Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Handful of Appetizers


Our family makes a lot of appetizers over the many, that it has taken me a long time to get around to typing up this gargantuan list (and this isn't even the only appetizers post we have had!). Check this one out, and this one! Or just check out our appetizers label on the side.

So Good Wings


3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inches of peeled ginger
3-4 lbs. chicken wings


Place first four ingredients in a blender and blend well. Place wings in a zip-top bag and pour marinade over them. Marinate for 18-24 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour all wings and marinade in a well-greased 9x13-inch pan. Roast in oven for about an hour or so, until the chicken is done.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Source: Who knows? This one has been in our family for over a decade. I have no idea where we originally found it.

Breaded 'Wingers' Style Wings


2 eggs
1-2 cups Bisquick
3-4 lbs. chicken wings
Buffalo sauce (such as Winger's sauce)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat eggs. Dip chicken wings in the eggs and then dredge in Bisquick. Place on foil-lined jelly roll pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy. Drizzle wings evenly with Buffalo sauce. Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until wings are done.

Serve with additional sauce.

Source: We just kind of made this one up on our own.

Roasted Chickpeas


1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, optional
Garlic salt, optional
Cayenne pepper, optional


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

Source:, submitted by akcpa. You can find the recipe here.

Honey Nutters


16 graham crackers
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup coconut


Crush the graham crackers between two pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin or in a food processor.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, hone, and powdered milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Make small balls with mixture and place on wax paper. Roll balls in shredded coconut.

Source:, submitted by Johnna Corley. You can find it here.

Notes: Since my son who isn't allergic to peanut butter is allergic to coconut, we didn't roll these in coconut, we rolled them in additional powdered sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip


For the cookie dough:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the dip:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1/2 cup sour cream
10 Oreo (or similar) cookies, crushed


To make the cookie dough, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt, then mix well. Add the flour and mix just until thoroughly blended. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Divide the mixture into chunks, about 1 teaspoon each. They don't need to be perfectly rounded. Arrange them without touching on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the milk, almond extract, salt, and sour cream, then process. Transfer to a bowl, then use a spatula or spoon to gently stir in the crushed cookies.

Once the cookie dough chunks have chilled, gently stir them into the dip. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Makes 24 servings.

Nutrition information: 240 calories, 13 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 21 g sugar, 3 g protein, 105 mg sodium.

Source: We found this in the Deseret News. It is from Lindsay Landis' book, "The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook."

Notes: Keep the cookie dough balls on the smaller side, otherwise it is really difficult to actually get the dip on anything so that you can eat it. The picture in the newspaper shows these served with those really thick, big pretzel sticks. I think this would also be really good with graham crackers (a mixture of regular or honey, cinnamon, and chocolate would be nice).

Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sausage Bites


1 (28-oz) bottle barbecue sauce
1 (18-oz) jar cherry preserves
3 chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
2 (16-oz) package cocktail-size smoked sausages


Whisk together barbecue sauce, cherry preserves, and next 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add smoked sausages, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Note: To serve, keep warm in a slow cooker on low, if desired. Serve with miniature rolls, if desired.

Source: Southern Living, February 2007. You can find it here.

Kid Friendly Sweet and Sour Hot Dogs


1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 package hot dogs


Mix ketchup and apple jelly together in frying pan or small pot. Add cup up pieces of hot dogs. Simmer in sauce for 20 minutes.

Source: This is one we have had for a very, very long time.

Notes: Seriously, kids love these. I know my boys gobbled them up (and they gobble up very few things these days).

Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Wieners


Cocktail wieners
Brown sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wrap cocktail wieners in bacon (just enough bacon to wrap the wiener once). Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake until cooked through and bacon is crisp (15-20 minutes or so).

Source: I got this from a girl in one of my old wards. She wasn't very specific about ingredient amounts or cooking times or temperatures. So, make this one according to your taste! I found an identical recipe on, which was submitted by JILL1018. You can find that here.

Notes: These are dangerously addicting.

Parmesan Cheese Puffs with Marinara Sauce


1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce, heated


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet.

Heat milk and margarine to boiling in 1 1/2 quart saucepan. Stir in flour; reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in cheese. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes about 30 appetizers.

Source: Again, we have had this forever. I don't know where it came from.

