BLT Bites – Upscale Downhome

BLT Bites | She Paused 4 Thought

Entertaining can be baffling and very costly – what to make, how much to prepare, and how to present it in a way that says, “This dish fabulous, scrumptious and worthy of a party? You can spend hours on Pinterest finding gorgeous dishes only to find out you can’t find the right ingredient or have the time to make it. Where can you turn for help?

Rachel Hollis | Upscale Downhome Cookbook

Rachel Hollis comes to the rescue. Her new cookbook Upscale Downhome, Family Recipes, All Gussied Up is here to help. Rachel’s recipes are practical, family-oriented, everyday dishes that are beautifully presented. Her recipes work for weeknight dinners, potlucks, tail gate parties, or showers.

Rachel is a TV/media personality and founder of –, a party planning and lifestyle/advice/food website.

Rachel is not afraid to use short cuts like box mixes, canned soups and pre-packaged food to make dinner and entertaining stress-free. If you currently use those things, this cookbook is for you. (Note: Those items won’t be found in my pantry, but that’s my jam.)

Rachel’s food presentation elevates the simplest of dishes into something special. Her tips and tricks prove fabulous hosting doesn’t have to break the clock or the bank.


She creatively puts salads in large cups & saucers, makes desserts in mini mason jars, and jazzes up party drinks with the right accent.

Below is a sample of Rachel’s everyday recipes, which are timesaving, inexpensive, and family-friendly.

rachel hollis recipes | Upscale Downhome Cookbook

“If you are going to take the time to prepare a recipe at home it isn’t ever just a dish, it’s an experience. Whether it’s for twelve people or two, or just you and your cat, the fact that you put effort into the preparation made it something special.” – Rachel Hollis

I recently met Rachel at a Melissa’s Produce media luncheon. Here are a few things we sampled from Upscale Downhome, Family Recipes, All Gussied Up.

Upscale Downhome Cookbook food

BLT Bites pg. 42 & Spicy Corn Dip pg.63

Upscale Downhome Cookbook food

Fresh Green Bean Salad pg.121 & Grandma’s Sweet Tea pg.193

Upscale Downhome Cookbook food

Sticky Ham & Cheese pg.39 & Turkey Chili pg.105

Upscale Downhome Cookbook food

Cookie Pudding Pie pg. 187

Today’s Recipe:

This simple recipe can be customized to your personal preference. I prefer to use sour dough bread, freshly made aioli & Romaine lettuce. Turkey bacon or Veggie Bacon is also a good option if you don’t eat pork.

BLT Bites - Upscale Downhome
Recipe type: appetizer
These little bites are as darling as they are delicious. You just take all the classic ingredients for a BLT and shrink them down into this dainty little package.
  • 1 loaf white bread, unsliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 8 to10 iceberg lettuce leaves, chopped into chunks
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crispy
  • Long appetizer toothpicks
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the bread into thick slices, about ½ inch thick, and then cut each slice into small squares. Place the squares onto a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil on top and toss to fully coat. Spread in an even layer and bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and prepared pesto.
  4. Spread some of the pesto mixture on top of each bread slice. Layer with lettuce, a cherry tomato, and crispy bacon on each. Skewer with a long toothpick to hold in place, but also to make it easier for your guests to grab. Serve at room temperature.
Makes 20 to 24 bites

I really enjoyed reading Rachel’s story in her cookbook and loved her quotes, so I will leave you with one of my favorites.

“It is the greatest measure of respect to prepare a meal for another person.” – Rachel Hollis
…and then, she paused for thought.


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Upscale Downhome” cookbook to cook with and review. All opinions are my own.
Photo credit for cookbook photos: Jonathan Melendez and Courtnee Loren Brown.


15 thoughts on “BLT Bites – Upscale Downhome

  1. CC

    I love your take on Rachel’s BLT bites, Cathy! I can’t eat Iceberg, so I love the Romaine switch! Totally cute for a party or even a summer picnic.

  2. Leslie Macchiarella

    Over all these years, how did I ever miss long toothpicks for skewering appetizers?? (I even have a vintage toothpick collection, for some reason.) 🙂 What a great idea. In fact, I’d like to skewer one of those little BLT Bites right about now. Nice spread — and I always adore your photos!

  3. Greg Henry (@sippitysup)

    Proof that salad can be fun. ESpecially when it’s served as finger food! There’s just something special about finger food. It seems both sophisticated and mischievous. Finger food is party food and I am sure that is where the allure stems. GREG

  4. nusrat2010

    “It is the greatest measure of respect to prepare a meal for another person.” – Rachel Hollis …. BEAUTIFUL <3
    Thank you, dear Cathy, for chitchatting about the cookbook. I think I should buy myself one copy.

    And about your take on Rachel H's recipe: what's not to love about it? The look, the texture, the taste … all fabulous. A total package <3

    Inviting, eye-catching image indeed <3

  5. Shannon Lemon

    This is such a fun idea! I always bring little caprese skewers to parties but I love this recipe, way more unique and I bet they are delish!


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