peaches before adding them to the blender with all of the other ingredients.

And speaking of “all the other ingredients,” we’re talking the classics that you see in just about every margarita recipe. So tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Like I said, nothing fancy! I want to keep this as easy as possible for you so you have no excuse to whip some of these up because they are sooooooo tasty.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pour into frosty margarita glasses. Maybe garnish with a lime wheel and/or give those glasses a salt rim if you’re feeling fancy (or need some sodium in your life…haha!) No judgment here. These recipes are for YOU.

Speaking of, I’m working on my summer content calendar right now and would love to hear from you regarding what you’d like to see more (or less of) on the blog in the coming months, anything you’ve really enjoyed that I posted, any other topics you’d like me to cover more of (traveling, eating out, or working out, for example,) etc.  After all, this blog would be nothing if it weren’t for all of you lovely readers out there 😉

I hope you have a fun, fabulous and safe Cinco de Mayo, filled with plenty of Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas!! Xo

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This fun frozen cocktail is the perfect spring-summer hybrid, with both watermelon and peach amping up your everyday margarita flavors.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces frozen peach slices
  • 8 ounces frozen seedless watermelon chunks
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau q
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. If you like your margaritas with salt, rim two chilled margarita glasses with lime juice and salt before preparing the cocktails. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses, whether with salt or without. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter

Comin’ at ya with the most delicious non-recipe recipe today!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m calling it right now: Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platters may just become summer’s “it” entertaining item. Because, I mean, when it’s sunny and 75 degrees out, who doesn’t want a plate piled high with pineapple, papaya, kiwis and allllllll the cheese?


Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Ick, how does tropical fruit and CHEESE pair well together?” Well that, my friends, is all in the cheese. You see, I take my job as a food blogger very seriously and would never want to lead you astray, so I was sure to taste multiple cheese and tropical fruit combinations before I settled on the ones you see here. True, there are some pairings that just don’t work, but hey, there are a lot of pairings that do and I’ve taken all of the hassle of figuring that out off of your shoulders and come up with some fantastic pairings that will make your next Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day get-together to the next level.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I actually came up with the idea for this Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter last October, when my dad and I took a “business” trip to Oahu, which essentially entailed us eating our way through the island for a week. If you’re in tune with the Oahu restaurant scene at all, then you’ll be no stranger to local celebrity chef Ed Kenney’s restaurants that have been making waves (haha, pun intended) all through Honolulu over the past 10 years or so. We ate at three of his four restaurants while we were there (and only skipped the fourth one because we had eaten there multiple times when I lived there) and were duly impressed by each one. Be sure to check out my Travel Diaries: Honolulu post for more deets on all of those, but right now I want to tell you all about the basket cheese we had at one of these said restaurants, Mud Hen Water.

We were able to talk my aunt and uncle into joining us for this dinner, which was all the better since everything is served family style and this way we could order double the amount of dishes to share. I was immediately intrigued by their menu offering of “Homemade Basket Cheese” so we decided to give it a shot. What was delivered to our table just moments later was a soft, ricotta-like cheese served with a multitude of fresh tropical fruits and, let me tell you, my mind was blown.

Up until that point, I had only thought that grapes, apples, apricots and the like were acceptable to be served with cheese, but boy was I proven wrong. The creamy, mellowness of the basket cheese paired perfectly with the mango and papaya that were served alongside it, and it immediately got the food blogger wheels churning in my head about what other types of cheeses might pair well with what are some of my favorite genre of fruits.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course, Hawaii has the luxury of a tropical climate (and plenty of local fruit) year round, but I decided to wait until the weather started warming up a bit again here on the mainland before giving my Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter a shot for this here blog. With temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s expected for us in Santa Barbara this weekend, and so many fun holidays right around the corner, I figured what better time to finalize this idea on paper! (Er, I mean on screen.)

