Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel



 

This delicious Autumn inspired Bumpkin Coffee Cake is a true delight. I made it a couple Sundays ago while the baby was napping. By late morning I was making deliveries around the neighborhood to all of the other football wives. The men were out of town that Sunday for the game in Detroit. We kicked butt in the game. Dan kicked a game winning
58 yarder! Therefor I am officially calling this Pumpkin Coffee Cake my good luck coffee cake.

Moist and delicious, I slightly adapted this recipe from the BHG website. Pretty much what I did differently was add more spice. I use more nutmeg than recommended and added cinnamon and cloves. Because what is Fall with no cinnamon and cloves?


I love that there is absolutely NO dryness to this coffee cake, I believe the use of brown sugar, and sour cream are to credit for that.  It is pure perfection. 


Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
Slightly adapted from Better Home and Gardens

Ingredients
-Pecan Streusel Ingredients-
1/3 c flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3TB cold butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans
-Coffee Cake Ingredients-
1 c canned pumpkin
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c dried cranberries
1 TB flour
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 tsp teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 container regular sour cream (8oz) 


Directions

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

-Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan, or spray with baking spray; set aside. 

-To prepare Pecan Streusel, stir together flour, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or running two butter knifes across one another, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.set aside.   

-To prepare the coffee cake, In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin, brown sugar, dried cranberries, and the 1 tablespoon flour; set aside.

-In a medium bowl, stir the 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. 
-In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. 
-Add the granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. 
-Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. 
-Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined (batter will be stiff).
-Spread 2-1/2 cups of the batter in the prepared pan, building up edge to form a 1-inch rim. 
-Spoon pumpkin filling into center of pan, spreading to make an even layer. 
-Carefully spoon the remaining batter in small mounds on top of the pumpkin filling; gently spread batter to cover pumpkin filling. 
-Sprinkle Pecan Streusel over batter.
-Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
-Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen and remove sides of springform pan. 
-Cool completely on wire rack. 
-Makes 12 servings.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tortellini Salad

I made this Tortellini Salad the other night to take to a friends house. They invited a few of us over for ribs so I decided to whip up something new. I love our Buffalo Bills friends. They are always willing to try new things. Everyone really liked this salad so I am sharing it with you.

I love the flexibility of Tortellini Salad. I am sharing the ingredients and measurements that I like to use, but feel free to follow your taste buds and add whatever you like. You could go the Greek route with feta, cucumbers, tzatziki etc. You may choose to make it a Tortellini Caprese Salad, or maybe add artichokes, green olives....whatever you like!

I suggest using my recipe the first time. You will LOVE it! Then, the second time, get creative and add or omit anything your taste buds desire!



Tortellini Salad

Ingredients
All measurements can be adjusted to taste. These are my measurements and how I like it. Feel free to add more or less of anything, add artichokes, different cheeses, peppers, green olives, etc.
-1 - 19oz package of frozen cheese tortellini - Cooked according to package directions,
  rinsed and cooled to room temperature.
-Half a bag of fresh spinach roughly chopped small
-8 oz fresh mozzarella diced
-A dry pint (2 cups) of cherry tomatoes - washed and halved or quartered
-1 - 3.8 oz or 2 -2 oz can(s) sliced black olives, drained
-Approx 8 oz. stick of pepperoni sliced thick and cut into bite sized pieces.
  (Can use hard salami too)
-Small handful of sliced banana peppers or peperroncinis
-Approximately 3/4 cup Paul Newman's Olive oil and Vinegar dressing
-Approximately Basil Pesto 6oz
 (I used Classico brand. it was an 8oz jar so i had a little left.)
-Fresh ground pepper

Directions
-Toss all ingredients except dressing and pesto in a large bowl.
-Carefully toss.
-In a small bowl mix the dressing and basil pesto.
-Pour mixture over the salad and toss to coat evenly.
-Store in fridge for 2-3 hrs to let flavors blend and dressing simmer down and soak in a
 bit.
-When ready to eat, remove from fridge, toss to redistribute dressing.
-Taste and Serve.
(If you like a sharper taste, or think it needs a little extra dressing, feel free to add more dressing to it. But I think this is perfect for my buds)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taco In A Bag



Taco In A Bag, Walking Taco, Traveling Taco. Whatever you call it, it is gooood.

