Archive for January, 2012

January 31st, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Dip



While flipping through a magazine not too long ago, I came across a recipe for a pizza dip.  It intrigued me.  Making pizza into a dip…how could that be.  I tried the magazine’s recipe and it was good, but it was not what I had envisioned in my head.  So, I started over and came up with my own creamy and delicious version.  It would be great for a game day party.  {I’m just saying. ;)}

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup traditional spaghetti sauce
8 oz. cream cheese
1/-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 mini pepperoni {If you can’t find these at your grocery store, cut regular pepperoni into fourths.)
Dippers-such as bread sticks {like the ones here}, pizza crust, etc…

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the spaghetti sauce, cream cheese and garlic together over med heat.  Stir in the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Continue stirring until cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce.  Stir in the mini pepperoni and let simmer 1-2 minutes.  {The pepperoni will help flavor the dip.} Serve with breadsticks, pizza crust, garlic bread or whatever you may like.

 

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January 30th, 2012

Creamy Parmesan Ranch Dip & Salad Dressing


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If you are one to serve your veggie tray with a bottle of ranch, here’s an easy way to bump it up to a whole new level.  {If you are like me and not a fan of bottled ranch -you’ll love this fresh ranch taste.}  This dip is easy to make and so fresh and creamy – the Parmesan is a delicious addition and so good with veggies or a salad.  You may never buy ranch again!

Creamy Parmesan Ranch Dip & Salad Dressing

 Ingredients:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced dried onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Mix together mayonnaise with  parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Slowly stir in buttermilk and whisk until smooth; then add Parmesan.  Allow to chill overnight before serving (at least a few hours to let the Parmesan flavor infuse the mix.)

Of course you can lighten this recipe by using light mayo and fat-free buttermilk! ;)

Take Note:  A hollowed-out bell pepper or cabbage makes a fun serving bowl!

For Salad Dressing add just a little more buttermilk until you reach desired consistency.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

 

 

January 27th, 2012

Key Lime Bars


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Key Lime Bars in January you might ask.  I know this may seem like something that would be more of a summertime treat, but that’s just it.  Why can’t we eat key lime when ever we want.  Well, I am here to tell you that I do.  These bars are a perfect pick me up on a cold dreary day.  And to be honest this picture doesn’t even do them justice.  But I wanted to share them because my family just can’t get enough!!

They are super simple.  {The hardest part is just waiting for them to cool to move on to the next step or before devouring them!}  A big plus for me is the layering.  Each layer has its own personality.  I love the sweet and creamy layer of cream cheese in between a crunchy, slightly sweet crust and a tart smooth key lime filling.

And you know anything that can easily feed a crowd is always good too.  These can be cut into whatever size you want.  Cutting them small would allow for a whole big plate to go around.  Or it is nice to cut a big square and eat it yourself. ;)

Key Lime Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
30 Nilla Wafers, broken into pieces
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Cream Cheese Layer:

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbls. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Key Lime Layer:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup key lime juice
Additional powdered sugar

Directions:

In a food processor (or blender), combine the flour, cookies, powdered sugar and pecans; cover and process until nuts are fine.  Add butter; cover and pulse until crumbly.

Press into an ungreased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  {Make sure the crust is completely cool before moving on…trust me. ;)}

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla until blended; spread over crust out to the edges of the pan.

In another small bowl, combine sugar and flour; whisk in eggs and lime juice.  Gently pour over cream cheese layer and spread.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (still at 350) or until filling is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Refridgerate for 1 hour or until chilled.  Cut into bars.  Before serving, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.

The winner of our Cinemark Movie Pass Giveaway is….Trudy Z who said, “I don’t know if I have a favorite but I still laugh my guts out at What About Bob? and the Proposal” !!!  (Trudy-be sure to watch for an email from us.)  Hope this sweetens up your Valentines Day!  Thanks to all who entered.

