Learn How to Create a Vibrant Summer Grazing Board

Spontaneous gatherings with friends and family are a staple of the summer season. We love grilling out, picnics, pool parties, and just about any other excuse is enough to get us outdoors and with our favorite people. What we don’t love;  planning what to make, what to bring, or having to make an extra store run! The solution is simple; a grazing board! It is like a charcuterie board but without all the fuss. There are just a few steps to creating the perfect spread.

#1 Keep the essentials on hand: If you have your favorite Wind & Willow Dip Mixes on hand along with mayo and sour cream (or replace with Greek yogurt for a lighter snack) a vibrant grazing board can be your go to all summer long!

#2 Take inventory of your fridge: Check out what you already have on hand. If you keep your fridge stocked with produce and a box of chips or crackers in your pantry, you likely won’t need an extra trip to the store to whip up this impromptu snack.

#3 Create your board: Place dishes of your favorite Wind & Willow dips on your board first. Then, add small stacks of produce, chips, crackers, and any other small bites you might want to include.

#4 Take a picture for your social because it is a masterpiece! This vibrant summer grazing board will be your go-to all summer long for every backyard BBQ, pool party, and beach bash. It is beautiful, tasty, and makes you look like the life of the party! When you post a picture of your beautiful creation, make sure to tag us @windandwillowfoods on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to have your image shared!

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Wind & Willow Mixes

Wind & Willow has what you need to celebrate with all your friends and family (even if they are on a special diet)!  This post is dedicated to all things dairy-free and gluten-free. Our lists include mixes without the specified allergen in the ingredient list.*

*Products are manufactured in a facility that processes products containing dairy and gluten.  Cleaning and precautions are taken but cross contamination cannot be ruled out.  Therefore, these products may not be suitable for these with extreme sensitivity.

You can skip ahead to the category you are most interested in by clicking on it in the outline below.

Dairy-Free Mixes

  1. Cheeseballs
  2. Cheesecake Dips
  3. Savory Dips
  4. Hot Ciders
  5. Roasted Pecans

Gluten-Free Mixes

  1. Cheeseballs
  2. Cheesecake Dips
  3. Savory Dips
  4. Hot Dips
  5. Apple Ciders
  6. Roasted Pecans

Tips for Serving

Dairy-Free Mixes

Cheeseball Mixes

Key Lime Pie

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Blueberry*

Carrot Cake*

Pumpkin Pie*

The BLT

Caramelized Onion

Spinach Artichoke

Jalapeno Peach

Cheesecake Dips (All)

Brownie Batter

Butter Rum

Raspberry

Savory Dips

Cucumber Dill

Fiesta Ranchero

Fresh Picked Spinach

Roasted Red Pepper

Savory Herb & Pecan

Hot Cider Mixes (All)

Original Mulled*

Caramel Apple*

English Wassail*

Roasted Pecan Mixes (All)

Cinnamon & Sugar

Caramel Apple

Cracked Pepper & Garlic

Gluten-Free Mixes

Cheeseball Mixes

Caramelized Onion

Tuscan Olive

Jalapeno Jack

Jalapeno Peach

Santa Fe

White Chocolate Cherry

Carrot Cake*

The following Cheeseball Mixes are Gluten-Free if used without Topping Packet

Key Lime Pie

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Blueberry*

Pumpkin Pie*

Caramel Apple*

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

Bacon Bleu Cheese

Smokehouse Bacon & Cheddar

Cheesecake Dips (All)

Brownie Batter

Butter Rum

Raspberry

Savory Dip Mixes

Asiago & Roasted Garlic

Back at the Ranch

Chipotle Cheddar

Cucumber Dill

Fiesta Ranchero

Fresh Picked Spinach

Parmesan Balsamic

Roasted Red Pepper

Savory Herb & Pecan

Hot Dip Mixes (All)

Bacon & Ranch

Loaded Cheddar

Southwest Queso

Spinach Parmesan

Chocolate Lava

Salted Caramel

Apple Cider Mixes (All)

Original Mulled

Caramel Apple

English Wassail

Roasted Pecan Mixes (All)

Cinnamon & Sugar

Caramel Apple

Cracked Pepper & Garlic

*Seasonal item, while supplies last

Tips for Serving

Ensuring that the noted products are also served gluten-free is simple. Prepare them as directed on the box (note that some alternative recipes include gluten containing ingredients), and serve with your choice of fruits, veggies, or gluten-free crackers and cookies.