Back in grade school, Taco In A Bag was sold at high school basketball games in order to raise funds for one of the many school clubs. I totally forgot how fantastic these Walking Tacos were until recently, when my sisters and I were talking about how it is one of my brothers favorite weekend meals.

I decided to make Taco In A Bag for my son's 1st Birthday. I could make everything a day in advance,easily use up leftovers, freeze extra taco meat, and the clean up is a breeze as you throw most everything away! BINGO!


Taco In A Bag is perfect for feeding a crowd. Taco Salad in a bag? With minimal clean up? Yes Please! Tailgating, Camping, Casual Party, etc. It's great for any occasion!



Taco In A Bag

Ingredients
Individual bags of Nacho Doritos
Taco Meat
Shredded Lettuce
Shredded Cheddar
Taco Sauce
  Optional:
    Diced Tomatoes
    Diced Onion
    Olives
    Sour Cream
    Ranch
    Salsa

Directions
-Dice, cut, cook and store all Taco In A Bag ingredients ahead of time to make life easy.
-Reheat meat and keep warm on stove on low or crock pot
-Set out all ingredients
-Hold the bag of Doritos in one hand. With a long side up, use scissors to trim JUST the top 1/8 inch off of the bag, all the way across the long way so that the bag of chips is like a pocket.
-Using both hands hold the bag open side up, and use fingers to crunch the chips.
-Once the Doritos are crunched into smaller pieces, add all of the taco ingredients into the bag that you like, starting with meat.
-Use a plastic fork to mix and eat directly from the bag. 
-When you are finished, toss the bag and fork......or keep the fork and make another Taco In A Bag!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores

S'MORES!!! A staple of summertime fun! Here's one I tried the other day. Fun and something different. 
Use peel and bake cookies for convenience. Dip in hot fudge at the end for a little extra chocolate. 




-Big Marshmallows
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (peel and bake for convenience)
-Optional - Dipping Fudge or Chocolate Sauce

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Cut Watermelon Sticks

This is my new favorite way to cut and enjoy watermelon. Watermelon sticks are fast and easy to cut, and convenient to snack on. Watermelon sticks are perfect for all ages, and will be the talk of your next cookout. I eat more watermelon when it's cut into sticks. It makes it a one hand activity instead of two....and way less mess.

Follow the pictorial below so you know how to cut watermelon sticks.


How To Cut Watermelon Sticks

Start with a whole seedless watermelon

Slice in half

Place one half aside, and leave the other half on the board

One half at a time, slice in rows as shown in picture. This will leave you with the traditional half moon slices.

 Cut and discard the very ends of the watermelon half. One half moon piece at a time, slice from rind to fruit to cut into sticks.
 
(Another example)

(Another example)

 (Another example)

 Can easily be cut many sticks at a time. Mainly it is like dicing an onion. Cut all rows one way, then cut the opposite direction.





Saturday, May 24, 2014

One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips

No Fuss. No Mess. Delicious. Three important characteristics of a darn good meal. These One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips provide a hearty home cooked meal, without all the work.

Everything is mixed up and cooked in the same dish. Simply throw it in the oven and walk away. Go outside and play with your kids, run errands, go see a movie. In 3 hrs, come back. Ta-da! Dinner!

Tender, juicy, fall apart beef, with thick brown gravy and big yummy mushrooms. Mmm!



One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips

Ingredients
2lb Chuck Roast
1/2 onion
8oz fresh mushrooms
.87 oz packet of Low Sodium Brown Gravy
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1.25 oz packet of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1 1/4 cup water

Directions
In a 9x13 baking dish, or a large pan with lid that is bakable, put the soup, soup mix, gravy mix, and water. Whisk until mixed.

Use kitchen sheers to cube up the meat into 3/4-1 1/2 inch cubes. Toss into wet mixture and mix.

