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Hot and Cheesy Corn Dip

June 15, 2017

This is a fun twist on gooey, cheesy dips that reminds me of summer with all the sweet corn inside. It goes wonderfully with crispy tortilla chips (we had a mix of blue corn and sweet potato chips on hand). If you have fresh summer corn at home, feel free to cut the kernels off a cob or two and mix it in before baking for extra crunch and the deliciousness of long sunny days.

20170505 Corn Dip 01

You will need:

 

  • 16 oz (2 sticks) low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T hot sauce
  • 2 limes, zested and juices
  • 2 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • ~30 oz canned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4.5 oz chopped green chiles (mild to spicy, depending on your taste)
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 T red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Use a food processor to mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, hot sauce, lime juice, and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese mixture with 1 cup of the cheddar, lime zest, corn, feta, green chiles with their liquid, red onion, scallion and cilantro.
  4. Pour mixture into a prepared pie plate.
  5. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and delicious.
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Slow Cooked Shredded Pepper Beef

June 9, 2017

I love using the slow cooker during all seasons. As it’s getting warmer out, it is nice not to add to the heat with the oven. This main dish is incredibly simple and the results are versatile. We had it alongside roasted potatoes the first night, and then had it in sandwiches for lunch several other days that week. It would also be a yummy taco or enchilada filling. Mmmmm….

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 lb pot roast
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 1/2 c beef stock
  • 6 oz hot banana pepper rings (we used jarred)
  • 1/4 c of the liquid from the hot banana pepper jar
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

20170603 Pepper Beef 02

Then you will…

  1. Season the pot roast with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Sear the pot roast, 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Place your onions in your slow cooker.
  5. Add the pot roast.
  6. Add the stock, banana peppers and their liquid, and the garlic.
  7. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  8. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred.
  9. Return and mix with the sauce. Allow to cook another 15 minutes or so to give the sauce time to soak into the meat.
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Slow Cooker Shredded Ranch Chicken Tacos

May 10, 2017

Yumm. Isn’t it great when you can do almost no prep work and still end up with a delicious dinner? This slow cooker taco chicken would be great on top of nachos or a salad too. We toasted tortillas and served it up with salsa, cheese and sour cream. Our toddler couldn’t get enough of the chicken!

You will need:

  • 2 lb chicken breast
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 packet Ranch seasoning
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 t salt

Then you will…

  1. Combine everything in your slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove and shred the chicken.
  4. Return to the slow cooker and mix with the sauce.
  5. Serve with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings!

20170412 Crockpot Taco 01

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Fresh Spinach Pasta

May 4, 2017

I love when you are talking to friends and decide it is a lovely day for a spontaneous dinner party. We decided to contribute some fresh spinach pasta to go with a friend’s amazing alfredo sauce.

20170408 Spinach Pasta 04

You will need:

  • 1 t olive oil
  • 12 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 3 eggs (whites and yolks)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 5 c flour
  • 4-7 T ice water

Then you will…

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.
  2. Cook the spinach with the garlic power just until wilted.
  3. Remove and press between paper towels until the spinach is as dry as you can make it.
  4. Put the spinach in a blender and puree till smooth.
  5. Add the egg yolks and whites plus the salt, basil and oregano. Pulse until mixed well.
  6. Create a mound of flour on the counter with a well in the middle.
  7. Pour the spinach mixture into that well.
  8. Incorporate with your hands.
  9. Add a tablespoon of the ice water and then knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. (Add water as needed until dough comes together).
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Divide into portions and either use a pasta machine of your choice or roll it out and shape however you want.
  12. Gently toss the fresh pasta with cornmeal to keep it from sticking.
  13. Allow it to dry for at least an hour before cooking. (If you want to freeze some, form it into small heaps/nests. Place those on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer until hard. Transfer from sheet into freezer ziplock bags and then cook from frozen as desired).
  14. Then add to a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2-4 minutes, or until al dente.
  15. Toss with your favorite sauce!
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Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

April 28, 2017

20170408 PB Trifle 03

D gave me a beautiful trifle dish recently, and we made this trifle to celebrate. At its most basic, a trifle is a layered dessert that usually has some combination of cake, pudding and whipped cream. This one is extra special with peanut butter and brownies – a combination we love!

You will need:

  • 1 fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size), prepared according to package directions
  • 2 packages (13 ounces each) miniature peanut butter cups
  • 4 cups cold 2% milk
  • 2 packages (5.1 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cartons (8 ounces each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Then you will…

  • Cut or break brownies into 3/4-in. pieces.
  • Roughly chop the peanut butter cups; set aside 1/3 cup for garnish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes (mixture will be thick).
  • Whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla until well mixed. Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Place a third of the brownies in a 5-qt. glass bowl; top with a third of the remaining peanut butter cups.
  • Spoon a third of the pudding mixture over the top. Repeat layers twice.
  • Garnish with reserved peanut butter cup pieces.
  • Refrigerate until chilled.

 

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Slow Cooker Chili Mac

April 19, 2017

Slow cooked dinners are magical. You add everything to the crock pot and turn it on. Hours later….BAM! Dinner is done! D loves chili and noodles. This combines the best of both. We used ground turkey, but you could substitute lean ground beef. You can also check out this alternative that we tried right after R was born.

You will need:

 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (30 oz) chili beans in chili sauce
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 c low sodium beef broth
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 T of pickling spices in a tea ball
  • Salt and pepper ,to taste
  • 8 oz favorite shaped pasta, uncooked (e.g., elbows, cavatappi)
  • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • Small bunch of scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • Sour cream for serving (optional)

 

Then you will…

  1. Put the ground turkey in the bottom of your slow cooker and break into smaller pieces. (Optional: if you wanted, you could brown it lightly in a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil first).
  2. Add in the onion, garlic, beans, tomatoes, beef broth, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin.
  3. Stir together.
  4. Add the tea ball of pickling spices.
  5. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on LOW.
  6. Fifteen minutes before serving, taste test.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Stir in the pasta and shredded cheese. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn slow cooker off.
  9. Top with scallions and serve with sour cream, if desired.
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Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole

April 11, 2017

I love dinners that can be prepared in one pot or skillet. It makes clean up simple, plus all the flavors get to come together as you cook (rather than when you plate!).

You will need:

  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 can (4oz) chopped green chiles
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 can (15 oz) reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 c shredded cheese (recommend a cheddar-jack blend)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in flour and allow to cook for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in chicken broth, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano and salt.
  5. Continue whisking until smooth and thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the green chiles with any liquid from the can.
  7. Add the chicken and bring to a simmer.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
  9. Meanwhile, spread the corn tortillas on the baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 7 minutes and stir/toss. Bake another 3 minutes or until starting to crisp up.
  11. Remove tortillas from the oven and set aside.
  12. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred, leaving the heat on low.
  13. Return the chicken to the pan.
  14. Stir in the black beans and sour cream into the sauce.
  15. Stir in the tortilla pieces until combined.
  16. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.
  17. Serve warm and bubbly!
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