Have you seen the before & after pictures of
Bert Macklin Chris Pratt?
The “before” is when he had to get in great shape for Zero Dark Thirty. But then he immediately had to pack on the pounds for another movie, hence the “after” photo.
Yeah, those kind of “afters” are a lot easier to attain!!
Whether you’re in before or after shape, hummus is always a yummus choice!
Jalapeno Peanut Butter Hummus
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light–Dec 2012
3 tablespoons creamy jalapeno peanut butter hummus**
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons EVOO
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 minced garlic clove
7 tablespoons water
Microwave the peanut on high for 20 seconds. Combine the peanut and all the ingredients (except the water) into a food processor. While the food processor is running, drizzle in the water slowly. Process until smooth.
**I found this spicy peanut hummus at a local gourmet store. But you can also find it online here.
Tonight is the season 3 premiere of Downton Abbey. I’m excited to see how things are going for the Grantham family.
I’m not really a fan of Lady Mary and Matthew. Lady Mary’s a tad whiny for me. My favorite Grantham sister is Lady Sybil.
Branson & Lady Sybil
And I’m especially Team Bates & Anna. Oh Mr. Bates! Swoon!
If you’re looking for an English classic with a twist to enjoy during the show tonight, might I suggest Mini Shepherd’s Pies.
The Countess Dowager may not approve of finger foods, but I’ll never tell her.
Mini Shepherd’s Pies
Recipe from LHJ Feb 2013, adapted
Makes about 36 bite-sized pies
1 17 ounce package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 pound of ground beef
2 tablespoons minced tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup corn, canned
1/2 cup peas, canned
salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I used Simply Potatoes, but you can certainly make your own too!)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Unroll your puff pastry sheets on the counter. Cut into 2 inch rounds. (I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I just used a shot glass to cut the pastry into circles.) Press the rounds into your muffin pan. Prick the bottoms of the pastry with a fork. Place the muffin tin into the freezer while preparing the filling.
Heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef. Stir in the tarragon, chives, cumin, and garlic powder. Transfer the meat into a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO to the skillet along with the diced onions and carrots. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet and stir together. Add in the peas to the mixture along with salt & pepper to taste. Stir.
Scoop a small amount of filling into each puff pastry cup. Bake for about 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for just a few minutes. Remove from the muffin and pipe a dollop of heated mashed potatoes onto each pie.
Enjoy immediately while still hot!
*** If you’re looking for a recap of Downton Abbey to prep for tonight, my friend, Kristin, wrote a great one here!
I remember trying artichokes for the first time about 12 years ago. It was at a restaurant in a pasta dish. I immediately hated it.
Thank goodness I’m always a believer in trying things again! Except for olives…olives will always be disgusting.
This artichoke & tomato salsa is obviously very different from traditional salsa. It’s also very versatile!
I enjoyed this salsa:
–on salad, in lieu of dressing
–on top of fish
–in a veggie wrap
Artichoke & Tomato Salsa
Recipe slightly adapted from Oxygen Magazine, May 2012
2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
3 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
sea salt & pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients together into a bowl.
One of my former bosses at work (hi Cherisse!) used to make tortilla pinwheels for every work food day.
And I would devour them every work food day. I’d also ask her every time…..how do you make these?
But I never followed through. Until I saw these on Julie’s blog! It was a blast from the past.
I IMMEDIATELY made them the next day for a family lunch. I brought them to my parents and put them in the refrigerator. My brother eye-spyed them and asked, “Are these okay to eat NOW or do we have to wait?”
I said, “Sure, go for it!” And brought them out for my brothers, nephews, and sister-in-law to munch on.
Cut to about 15 minutes later, I came back into the dining room and there were only THREE lonely pinwheels left.
I freaked out! ”You guys ate them all and our aunts and uncles aren’t even here yet!!! You have to eat these 3 pinwheels right now before they get here, so they don’t know about it! I can’t leave 3 pinwheels on the plate, that’s weird!”
They happily obliged and said that I should be happy that they loved them so much. And um….make a double batch next time.
