Archive for December, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is my favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe! I have made several versions and this recipe stands out by far.

My family usually has a big lunch on Christmas Eve and then we have some TONS of appetizers at night while we open up gifts. I decided to make this spinach artichoke dip for Christmas Eve since I haven’t met a person who doesn’t love spinach artichoke dip. Cheese topped with cheese topped with more cheese served with tortilla chips!? Yum! Since it contains spinach and artichokes it has to be healthy, right? That’s what I keep telling myself…….

I took a picture of it before it was cooked since I knew there was no chance I would be able to snap a photograph of it before it was all devoured. And boy was I right, the baking dish was licked clean empty before it even had a chance to cool down!

My Favorite Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Devour with toasted bread or tortilla chips!

Source: adapted from Allrecipes

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PostHeaderIcon Turtle Pretzel Candies

These delicious little treats would make a great addition to any holiday cookie platter!

You can use round, square, or regular pretzels for this recipe. I used round pretzels since I had them on hand and they worked perfectly.

These are incredibly easy to make since you only need three ingredients! But don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you, they are delicious and addicting. You have been warned.

Turtle Pretzel Candies

Ingredients:

1 large bag of bite-sized pretzels
2 bags Caramel-Filled Milk Chocolates (I used Rolos)
2 cups salted pecans
Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. On a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, line up pretzels and top each with one caramel-filled chocolate. Put in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until chocolate is shiny and beginning to melt on the outside.
Remove from the oven. Top each pretzel/chocolate with one pecan, pushing down lightly so that pecan adheres to chocolate, and chocolate adheres to pretzel. Allow candies to cool completely.
Makes about 60 candies
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PostHeaderIcon Fire Hyrdants, Dog Bones, & Squirrel Sugar Cookies

This past weekend I had a sugar cookie order for a dog’s birthday party!  Don’t worry, these sugar cookies were party favors for the humans (not the dogs). I was super excited to make these cookies since I love using new cookie cutters!

The fire hydrants are my favorite out of the three! Aren’t they adorable!? I didn’t know how to decorate the dog bones but after some thought I decided to go with little paw prints (and the name of the birthday dog, Moe). I used the same technique with the squirrels that I did with my spiderweb cookies.

If you’re interested in ordering cookies you can contact me here.

Happy 2nd Birthday Moe!

(Isn’t he the cutest dog you have EVER seen!!!)


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PostHeaderIcon Nutty Granola

I have been on a huge yogurt kick lately. HUGE. I tend to go overboard with food, eat too much of it, and then never want it again. In hopes of that not happening, I made this granola to give a nice twist to my yogurt. And it did just that! I love how this granola is simple and delicious. I did swap dried cranberries for raisins since raisins are basically the one thing I won’t eat. I think I used to eat them growing up…… (maybe I overdid raisins as well?) :)

This recipe is a great way to use up whatever nuts and dried fruits you have on hand. There are no refined sugars in this recipe, just delicious maple syrup to sweeten it up.

Once you make this granola you will never want to buy granola again.

Nutty Granola

Ingredients:

1.5 cups oats
1/4 cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pecans,  coarsely chopped
4 Tbsp. maple syrup (or 3 Tbsp maple syrup & 1 Tbsp honey)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 and spray a large baking sheet with cooking oil.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing well to  be sure everything is coated with the maple syrup. Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden  brown. Let cool completely before storing.

Source: adapted from Elly Says Opa!

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PostHeaderIcon Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

As I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE the combination of sweet and salty (and these truffles are no exception).

Peanut butter and crushed pretzels covered in milk chocolate, what’s not to love? These are super easy to make and I think they would make a great addition to your holiday cookie/dessert tray. I’m not the best at dipping truffles in chocolate so just add sprinkles on top and you won’t even notice their disfigurements. I would cover everything and anything in sprinkles if I could!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

Roll the peanut butter mixture into 10 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour.

Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. (To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.)

Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Slightly adapted from Eating Well

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PostHeaderIcon Sweet & Sour Chicken

I love going out to eat, especially to Chinese restaurants, but I hate the guilt that comes after eating all that grease. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy Chinese take-out but I’ve also been making this dish in hopes of eating out less. It’s a pretty good knock off to the sweet and sour chicken you find in restaurants. I love the bell peppers and pineapple in it. Since it includes fruit and vegetables it has to be healthy, right? :)

This is a great weeknight meal since it’s very easy to whip up. Make sure you have all your veggies chopped before you start because it cooks very quickly. This makes a delicious meal served with white or brown rice.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

1 egg white

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

One 10-oz can pineapple chunks (reserve the juice)

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil, divided

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the egg white, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, whisk together 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Set a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates, pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the red and green bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok onto a plate. Wipe teh wok or pan dry.

Return the wok to the stove on high heat. When a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates, pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken, spreading it out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle.

Add the cooked bell peppers, pineapple chunks, and the pineapple juice mixture. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with white rice.

Source: adapted from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair

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PostHeaderIcon Cranberry Crumb Bars

I made these delicious Cranberry Crumb Bars (and these Pumpkin Cupcakes) for Thanksgiving dessert. They were both a hit and people gobbled them up, even though we were stuffed full of delicious turkey.

These bars are tart and crumbly and oh-so delicious! They are very easy to make since the base and the crumbly topping are made from the same mixture. This recipe is very simple to make by hand but if you have a food processor, use it! Your arms will thank you!

I found that these bars went very well topped with vanilla ice cream! The tartness of the bars and sweetness of the ice cream complimented each other perfectly.

Cranberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal*

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

juice of 1/2 of an orange (I used a couple splashes of orange juice)

4 cups fresh cranberries

2/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, flour, and almond meal. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Alternatively, you can pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor with the butter until pebbly, and then mix in the egg until it all comes together. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar (2/3 cup), cornstarch, vanilla extract, and orange juice. Mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan.

Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the remaining dough, then crumble over the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

* If you don’t have almond meal, just toss some almonds in a food processor until finely ground to make almond meal.

Source: My Baking Addiction

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