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Snickers Caramel Apple Dip

30 Dec

I wish my picture did this dessert better service. I had to make do with the remnants of the bottom of the bowl because it got eaten so fast. Remnants don’t ever make for wonderful pictures, but they do say a lot about how well people like your dish! So, I’ll count the fact that I didn’t have much to work with, a definite win. Make this. Hide in a closet. Don’t share. 🙂

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Ingredients:

6 regular sized Snickers candy bars

4 medium apples (I suggest a crispy, more tart apple – I used Granny Smith)

1 (5.1 oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding mix

1/2 cup milk

1 (16 oz) tub of cool whip, thawed to room temperature

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Whisk pudding packet, 1/2 cup milk, and cool whip together until well combined. Chop up apples and Snickers into bite size pieces, and combine with pudding mixture. Place in large serving bowl, and drizzle with caramel topping. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

 

Chicken Salad Sandwich

8 Sep

 

Alright, I’m going to apologize upfront. I hate non-reciepes. You know them – those recipes that say ‘to taste’ and don’t give you any real measurements. And here I am, posting a non-recipe. Sigh. I’m sorry. But it’s so good, you will forgive me!

I love, love this sandwich filling because it goes with every kind of bread you can throw at it. You can also mix different combinations of ingredients together (depending on what my pantry feels like offering) and it turns out fabulous every time. I originally stuck with the strict mix of chicken, diced grapes, chopped celery, and almonds. And then came that fateful day…no grapes. My favorite part, MIA. But I had everything else ready! There was no backing out. So, I scoured my shelves and decided that craisins would make an ok substitute. It turned out to be my husband’s favorite. Another time, no celery. I didn’t want to miss out on their crunch…enter chopped apples. I’ve actually had a lot of fun trying out new ways to prepare it. And I never measure. Gasp. I really just said that. But I just don’t – use mayo to taste, depending on how creamy you want it. Garlic salt to taste. Choose your bread base…to taste. My favorite is naan. Hubby likes pretzel rolls. Croissants are fabulous. Regular, run-of-the-mill grocery store sliced bread works too! This chicken salad makes everything taste like you stepped into a cute cafe for lunch. My only word of advice – no Miracle Whip. I’m not a hater – I like both Mayo and Miracle Whip – but in this mix, stick with honest-to-goodness mayo or it tastes weird.

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Ingredients:

2 breasts of chicken, cooked and diced

1/4 – 1/3 cup mayonnaise (to taste)

garlic salt

Optional additions: apples, grapes, sliced strawberries, craisins, slivered almonds, cashews, celery

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Brown Sugar Asparagus

25 Aug

My run of Les Mis started this past weekend. Opening night had a few bumps, naturally, but it was still a fantastic show. That meant that performance number two could only get better, right? Well, let’s start the morning off with trying to saw through a bagel…and my pinkie. Awesome. Five stitches and a tetanus shot later, my finger was wrapped in so much gauze and tape, I looked like I had sprouted another limb. I asked the doctor if I could take it off for the show (we actors are more than a little vain I suppose – I just could not fathom wearing that monstrosity on stage). He was hesitant, but said it would probably be fine if I just wore a regular bandaid. Hooray! Victory…ish. I took off the bandage just before curtain (I was being good and waited as long as I could), and nearly passed out from the process. I’m a boob. But the stitches got stuck on the gauze, it was all swollen and bruised…and I couldn’t even get the dumb bandaid to stay on right. In short, I ended up rewrapping the darn thing. I did cut the size down by about half, so it wasn’t so in-your-face-I-almost-amputated-my-finger kind of bandage. My mom could tell I had it on (she was looking for it because she told me I was crazy for only wanting to wear a bandaid – mom’s are always right), but my neighbor came and said she couldn’t see it from the audience. I’ll take it! Because I have to wear it for the entire run of the show. 😦 The good news? The show was awesome – none of the glitches from opening night – I figure I absorbed all of the bad luck…and then bled it out all over my kitchen. I’m all about taking one for the team!