Dairy-free options are becoming increasingly available in grocery store, making it easier than ever to prepare Wind & Willow products with no dairy. Replace any dairy containing ingredient called for on the packaging with the non-dairy equivalent of your choice. Vegan butter, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, and even mayonnaise can be found at most stores.

Easy Weeknight Pizza Recipes

Making homemade pizza doesn’t have to be a special weekend project. With these easy recipes, and a little help from Wind & Willow, you can have pizza on the table in minutes! Check out some of our favorite pizza recipes below.

Spring Veggie Flatbread

To create this beautiful flatbread pizza, top two warm store-bought naan or flatbread with your favorite Savory Cheeseball and Appetizer Mix; we love Bruschetta for it’s fresh flavor! Add fresh vegetables like cucumber, radish, sugar snap peas, and salad greens.

Homemade Oven Pizza

This recipe utilizes a refrigerated pizza dough to keep it quick and easy. Bake your crust half way, add your toppings, and then put it back in the oven for a few minutes to finish. With all the fresh and flavorful toppings, no one will ever guess you didn’t spend hours on the crust!

Southwest Fresh Pizza

This beautiful pizza is simple and easy! Bake a refrigerated pizza crust as directed, then top with a Santa Fe Cheeseball Mix (prepared with cream cheese and sour cream) along with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and olives!

Tropical Dessert Pizza

We always save room for dessert! Especially for pizza night. This recipe uses refrigerated cookie dough in place of a crust. Press the cookie dough into a pizza pan and bake until golden. Top with a prepared Key Lime Pie Cheeseball (or your favorite Sweet Cheeseball Mix) and add fruit of your choice or allow each family member to decorate their own slice.

Any Night is a Pizza Night

These recipes are perfect for any night of the week. Easy enough for a weeknight and special enough for a family night on the weekend. Which recipe is your favorite? Tag us @windandwillowfoods on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to be featured on our page! Follow us out on Pinterest to keep up to date on all of our latest recipes.

How to Create a Brunch Board

Creating a brunch board can take something simple, like bagels and cream cheese, and elevate it into something special.  Turn a few humble ingredients into the unexpected centerpiece of a gathering. We love giving our guests the opportunity to pick and choose their favorite bagel and toppings.  Each bite can be unique and creative. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a beautiful brunch board using ingredients you likely have on hand.

Choose your Spread

Start by preparing two or more of your favorite Wind & Willow Cheeseballs. On our board we used two sweet Cheeseballs, Carrot Cake and Lemon Blueberry, but you could also mix in a savory Cheeseball to give more options. Whether you choose sweet, savory, or a combination, starting with Wind & Willow is a must for creating the best gourmet spread!

Once your cheeseballs are prepared, place them on the board. This could be any food safe tray, cutting board, or even a sheet pan! Placing the cheeseballs in a bowl first is optional, but helps to contain them.

Add Some Color

Next, place fruit around the tray. Here, we chose berries, but depending on what cheeseballs you use, pair whatever fruit you like! If using savory cheeseballs, traditional savory toppings like tomatoes and red onions would be perfect in place of fruit.

Waffles, Bagels, and Toast… oh my!

Add waffles, toast, or bite sized pancakes to the board. Adding at least one option in addition to bagels ensures that everyone will have something they love. Plus, it makes the board look beautiful.

Finally, add a variety of mini bagels. The small size fits perfectly on the board and also means guests can try more than one flavor combination!

Serve this board as is or alongside savory fare and cocktails for a full brunch effect!

Brunch Made Easy

Using Wind & Willow Cheeseball Mixes takes a breakfast that could come across as pretty boring and turns it into a colorful centerpiece full of flavor! Gathering quality ingredients and being intentional about placement on your board makes all the difference in the world.  We love taking simple everyday moments, like breakfast with your family, and elevating it to a moment full of memories! 

We would love to see how you use Wind & Willow products to spruce up your brunch! We are on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram @windandwillowfoods. Tag us for a chance to be featured on our page.

NEW! Limited Time Spring Flavors

We have some fresh new ideas for 2021! New, limited time-only Spring Seasonal Cheeseball Mixes. No need to wait for warm weather to bring a little sunshine to your shelves. Seasonal flavors in bright, fun packaging evoke thoughts of sweet, simpler times. Faded denim blue and soft polka dots, fresh daisies and fresh new flavors! This year it’s all about fresh, fun, and bright. Are you in?