So here’s what I ended up discovering in my in-depth research of the perfect tropical fruit and cheese pairings: Any of the mild, soft ricotta-like cheeses are a DREAM pairing for allll the tropical fruits. Especially if you add a little honey! I took some creamy mascarpone I had sitting in the refrigerator and sweetened it up a little, and let me just say you’re lucky I saved some to photograph because I could have very easily sat there and eaten the whole bowl with my pineapple and papaya spears.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sticking with the creamy theme, I also found that a good, simple goat cheese is a great pairing for most tropical fruits. It adds a simple tang (much like unsweetened or Greek yogurt would) without overwhelming the fruit with too much funk or contrasting flavors.

The only hard cheese that made the cut in my taste test was a basque cheese I picked up from Trader Joe’s. It has just a touch of funk, but not so much that it fights with the other flavors on the platter. It’s fairly mild compared to some other hard cheeses, and the slight saltiness is a great contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some other small touches that I found make a big difference that you may not think of:

Papaya is an interesting fruit, and can be fairly one-dimensional and almost a bit musty tasting at times. I find that a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top really transforms the flavor palate so be sure to serve some lime wedges on your platter for people to add as needed.

Of course another typical component you see on most traditional fruit and cheese platters is some sort of nut. This adds a crunchy and often salty element to the mix to contrast all of the sweet- and savory-ness. In sticking with the tropical theme, I added some macadamia nuts to the platter which added the perfect finishing touch.

And that’s it, folks! Really, the only “cooking” involved in this super easy party dish is stirring some honey into the mascarpone and plopping it into a bowl. Easy as that! Now, as I mentioned, we’ve got Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and a whole summer of entertaining ahead of us, so start scoping out the best tropical fruit you can find and get to making this to-die-for Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Tropical fruits are paired with a delicious selection of cheeses, honey and macadamia nuts - perfect for your next warm weather get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
Assorted tropical fruits, such as:
  • Pineapple spears
  • Papaya spears
  • Sliced kiwis
  • Mango slices
  • Lime wedges
Honeyed Mascarpone:
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Other ingredients:
  • Creamy goat cheese
  • Basque cheese
  • Macadamia nuts
Instructions
  1. Make the honeyed mascarpone by combining the two ingredients in a small serving bowl.

  2. Arrange all ingredients on a large platter and serve!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Blueberry Pie-tini

Happy Blueberry Pie Day!

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Should we have a cocktail to celebrate? A Blueberry Pie-tini to be exact? I think so.


I have to admit, when I decided to make a blueberry pie flavored cocktail, I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. I’m not usually one for the sweeter cocktails, I’d rather have a big ol’ piece of chocolate cake than a chocolate martini any day. But you know what, I’m not one bit upset about how this Blueberry Pie-tini turned out. In fact, I’m pretty dang excited about it.

I’m just starting to come out of the massive jet lag fog from our trip, and let me tell you, I am sooo glad we only had two days of work to get through before the weekend. No doubt we’ll still be recovering a bit for the next couple of days, and we’ll be enjoying some of these Blueberry Pie-tini’s while we’re doing it! Our big plans for the weekend include going to my niece and nephew’s annual silent auction at their school, visiting with my mom who will be down here for the auction, and soaking up the beautiful weather we’re supposed to be having. (Even though we didn’t hit any rain, the weather in Italy was a bit chilly for this California gang!)

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, but back to these cocktails. One of the reasons I think these passed my taste test of not being too “dessert-y” is because of all of the bright fruit flavors they get from both fresh blueberries and zesty lemon juice. I also once again made my own vanilla vodka, like I did for these Orange Creamsicle Martinis just a few weeks ago, which helps the mix not taste overly sweet. After all, we all know fresher is better!

Now, of course I had to go and add something a little more dessert-ish to really cement this whole “blueberry pie” idea, so I decided to use some honey-sweetened graham cracker crumbs and a little more lemon juice to rim the glasses. This step lends a pretty touch to the Blueberry Pie-tini’s, but if you’re more of a non-dessert cocktail lover, you could easily skip them and still have a delicious drink just the same.

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

So what do you think? Have I convinced you to make some Blueberry Pie-tini’s this weekend? If not this weekend, how about as a special treat for Mother’s Day in two weeks?