Cut onion into pieces, and rinse mushrooms. Toss in and mix until everything is coated evenly.

Cover with lid or tinfoil, and bake at 300 for 3 hrs.

Serve over mashed potatoes, quinoa, egg noodles, or rice.



Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

Remember those totally awesome Peanut Butter Bars that the Lunch Ladies would make when you were a kid? I got the recipe folks! And it is spot on! These soft and chewy peanut butter based bars have a thin layer of whipped peanut butter on top to make them extra peanut buttery. They are finished with a magnificent layer of cocoa puff tasting chocolate frosting. 

Take me back Baby! These bars rock! They are easy to make and delicious. I am taking them to a BBQ today. I know they will go fast. Why do I know this? Because I have already "trimmed" the pan of bars four times. 

I just can't help myself. 





Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars
Slightly adapted from TRIED AND TRIED AGAIN

Ingredients
Base:
1 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp. Sea Salt
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¾ C Unsalted Butter softened
¾ C Sugar
¾ C Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 C Chunky Peanut Butter (split into two 3/4 cup portions)
2 Large Eggs
1 ½ C Quick Oats (or Old Fashioned Oats pulsed a few times in a blender - whatever you have. Same thing.)

Frosting:
½ C Unsalted Butter softened (1 stick)
3 ½ C Powdered Sugar
3 T Cocoa Powder
¼ C Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
-In a small mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, 3/4 C peanut butter, eggs and 
 vanilla until light and fluffy. 
-Gradually add dry ingredients, mix just until incorporated. 
-Stir in the oats.  
-Use clean palm or butter wrapper to press dough into a greased 11 x 15 Jelly Roll Pan 
 (cookie sheet with edges). My pan was about 12x16.
-Bake on center rack for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  
-Cool for at least 15 minutes. (This is a good time to clean up your kitchen and make the 
 frosting.)
-To make the frosting, whip the remaining ¾ C Creamy Peanut Butter at high speed 
 until it becomes lighter colored and fluffy. 
-Glob the whipped peanut butter onto the cooled cookie base in a few different clumps 
 to make spreading easier. 
-Use the back of a rubber spatula to carefully spread the whipped peanut butter evenly 
 over the cooled cookie base. It will be a thin layer.
-Next, add butter to a small sauce pan and melt. 
-Add the milk and cocoa. Whisk.
-Cook over medium heat, stirring with the whisk constantly.  
-Heat just until boiling.  
-Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. 
-Add the powdered sugar. Aggressively whisk until thickened, lumps of powdered sugar 
 are gone, and the chocolate mixture is smooth. 
-Pour over the peanut butter and gently spread over the peanut butter covered cookie. 
 This will be a thin layer as well.  
-Cool completely, and slice into bar cookies.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pudding Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies


Pudding Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies are awesome! These chocolate chip cookies are soft and chewy. I think the brown sugar and the pudding mix are the key ingredients. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. These chocolate chip cookies received 4.5 out of 5 stars when reviewed 7,556 times. I figured that many people can't be wrong, so I gave this recipe a whirl. 

It was an absolute hit! On allrecipes the recipe is called Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. I decided to call them Pudding Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies because I think that is the ingredient that makes them different from all other recipes. 

I sent these cookies into the Buffalo Bills locker room with my husband, and also greeted our new neighbors with a plate or two. Everyone loved them! I kept a couple back, to see how they keep, and they were great 4 days later too! 


Pudding Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Source: allrecipes.com

Ingredients
- 4.5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups soft butter
- 1.5 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 (3.4 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups chocolate chips

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a bowl mix the flour and baking soda together. Set aside.
-In the mixing bowl place the butter, and both sugars. Beat them together fast, creaming
 them.
-Slow the mixer down a bit and pour in the powdered pudding mixes. Mix until blended.
-Stir in the eggs and vanilla until blended in.
-Blend in the flour mixture.
-When everything is blended evenly, add the chocolate chips.
-Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls or rolled balls, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
 (Size a bit smaller than a ping pong ball.)
-Bake for 11-12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies are done when the edges are golden
  brown.
-Remove from oven, let cookies sit for 1-2 minutes before removing onto cooling rack.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza is perfect for Easter Dessert! It is beautiful and brilliant as any Easter Dessert should be! Easter Egg Fruit Pizza is fun to make and tastes great too!

