Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lime Avocado Dip and Quesadilla's

Here is one more Super Bowl post.  Instead of guacamole I went with a avocado dip that can be used with chips, dressing for a taco salad, quesadilla's, nachos or fresh vegetables.  It is a fresh tasting dip where the lime flavor shines through.

I also made 3 different quesadilla's something for everyone.  I made a basic bean and cheese quesadilla to go with the avocado dip.  A brie and mushroom quesadilla and a cajun sausage with apple and pepper jack cheese.  You will score a touchdown with this line-up.

Lime Avocado Dip

4 avocados
4 green onions, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
heaping 1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients expect salt into a food processor; pulse until smooth.  Taste for seasoning; add salt if needed.  Cover with plastic wrap; making sure it is touching dip so no air gets in, this will keep the dip from discoloring.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Basic Bean and Cheese

1 15oz can refried beans
mexican cheese blend, shredded
olives, sliced
onions, small diced
jarred jalapeño slices, optional
flour tortillas

Spread a thin lather of refried beans on the whole tortilla.  On one half add olives, onions, jalapeños and cheese.  Fold oven and place on a hot skillet until heated and crispy turn and heat the same.  Serve with salsa and the lime avocado dip.

Brie and Mushroom

Brie Cheese, sliced
cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat olive oil, add sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme, cook until mushrooms are cooked through about 4 minutes, add garlic and cook another minute. Slice brie and lay on one side or tortilla, top with mushrooms, fold over and place on a hot skillet, once cheese starts to melt flip over and heat through for 2 minutes.

Cajun Sausage, Apple with Pepper Jack Cheese

2 cajun sausages, cut thin
1 granny smith apple, grated
sliced pepper jack cheese
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat cajun sausage until it has a slight crunch around the edges.  Add the sliced pepper cheese on one side or the tortilla (I used two slices of cheese per tortilla) grate apple over the cheese and add cajun sausage slices.  Fold over and place on a hot skillet until cheese just starts to melt then flip over and heat until heated through about 2 minutes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake

This weekend was one of those lets see what I can concoct in the kitchen with ingredients I have on hand.  Every time I opened the refrigerator a package of cream cheese was front and center, there was my first ingredient.  Now do I want to go savory or sweet....sweet won since we were having chili for dinner.  I didn't have enough graham crackers to do a crust for a cheesecake but I did have a box of yellow cake mix, that will do.  Like a mad scientist I started putting it all together and what I came up with was a cake batter cheesecake.

Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake


1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted


1 8oz package cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
reserved cake mixture
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crust: for a 9 inch springform pan.  In a bowl add cake mix, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter mix together.  Remove a 1/2 cup of the mix and set aside.  Press the cake mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.

Filling: With an electric mixer cream the cream cheese and sugar; add eggs one at a time making sure eggs is incorporated each time, add vanilla mix thoroughly.  Pour over the crust.  In a bowl mix the leftover cake mixture, brown sugar and pecan pieces.  Sprinkle on top of batter and take a knife and carefully swirl around.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until set.  Allow to cook 15 minutes then take a knife around the edge to loosen crust from pan.  Remove springform and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Drizzle with caramel sauce.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

Cornbread is a big family favorite in our house and something I fix often.  Cornbread is very versatile, plain with some butter and honey to throwing everything but the kitchen sink in it.  It can be sweet or savory and it goes with everything.  I will make cornbread from scratch and I will make it from a boxed mix.  Today I'm making it from a boxed mix and the only boxed mix I use is Jiffy.  What I love about Jiffy over the years it has stayed the same great taste and you can't beat the price.  If you are going to make the cornbread according to the directions on the box you only need two ingredients milk and a egg.  Personally I always double the recipe.

Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat 10 inch skillet with olive oil and on a low heat sauté onion slices until you reach a deep caramelization about 30 to 45 minutes.  Remove onions from skillet allow to cool down while you make the cornbread.  Pour cornbread mix into a medium bowl, add milk, sage and eggs, stir until everything is incorporated.  Dust cranberries with the flour (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the skillet).  Add cranberries and onions to cornbread mixture and fold in.  Get your skillet hot on the stove top (use the same skillet you used for the onions) pour cornbread into skillet and place into the hot oven bake for 20 minutes.  You want it set and just starting to brown around the edges.  Serve warm with butter and honey.  Also good for making stuffing for poultry.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ortega Fiesta Chicken Bowls and Giveaway

Last week while I was at the market I noticed the packages of Ortega's Skillet Sauces.  I knew that was something I needed to try.   I had an idea of what I wanted to make with the Ortega Cilantro and Green Chili Skillet Sauce.  Here is a fun dish that the whole family will love and it's ready in under 45 minutes and they make good burritos too.  Follow my blog to see what I do with the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce and the Ortega Fajita Skillet Sauce.