Asparagus…you don’t have to use a knife to remove the woody ends (I’m a little wary of knives these days) – just give them a good bend, and they snap off themselves. Don’t skip this step in attempts to avoid wasting a perfectly good spear of asparagus (I have never done this…ever). It tastes bad and it’s impossible to chew, so you’ll end up throwing it away anyways. This is my favorite way to prepare the good ends though! A perfect combination of sweet and salty, and oh-so-tasty!

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Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus spears

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chicken broth

Snap off woody ends of asparagus and discard. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Cook, stirring continually until sugar dissolves. Add asparagus to brown sugar mixture, turning to coat. Saute for 2 min. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until asparagus are crisp-tender.

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Caesar Salad

28 Jul

It’s been a salad-for-dinner type week at my house! My AC went out, so there was no cooking allowed. Plus, on holidays that allow fireworks, people in my neighborhood go crazy! We are total cheapskates and don’t ever bother purchasing our own. There really is no point! We just set up our lawn chairs and rotate as necessary – there are fireworks going off everywhere! My three year old is the most excited about the fact that she is not afraid of fireworks this year. People probably think she’s terrified because she runs around screaming like crazy. But she’s just so darn happy to enjoy them. 🙂

Fireworks are awesome (especially since aerials are legal now!), but they make for some late nights for little people ’round my house. But how do you say no? Especially since the booms would keep them up anyways? Plus we hit the water park, went horseback riding, ran a marathon…ok…just kidding. But we are worn out! And sometimes get distracted until everyone is way too hungry to wait for dinner to take forever to make. Anyone else run into this issue during the summer? Too much of too many good things…at least you can’t get too much of this too good salad. Whip it up, and enjoy it sitting in your lawn chair while you watch other people’s pyrotechnic displays.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup olive oil

2-3 Tbsp milk (if needed)

8 oz chicken breast

1-2 heads romaine lettuce (about 12 cups chopped)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Dressing:

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender and process until smooth. With blender running on low speed, slowly pour olive oil in a steady stream just until fully incorporated. Only if needed, add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. Place 1/2 cup dressing in a zip lock bag with chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Place remaining dressing in refrigerator to chill.

Salad:

Remove chicken from marinade and grill until cooked through. Wash lettuce and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss with Parmesan cheese and prepared chicken (can add croutons). Toss with dressing, to taste.

 

Empanadas de Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese Empanadas)

10 Jun

 

My daughter’s class at school got to earn ‘trips’ this year. They went to Florida, Italy, and…a few other places that now I can’t remember, and she’s gone to bed so I can’t ask! The point being: My husband took the class on a ‘trip’ to Peru. He served a mission there for the LDS church for two years, so he got to show off some of his souvenirs, share pictures, teach a little Spanish, and treat the kids to some of the things Peruvians eat. We joked about having him bring one of our pet guinea pigs in and offer to cook him up for the class. 🙂 We thought we were pretty funny,. But kids never really laugh when they find out that that is as common as chicken down there. The usual reaction is horror – we decided to keep the guinea pigs home.

So, if you are in the mood for some authentic Peruvian and don’t have a large, hairy rodent handy or have children that may frown upon you poaching their pets, whip up one of these pretty darn awesome empanadas. I think the smoked gouda is what really takes these a few giant leaps up from a hot pocket – that, and the fact that they are homemade and not stuffed full of preservatives. They are a little cheater because you use puff pastry dough instead of making your own, but if you don’t tell, I won’t.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (smoked gouda, edam, or similar)
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound deli ham
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat. Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. Sauce will thicken slightly. Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened. Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry dough on a floured surface to 12 inches square. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture. Place a piece of ham in the center of the rectangles brushed with egg yolk. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal. Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point, or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking. Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot.

 

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Original recipe: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/empanadascheese.htm

 

Nacho Cheese

6 May

I have a great dislike for Velveeta. It has its place in the universe, just not in my kitchen. “But what about Nacho Cheese,” you ask? Behold, the answer. A very tasty one at that!