Recipe adapted from Julie’s Eats and Treats
8 ounces light sour cream
8 ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
4 ounces can diced green chilies, drained (I added several more ounces.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
garlic powder, to taste
seasoned salt, to taste
5 10″ flour tortillas
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the tortillas. Mix well.
Divide your mixed filling onto your tortilla. Spread evenly. Roll up tortillas.
Roll each tortilla in plastic wrap to secure the shape. Place prepared tortillas into the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning (or several hours later), remove tortillas from plastic wrap. Cut into slices and serve.
Yields about 30-50 slices depending on the thickness of the slices. Just make a double batch; you won’t regret it!
I took my nephew, Noah, to see Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked yesterday.
That movie is too cute!!
The songs are so fun and peppy too. I seriously want to buy the soundtrack. But I won’t. I mean…can a 32 year old single lady buy an album with songs sung by the Chipmunks? The answer is NO. Believe me, I’ve tried to justify it in my head all day.
So, instead I’ve just spent the day listening to previews of each song over & over on iTunes.
It’s a fun mix to listen to while in the kitchen too.
Creamy Bacon Dip
Recipe from Daisy
8 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Place prepared ingredients to a 1 quart baking dish. Spread evenly. Cover with foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Garnish top of dip with more green onions and crumbled bacon, if desired.
Serve with pita chips or whatever you desire!
Dip can served warm or cold. I preferred the dip cold the next day!
I realize that deviled eggs are not an earth shattering recipe, folks. I also realize that you probably already know how to make deviled eggs.
You probably already have one of those cute deviled eggs trays too. Maybe I can borrow it from you next time? I just let my eggs slip and slide all over the platter.
My point is…deviled eggs recipe on a food blog! It’s really for my own benefit! One of the reasons that I started this food blog is to have a central place for my recipe collection.
So next time, I won’t have to google “how long to boil eggs”. Yep that happened. I seriously had no clue!! I’ve only scrambled, fried, or soft-boiled eggs.
12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Miracle Whip
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
salt & pepper, to taste
paprika, to sprinkle on top of prepared deviled eggs
Tips: For easier to peel eggs, use eggs that are a few days old. You can also leave the boiled eggs in the refrigerator for a few days to get them easier to peel.
Place eggs in a saucepan. Cover eggs with 1-2 inches of cold water. The cold water to start will help keep the eggs from cracking as they boil. Add a half teaspoon of salt to the water. Place your saucepan on a stovetop burner. Put the burner on high and bring the eggs to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and keep saucepan on burner for a minute.
After a minute, remove the saucepan from the burner. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the eggs sit for 12-15 minutes. The residual heat from the pan keeps the eggs cooking, but they don’t get overcooked with this method.
Once eggs are cooled, peel the shells off. Slice eggs lengthwise into halves. Remove the yolks with a spoon and place them in a bowl.
Mash yolks into fine pieces with a fork. Add Miracle Whip, yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, and salt & pepper to yolks.
Stir mixture until creamy. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag with tip. Squeeze mixture into egg white halves.
Sprinkle the tops of the eggs with paprika. Place prepared deviled eggs into the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Deviled eggs are generally gone in 2.6 seconds at a party.
Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by KitchenAid. Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.
Fall and weekends mean…..Soccer Saturdays!!
Three of my nephews are playing soccer this season. Eight AM games aren’t ideal for a Saturday, but nothing that can’t be made better with a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Too bad you don’t tailgate at soccer. I could have brought these tomatoes.
Sour Cream and Bacon Stuffed Tomatoes
Recipe from Buns In My Oven
About 25 cherry tomatoes
4 slices cooked bacon, cooked
8 ounces light sour cream
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
green onions, to garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Wash your cherry tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half.
Scrape out the insides/seeds of the tomatoes. (I just used my fingers to scoop out the seed guts.) Sprinkle your tomatoes with Kosher salt.
Cook your slices of bacon and then crumble it into small pieces.
In a bowl, mix together the bacon crumbles, light sour cream, Parmesan cheese, and dried parsley flakes. Add your black pepper to taste.
Spoon your sour cream and bacon filling into each tomato. (I tried to pipe it, but none of my pastry tips were large enough to work with the bacon crumbles.) Dice up some green onions and sprinkle on top.