Regardless of whether you make these cocktails or not (although I highly suggest that you do) I hope that you have a wonderful weekend full of fun, food, drinks and friends! Xo

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Blueberry Pie-tini
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This refreshing martini has all of the amazing flavors of blueberry pie wrapped up into one little drink. The perfect springtime treat!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  • 2 finely crushed graham crackers
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon plus 1 1/2 ounces, chilled
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries, chilled
  • 1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
  • Splash club soda
  • Lemon wheels, for garnish
Instructions
  1. The night (or up to three nights) before you want to make your cocktails, make the vanilla vodka. Place the vodka and vanilla bean in a small mason jar or sealable container and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

  2. When making the cocktails, you’ll first need to prep the rims of your glasses. Pour the graham cracker crumbs onto one small round plate and squeeze the juice of ½ of a lemon onto another small round plate. Taking your martini glasses one at a time, dip the rims into the lemon juice first and then the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside while you make the martinis. 

  3. In a blender, combine the blueberries, 1 ½ ounces lemon juice, vanilla vodka and simple syrup. Pour evenly into the two martini glasses you’ve rimmed and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Superfood Pina Colada

We’re keeping it healthy(ish) and green this St. Patrick’s Day!

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, this Superfood Pina Colada gets its vivid teal green color from our favorite superfood – spirulina! I’m just so over the top excited about not only the refreshing, tropical taste of this beautiful libation, but the gorgeous hue. And it’s all natural! How about that.


We’re pretty lucky that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, not only because we have two whole days to recover afterwards, but also because that means I get to bring you a fun cocktail to celebrate! And fun this is.

I’m really expanding the horizons here with this Superfood Pina Colada. After all, it’s only the second frozen drink I’ve featured on this here blog (after this Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria) as well as just the second superfood cocktail (after this Turmeric Gin and Ginger Cocktail, which was a HUGE hit.) I figured it was high time for me to start padding the portfolio in these areas, and our Superfood Pina Colada did not disappoint.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

Here’s the trick with anything you’re adding spirulina too: be sure to add tons of other delicious flavors! In fact, you might be a bit put off by the smell of spirulina when you first open the jar, but have no fear, when mixed with plenty of fruity pineapple and creamy coconut flavor, any off-taste is gone and all you’re left with is this beautiful color!!

The other great thing about this Superfood Pina Colada is that the recipe makes multiple servings. Perfect for a party! After whirring all of the ingredients together in the blender, you’ll end up with four small or two very large drinks – and if you go with the small servings, this is actually quite a low potency cocktail, which means you can drink more than one without worrying about a headache the next day!

As always, I tried to minimize any artificial sweeteners and stick with as many fresh ingredients as I could. This means that, in addition to the spirulina and requisite rum, all you’re going to need is some coconut milk, frozen pineapple, and pineapple juice. No crazy liqueurs or overly-sugary syrups needed. Oh, and a blender. You’re definitely going to need a blender.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

And if you’re wondering where you can find spirulina, simply head to your nearest Whole Foods or health food store, or hop on to the every-trusty Amazon! It’s pretty easy to find these days, so don’t even worry about that.

No matter what your plans are this St. Patrick’s Day, I hope they involve these Superfood Pina Coladas in some way. The hubs and I aren’t up to anything too exciting, most likely going downtown for a bit to support some of his accounts and possibly stopping by a show our friends’ band is putting on at a local restaurant.

The good news is, if you don’t have time today to make these Superfood Pina Coladas, they’re perfectly acceptable any time of the year, especially with all this warm weather we’ve been having! And if you’re on the East Coast hunkering down for winter storm Stella, why not mix some of these up to transport yourself to a tropical vacation somewhere?

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

I hope you all have a safe, superfood cocktail-filled day and weekend! Xo

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Superfood Pina Colada
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic pina colada gets a healthy twist (and it's beautiful color!) from the addition of the trendy superfood, spirulina. 

Course: Drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces white rum
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 2 cups ice
  • 3 1/2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 6 ounces pineapple juice
  • Pineapple wedges for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree on high until everything is combined. Pour into glasses and garnish with a pineapple wedge, if desired.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com