I chose to make two fairly good size Easter Egg Fruit Pizzas, but you can do whatever your Easter filled heart desires. I think if you had a house full of kids, it would be fun to make little individual Easter Egg Fruit Pizzas and let them all decorate their own.

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza can be as easy or hard as you wish. You can make your cookie base from scratch, and make your cream cheese frosting, or you can buy both from the store! I chose to buy a powder mix cookie dough and then make my own frosting.






Easter Egg Fruit Pizza
Idea from Sugar Hero

Ingredients
- Fruit of your choice, washed and dried
- Your favorite sugar cookie recipe or store bought dough or dough mix 
- 8 oz brick of cream cheese
- 1/3-3/4 cup powdered sugar (your choice for your taste and texture)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Food coloring of your choice - optional

Directions
-Make sugar cookie dough, roll out 1/4-1/2 inch thick into an egg shape.
-Bake on a parchment paper covered baking sheet until light golden around the edges and baked in the middle.
-Once cooled, mix up the frosting by placing the room temperature cream cheese, sugar,
 vanilla, and 2 drops of food coloring in a mixing bowl and whipping it up until smooth.
 (I chose blue food coloring and about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar. The amount of both
 of these can be adjusted to suit your liking.)
-Spread the cream cheese frosting on to the egg shaped cookie(s) and decorate with fruit.
-Enjoy, or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.Remove from the fridge about 15-30
 minutes before serving

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kristine's Easy Shrimp



I got this recipe from my dear friend, Kristine. She made them for a gathering we had. I knew from the very first bite, that I just HAD to have the recipe. Not only are Kristine's Easy Shrimp easy to make, they are easy to eat as well! Just pick up by the tail and eat.

It's peel-n-eat shrimp, without the peel!

That is what I love about them. Kristine's Easy Shrimp recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezey! Perfect for entertaining, or if you are a shrimp lover like Dan and myself, you can make a half batch for dinner along side a salad or vegetable.




 





 



Kristine's Easy Shrimp

Ingredients
2 - 2 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large raw shrimp
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 large or 2 small lemons sliced
2 TB Old Bay seasoning
1 TB Italian seasoning
2 TB chili sauce
2 tsp sriracha
1 large french bread sliced

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line shallow broiler pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter in microwave.
Stir the rest of the ingredients except the shrimp and bread into the melted butter.
Place shrimp on the lined pan and pour the butter/seasoning mixture over the top.
Toss to coat. Spread evenly over surface of pan, and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring and turning shrimp after 10 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature with sliced french bread to dip in the sauce.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Restaurant Style Smoked Fish Dip

     Recently Dan and I took a little vacation weekend in the Florida Keys with some friends. The guys chartered a boat with Warbird Fishing and really brought home the bacon! They caught two different types of Mackerel, two different kinds of Snapper, and a Grouper or two. (See their catch HERE.)
    
     They had to toss the Grouper back as it was out of season, but we were able to keep the Mackerel and Snapper. We walked away with about 65-70 lbs of fresh fish from the sea. All cleaned for us too! Double score!
    
     That night we took a bunch of it to Lazy Days where they offer a "hook-n-cook" on their menu. You hook, they cook. Boy was that tasty! The rest of the fish we brought home. We froze about half, and Dan experimented with the rest in the smoker.
    
     We tried two ways of smoking. 1-Cover in large grain kosher salt, smoke, then remove salt. 2-Sit in salt brine, rinse, smoke. We preferred the latter of the two. The first was too salty even after removing salt and rinsing. Maybe I will have to do a post on smoked fish. If anyone is interested, comment here or email me.

     Anywho, this Restaurant Style Fish Dip is just like, if not, BETTER than the Smoked Fish Dip you get in the restaurants down here in Florida and the Keys. Trust me. YUM!! Because we had so much fresh smoked fish, I made Restaurant Style Fish Dip for the neighbors, two other families of the fisherman, another couple of friends who watch our dog when we are gone, my sister, and a bunch for ourselves. No one could stop raving about it. So So Good!