Lemon Blueberry

Lemon and Blueberry is a flavor match made in heaven. Sweet and tangy, this duo makes us think of picking blueberries and drinking lemonade. We cannot get enough!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake has it all: sweet carrots, crunchy nuts, cinnamon, spice, and that decadent cream cheese icing! Get all of the things you love without going to the trouble of baking a cake. Plus, it is much easier to spread on bagels!

Brighten Up Brunch

The best part about our mixes is that they give you an easy way to dress up everyday gatherings. You can easily create a spring bagel board that is sure to impress. Simply prepare the Lemon Blueberry and Carrot Cake Cheeseballs, place on an extra-large serving tray surrounded with toasted bagels, waffles, and fruit. Minimal effort with maximum brunch effect!

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Friends

This year, celebrate the friends who have been with you through it all! Show your gals and pals some love with a Galentine’s Day party! Wind & Willow can help you whip up some festive snacks in just minutes. You can’t go wrong with classic flavors like strawberry and chocolate, but with our free downloadable PDF Valentine tags, you will be able to turn a number of Wind & Willow flavors into perfect Valentine’s Day gifts. Make these quick snacks and pour a little wine or sparkling juice into your fanciest glasses and make it a party!

First, let’s talk dessert. Nothing beats dipping fresh strawberries in Chocolate Lava Hot Dip. The warm, gooey chocolate makes this even better than those hard chocolate covered strawberries from the store! Cream cheese is the only ingredient you need on hand to create this decadent dessert.

For more Chocolate-Strawberry flavor, simply combine Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheeseball Mix with cream cheese and spread the mixture onto sugar cookies, mini cupcakes, or any other dessert that needs to be garnished. A Chocolate Covered Strawberry Quick Cheesecake (directions on the back of the box) would also make for a beautiful centerpiece for your party.

This holiday doesn’t have to be all about the sweets. Adorable tea sandwiches become a festive, savory snack by simply shaping them into hearts! Here’s how:

1. Press a heart shaped cookie cutter into your favorite sandwich bread. Create as many heart shaped sections in each slice as possible.

2. Spread the top of each cut-out heart with prepared Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

3. Top half of the hearts with jarred roasted red peppers and thin slices of fresh cucumber. Top with the remaining hearts to form a sandwich.

These Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches are every bit as tasty as they look!

Lastly, give your guests a Valentine as their party favor. Turn a Wind & Willow Cheeseball Mix into a Valentine by placing it in a cellophane bag, tying the top with ribbon, and attaching coordinating pun from our free printable PDF below.

If your friends love a corny joke, these are the perfect Valentines for them! Simply hit download below the image and print the tags (preferably on card stock). Cut along the dotted line and punch out the circle. Attach to your bag with twine or ribbon.

We love that there is a day dedicated to love. Love for our significant other, love for our family and friends, and love for ourselves! These quick ideas make easy work of showing the people in our lives that they are loved. We would love to see how you are celebrating this holiday and everyday moments with Wind & Willow. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @windandwillowfoods.

Game Day Ready Recipes

It is almost time for the biggest football game of the year! Planning the menu might be as fun as watching the game. The key is to keep the prep easy, and the food even easier to eat. We are all about bite sized finger food so guests can keep their attention on the game. Check out these 4 recipes that you can have ready in a snap, while guests will think you have been cooking for days.

Charcuterie Bites

This app is like the perfect charcuterie board bite preassembled, so you don’t have to look away during the big game! Tuscan Olive Cheeseball Mix is prepared and smeared over slices of pepperoni and salami. Roll up each slice, cut in half, and secure with an olive topped toothpick. For all the details and tips, click here for the recipe.

Cheesy Bacon Zucchini Bites

This one-bite appetizer is so simple to make. Prepare a Wind & Willow Smokehouse Bacon Cheeseball Mix with 8 oz of cream cheese and dollop a tablespoon on top of summer squash slices. Bake in the oven and garnish (optional) with more cheese and bacon. For the step-by-step instructions, you can find the full recipe here.

Quick Spinach Artichoke Dip

Transform your Wind & Willow Spinach and Artichoke Cheeseball Mix into a warm and eye-catching appetizer with the addition of a few ingredients like sour cream and extra cheese. Bonus points for broiling the whole dish off in a hollowed out bread loaf for a show-stopping presentation your family and friends will love. Check out the full recipe here for all the details.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Keep your guests on their toes with unique dipping options for your traditional game day chicken wings! Here we opted for Wind & Willow Roasted Red Pepper Dip instead of the traditional ranch or blue cheese. You could even serve a traditional dip like Back at the Ranch, alongside something fun and different like spicy Chipotle Cheddar.

