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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

29 Jul

I am often looking for good and healthy dips. I feel like I might have played out some of my white bean dips – I was looking for something new for Sunday Family Poolday 2 weekends ago. I stumbled onto this keeper. It was so good, I made it this past weekend AGAIN for Family Birthday Extravaganza Part Deux (with frozen ryes included)!!

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It was from a Good Housekeeping magazine. I saw it on a random beauty page (7 years to stay younger). But it was FOUR ingredients. How could I resist? Plus it sounded really good! Annnnnnd all the ingredients are heart-healthy – BONUS!

Boy was I right. I think my sister-in-law and I single-handedly took down this bowl of dip in about 30 minutes or less. It was amazing.

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I doubled the recipe – and I tasted it when adding the vinegar and cumin. I added a smidge more of both – but that was just to my liking. This dip is a GREAT fun appetizer to bring to a get-together because it travels well (doesn’t need refrigeration) and tastes great! AND most importantly, you can make this dip in literally 3 minutes. Time yourself and let me know how long it takes you!

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 Tblsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Serve with veggies or pita chips!

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Peppadew Goat Cheese Appetizers

17 Jul

These are painfully simple and yet completely delicious. Are you ready for this? There are TWO ingredients…..TWO! It doesn’t get much simpler than that, folks.   IMG_1474

My mom has been serving these for years as part of her appetizer spread. My dad used to stuff the peppadews with cheese to help her out in the kitchen. All you need to do is take a little bit of fresh goat cheese (or any type of fresh soft cheese of your liking) and shove it in the cavity of the pepper. That’s it!!!

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You can easily find peppadews in your local supermarket’s olive bar. If you have never tried one, peppadews are a little tangy/spicy in flavor – which is why stuffing them with a smooth soft cheese tones down the tang!

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These colorful gems look great mixed into a spread of olives and random meats as part of an appetizer smorgasbord.

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Doesn’t that look nice? Next time you are stumped for some finger-foods to put out for company, give these babies a try! 20130622_190837

Peppadew Goat Cheese Appetizers

Ingredients:

  • Peppadews (as many as you want to make)
  • 1 Goat Cheese log (or any other fresh soft cheese)

Directions:

Drain any water out of peppadews. With small teaspoon, shove some goat cheese inside the cavity of the pepper.

Place on a plate and serve!

Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders

28 Apr

I have seen this recipe on a COUPLE blogs and cooking sites that I follow. It always sounded intriguing. I noticed I had 3 versions of it bookmarked to try and was just waiting for the perfect time to try it.

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When is a better time to try something like this than for the SUPERBOWL!!!! My brother Marty decided to have a family Superbowl party where everyone brought heavy apps and desserts. This was the perfect thing to bring in order to see if it was a keeper or not.

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Let me just tell you. This thing could NOT be easier to make. You buy ham and cheese, put it on little sliders or dinner rolls, pour the sauce over top, and bake! I mean, come on!!!!

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And look at how amazing the finished product looks – golden and juicy and delicious. My brother even pretends to salivate over a plate of them….while my other brothers and mom look on in the background.

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Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders

Ingredients

  • 16 White Dinner Style Rolls, cut in half
  • 24 slices Honey Ham
  • 16 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1/4 C Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 8 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet place bottom half of dinner rolls and top with 1 1/2 slices of ham and 1 slice of swiss cheese. Spread about 1 tsp of mayonnaise on each top-half of roll and place on top of ham and cheese. You want the rolls to be snug together, kissing just a bit (hee hee) so the sauce can soak up into all of the nooks and crannies.
  3. In a small bowl combine the mustard, melted butter, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and brown sugar. Mix until combined and evenly pour over the assembled rolls. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Bake covered with foil for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the tops are browned, and cheese is good and melted.

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

4 Apr

I saw these little beauties in passing on foodgawker.

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I knew I would be making cookie packages to mail to my friends.

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I decided that this would also be the perfect thing to toss into the mix, too!

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This recipe is very easy, with hardly any energy expended, but so much to gain! These are great to put out for appetizers or to accompany dessert with friends.

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CINNAMON and SUGAR PECANS

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 cups pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon & sugar
  • 2 teaspoons good vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

*For a cinnamon sugar mixture: use one tablespoon cinnamon to 1/3 cup sugar. Be sure to use good quality cinnamon.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1. Whisk the egg white in a cup. Pour the egg whites over the nuts, stirring until the nuts are coated with egg white.

2. In a small bowl, stir the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and salt together. Add the cinnamon sugar mixture to the nuts, a little a time, while stirring.

3. Spread the coated nuts on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes without stirring. Use a spatula to remove the nuts from the hot baking sheet immediately. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in tightly closed container. It took a while for mine to dry – so be prepared to lay them out for a few hours. Store in a cool place.