These sour cream and bacon stuffed tomatoes are a super easy appetizer! They’ll be a crowd pleaser too.
After making these, I was craving more bacon. I served some tomatoes up with a bacon, egg, and cheddar cheese sandwich.
What’s your favorite appetizer to get at a restaurant?
For me, it’s either:
chips & salsa
spinach artichoke dip
When I saw a healthier version in the August 2011 Cooking Light magazine, I was sold! I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that it could be easier to make cheese sticks–or bites–at home. Super easy! It takes less than 30 minutes and that includes the time I had to wait for the oven to preheat.
Baked Mozzarella Bites
Recipe from Cooking Light–August 2011, slightly adapted
1/3 cup panko
3 part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks
1 egg, whisked, with salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add panko to the skillet and stir frequently. Cook for 2 minutes until brown and toasty. Remove panko from skillet and add to a small bowl.
Cut your cheese sticks into 1 inch pieces.
Now dip your cheese into the egg. Then take your eggy cheese piece and dredge into the panko.
Place the panko cheese pieces onto your baking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is hot and softened.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, such as marinara sauce or ranch dressing.
Serves 3, estimated calories 116
Hello zucchini. Meet my friend, Bisquick. I think you two will hit it off.
I made zucchini squares for the 4th of July. I wasn’t feeling them that day. They just didn’t mesh well with the other items on the menu.
But I froze some of the leftovers. And on Saturday, I heated a couple of zucchini squares up to go with my lunch of Lentil & Vegetable soup. OH!! That’s why you make zucchini squares!
They are great to go with soup!! I think they’ll be even better with chili. Now if I could only get a break from the 100+ degree temperatures to be able to make chili!
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker
5 eggs, beaten slightly
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup grated cheese—I used a combination of Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago
2 tbl fresh parsley, chopped
1/ tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped finely
2 cups Bisquick
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together eggs, oil, cheeses, chopped parsley, salt, seasoned salt, oregano and garlic powder in a large bowl. Whisk in your chopped onion. Then whisk in your Bisquick. Stir in the sliced zucchini gently.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Smooth the top. Bake about 30-35 minutes. The top will be golden brown.
Serve with your favorite soup or chili!
How was your 4th of July?? I had a great time eating, drinking, playing ladder ball, playing lawn darts, and twirling around with about 100 sparklers throughout the night!
For dinner, we had cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and brats from the grill thanks to my Dad. For sides, we had potato salad, baked beans, and chips. For dessert, we had strawberry cake, peanut butter cup cookies, chocolate chip walnut cookies, ginger bread, and ice cream. Okay, I’m suddenly hungry.
I was in charge of appetizers. One of the apps I brought was buffalo chicken dip. I heart me some buffalo chicken dip. It’s nothing new. Tons of people make it. It’s beloved! I first had buffalo chicken dip about 5 years ago at a Christmas party in Charlotte. My friend, Adrianne, made it and my life changed forever.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 5 ounce cans chicken, drained & shredded
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup red hot sauce — I use Frank’s
shredded cheddar cheese, you decide how much
Preheat oven to 350. Beat the cream cheese, ranch and hot sauce for several minutes until smooth. Fold in the shredded chicken. Spread the mixture into a pie plate sprayed with Pam. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir. Add shredded cheddar on top and baked an additional 10 minutes.
I have made buffalo chicken dip with full-fat cream cheese & ranch and non-fat cream cheese & ranch. I couldn’t taste the difference, so I now make it with non-fat items.
I have also made buffalo chicken dip with the cans of chicken and rotisserie chicken. I find the cans of chicken much easier than having to shred a rotisserie chicken. But the choice is yours!
And finally, you can easily make this buffalo chicken dip in the microwave if you’d like. Just heat in minute increments and stir until hot throughout. With the microwave method, skip the shredded cheese topping though! And then you’ll save even more calories. So that you can devour more dip in general.
Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips and veggies.
Thanks to my sister-in-law, Jennifer, for making the great corn & black bean salsa on the side!!