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Spicy Cheddar Cheese Straws

6 Oct

These lil babies are a surprising treat for the person who bites into them.

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My mom has been making them for quite some time – but those times were far and few in between. As I was perusing the Family Cookbook, I came across the recipe and remembered how tasty they were.

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They are really like a spicy cheese cracker. You can make them into any shape you like – I like to keep them in a narrow triangle shape.

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You are also supposed to put some seeds on top before baking. But I had forgotten to get them at the store. So I went naked with my cheese straws. No cheese straws were harmed – they still came out delicious.

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You don’t need to provide any dip or cheese to accompany these crackers. They are good enough on their own 🙂 Of course if you want to dip, be my guest!

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Spicy Cheddar Cheese Straws

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-oz block Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp dried crushed pepper
  • 2 tblsp half-n-half
  • Seed mixture (see below)

Directions:

Pulse the first 5 ingredients in a food processor at 5-second interval until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-n-half and pulse 10 more seconds or until dough forms a ball.  (Note –dough may be wrapped in plastic wrap or Ziploc bag and chilled up to 3 days)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare dough and divide in half. Roll each half into a 9-10 inch round. Transfer rounds to parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Whisk together 1 egg white and 1 tsp water just until foamy. Stir together ¼ cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup roasted sunflower kernels, 2 tblsp toasted sesame seeds, and 2 tblsp black sesame seeds. Brush rounds with egg white mixture and sprinkle with seed mixture.

Cut each round into wedges of random sizes, using a fluted pastry wheel. Separate wedges about 1 inch apart. Bake 16-18 minutes, cool on baking sheets on wire racks, 30 minutes.

Makes 24-32 triangles

Garlic Dill Pickles

31 Aug

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My friend, Matt Smith, posts some great pics and recipes of yummy dishes he makes from time to time. Earlier this summer he posted a pic of a giant vat of pickles that he had just made. And all of a sudden it dawned on me – I desperately want to make pickles.

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He graciously gave me the recipe he used. As soon as I saw it, I knew this was the perfect pickle recipe. IMG_1497

It had all the ingredients I love in a pickle – jalapenos, garlic, dill, and some sugar. Cucumbers are flooding the farmers market at this time of year – everyone is practically giving them away. And I have a ton of jalapenos in my lil garden 🙂

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The hardest part to this recipe? Waiting for the pickles to marinate for a week…..It takes SO much patience. Every time I opened the fridge, those pickles were staring at me – daring me to take a taste. Look at them….mocking me.

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But I resisted. And my hard work paid off. These pickles are incredible. They might not be for everyone – so you might want to tweak the recipe. Tweak away, friends! These pickles are tart and have a definite vinegar flavor. They mellow over time.

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I highly recommend draining all of the spices/seeds/dill/peppercorns out of the liquid when the week is up. That way they don’t continue pickling while you eat them (and you don’t reach into the vat and pull out a strand of dill or random spice).

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Garlic Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 3.5-4 pounds of pickling cucumbers (the lil guys)
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced (seeds and all)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tblsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar (I used a lil less)
  • 5 heaping tblsp pickling spices
  • 2 tblsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tblsp black peppercorns

Directions:  

Make sure you prepare a large container – at least a 3.5 quart container – to hold your pickles.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pull the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool down while you slice your cukes.

Prepare garlic, jalapenos, and dill. Slice your cucumbers into ½ inch-thick rounds – you can slice thinner if you like as well. Put them in your container along with the dill, garlic, and jalapenos and mix well.

Pour the mixture over your other ingredients and make sure everything is all mixed around and ingredients are distributed. Cool to room temperature and cover.

Here comes the hardest part: put them in the fridge and don’t touch them for a week unless you are going to shake them up a bit.

This recipe makes a TON of pickles and they keep for weeks!

 

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!

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.
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