Ortega Fiesta Chicken Bowls

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked rice
1 package Ortega Cilantro and Green Chili Skillet Sauce
chicken stock
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 16oz can refried beans (if making 12 or one can for 6)
Ortega Fiesta Flats - Flat bottom Taco Shells

Optional Garnish

black olives, sliced
shredded lettuce
sour cream

In a saucepan over medium heat sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add rice and cook for 5 minutes.  Place the Ortega Skillet Sauce in a 2 cup measuring cup add chicken stock to make a total of 2 cups of liquid, add to rice.  Bring to a boil, add corn and chicken, stir, cover and lower flame to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir and place a clean towel over the saucepan and replace lid, let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat up refried beans and divide into each of the Ortega Fiesta Flats, top with chicken rice mixture and your favorite garnish.

Now for the giveaway...I love Ortega products so much I just had to share them with one lucky person.  You will get one package of each of the New Ortega Skillet Sauces, a package of the Ortega Fiesta Flats and a $50.00 Visa Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2014

Italian Cheese Dip

Round 3 of Football Grub...My very best friend Jenny over at Mad Rantings of Andrew's Mom sent me two purple skillets that I am absolutely in love with.  I was dying to use them right away.  I have been wanting to make a hot cheese dip to serve while we were watching the football game.  I had an idea what I wanted to throw together and I happened to have everything on hand.  It only took about 10 minutes to make this dip and it is packed with flavor.  Don't let the anchovies scare you away from this dish, they give it a ton of flavor without the extra salt and you won't even know they are in there.

Italian Cheese Dip

2 anchovy filets, in oil
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3 green onion whites, sliced
2 heaping tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup Mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
sliced green onions
sliced baguette bread, sliced

In a saucepan or medium heat add olive oil and anchovy filets, sauté until the anchovy has melted.  Add cream cheese, peppers, olives, green onions, sun dried tomatoes and garlic.  Stir until cream cheese has melted.  Add mozzarella and romano cheese until melted.  Pour into a small skillet sprinkle with a little more romano cheese and place under the broiler until cheese has melted and starting to brown.  Sprinkle with the green onion slices and serve hot.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Frank's Red Hot Sauce Chicken Roll Ups

Round two of getting my football grub on.  Going with the finger foods that I can prepare early and enjoy the game with everyone else.  I love the flavor of chicken wings, but not a fan of the chicken wings.  I decided to make them into tortilla roll ups using a rotisserie chicken and when I saw the Frank's Red Hot BBQ Sauce I new I had to do some roll ups with that sauce.  Here is what I came up with.

Frank's Red Hot Sauce Chicken Roll Ups

1 pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded and divided
1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature, divided

Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups

1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce
4oz cream cheese (from above)
2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing
crumbled blue cheese
1 carrot, julienne cut
1 celery, julienne cut
red leaf lettuce
2 tortillas (I used one flour and one spinach)

BBQ Chicken Roll Ups

1/2 cup Franks Red Hot BBQ Sauce
4oz cream cheese (from above)
2 tablespoons Franks Red Hot BBQ Sauce
2 bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
1 tomato, seeded and diced
red leaf lettuce
2 tortillas (I used one flour and one sun dried tomato)

Shred chicken and divide into two bowls.  Add buffalo sauce to one and bbq sauce to the other bowl, set aside.

Mix together the cream cheese and blue cheese dressing in a small bowl.  Mix together the cream cheese and Frank's BBQ sauce in another bowl.

Buffalo Chicken - Assemble roll ups - Spread cream cheese mixture on tortilla's, sprinkle with blue cheese, alternating carrots and celery on top of tortilla, top with buffalo sauce chicken then lettuce.  Roll up tight with wax paper and place in refrigerator.

BBQ Chicken - Assemble roll ups - Spread cream cheese mixture on tortilla's, arrange bacon, tomatoes and onions on top of tortilla top with bbq sauce chicken then lettuce. Roll up tight with wax paper and place in refrigerator.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Cut the rolled tortillas into 3/4 inch slices.

Shared with Weekend Pot-Luck #101

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baking and Cooking Groups - January

I am currently in 4 baking and cooking groups. (one of the groups does not start until February).  Instead of doing a blog post for each of the groups I decided to go with one blog post.  This way I am showing what I have been up to for the last month and 3 of those groups I will not be posting recipes.  The reason for not posting the recipes: Their cookbooks just came out and I don't have permission from the publisher to post the recipes.  This way if you like what you see you can purchase the cookbook without going into it blind.

The first recipe comes from Baking Partners: Group of Home Bakers We had our choice of baking a Traditional Dutch Apple Pie or Kofieebroodje (Dutch Coffee Buns).  I chose the Traditional Dutch Apple Pie.  This pie might look like a lot of work however, it is a very easy pie to make.

Traditional Dutch Apple Pie

300 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams butter (cold)
150 grams packed brown sugar
1 large egg
zest from one lemon

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

To make the crust, in a bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Add cold butter cut into chunks, using hands rub butter into flour until a crumbly dough has formed. Add brown sugar, egg and lemon zest.  Knead dough until everything is incorporated and forms a ball.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour.