Notes: These are awesome. They always get gobbled up quickly.

Karrie's Bean Dip


Large can of refried beans
Medium sized jar of salsa
Sour cream
Chopped green onion
Chopped or sliced black olives
Grated cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Tortilla chips for serving


Mix refried beans and salsa together. Spread on large serving plate and then layer with sour cream, green onions, olives, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, and guacamole.

Source: This came from my Mom's friend, Karrie.

Notes: Good, basic stuff!

Crab Dip


2 cups coconut
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cups sour cream
2 cups crab (cartilage removed)


Mix, chill and serve with crackers.

Source: I think my grandma got this from a newspaper years ago. From what my mom told me, it was supposedly one of President Kennedy's favorites.

Notes: This definitely has a different taste to it, but it is one of my all-time favorite appetizers. I just can't get enough of it! Yum, yum, yummy! I like it served with fresh celery or Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.

Red Pepper Jelly with Cream Cheese


12-14 large red bell peppers
2 tbsp. un-iodized salt
3 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar (white distilled)
Cream cheese


Chop red bell peppers until fine or grind in a food processor. Add un-iodized salt. Let stand for three hours at room temperature. Drain well. Add 3 cups sugar and 2 cups vinegar. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until thick.

Yield: around 1 quart.

Store in refrigerator for up to 18 months.

Pour over block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Source: My mom got this from a friend in her ward.

Notes: This is a great, delicious, Christmas appetizer staple.

Quick Pepper Jelly


3/4 cup apple jelly (10 ounce jar)
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese


Combine apple jelly and pepper flakes in small saucepan. Cook, stirring over low heat until melted, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to small bowl. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Serves 8.

Nutrition information: 177 calories, 10g fat, 21 g carb, 90 mg sodium, 31 mg cholesterol.

Source: This is an old recipe of my Mom's. Who knows where it came from!

Hot Artichoke Dip


1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
Chopped tomato for topping, optional
Sliced green onions for topping, optional


Mix all ingredients except tomato and green onions. Spoon into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Top with tomato and green onions. Serve with crackers.

Makes 2 cups (16 servings).

Source: I think my Mom got this at another ward function.

Notes: This is so yummy. You will have no need to look for another artichoke dip after you try this one. That is how good it is.

Strawberry Santas


Sweetened Whipped Cream
Chocolate sprinkles
A steady hand!


Hull the strawberries. Cut off the pointed tip of each strawberry for Santa's hat. Top with whipped cream. Place tip of strawberry on top of whipped cream. Place two chocolate sprinkles on whipped cream for eyes. Top with one tiny dollop of additional whipped cream for the pom pom fluff ball on top of Santa's hat.

Source: We saw this idea on Pinterest.

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball


8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp brown sugar
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, optional (or additional mini chocolate chips)
Graham crackers, for dipping


In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars; beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans, if using, or additional mini chocolate chips.

Serve with graham crackers.

Source: Another recipe that my Mom has had forever. I don't know where it came from.

Sweet Pumpkin Dip


1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
Sliced fruit, cinnamon graham crackers, mini bagels, or English muffins for dipping or spreading


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl, until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve as dip or spread.

Source: Again, another recipe that my Mom found years ago, so the source is a mystery.

Breakfast for Dinner Again!

Be honest, how often do you actually have time (or if you have time, that you actually take the time) to make a breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, or something else like that for breakfast? Pretty much just special occasions (like Christmas and Easter), right?

Doesn't breakfast for you usually consist of commonplace, everyday things like cereal, toast, smoothies, oatmeal/cream of wheat, etc? Do you actually make bacon, eggs, and pancakes in the morning everyday? I don't.

The beauty of making breakfast for dinner is that you can make those breakfast bakes or take the time to make cinnamon rolls and have a lovely, filling dinner. Then, you can eat the leftovers for actual breakfast the next day! Win win!

Here are a couple of new ones (and an old favorite) that we made recently.

Eggs Benedict Casserole


Cooking spray
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice)
6 English muffins, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 (.9 ounce) package hollandaise sauce mix
1 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine


Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs, 2 cups milk, green onions, onion powder, and salt together in a large bowl until well mixed.