 

 

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January 26th, 2012

Breadsticks


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I really enjoy fresh-baked bread-right from the oven warm, and so soft.  Mmmm….It really is a weakness for me.  I can guarantee that I will eat way too much of it.  Luckily though, I am not alone in this.  It is my entire family.  Everyone eats too much of it.  But it is so good.  And I love that when I have baked it I know exactly what is in it.  There are no preservatives or extra additions that may or may not be good for your body.

These breadsticks are definitely a weakness.  They are so good.  {Just ask my kids.}  But seriously, they are!  They are pretty simple as far as bread goes.  There isn’t a whole lot to them.  And if brushed with a little melted butter and sprinkled with garlic salt they are perfect for any Italian dinner {Or just for eating ;)}

Breadsticks

Ingredients:

2 packages dry yeast (or 4 ½ tsp)
½ cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm water, divided
3 Tbls vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp salt
4 ½ to 5 cups flour
melted butter and garlic salt (optional)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup warm water.  (Let it sit about 5 minutes and get good and foamy.  This is how you know your yeast is active.)  Add the oil, egg, salt, remaining sugar, water and 2 cups of flour.
Beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining flour ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.  (I usually use about 4 3/4 cups of flour.  Once you have added 4 1/2 cups, add just a couple of Tablespoons at a time if more is needed.)

Knead dough until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. (I knead in the mixer with the dough hook attachment.  Of course, you could also turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.) Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 40-60 minutes.  The time it takes to rise will vary based to the temperature of your kitchen.

Punch the dough down.  Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces.  Shape each piece into a 6 inch rope.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.  I brush a little of melted butter on the tops of each breadstick and then sprinkle just a little garlic salt across the top just before baking (Parmesan cheese is good also).

Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

I highly recommend you eat these with Chicken Spaghetti, Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts and Sprinach, or Pasta Carbonara – YUM!

Today is the last day to enter our Cinemark Movie Pass Giveaway!!!  Winner will be announced tomorrow-Good Luck!!

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January 25th, 2012

Creamy Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Chicken and Caramelized Veggies


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Ever notice how foods can become traditions?  I usually know exactly what each person in the family will request on special days like birthdays, etc.  Pasta Carbonara is my husband’s tradition . . . father’s day, his birthday, {or whenever I owe him a big favor}, this is it!   Who can blame him?  This is seriously good pasta!  Creamy carbonara with bacon just spells YUM!

Traditional carbonara doesn’t have veggies, but we love adding lots and a little chicken . . . there you go, you have our permission again to make your own rules!  – Just use your favorites!  This is how my hubby likes it, but if it were up to me I think you should add some mushrooms and asparagus in there too!  Whatever combination you come up with you’re going to love it!  You can’t go wrong with this recipe!

Creamy Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Chicken and Caramelized Veggies

Ingredients:

1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, finely sliced or Julienne
1/2 cup squash zucchini, finely sliced or Julienne
1/2 cup zucchini, finely sliced or Julienne
1 bell pepper, finely sliced or Julienne
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta (can use fettucine or even spaghetti)
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
1  cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.   In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cream, shredded Parmesan and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  In a large skillet cook bacon until evenly browned.  Removed from pan, drain excess grease (leave about a tablespoon in the pan), and add onions; cook about 5 minutes.  Add carrots and continue to cook, stirring frequently.  Add garlic, and other veggies; continue to cook until all are soft and tender and onions are transparent.  Add bacon back into the skillet and also the chicken (left over rotisserie chicken is really good).

3.  While the veggies are cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Drain pasta, and immediately return it to the pot.

4.  Pour the egg mixture over the hot pasta and add in the veggie/bacon mix.  Mix until all is evenly coated. {That’s it-you are ready to eat!  The egg will cook with the hot pasta.}

5.  Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese. {Your family is going to love you for this one!}

 Delicious with homemade Breadsticks!

Mmmm . . .  here’s another delicious idea {since you are going to have 4 egg whites that need a purpose}.  Why not make a pan of Blonde Texas Sheet Cake with Caramel Pecan Frosting (here) to go with your cabonara… just saying, you’ve got to do something with those egg whites! ;)

Don’t forget:  Our Cinemark Movie Pass Giveaway ends Tomorrow!! – enter here!

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Caramel Potatoes

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