The Best Snack for any Game

Wind & Willow products make it easy to whip up snacks for any game day get-together. With these mixes and a few ingredients on hand, you have these and hundreds of recipes at your fingertips. We would love to see how you are using Wind & Willow products to celebrate the big game. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @windandwillowfoods for a chance to be featured on our page.

5 Ways to Dress up Baked Potato Soup

Best-selling Baked Potato Soup makes for the perfect, cozy weeknight dinner. Warm, hearty, and simple to make, this soup mix is perfect on its own! But, why not make a good thing better? Adding just a few ingredients that you likely already have on hand can stretch this soup just a little further – hello yummy leftovers for lunch – and change up this classic into something new and creative. Here are 5 ways to dress up your baked potato soup for a quick and easy dinner this week!

1.Upside-Down Chicken Pot Pie

upside-down chicken pot pie in a bread bowl

Once you have brought your Wind & Willow Baked Potato Soup to a boil, add frozen vegetables, a can of diced potatoes, and 3 cups of cooked chicken. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes before serving it in a hollowed out bread bowl. This recipe has all the hearty goodness of chicken pot pie without the hassle of puff pastry or pie dough!

2. Soup Lorraine

soup lorraine

Bring a little freshness to your cozy soup with this recipe! After bringing your soup mix to a boil, add crispy bacon and spinach. Simmer for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish each bowl with shredded swiss cheese and more bacon!

3. Ham and Potato Soup

ham and potato soup

Once your soup mix is brought to a boil, add diced potatoes, carrots, celery, and cooked ham. Bring the soup to a simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Enjoy cuddled up on the couch next to a roaring fire.

4. Clam Chowder

New england lam chowder

Take your potato soup on a trip to New England with the addition of chopped clams, Worcestershire sauce, and chives. This recipe is so easy to make; simply prepare the soup, then stir in the fixings.

5. Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Bistro style loaded baked potato soup

Turn your living room into a bistro with this loaded baked potato soup recipe! First, replace a bit of the water that the soup mix calls for with milk. Then, add a can of diced potatoes about 10 minutes into the simmer time. Lastly, add crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives to each individual serving.

Make a Weeknight Feel Special

There is something about Wind & Willow Baked Potato Soup Mix that is so hearty and satisfying on a cold day. When we have a little extra time, or have lots of mouths to feed, we like to throw in a few of these extra ingredients into the classic mix. Serving soup in an unexpected bowl is one of the easiest things you can do to make a weeknight dinner feel special. No need to buy anything new or even change up the ingredients in the recipe. Simply prepare the soup as directed on the package, then serve in a bread bowl, mug, or “the fancy bowls” for a wow factor with no extra effort!

We can’t wait to see your amazing creations. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook @Windandwillowfoods for a chance to be featured on our account.

How to Create a Dessert Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie boards traditionally feature a spread of savory appetizers, but they also make the perfect format to display a dessert spread. From nuts to cookies and candies, we love to throw a little bit of everything on our dessert boards. Follow along as we show you some key steps to making a picture perfect dessert charcuterie board.

First, choose your board. There are so many options to choose from, and there is no need to go out and but something new! A cutting board, food safe tray, or even a sheet pan would work great for this. Next, we found it easiest to start with something in the center to ground your board, such as a bowl of Roasted Nuts or a Sweet Cheeseball. From there you can Start adding groupings of your other sweet treats. These super festive Almond Sugar Cookies or our Christmas Cookie recipe are the perfect thing to start with! Add a variety of cookies to add depth and texture to the board.

Cookies and Nuts on a Dessert Charcuterie board

For a seasonal dessert board, color is key! Add Holiday color and flavor to your charcuterie board with recipes like these White Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Bites. Again, place each item in a few different places to bring balance to your board. Dessert Wontons and Gooey Bars would also make a fun addition!

White Chocolate Peppermint Brownies on a Holiday Dessert Charcuterie Board

Homemade or store-bought candy, like these white chocolate truffles, add a fun touch to a board. Candy canes, gum drops, or other seasonal sweets would work perfectly.