Layer half the Canadian bacon in the prepared baking dish. Spread English muffins over meat and top with remaining Canadian bacon. Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle casserole with paprika, cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs are nearly set, about 30 minutes; remove foil. Continue baking until eggs are completely set, about 15 more minutes.

Whisk hollandaise sauce mix with 1 cup milk in a saucepan. Add margarine and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer, and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over casserole to serve.

Source:, submitted by alycimo. You can find it here.

Notes: Yum! This was good. Definitely don't skip the Hollandaise sauce. It adds so much to this breakfast bake.


Oven Scrambled Eggs


1/2 cup butter or margarine
24 eggs
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour melted butter into a glass 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and salt until well blended. Gradually whisk in milk. Pour egg mixture into the baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set. Serve immediately.

Source:, submitted by Erin. You can find it here.

Notes: Let me tell you what I like about this recipe: the eggs come out perfect (not overcooked, but also not runny), and because of the bake time, they are safe to eat for my son who is allergic to eggs (he can eat eggs that are baked at 350 degrees for at least 20 minutes). Perfect!

Easy Cinnamon Rolls


12 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
Cinnamon, to taste (1-3 teaspoons)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream


Place rolls in lightly greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, then cinnamon. Pour cream over the top. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until brown.

Source: My mom got this from a lady in her ward. I'm not sure where she got it from, but judging from the ingredients, my guess is that it is a Pillsbury recipe. I couldn't find this exact recipe online, but I found one similar to it. You can check that recipe out here.

Notes: These were sinfully good. Make them when you can share them with others...otherwise, you will be tempted to eat the whole pan by yourself. I would describe these more as caramel rolls with cinnamon instead of as cinnamon rolls.

Above: 12/31/13 update: I made these for our Christmas breakfast. This time, I quartered each roll, and I put it in my 10x14-inch pan (instead of my 9x13-inch pan). Because I used a larger pan, I was able to fit 16 rolls in there, instead of 12. I also topped it with a powdered sugar glaze (1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of milk).

Above: We added some fresh berries this time around (blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries). We have posted this family favorite before. You can find that original post here.

French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup and Confectionery Sugar Dusting

1 9x13 pan, 12 servings
(1) 1 lb. loaf french bread, cubed into 1 1/2" chunks
(1) 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
(8) large eggs
2 1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. sugar
6 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. pure maple syrup (divided)
1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar, for dusting

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place half the bread cubes into dish and evenly distribute cream cheese chunks over bread. Top this with balance of bread. Whisk 1/4 c. maple syrup, eggs, milk, sugar, and melted butter and pour over bread, pressing bread with spatula to soak up egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Drizzle top with reserved maple syrup, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Source: My mom got this recipe from a ward activity.
The search for kid friendly foods never seems to end, does it? Here is a recipe for corn dog muffins that we recently found that my kids seemed to like...for now, at least!

Corn Dog Mini Muffins


1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
5 hot dogs, diced
Optional: Ketchup, mustard, sour cream, and/or honey mustard for dipping


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan generously with shortening or non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking  soda.

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, milk, butter, and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients and cheese just until combined. Spoon a generous tablespoonful of batter into each muffin tin. Add a few pieces of hot dog to each muffin cup.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffins cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm with desired dipping sauces.

Nutrition information: 1 mini muffin is 103 calories, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 6 g fat, 0g fiber, 23 mg cholesterol, 312 mg sodium.

Source: My mom found this in Parade magazine, I believe.

Notes: We made these as regular sized muffins. If you do the same, the cooking time will be slightly longer. Just test the muffins with a toothpick for doneness after about 12 minutes.

Veggie Sides

It's always good to have a healthy arsenal of side dishes up your's so easy for side dishes to become an afterthought.

Here are some fantastic vegetable side dishes that we found recently.

Roasted Asparagus with Herbes de Provence


1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Herbes de Provence
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Toss the asparagus with olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Spread the asparagus onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast in preheated oven until tender and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Source:, submitted by Jessica. You can find it here.

Sweet Baby Carrots


1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup brown sugar


Place the carrots into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.

Return the pot to the stove, reduce the heat to medium-low. Melt the butter in the pot. Stir in the honey and brown sugar; add the carrots and stir until evenly coated; cook another 5 minutes.

