Jalapeño Corn Dip

If you’re searching for a healthy recipe, move along. If you’re looking for a delicious and easy appetizer/dip, you’ve stumbled upon the right one! I cannot recall where I found this jalapeño corn dip recipe a few years ago, but I’m certainly glad I did. It’s fast, tasty, and always a hit.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños minced. I typically use 2 and may upgrade to 2.5-3 the next time I make this, but we like food on the hot side around here.
  • 9-11 ounce can sweet corn (or feel free to use fresh!)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (Okay, I used two)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

To prepare:

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees
  • Mince jalapeños and chop green onion
  • Drain corn and allow to dry on a paper towel in order to remove excess water
  • Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl.
  • Add the corn, jalapeño, cheese, green onion, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper and mix well
  • Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Jalapeno Corn Dip (before baking)

I typically serve this with blue corn chips, but I think black bean chips would be excellent as well and of course, regular corn tortilla chips will do the trick.

I last made this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and we were in such a hurry to head out to our feast that I failed to snap a photo of the dip once it emerged from the oven. My apologies. Trust me, it was perfection, but if you don’t believe me, I could potentially be convinced to make another round to update this post with an “after” photo…I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind!

 

 

 

Veggie Pizza Appetizer

My mom has been making this cold veggie pizza appetizer for as long as I can remember. I’ve made it a few times in my adult life: a game night, a Super Bowl party, and most recently, for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t do so more often. It’s really simple and super delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dill weed (I’ll admit to putting more like 1.5-2 tsp in my mixture!)
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • Shredded cheese (sprinkling to your taste)
  • All of the fresh veggies you want to include. I typically use alfalfa sprouts, carrots, cucumber, green peppers, and green onion. (Lots of people add broccoli, red onions, etc as well.)

To prepare:

  • Open the can of crescent rolls (I hate that part!) and spread them out on a lightly greased cookie sheet. You’ll want to close up any seams and spread the entire length and width of the pan. This will be the base of your pizza. Bake according to the directions on the package, but watch carefully so as not to burn. Once baked, set aside and allow to cool.
  • To make the mixture which will go directly on top of the crescent roll base, take your softened cream cheese, mayo, dill weed, and minced onion and blend thoroughly. A few tiny cream cheese lumps are okay, but for the most part, you want this to be pretty smooth. Depending on how soft your cream cheese is (or isn’t), you may want to use a mixer. Once blended, spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cooled crescent roll base.
  • Lastly, chop up and add all of the fresh veggies you desire! Sprinkle with shredded cheese, cut into squares, and serve! YUM!

The only “downside” is that you want to eat it all within a day or two, or else the bottom tends to get soggy from the cream cheese mixture. This isn’t really an issue though, because it’s so good that you’ll want to eat it all within a day or two anyway!

Veggie Pizza Appetizer
Cold Veggie Pizza Appetizer

Lemon Chicken Marinade & Roasted (Frozen) Broccoli

We typically buy fresh veggies, but we’ve had a couple of bags of frozen broccoli and a veggie medley in our freezer for a while. So, I decided it was time to try something with the broccoli. If successful, I figure it will become a nice side for some of the meals I pack for regularly my husband.

My ingredients were one bag of frozen broccoli and some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. No actual measurements – I decided to wing this one!

 I preheated the oven to 425 and sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. I placed the broccoli on the pan, drizzled olive oil and then sprinkled the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I roasted for about 30 minutes.

As for the lemon chicken marinade, I mixed the following ingredients:Lemon chicken and roasted broccoli

  • 1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice (I ended up also using a few drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil because our lemon tree came up a little short!)
  • 2.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I was able to use some from our herb garden growing in our kitchen – can’t wait to grow more!)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (he likes his food spicy!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

 

I let the chicken breasts marinate overnight and then baked them at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Pretty simple! I combined the chicken and broccoli with rice into reusable containers for lunches or dinners away from home this week.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Are your eggs nearing the expiration date and there are still several left? No worries! You can easily hard boil them, OR if you’re like me and have found yourself with several items about to expire or nearing their end you can create make-ahead breakfast burritos and freeze them!

