Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Meal List

Monday: Bacon Pierogi Bake
Tuesday: Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken + Potato Bundles
Wednesday: Maple Rosemary Glazed Pork Chops + Hasselback Potatoes
Thursday: Sesame Chicken + Yellow Rice
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Wine Tasting with friends for me. Fish for Neil
Sunday: Eat Out

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Queso Blanco Dip

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before or not but Southern California has some great Mexican food. There are a ton of little hole in the wall places that may look a little scary from the outside but produce the best Mexican food. But, not a single place out here serves queso. Not one. The closest I've seen is a white cheese sauce over a burrito at a chain Mexican place that didn't come close to tasting like queso blanco dip that you get back home in Georgia.

So, every time we go home to Georgia I always want to eat at one of the Mexican restaurants. Sure it might be considered "fake" Mexican food by anyone from Southern California but it's delicious to me. It's always sooooo good but only getting it twice a year isn't enough. I finally decided I wanted to try it at home and figured what better time than now with my Super Bowl Saturdays? Queso has been sitting there on my 23 x 23 list for awhile so I finally made it.

This recipe was perfect. I upped the heat by adding a second jalopeno but you can choose how spicy you want it to be. This also heats up nicely in the microwave.

Queso Blanco Dip
Source: Annie's Eats

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 jalopeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
12 oz. white American cheese, shredded (can be found at the deli counter)
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 -2/3 cup milk
1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalopeno to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add both of the shredded cheeses and 1/4 cup of the milk. Whisk or stir until completely melted. Mix in the tomato and cilantro, and add additional milk gradually as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Turkey Pesto Sliders

Whenever I think of sliders, I think of White Castle and when I think of White Castle, I think of wisdom teeth. Weird connection? Maybe. My older sister and I both got our wisdom teeth out at the same time. All I remember from the few days following it is being slightly drugged out on pain medicine, laying on the couch bed together, eating Dairy Queen ice cream and watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. And laughing. Because everything was funny.

White Castle's little mini burgers are so delicious but I wanted to go with slightly healthier version. So I found these turkey pesto sliders. Sliders are a perfect appetizer because they are hand-sized but very filling. These would be a great pick for the Super Bowl!

Turkey Pesto Sliders
Source: Annie's Eats

6 slider buns
6 slices of turkey deli meat
6 slices of provolone cheese
3 tbsp pesto
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with foil. Split the slider buns and lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun. Layer each with a slice of provolone. In a small bow, combine the pesto and mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix until blended. Spread a thin layer of the pesto mayonnaise on the inner side of the top half of each bun. Replace the top bun over the cheese to assemble the sandwiches. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with melted butter. Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed through. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

I love cooking, I really do. But sometimes, I want a break. Especially after I try out a new recipe that seems promising but after an hour and a half of constant work in the kitchen I end up with something that sucks. That happened a few days ago. So to recover from it the next night I needed something easy. Easy is usually fast food for us but we're attempting to eat out less this year. Instead of going the drive through route I made these crescent rolls with things I had in my fridge.

These come together in less than 25 minutes and go great with spicy mustard. You could also serve these as appetizers. The best thing about them, according to my husband who is now interested in tracking every calorie, is that they are only 200 calories apiece! They are so easy to make and are kind of a recipe that isn't even a recipe but I figured I would share them anyways!

Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls
Source: Pillsbury

1 can (8oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
8 thin slices of cooked ham
4 thin slices of Cheddar cheese, each cut into 4 strips

Heat oven to 350º. Separate dough into 8 triangle. Place 1 piece of ham on each triangle; place 2 strips of cheese down the center of the ham. Fold in edges of ham to match the shape of the dough triangle.

Roll up each crescent, ending at tip of triangle. Place with tips down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15-19 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and serve warm. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Super Bowl Saturdays: Crack Dip (Buffalo Chicken Dip)

Crack Dip. Doesn't sound very appetizing. But it is. If you are going for the white trash vibe, feel free to refer to it as "Crack Dip." If you like to keep it on the classier side, you can refer to it as "Buffalo Chicken Dip."

This recipe made the blog rounds awhile back and was dubbed "Crack Dip" because of how addicting it was. I made this to try out for the Super Bowl and was hooked. Luckily, we had an appetizer pot luck at our Growth Group that night so I was able to bring this along with the meatballs and not eat it all by myself.

It tastes just like buffalo chicken but in a dip form. We served it with chips but you could also serve it with celery (or other vegetables), bread chunks (you could scoop out a bread bowl and place this inside and use the extra bread to dip), crackers, pretty much anything that sounds good to you.

I modified the recipe from Frank's Red Hot Website because the original called for canned chicken chunks and Blue Cheese Dressing and Crumbles. Taking the extra time to cook and shred chicken breasts will definitely make this dip taste better. If you like Blue Cheese, feel free to substitute or mix with the ranch and mozzarella.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

Preheat oven to 350º. In a deep baking dish, mix cream cheese, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, and cheese. Stir until combined and then add in chicken and stir.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until heated through. Serve with whatever you like. Enjoy!