Two versions – one for the wimpy-s out there like me 🙂 and one for those who like a bit more kick. Easy as pie…except it’s cheese.

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MILD:

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk, divided

2 tsp mild sauce, or salsa

pinch of salt

SPICY:

4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded

4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 Tbsp corn starch

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk, divided

2 tsp hot sauce

pinch of salt

Toss together cheese and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan, until evenly coated. Stir in 1 cup evaporated milk, the hot sauce, and salt. Cook, stirring ofter, over medium-low heat until thickened., smooth, and bubbly. Stir in additional evaporated milk, if needed, until desired consistency is reached.

Original recipe: www.kitchensimplicity.com

Neiman Marcus Dip

26 Apr

Good dips are hard to leave alone. If you skip the plate altogether and count the serving bowl as your personal trough, you have a winner. 😉 photo 2

Ingredients:

5-6 green onions

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups mayo

1 jar real bacon bits (or 5-6 pieces cooked crisp and broken into bits)

1 pkg slivered almonds

Chop the green onions. Shred the cheese. Mix the onions, cheese, mayo, bacon bits, and almonds together. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with Ritz crackers or corn chips.

Cream Cheese Berry Roulade

14 Apr

I have about 20 some-odd recipes sitting in my drafts…I am falling so behind! But I am in the process of making a fabulous Prom dress for my neighbor’s daughter. It is going to be so pretty (I’ll have to sneak in a few pictures)! But I am learning a lot on this project, and am finding that learning a lot requires making a lot of mistakes. I almost cried when I got the bodice all put together only to find that I got a section caught in the serger and cut a nice little hole in the very delicate chiffon. After a sleepless night trying to figure out how to fix it, I finally concluded that I couldn’t fix it and would have to replace the panel. It was a grand mistake…painfully grand. But I have been ever careful of my serger edge ever since. Yay for me.

Thank goodness I had a little slice of this heaven sitting in my fridge so I could wash the bitterness of a careless mistake down with a truly sweet treat. Delicious beyond words. So easy. Don’t skip the whipped topping. And don’t cut holes in Prom dresses.

P.S> The whipped topping can also be used for a great fruit dip!!!

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Ingredients:

2 packages Crescent Rolls
8oz Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Fruit Preserves (strawberry, blackberry…I used plum!)
Fresh Strawberries
Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1 Lemon
Confectioners Sugar
1 egg

Lay out the crescent rolls and press seams together. Mix cream cheese with brown sugar and vanilla until soft. Spread inside crescent rolls. Then spread preserves on top. Sprinkle blueberries and strawberries on top. Pull edges of crescent rolls over. Egg wash pastry. Bake at 375 for 20 mins. In separate bowl mix juice and zest of a lemon with confectioners sugar until it becomes an icing. Garnish with strawberries.

Whipped Topping:

  • 1 large (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding
  • 32 oz. container vanilla yogurt
  • 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg. frozen strawberries

Mix together pudding mix and yogurt. Fold in whip cream. Fold in strawberries.

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Protein Balls

3 Feb

For something healthy, these actual taste good. 🙂 Make a batch and start the week out on a flax seed foot!

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Ingredients:

2 scoops chocolate (or vanilla) protein powder

2 cups slow cook oatmeal

1 cup brown Rice Krispies

1 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup honey

1 Tbsp flax seeds

Combine all ingredients and form into balls.

Guacamole

24 Jan

When I asked my sisters to send me their recipes they asked for photo guidelines. I said, “Just don’t make it look like a pile of mush.” And then I got this…a pile of mush. 🙂 At least it’s a pile of mush that tastes good!

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Ingredients:

2 avocados

1 roma tomato

1 Tbsp chopped onion

garlic salt

salt

pepper

lemon juice

Mash avocados, sprinkle with lemon juice. Chop tomatoes and onions finely. Add to avocado mixture and use salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.

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