I recently noticed that our eggs and tortillas were getting close to expiration and was super annoyed at the money that would have been lost if we’d thrown them out. Instead, I quickly scrambled up several of the eggs, cut up tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and filled up the tortillas. (You can add anything you’d like!) After rolling each burrito, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and placed them in the freezer. Voila! My husband now has a few days worth of healthy, quick breakfasts AND we didn’t waste any food. Win-win! (Okay, so next time I’ll wrap them a little more evenly. They’re pretty ugly, but he assured me they taste good anyway!!)

Breakfast Burritos

Black Bean Soup

So now that the weather is cooling off a bit, it’s time to start making and enjoying some delicious soups! I had always loved ordering black bean soup at restaurants, but had never attempted to make it myself until a few years ago. A friend sent me this recipe from allrecipes.com and I added my own touches to it. Not only is it tasty, it’s super easy and very quick to make.

Black Bean Soup IngredientsIngredients:

  • 2, 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa (pick a hotter variety for a spicier soup; mild if you don’t want the heat!)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chopped onions (optional – one of my additions)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup canned corn (optional – another one of my additions)
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream (serving suggestion)
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion (serving suggestion)

Black Bean Soup VitamixAfter prepping the above ingredients, combine the beans, broth, salsa, cumin, and onions (if using). You can use an electric food processor or blender. I happen to be in love with my Vitamix, which I find to be quicker than my food processor or regular blender. Bonus: it will actually heat the soup up as well, though I’m going to use the saucepan method in order to keep the corn in-tact. Blend until fairly smooth.

Next, if you plan to serve the soup right away, pour the bean mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. This is the point in which you’ll want to add the corn if you’re including any. Thoroughly heat.

Top each bowl with 1 Tbsp of the sour cream and 1/2 Tbsp of the chopped green onion.

If you’re storing this soup for later, you can skip the saucepan step at this point and pour into a container or containers for future consumption. Be sure to heat the soup prior to serving and keep the additions of sour cream and chopped green onions in mind.a

I’d love to hear your favorite soup recipes, too. Please let me know if you have any to share!

Black Bean Soup

Perfect-Peeling Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are one of those things that seem so easy, but then often become a huge pain to actually peel. I’ve actually resorted to throwing eggs away because the shells have been so annoyingly tough to remove, coming off in teeny tiny fragments. Since peeling is pretty critical for actual usage and consumption of hard-boiled eggs, I’ve tried a few different methods for achieving easy-to-peel eggs. This is the strategy that has worked the best for me:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of vinegar to water and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, carefully drop the eggs in. (Seriously, carefully. I’m notorious for
    having eggs crack and burst inside of the boiling pot!)
  • Boil for about 15 mins (I personally like the yolks to be the very cooked, pale yellow color upon completion. If you like the darker yellow, less dry yolk, boil for slightly less time.)
  • As soon as you remove the pot from the heat, give the eggs a nice ice bath by adding ice to the pot, as well as some cold water.
  • Peel the eggs once all of the ice melts. This should result in simple peeling, with nice big chucks of shell coming off.

 

Now that you have perfectly peeled eggs, what are your favorite recipes for using them?

Spinach Ricotta Pasta

I’m always looking for recipes that can be enjoyed with and without meat, seeing as my husband is a carnivore and I am not. It is so much easier than creating completely separate meals, or perhaps I’m just that lazy? Whatever the case may be, I stumbled upon this spinach ricotta pasta recipe and thought it seemed enjoyable enough on its own and paired it with baked chicken for my husband.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t win the meal of the year award with this one, but it was good enough, made plenty of servings (4), and could potentially be enhanced next time to be a little more flavorful. All suggestions to make this dish a little more interesting are welcomed!

Ingredients:

  • Fettuccine (1/2 lb, which is 1/2 of a basic sized box)
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 lb. frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed as dry as possible)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 3…wish I would have used more…) Still don’t have a garlic press? Order one!
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Spinach Ricotta PastaBoil the fettuccine, drain, and set aside. To prepare the sauce, add the olive oil and minced garlic to a skillet. Cook 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the ricotta and the milk and continuously stir, reducing the heat to a simmer. As the sauce thickens, use the salt and pepper to season. Once you’ve squeezed all of the water out of the spinach, add it to the simmering sauce. Lastly, add the fettuccine and stir gently to coat.

If you’re opting to add chicken to this dish, I paired it with chicken breast marinated with dried onion, pepper, salt, olive oil, and garlic. I let it marinate for about 5 hours then baked it for 20 mins at 450 degrees.