All in all this is a fast, easy, award winning caliber recipe that can be made a day or two in advance if need be. I encourage you to double or triple the recipe because you will find yourself eating this for lunch, not just an appetizer.


Smoked Fish Dip


Restaurant Style Smoked Fish Dip 
We used fish caught and smoked by Dan. If you purchase smoked fish, the salt content and smoke intensity may vary so adjustments to liquid smoke and Old Bay Seasoning may need to be made.

Ingredients
2 cups large chunk smoked fish
2 TB mayonnaise
4 TB sour cream
1/2-3/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
4 drops Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce
quick dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 drops of mesquite liquid smoke
fresh black pepper to taste
(Crackers, pickled jalapenos, and hot sauce for serving) 

Directions
-Break fish into large pieces and remove any stray bones. (See pic below)
-Measure out and put into a large bowl. Set aside.
-In a smaller bowl, mix all other ingredients until smooth.
-Pour mixture over the fish, and stir with fork until fish is coated with sauce.
-As you mix with fork, the fish will break up a bit until it is broke and mixed to desired
 consistency.
-Chill until ready to serve.
-Serve on cracker with pickled jalapeno and dash of hot sauce.







  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow

I am not usually a pretzel person. I like pretzels. I just wouldn't choose them first when put on a table with other snacks. Pretzels filled with peanut butter however, change this. They are called Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets. They change my opinion on pretzels.

I didn't think I could like Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets any more than I already did. But then...I covered them in a melted chocolate mixture and rolled them in powdered sugar.

Ta-Dah!
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow! (Or Peanut Butter Filled Muddy Buddies if that's what you call it.)

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow will change your taste buds' life. Believe me. You thought regular Puppy Chow was good. You just wait.

I made a double batch of Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow along with Grandma's Garlic Ranch Pretzels for our recent weekend in the Keys with friends. Both were a hit!




Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow
Recipe Source: Crazy For Crust

Ingredients
18 oz Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter (4 TB)
4 cups powdered sugar
Bag of M&M's approx. 10 oz. (I chose Almond M&M's.)
Gallon Ziploc Bag

Directions
-Measure chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter into a large microwave safe
  bowl.
-Pop in microwave for 1 minute.
-Stir vigorously to melt lumps.
-If still lumpy, microwave for 30 seconds and stir again.
-All should be melted smooth at this point. If not, microwave again for a few more
  seconds.
-Set aside.
-Measure 2-3 cups of the powdered sugar into the big Ziploc.
-Set aside.
-Dump your the Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets into the chocolate mixture.
-Stir with rubber spatula until all are generously coated.
-Dump the chocolate covered pretzel nuggets into the powdered sugar bag.
-Dump the remaining 1-2 cups of powdered sugar on top of the pretzels.
-Close bag with some air still inside, and roll the top over a time or two.
-Hold the top of the bag and the bottom of the bag.
-Shake well to coat the Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets thoroughly with powdered
  sugar.
-Dump contents of the bag onto a cookie sheet or some waxed paper in a single layer to
  cool to room temperature.
-Store in an airtight container in the fridge or on the counter top.
-Serve topped with Almond M&M's for great color and presentation.




  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Pickle Roll Dip

    I love Pickle Roll Ups. When I make them for a party, they are the first appetizer to disappear. The only problem is that they are time consuming. Here enters, Pickle Roll Dip! This stuff rocks!
     
    Pickle Roll Dip packs all the flavor that the Roll Ups hold, but it is much faster! This is a fabulous fast-fix dip when you need to take an appetizer to a party. Everyone will be asking you for your Pickle Roll Dip recipe. It's up to you if you want to reveal how easy it is.
     
