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!

 

 

 

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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

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

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.

 

 

Easy & Unique Pineapple Cheese Ball

I received this delicious recipe from one of my favorite people after she made it for a baseball tailgate a few years ago. I’ve probably made it five times already. It’s always popular because it’s tasty and unique. The truth is, it’s pretty easy to make, too!

Pineapple Cheese BallTo make the pineapple cheese ball, you’ll need:

  • 8 ox. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple (well-drained)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green peppers (I tend to put a few more in than the recipe requests.)
  • Paprika to sprinkle if desired
  • Your favorite crackers (or veggies!) for serving

Pineapple Cheese Ball

A couple of things to note:

– The pineapple needs to be well-drained. Seriously, drain it. As in squish it with a paper towel through a strainer, well-drained. You don’t want a soggy cheese ball!

– Make sure the green peppers and green onions are chopped really tiny. The recipe only calls for 1 Tbsp of each, but you’ll want them to be spread evenly throughout the mixture.

To create this ball of deliciousness, all you have to do is mix up all of the ingredients (minus the paprika) really well. This is not for the squeamish, but the best way to do so is to use clean hands, put all ingredients into the bowl and squish together repeatedly until everything is good and mixed up.

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Once you’re sure everything is combined to the fullest extent, you’ll want to begin shaping the cheese ball. I recommended going ahead and getting it onto the dish you intend to serve it on just to make things a little easier by avoiding a transfer later. Get it rolled into a nice ball (warning: it WILL stick to your hands and be messy for a minute) and cover in wax paper and place in the refrigerator for several hours.

After the ball ‘o goodness has chilled for a few hours, take it out, sprinkle with paprika, and arrange your crackers around it. We’re taking this to a party tonight, actually. I hope it’s a hit!

Pineapple Cheese Ball

 

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake

ice-cream-cake-roll

So this funny looking cake may appear to fall into the “Pinterest Fail” category, but I’m happy to report that while I have a ways to go in perfecting the look of this treat, its taste did not disappoint.

Last Thanksgiving, I was assigned dessert as my contribution to the meal. In my mind, simple cake or cookies would not do – I had the perfect excuse to attempt something new! My dad has always loved this old ice cream cake roll thing (also known as “Newlywed Cake Roll”) from back in the day, so my first thought was to attempt to create a homemade version. After realizing that quickly rolling up warm cake right out of the oven was beyond my skill level, I began my search for something similar but less risky. My excitement grew as I found Taste of Home’s Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake recipe:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/swiss-swirl-ice-cream-cake

Don’t get me wrong – this recipe was no walk in the park. First, I never would hswiss-cake-rollave guessed that Swiss Cake Rolls presented such a challenge to slice, because frankly, who ever felt the need to slice them? So, as you’ll notice, they’re, well, ugly. Unevenly chopped, slightly misshapen, you name it – but, they tasted good, so nobody cared.

Second, layering in the two different ice cream flavors and fudge layers (and I ended up creating more layers than the recipe called for) was not a simple feat either. Patience was key and this is definitely not a recipe you can make in a hurry. Each layer needs an hour or so to freeze before you can begin the next. So, definitely start this unique ice cream cake a day before it needs to be served. I hope yours turns out more orderly than mine!

The family enjoyed the taste and the creativity as well. It was a hit and something I’ll try again…someday. For now, I have plenty of other Pins to attempt…

 

Simple, Quick Marinade

essential-oil-marinade

I am not a chef. I’m not even much of a cook. To make things even more complicated, I’m a vegetarian, so I have no idea how to season meat and poultry for my husband. Sometimes I follow recipes, but sometimes I make things up on the fly. This little combo was quick and easy and my husband at least pretended it was tasty. I simply mixed some olive oil, a bit of Himalayan Pink Salt, some freshly ground pepper, and a drop each of Young Living lemon and lime essential oils. I put the mixture in a baggie with a couple of chicken breasts and let it sit for several hours in the refrigerator. After that, I baked the chicken at 350 degrees until thoroughly cooked. Totally easy. Give it a shot!

Need to add Himalayan Pink Salt to your spice drawer? Click here.