Source:, submitted by MrsAltmiller. You can find it here.

Notes: These were really good. They got gobbled up quickly!

Italian Veggie Bake


1/3 cup Kraft Tuscan House Italian Dressing
1 large onion, chopped
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 pkg. (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained, cut up
1/3 cup Kraft Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


Heat dressing large skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in eggplant; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers; cook and stir 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour vegetable mixture into 2-quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with cheese. Cover.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe Notes: This dish tastes even better if prepared the day before. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. Bake as directed just before serving. You can also use light Italian dressing and reduced fat cheese, if you like.

14 (1/2 cup) servings.

Nutrition information: 60 calories, 3.5 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: This was so good. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture. Sorry!

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette


Vegetable Saute:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), sliced into 3-inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 pint teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Tarragon Vinaigrette:

6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (or 1-2 tsps. dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushroom and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and reserve.

Combine the oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt, and pepper in a glass screw-top jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to mix the vinaigrette.

Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve warm.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis recipe found on the Food Network website. You can find it here.

Notes: My brother-in-law made this and brought this to a family get together. It was FANTASTIC. Seriously, crave-worthy. You will love this. Sorry I didn't snap a picture of it! I thought it would be a little weird of me to take a picture of my food at our family gathering. :) I'll have to make this sometime and take a picture of it and add it then.

Just As Good As I Remembered It

For my birthday, I decided to make a dinner that I remembered as being fantastic...however, I was pregnant when I last had it, and sometimes pregnancy can do weird things to your taste buds. In the case of this pregnancy, my cravings were rampant and everything tasted sooooooo good.

I was curious if this dinner was as good as I remembered it, or if my taste buds had been affected in a more positive manner than it normally would have by my pregnancy.

Well, after trying it again, I can tell you that this is a really good recipe. It has very few ingredients, so you might not expect it to be as tasty as it is, but trust me, this is good stuff. Rather than pairing it with plain white rice, I served it with one of my mom's go-to easy rice side dish recipes (as well as some delicious fresh cubed pineapple), which I will also share here.

I hope you like it too!

Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt Sauce


1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
4 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves (10-12 ounces each)
2 Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the yogurt, the garlic, turmeric, ginger, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken; turn to coat.

Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast (avoiding the bone) registers 160 degrees F, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the apple; coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro and the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt; season with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce alongisde the chicken, with rice, if desired.

Source: Everyday Food recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and it worked just as well as the bone-in. I made this choice simply because I had the boneless chicken already on hand. This is so good! It is kind of on the spicy side too. The yogurt sauce calms the heat quite a bit...but just a warning, my little guys found it a little too spicy.

Basmati Rice

1 3/4 cup water
1 cup Basmati rice
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (you can use ground cumin too)


In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

When rice is cooked, stir in peas and cumin. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source:, submitted by Kristine Weatherly. You can find it here.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Late Cinco de Mayo


Sorry I'm a little late getting around to Cinco de Mayo this year. About a week or so before, all I was craving was Italian food. However, when Cinco de Mayo came along, I craved Mexican food with a vengeance, but all of my ingredients in my cupboard were for Italian meals. :)

I caught up the following week to take care of my Mexican food cravings. Here are some of my finds!

Individual Pinto and Black Bean Tamale Pies


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bunches scallions, trimmed, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup water
1 tube (16 ounces) prepared plain polenta, sliced into 8 equal rounds and patted dry
1 packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
Salsa, for serving, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium, add white parts of scallions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add both beans, tomatoes (with juice), and the water and bring to a boil, mashing about one-quarter of the beans with the back of a spoon against side of pan. Reduce to a simmer, cook until mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush eight 10 to 12 ounce ramekins or custard cups with remaining tablespoon oil (if using pie plates, follow instructions at the end of the recipe). Place a polenta round in each ramekin.

Remove bean mixture from heat. Stir in green parts of scallions, cilantro, and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Spoon bean mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly, then top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and filling is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro, and serve with salsa.

Source: Everyday Food recipe. I can't find this particular recipe online. It is from the Everyday Food Light cookbook, ISBN: 978-0-307-71809-9.