     
     
     
    Pickle Roll Dip
     
    Ingredients
    8 oz Cream Cheese
    1/2 lb ham
    6 dill pickles (not mini's)
    Crackers for serving
     
    Directions
    Cut ham and pickles into big chunks about the same size.
    Toss pickles and ham chunks into food processor/blender.
    Pulse until pickles and ham are diced.
    Put softened cream cheese in.
    Pulse until pickles and ham are minced, and the cream cheese is blended throughout.
    Refrigerated until ready to serve.
    Serve with crackers.  



    Saturday, January 18, 2014

    Butterfly Snack Clips

    Butterfly Snack Clips are a great way to get your kids excited about snack time. Let them make their own butterfly clip that they can reuse time and again. The night before school, let them fill their wings with colorful snacks to make a beautiful butterfly. Then they take their Butterfly Snack Clip to school in their pack lunch or for snack time. After school, pop the magnetic butterfly body on the fridge so you know where to find it. 

    This was a great craft to make with the niece and nephew last night. Ages 4 and 6, they loved designing their Butterfly Snack Clips. 

    Fill your wings with anything colorful. Candy, cereal, fruit...the possibilities are endless! 



    Butterfly Snack Clips
     
    Supplies
    -Clothes pins
    -Pipe cleaners 
    -Snack sized Ziploc baggies
    -Decorations for body
         -Jewels
         -Markers
         -Stickers
         -Wiggly Eyes
    -Colorful snacks for wing filling
         -Fruit Loops
         -M&M's
         -Gold Fish - rainbow ones
         -Colorful mini marshmallows 
         -Grapes
         -Orange Slices  
         -Any other genius idea you may have 
    -Hot glue gun with glue sticks
    -Small adhesive magnets 

    Instructions
    -Let kids decorate butterfly bodies as they wish. If using hot glue gun and jewels are being
     used, adult is needed to glue where they want jewels. 
    -Stickers and markers only can be used if you do not want to mess with too much hot glue. 
    -Eyes can also be drawn on if you do not have wiggly eyes or jewels for them. 
    -After body is decorated, pick pipe cleaner for antennas. 
    -Twist pipe cleaners around one side of clip and glue with hot glue gun. 
    -Leave antennas straight or curl.
    -Fill snack bag 1/2-2/3 full with your choice of snacks. 
    -Close bag, twist in half, and put in the clip. 

    Enjoy your Reusable Butterfly Snack Clip! 

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    Shrimp Cocktail Dip

    Love Shrimp Cocktail? Need something to take to a party? Shrimp Cocktail Dip is the perfect party appetizer. It is easy, tasty, and can be made ahead of time!

    I took this to a Buffalo Bills Ladies PJ Party and Gift Exchange Night. I made a big platter for the party, and a small teacup size plate of it to save a taste for Dan when we got home from his game against the Patriots.

    I think the dip was just as good, if not better after it had sat in the fridge for a day. So go ahead and make Shrimp Cocktail Dip as an appetizer for the New Years Party you are invited to or maybe Super Bowl!

    I served mine with crackers. I would suggest Wheat Thins or a whole wheat cracker for serving.


    Shrimp Cocktail Dip

    Ingredients
    1 lb of frozen cooked ready to thaw and serve shrimp (any size medium-jumbo)
    3/4-1 cup cocktail sauce
    8 oz low fat cream cheese
    1/2 cup light sour cream
    1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
    optional - ground horseradish 
    green onion for garnish
    crackers for serving


    Directions
    -Thaw shrimp, rinse and pat dry
    -Cut shrimp into pieces about 1/2-1/4 inch long
    -In a bowl mix shrimp pieces with cocktail sauce.
    -Optional - If you like hot and spicy, mix in a little horseradish to taste.
    -Set aside
    -In a mixing bowl mix the softened cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream until blended
     smooth.
    -On a platter, approximately 12 inch in diameter, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly
     leaving about 1 inch from edges.
    -Top the cream cheese mixture with the shrimp mixture and spread out evenly leaving
     about 1/2 inch
    -Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 3 days covered.


    Friday, December 20, 2013

    Balsamic Marinated Cheese

    This Thanksgiving we spent the day at Urbik's House. This Balsamic Marinated Cheese was a very popular appetizer. I loved the herbs, and also how a touch of marinade soaked into the Triscuit when the cheese was placed on it. YUM!
     