Flour Tortillas

9 Mar

I am sure the last thing you think about making from scratch when doing mexican is flour tortillas……well I am here to let you know how EASY it really is.

When cooking for my Mexican Supper Club night, I planned to do Beef Enchiladas. I bought flour tortillas from the store as a back-up just in case I didnt have time to make my own.

But I always had a feeling that I was going to make my own no matter what. It turned out that I had some extra time and I just went for it!

It was BEYOND easy to put together. They took a little longer in the frying pan than I thought they would. But all in all, they turned out AMAZING.

The key when you are sauteeing them in the frying pan is to make sure you have a damp towel on top of saran wrap on top of the plate of cooked tortillas so they stay a bit pliable when you go to use them.

Making your own tortillas is SO much better for you than using store-bought. They taste fresher and dont contain any chemicals or additives. They have a better texture, too, and are great to use in almost any recipe!

And I am so bummed that I didnt take any pics of the finished tortillas. I’ll have to update in the future when I make them again. But here is a pic of my yummy beef enchiladas!

Flour Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 and ¾ cup flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 6 tblsp Crisco, cut into 6 pieces
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tblsp water, heated up to 110 degrees
  • ½ tsp vegetable oil

Directions:

Combine flour and salt in bowl – stir. Rub shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until combined.

Turn dough out onto counter and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Roll 2.5 tblsp dough into 1.5 inch balls. Transfer balls to plate and refrigerate until firm, wrapped in plastic.

Working on lightly floured counter, roll out balls to 8-inch rounds. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat until just smoking. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Lay 1 round in skillet and cook until surface begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until browned and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate and cover with dish towel. (NOTE: It took my tortillas about 3-4 minutes per side to cook)

At this point – go on and use them for whatever dish you plan to make.

BLT Bites

3 Mar

If I had seen this recipe on my own, I would have cruised on past because it looks a bit intricate and timely. That assessment is true; however, the taste is FABULOUS.

My friend Mel was having her Halloween party and had asked me to make a couple items. I offered a few ideas of my own and then she requested that I make this one and proceeded to send me the recipe.

When I read that I would have to stuff cherry tomatoes, I thought they were nuts. And it definitely took a little bit of time, but it was SO worth it. The bacon/mayo mixture couldn’t be simpler to make. And yes, I cheated this time by buying pre-made bacon because I was making 4 things in 5 hours and didnt have time to fry a pound of bacon. But it’s good to know that this is a possibility!!

And I figured a way to stuff them a bit easier – use the 1/8 teaspoon of my measuring spoon set. Made it so much better!

The taste is just amazing. And they were one of the FIRST things to disappear at the party! They are tiny and people love to pop them in their mouths…And the bacon-flavor just hits you!

I highly recommend this recipe – although I think it’s best for a small party/get-together so that you don’t kill yourself in assembly. Or you could make this and stuff larger tomatoes as a lunch!

BLT Bites

Ingredients:

  • 16 to 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

Directions:

  • Cut a thin slice off of each tomato top. Scoop out and discard pulp. Invert the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon into tomatoes.
  • Refrigerate for several hours.

Yield: 16-20 appetizer servings.

Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa

17 Feb

Who doesnt love salsa? Seriously…..find me someone who doesnt LOVE salsa.

Robb has the Rick Bayless “Mexican Everyday” cookbook. It has become one of our mexican cooking bibles.

We’ve tried a couple of his salsas, and we landed on this one as being the best. (I usually end up adding a bit more heat to it, too – as you can see by the additional random spicy peppers in the pan above)

This tastes divine – you can taste the roasted garlic and peppers. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients. And it’s simple to make. I made it for Mexican Supper Club back in October and it was a huge hit. I made a regular batch and then I made a SPICY batch for John and I.

Salsa is already a party food staple. Why not make your own at home? It’s so much healthier for you and you can modify it however you like!

Dip into it!!!!

Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 jalapenos (or 4 serranos/1 habanero)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • One 15 oz can diced tomatoes- fire roasted, in juice
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tsp of fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp Salt

Directions:

Remember to wear gloves when you handle/chop the spicy peppers – dont want to burn your skin or touch your eye later on!

Set small skillet over medium heat. Lay the chiles and garlic in the skillet and dry roast until soft and blotchy black in spots, about 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 mins for the garlic.

While chiles and garlic roast, scoop onion into strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off excess water and pour into medium bowl.

Pull stems off the roasted chiles and peel papery skins off the garlic. Scoop them into the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the tomatoes with their juice, re-cover and pulse a few more times, until the mixture is as coarse or smooth as you want your salsa to be.

Pour the mixture into the bowl with the onion. Add cilantro and stir thoroughly.

Thin with water if necessary to give salsa an easier consistency (I typically do not do this). Taste and season with lime juice and salt – I tend to go heavy on these two items.

NOTE: If making salsa ahead of time, refrigerate and don’t add onions and cilantro until ready to serve.

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