Nutrition information: 332 calories, 11 g fat, 12.3 g protein, 42.8 g carbohydrates, 11.6 g fiber.

Large Pie Variation: Brush each of two deep dish pie plates with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Slice polenta crosswise into 16 equal rounds; place 8 rounds in each pie plate. Dividing evenly, top with bean mixture, then cheese. Bake and let stand as directed.

Notes: This was really good. So flavorful. Plus, it is a great meatless dinner option. With the combination of the beans, spices, and polenta, you really won't miss the lack of meat. I promise! I didn't have any 10-12 ounce ramekins (all of mine are smaller). So, I opted to make this in two pie plates. It worked great!

Spicy Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce


1/2 roast or rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, quartered (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired)
1 teaspoon chili powder
8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a blender, puree the pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold the top firmly as the blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish.

Lay the tortillas on a work surface; mound the chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up each tortilla into a tight log; place seam side down over the sauce in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with the cheese. Place the dish on a baking sheet; bake until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe notes: This dish can be assembled up to 8 hours ahead of time; refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to bake (add a few minutes to the cooking time).

Source: Everyday Food recipe. You can find it here.

Bean Burritos


3/4 cup rice (brown or white)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, chopped (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn kernels (10 ounces)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 burrito-size flour tortillas, 10 inches each
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa and sour cream, optional


Cook rice according to package instructions; set aside. (I made Cilantro-Lime Rice, already posted on our blog here.)

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add beans and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in scallions.

Heat tortillas according to package instructions; fill with rice, bean mixture, and cheese.

Assemble: Mound 1/4 cup rice, 3/4 cup bean mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold sides, and hold them in. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.

Serve immediately, with salsa and sour cream, if using, or wrap per freezing instructions.

Freezing Instructions:

Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat from frozen:

Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on high for 3 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet, bake at 450 degrees until crispy, about 10 minutes.

If only using a microwave, remove from plastic wrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a microwave safe bowl. Defrost on high power for 3 to 4 minutes; uncover, and microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes longer.

If only using oven, remove burritos from plastic wrap; rewrap individually in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil, and bake to crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. (To reheat defrosted burritos, remove any wrapping and bake for 10 minutes).

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe (November 2005). You can find it here.

Notes: These are nice and mild. In fact, if you wanted to add some more pizzaz, you could increase the amount of ground cumin (I did), and/or add some additional spices. My boys really liked these...and getting them to eat is half the battle!

Above: The recipe says that it makes 8 burritos. I ended up with 8 large burritos and 3 small ones. I measured with the amounts for each large burrito exactly and still had some of the bean filling left over. If you made small burritos (which I would recommend if you are making these for lunches, you could probably have between 12-16 burritos). The recipe describes these as healthy single-serving dinners (or hearty lunches). I think a large burrito is a great size for my husband for lunch, but too large for me. The smaller burritos were a perfect size for my lunch though.

An Old Classic a New Way

I'm always intrigued by recipes that do something different than the norm. One that I found recently was a lasagna recipe that took a lot less time to make, and that was baked in the skillet you made the sauce in. So, of course, I had to try it. You should too! It was simple and delicious.

Three-Cheese Skillet Lasagna


43 ounces canned whole peeled plum tomatoes (from a 28-ounce can and a 15-ounce can)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 box (12 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely pureed. In a large deep skillet, bring tomatoes, garlic, and oil to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium until thickened, about 12 minutes (you should have 5 cups marinara sauce).

meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together egg yolk, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Carefully pour sauce into a heatproof bowl, and return 3/4 cup to skillet; spread sauce evenly. Add a single layer of noodles, breaking them up to fit. Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, then 1 1/2 cups marinara. Add a third layer of noodles, then remaining ricotta mixture. Follow with a final noodle layer, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and pecorino (or Parmesan) over top.

Bake lasagna until golden and bubbling, 30-35 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Note: Breaking the lasagna noodles into pieces allows you to arrange them easily and snugly in the skillet without large gaps between them.

Source: Martha Stewart recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: This just tasted so good. It had such a fresh taste to it, despite the fact that it used canned tomatoes. In fact, I would probably use one more 15-ounce can of tomatoes. When I simmered it until thickened, I thickened it a little longer than the 12 minutes that the recipe called for because my sauce didn't seem thick enough to me. However, it reduced it down to a little less than 4 cups, I guess I reduced it too much. There was still enough sauce to do the job, but I like my Italian dishes super saucy, so next time I'll add more tomatoes.