    I had to ask Emily for the recipe so I could share it with you. She was kind enough to hand over the recipe, and the picture. Thanks Emily!
     
     
     
    Balsamic Marinated Cheese
    Recipe from friend, Emily Urbik.
    (Emily and her hubby Kraig)
     
    Marinade-
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup balsamic
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried basil
    1 tsp dried parsley
    garlic to taste
     
    Other Ingredients-
    1 block Cracker Barrel White Cheddar
    1 (8) oz package cream cheese

    Directions
    Cut cheese into slices.  
    Spread with cream cheese and form into ring.  
    Place olives if you would like around the cheese in the tray.  
    Pour marinade over.
    Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.  
    Service with Triscuit Crackers or Crostini Bread.


    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    Peppermint Swirl Frosting

    Ever wondered how to make Peppermint Swirl Frosting? This holiday season you can! With just a few ingredients, and a couple easy to follow steps, you can make your own Peppermint Swirl Frosting in a jiffy.

    One of the flavors I associate with Christmas is peppermint. Peppermint and chocolate are a good combo, so I made chocolate cupcakes for my Peppermint Swirl Frosting.

    Some people may choose blue or red for their swirl color, but I like red for cinnamon. My little Colby was wearing his green stripes the night I made this frosting, so I thought I'd make my cupcakes to match.

     

     




    Peppermint Swirl Frosting
    How To Make Peppermint Swirl Frosting

    Ingredients
    1 stick of butter softened
    3/4 tsp of peppermint extract 
    3 cups of powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons milk, cream, or coffee creamer
    Green food coloring (or red or blue if you wish)

    Directions
    -In a mixing bowl, at low speed, mix all ingredients for 2 minutes.
    -Kick the speed up to high and mix for 1 minute.
    -Stop mixer, scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
    -Mix at higher speed until frosting is blended well.
    -Fill piping bag with a little frosting. Mush it around so it touches all sides, and squirt it 
     all out. This helps the color stick to the side of the bag.

    -To make swirl, use a butter knife or toothpick.
    -Dip it in the food coloring and drag it along the inside of the piping bag from narrow 
     bottom towards the wide opening (top) in four or more separate lines. You can make the 
     green swirl as thin or thick as you want by using more or less color in the bag. See pictures 
     above.
    -Next, fill the green striped piping bag with frosting. 
    -Pipe your swirl frosting onto your cookies or cupcakes.









    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Tater Tot Hot Dish

    Tater Tot Hot Dish is widely known where I come from. Seems as though the whole idea of the "hot dish" is a total Northern thing (Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, etc). In Montana, I grew up on Cowboy Hot Dish, Tater Tot Hot Dish, Hamburger Hot Dish, etc. Toss a bunch of stuff together, bake it up, and call it a hot dish!

    Tater Tot Hot Dish was one of the meals I prepared ahead of time when I was pregnant for post baby. When my sister and her family came into town a couple weeks after birth, I took the hot dish out of freezer, let it thaw in the fridge, and popped it in the oven to bake. It was easy peasy. And delicious.

    Tater Tot Hot Dish was one of my faves growing up. Everyone's Mother and Granny had their own twist on it, but they all held the same main ingredients. Here's how I like mine.

    (Picture when I get back to Florida in a month or so. It is on my computer there.) 

    Tater Tot Hot Dish

    Ingredients
    -2 lbs ground hamburger
    -2 cup diced onion
    -1 cup diced celery
    -1 tsp garlic powder
    -1 tsp seasoning salt
    -Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    -2 can green beans drained
    -1 can sweet corn drained
    -2 cans cream of mushroom soup
    -2 cups of sour cream
    -3-4 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack, or mexican blend)
    -32 oz bag of frozen tater tots


    Directions
    -Brown hamburger on stove. When it is almost done browning, add the onion, celery, garlic powder, seasoning salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook until onion and celery are tender and meat is done.

    -Pour the meat mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

    -In a bowl mix the two cans of undiluted soup, and the 2 cups of sour cream.