Super Bowl Saturdays: Party Meatballs

Picture from I forgot to take one in my rush to get to GG

Meatballs are one of my favorite appetizers to have at a party. They're very filling and usually covered in some kind of delicious sauce. And when your guests will most likely be a bunch of young guys, you want appetizers that are heavy and filling. As much as I love chicken salad in phyllo cups, that won't cut it for a bunch of Marines watching the Super Bowl.

This recipe caught my attention because it's just a slight change from the usual meatball sauce that uses grape jelly and Heinz Chili Sauce. The BBQ sauce makes a nice substitute and the grape jelly only gives it a touch of sweetness-there's no overwhelming grape jelly taste.

You can make your own meatballs for this but I would go with the prepackaged ones. They hold together better and it makes it much easier on you.

Party Meatballs

1 (32 oz) bag frozen meatballs
1 (18 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (18 oz) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Pour the meatballs, grape jelly, and BBQ sauce into the crock pot and stir until combined. Cook the mixture on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-2.5 hours, until completely cooked through, stirring occasionally

When they are cooked through, set the crock pot on "warm" and let guests serve themselves. Just place toothpicks next to the meatballs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Super Bowl- Are you ready?

I don't like football. Well, I can watch the Dawgs play any day but that's about it. It just kind of bores me if I don't know the team or anything about it. I do like the Super Bowl though. Mainly for the commercials. And the food. I love how everyone breaks out the grills and brings all the appetizers to a Super Bowl Party. Appetizers are just fun and usually always delicious. I am going to start a short little "series" on here with appetizers you could use for the Super Bowl. It will be called Super Bowl Saturdays and I'll be posting 2 different recipes each Saturday for you to try out for the Super Bowl.
This year we're taking a different approach to the Super Bowl, or should I say "Souper Bowl." :) I'll be making a variety of soups using my new three-piece crock pot to serve along with a buffet of toppers for the soup and some select appetizers. I'm really excited about this but I'm glad I'll be getting my appetizer fix with this little series!

Below are some appetizers I've already made that would be great to try out for the Super Bowl.

Texas Cavier-a cold dip made of a mixture of veggies and marinated in Zesty Italian
Rotel Dip-my favorite warm dip

Finger Foods
Baked Chicken Empanadas-You can make the filling ahead of time
Sausage Balls-these are good served warm or cold. You can make them in advance and then cook on the day of.
Pepperoni Pizza Puffs-best served warm
Mozzarella and Pesto Crescent Tarts-these are great served warm or cool
Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapples-Asian inspired meatballs. Use a toothpick to make into an appetizer

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Meal List

Here's the menu for this week. Lot's of new recipes and some old favorites!

Monday: Baked Chicken
Tuesday: Fish and Chips
Wednesday: Meatloaf and Twice Baked Potatoes
Thursday: Appetizer Night with our Growth Group-we're bringing Party Meatballs
Friday: Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Loaded Potatoes and Chicken Skillet

Other: Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pizza Dough

You guys have no idea how excited I am to finally post this recipe. I've spent the past three months trying out different pizza dough recipes and searching for the best one. There have been some good ones and some really bad ones. There have also been recipes that have completely failed. But this one from Annies Eats is perfect. Her Deep Dish one is also pretty good if you're looking for deep dish pizza.

*I used a different baking method than Annie because I didn't have a pizza stone. I followed the directions on the yeast packet and baked mine on the lowest rack at 475º between 10-13 minutes. I put the dough in either a baking pan or a clear bottomed glass baking dish. The glass dish works best because it allows you to check the bottom of the crust to make sure it's browning, not burning.

Pizza Crust
Source: Annie's Eats

1/2 cup warm water (about110º)
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Meausre the warm water into a liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at a low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and put in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until it has doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500º for at least thirty minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the bough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8-12 minutes. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use. Enjoy!

*Pizza dough was one of the things on my 23x23 list!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls

One of the many things I love about my mom is how at ease she is with entertaining. I love having people over to our apartment for dinner or game nights but I'm usually a big stressball beforehand since I worry about everything. My mom, on the other hand, can host 10 people over for dinner with hardly any notice and have no problem with it.

She also doesn't stress about trying out a recipe before serving it to company. I like to make things beforehand so I can have a little taste test and give it my stamp of approval before I serve it to our guests. My mom sees something she wants to try and puts it on the menu for when we have company over.

She made this dish while I was back in Georgia when my in-laws came to dinner. I got my mom hooked on Pinterest awhile back and that's where she found this recipe. It was delicious and would make the perfect salty snack to serve the next time you have company over.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls
Source: Plain Chicken via Pinterest

1 unsliced loaf of sourdough bread (preferably round)
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz bag of bacon bits
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp Ranch dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350º. Using an electric knife, cut the bread going both directions. Do not cut through the bottom crust. Place sprinkles of cheese in between cuts. Sprinkle the bacon bits on the bread, making sure to get in between cuts. Mix together butter and Ranch dressing mix. Pour over bread.

Wrap the entire loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes. Unwrap and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!