This froze really well, and reheated really well. The leftovers were fantastic.

Also, I didn't have no-boil lasagna noodles. I simply used a trick I found in another Everyday Food recipe awhile back. Don't boil the noodles. Soak the regular lasagna noodles in hot water while you are making the sauce. The noodles will be pliable, but not completely cooked by the time you are ready to assemble your lasagna. When the noodles bake in the oven, the sauce will finish cooking them and they will be just right--not too soft, and not too hard.

Friday, May 24, 2013

You Say, "Po-tay-to," and I Say, "Po-tah-to"

However you say it, it makes a great side dish, doesn't it?

Here are some great potato side dishes we found recently. Yum!

Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes


3 pounds potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and cubed
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 bacon strips, chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped


Place potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

Drain; mash potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream, and butter. Stir in milk and seasonings.

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain. Transfer potato mixture to a greased 13x9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with cheese, onions, and bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 10 servings.

Nutrition information: 3/4 cup equals 419 calories, 24 g fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 544 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 11 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: These were so good. I could eat them as my main course. Seriously.

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole


1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced


Cut baked potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place half in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper, and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream, and cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 serving equals 594 calories, 38 g fat, 128 mg cholesterol, 702 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 24 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home recipe. You can find it here.

Sweet and White Potato Salad


3/4 lb. new potatoes (about 9), quartered
3/4 lb. sweet potatoes (about 1 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 green onions, sliced


Bring 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add new potatoes; cook 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes; cook 10 minutes, or until all potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes; place in large bowl. Cool.

Mix mayo, mustard, honey, and pepper. Add to potatoes with remaining ingredients; mix lightly.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Recipe notes: If you like your potato salad extra spicy, increase the ground red pepper to 1/2 tsp.

10 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition information: 110 calories, 5 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 3 g protein.

Source: You can find the recipe here.

Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad


3 pounds baby red potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (dark balsamic vinegar can also be used, but it will change the color of the dressing)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled


Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees F. (medium-high) heat. Place potatoes in a single layer in center of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring up foil sides over potatoes; double fold top and side edges to seal, making 1 large packet.

Grill potatoes, in foil packet, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes on each side. Remove packet from grill. Carefully open packet, using tongs, and let potatoes cool 5 minutes.

Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add potatoes, tossing gently to coat. Stir in onion, blue cheese, and bacon.

Source: Southern Living. You can find the recipe here.

Blue Cheese Potato Salad


4 slices bacon
2 pounds red new potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled


Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. COok over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop, leaving skins on.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, green onions, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes, bacon, and cheese, and toss to coat.

Source:, submitted by TOSWEETFORYOU. You can find the recipe here.

Just Chicken

Chicken is one of my favorites. It is easy, it is economical, and it is versatile.

Here are two chicken recipes we made recently.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Rosemary, and Garlic


3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 lb)


In shallow glass or plastic dish, or resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add chicken, turning to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate 30 minutes to marinate.

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165 degrees F).

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe notes: Fresh thyme can be substituted for rosemary and lime juice for the lemon juice.

Nutrition information: 270 calories, 15 g fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 32 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: Holy cow, this was so good. You won't miss the beef at your barbecue if you choose this!

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves (Italian seasoning may also be used)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a bowl, blend the olive oil and garlic. In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper. Dip each chicken breast in the oil mixture, then in the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish, and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.

Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear.

Source:, submitted by KAREN. You can find the recipe here. So far, 4 1/2 stars and over 1,100 reviews.

Famous Butter Chicken


2 eggs, beated
1 cup crushed buttery round cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place eggs and cracker crumbs in two separate shallow bowls. Mix cracker crumbs with garlic salt and pepper. Dip chicken in the eggs, then dredge in the crumb mixture to coat.

Arrange coated chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place pieces of butter around the chicken.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Source:, submitted by HAULBUR. Currently 4 1/2 stars and almost 1,800 reviews. You can find that recipe here.

Notes: This was a good, buttery, comfort food kind of chicken.