Candies on a holiday dessert charcuterie board

Use greens to fill in the gaps and add a contrasting color. Rosemary is perfect for a Holiday board, mimicking the look of a Christmas tree branch.

Rosemary on a holiday dessert charcuterie board

For a finishing touch add fresh cranberries, star anise, or try adding in a little bit more of everything to fill out the board.

cranberries and star anise on a holiday dessert charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are not only a beautiful way to display appetizers, but also desserts! Show off all of your festive cookies from a cookie swap, or try a few new recipes yourself. Use up extra candies, and make your dessert table into a fun display. As your guests graze on the board, add more in to keep it looking fresh.

We would love to see your dessert charcuterie boards that feature Wind & Willow products. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook @windandwillowfoods for a chance to be featured on our page!

The Easiest Appetizer for the Holidays

With parties to host, potlucks to attend, and a million things on the to-do list this holiday, having an easy go to appetizer recipe in your back pocket is essential.

Crostini Appetizers

With parties to host, potlucks to attend, and a million things on the to-do list this holiday, having an easy go to appetizer recipe in your back pocket is essential. When hosting, the right appetizer also keeps guests happy and occupied while you finish up the main course. Something labor intensive would obviously defeat the purpose! That is why we always turn to Crostini Appetizers. Wind & Willow mixes make the preparation quick and easy, but guests will be amazed at all the effort it appears you put it! 

How to Build a Crostini

A crostini has 3 main components: toasted slices of bread, a spread or topping, and a garnish. The bread acts as the base and vehicle for this finger food; the spread is the “meat and potatoes” of it all; and the garnish adds color, a contrast of flavor, or can give a hint as to what is in the topping.

The Toasted Bread

First, some pointers on getting the base, the toasted bread, just right. You will want to buy a French baguette or a skinny Italian loaf (anything too wide and this bite-sized appetizer will start looking like an open-faced sandwich). Use a serrated bread knife to cut 1/2″ slices on a bias (diagonally). Lay each slice of bread on a sheet pan in a single layer. You can add olive oil or butter to the tops of the slices for added flavor and to enhance browning, but this is optional. Spread the slices on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the bread begins to brown.  Remove, let cool, and put in the next batch.  Once they cool, the toasted bread will keep for several days at room temperature in an air tight container.

baguette or italian loaf cut for crostini

Tip:  Many stores now sell these small baguette toasts ready-made! You can find them in the cracker or bread aisle, but we prefer the ones in the bakery area that are freshly made.

The Topping or Spread

The best part is the topping or spread on the toast. The possibilities are truly endless. Use your favorite cheese (we love melted brie), something fresh like the tomatoes in our bruschetta recipe, or for lots of flavor and easy prep, a simple Wind & Willow cheeseball makes the perfect spread! Simply make your favorite cheeseball according to package instructions (using cream cheese and butter) and then spread a tablespoon or two onto your toasted bread. This is easier to do while the mixture is still at room temperature. You can either stir the topping packet into the mixture as well, or hold on to it and use it as your garnish in the next step.

Garnishing a Crostini

Topping your crostini appetizers with a garnish is totally optional, but gives even more room for creativity! You can garnish with a contrasting flavor, like topping a Jalapeno Jack crostini with cranberry jelly. You can garnish to add color like adding the tomato and herb topping to the top of a BLT crostini. Likewise, you can add a garnish that hints at the flavor of the topping, like adding cheddar and bacon to the top of a Smokehouse Bacon & Cheddar crostini. Keep it simple by topping the crostini with the cheeseball topping packet, or let your creative side show by trying out new combinations on each slice. 

Some of our Favorite Combos

Jalapeno Jack + Cranberry Sauce

Bacon Bleu Cheese + Bacon & Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Caramelized Onion + Caramelized Onions

Bacon Stuffed Mushroom + Mushroom, Cheese, and Chive

Bruschetta + Fresh Tomatoes, Bacon, and Balsamic Glaze

The Perfect Holiday Appetizer Could not be Easier

Toasted bread? Check! Wind & Willow Cheeseball and topping? Check! There you have it. The perfect holiday appetizer with items you can keep on hand. Crostini appetizers will make you look like you worked hard, but truly you will have gotten the party started with minimal effort. That is the beauty of having Wind & Willow in the pantry. With the time you save, you may actually be able to relax and enjoy your guests!

We would love to see the creative combinations that you use to make your own crostini recipes! Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @Windandwillowfoods for a chance to be featured.