6 granny smith apples
1/2 lemon juice
1 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup rum (or apple cider)
75 grams brown sugar
1 tablespoon Speculass Spices *
2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup apricot jam

Soak raisins in rum or cider while you prepare apple.  Peel and core apples and cut into chunks. Drizzle with lemon juice making sure all apple chunks are covered.  Drain raisins add to apples.  (do not discard rum/cider)  Add brown sugar, speculass spices to apples mix until coated.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut 1/5th of the dough and set aside.  With the remaining dough press into and up sides of a 9" springform pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan on top of the dough.  Add apples and raisins.  Take the dough you set to the side and roll into strips to make a lattice top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 45 minutes.  10 minutes before pie is done in a small saucepan add apricot jam and reserved rum heat until melted.  After the pie is taken out of the oven brush the top with the apricot mixture.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing springform.  Cool to room temperature before slicing.

* Speculass Spice

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1/5 teaspoon white pepper
1/5 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/5 teaspoon coriander
1/5 teaspoon anise seeds
1/5 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Next from Baking through Lick The Bowl Good we made the Banana Pecan Breakfast Cake, on page 151 of Monica Holland's cookbook Lick The Bowl Good: Classic Home-Style Desserts with a Twist which can be found on Amazon by clicking the link.   The coffee cake was moist and delicious and a nice change from the standard coffee cake and what a great way to use up the ripe bananas.

Last but not least from Cooking from The New Midwestern Table by Food Network Star Amy Thielen on page 85, Best-Ever Beer Cheese Soup.  Serve this soup with a loaf of crusty bread and a beer and you are set for chilly night.  I love that you use a sharp white cheddar cheese which is one of my favorites.  You can purchase Amy's book The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes from Amazon.

If you would like to join any of these baking/cooking groups the links are above.  For February we are adding another baking group which is Baking through Wintersweet feel free to check us out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shrimp Salsa

Round one of football grub. Are you ready for a twist on your salsa? Add some chopped shrimp that has been sautéed with south of the boarder seasoning and a splash of tequila.  Your guests will 
    be shouting ole'.

Shrimp Salsa

1 to 2 lbs fresh shrimp, depending on how many shrimp you want to serve on the side
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipolte powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 cup tequila (optional)
5 tomatoes, (I used roma)
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
1 avocado, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, zest and juice
Salt to taste

Shell, devein, rinse and pat dry shrimp (it is up to you if you want to leave the tails on).  Mix together the chili powder, cumin, chipolte powder and salt.  Sprinkle on shrimp both sides.  Heat a skillet on medium high add olive oil, when hot add shrimp and cook approx. 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat add tequila stir to coat each shrimp.  Move to a bowl making sure you get all the olive oil mixture in the bowl and allow shrimp to cool completely.

Remove shrimp from bowl leaving all the goodies in the bottom of the bowl.  Chop up enough shrimp to make 3/4 cup and put back into the bowl, add onion, jalapeño, cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime, mix together, salt to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips and leftover shrimp.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Has Been Postponed

When it comes to the new year like most everyone else I look forward to a fresh start and new beginnings.  

That has not happened at our house......

They say things happen in 3's

1.  New Years Eve.....I came down with a nasty cold (and still have it)

2.  January 2nd....Water pump went out in the truck (just got it back yesterday morning and we only have one vehicle)

3.  Yesterday our poor fur baby Olive was running in the snow below our house and got caught up in barbed wire.  The best way to explain what happened to her it was like skinning a buck with her injury. We rushed her to the vet, she got 10 stitches, and the doctor said she had no muscle damage.  She is doing well this morning although you can tell she is uncomfortable.

Please excuse me while I get Olive and myself back to being healthy.  Then I can start making 2014 the new beginnings like it is suppose to be.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Mexican Egg Bake

Happy New Year 

I was thinking back to 1999 and how the media was getting everyone in a frenzy thinking that it was the end of the world....or maybe just everything that was technical was going to fail.  That doesn't seem that long ago and fast forward here it is 2014.

Did you host a party or go to a party last night?  New Years Eve is one of those nights hubby and I stay home and enjoy each others company.  We watched TV and rang in the New Year with some Black-Eyed Peas and Cornbread.

This morning I made a Mexican Egg Bake something I could throw all together pop it in the oven and have it ready in time to watch the Rose Parade.  Today is an HGTV day my favorite part about New Years Day - Starting with the Rose Parade and Ending with the HGTV 2014 Dream Home.

Mexican Egg Bake

16 oz can refried beans
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
6 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, rough chop
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup jarred sliced jalapeño peppers (or canned diced mild green chilies)
2/3 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with vegetable spray.  Add refried beans spread evenly in baking dish.  Drizzle the top of the beans with the enchilada sauce and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and ricotta cheese.  Add onion, cilantro, olives, jalapeños, cheese, salt and pepper, stir well and pour over the refried beans.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are set.  Serve with warm tortillas, salsa, sour cream, avocados or guacamole.

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