    -Glob the soup/sour cream mixture, in different places, all over the surface of the meat mixture. Use a rubber spatula or back of spoon to spread it evenly over the meat. 

    -Next, evenly scatter the drained beans and corn over the top of the soup mixture.

    -Now sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the veggies.

    -Lastly, use the frozen tater tots to cover the surface.

    -Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tater tots are nice and browned, and the sides are bubbling.

    *Can easily 1/2 this recipe for a smaller dish.
    *Also can add any other veggies you like (frozen peas?)
    *Tater Tot Hot Dish is a good freezer meal too.
    *Can keep in the fridge, covered, for a day or so before baking if you choose.


    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Easy Corn Casserole

    This one bowl, Easy Corn Casserole, is perfect for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving table. With a down-home, hearty taste, people will never guess it was so fast and easy to make. You seriously throw all ingredients in a bowl, mix, pour in pan, bake. I love the simplicity of it!

    I made this last week in NC while enjoying our Bye Week with friends. It served 6 adults with 2 portions left over. I'll make the same this week for Thanksgiving for 3 of us because I know we will all have seconds. 




    Easy Corn Casserole

    Ingredients
    8 oz sour cream
    1/2 cup melted butter
    15 oz can corn drained
    15 oz can creamed corn
    1 egg
    8.5 oz box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
    Dash of Salt
    Pam cooking spray

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    Mix all ingredients in a mixer bowl until combined evenly
    Pour the mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole dish
    Bake for 40-55 minutes or until golden on top and starting to brown just a tad around the edges and just starting to pull away from the pan. (pic below)
    Let sit 15-20 minutes or so. Serve warm not hot.
    (We set ours out on the counter to cool while meat cooked in oven. 45 min. Then reheated in microwave to warm. It was great!)





    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Football Peanut Butter Dip

    First off, please excuse my photography. I don't have great pictures of this Peanut Butter Dip, but it was WAY TOO GOOD not to share. You will just have to suffer through the poor photos....Then go make this dip and enjoy it. Trust me, you will be happy you did.

    Football Peanut Butter Dip is perfect to take to gatherings. Since we are a football house, I took one Football Peanut Butter Dip to a Buffalo Bills game watching party, and one to a Buffalo Bills Wives gathering. It was an absolute hit at both. Perfect for kids and adults alike.

    I found the idea for the shape of the dip on Pinterest.  

    I also love that this recipe can be made ahead of time.





    Football Peanut Butter Dip

    Ingredients
    8 oz cream cheese
    1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 TB vanilla
    1 TB french vanilla coffee creamer
    2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    3/4 c mini chocolate chips
    2-3 TB white chocolate chips or (white any frosting)
    1/4 tsp coconut oil or other form of oil (if needed)

    Directions
    -In a mixer mix softened cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, creamer, and powdered
     sugar until mixture is smooth.
    -Form mixture into a football shape using clean hands, plastic glove covered hands, or with
     saran wrap between your hands and the mixture.
    -Wrap the football shaped peanut butter mixture in plastic wrap or plastic bag and freeze
     for one hour.
    -After 1 hour, remove from the freezer and cover the top surface and sides with mini
     chocolate chips.
    -Press the mini chocolate chips into the mixture so they stick.
    -I always sprinkle a few extra on the top at the end so that you can't see any PB.
    -In a small bowl put the white chocolate chips and microwave for 20-30 seconds. Stir.
    -If chocolate needs help getting smooth and melty add the coconut oil. Stir, then microwave more if needed in small increments.
    -Using a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off or a frosting bag, pipe the white chocolate onto the football to make the laces. *Tip - if the white chocolate isn't coming out fast enough or you are having trouble with it sticking to the mini chocolate chips, thin it out with a little more oil.
    -Cover. Freeze 30 min. Take out 15-20 minutes or so before serving if you wish.
    -OR Cover and keep refrigerated for a few hours before serving. 
    -Serve with Teddy Grahams, apple slices, and/or pretzels.
    -If you freeze it longer or overnight, let it sit out at room temp to soften a bit for about half
     an hour.