Garden Fresh Salsa

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So, rolling with the tomato theme – the other way my husband will eat fresh tomatoes! You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

I’m loving this version because we have tomatoes, onions and hot peppers in the garden currently  – so I can walk out the back door and grab the ingredients whenever I want and mix this up in about ten minutes.

I’m going to miss the garden when the season is over!

Garden Fresh Salsa
(slightly adapted from About.com)
Makes about 2 cups

4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 small onion
1 hot pepper (I used a Serrano pepper)
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse one of the tomatoes, onion, hot pepper and garlic until finely chopped but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl.

Dice remaining tomatoes. Stir into the processed mixture. Stir in lime juice and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Bruschetta

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You know how I said we had zucchini in the garden? That lasted for, oh, five minutes. Once again, our plants died off without producing much.

Tomatoes, though, are going strong. We’ve never had so many. Which is both awesome – I love it - and a pain in the butt – Mark doesn’t eat fresh tomatoes. Bruschetta is one of the only ways Mark will eat fresh tomatoes (salsa being the other), so I’ve been making this in force.

Bruschetta
(Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

3-4 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced

Mix all ingredients together, except bread, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Toast baguette slices before serving.


Dill Pickle Dip

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My friend Sarah brings up pickle dip whenever we start talking about appetizers. Or football food. Or any other snack-food occasion. And every time she mentions it, I think, I really should make that. I finally got around to it and I’m totally kicking myself for waiting so long.

I’m a huge pickle fan, so this was totally up my ally. Mark and I polished off an embarrassing amount of it while watching a basketball game. It’d be a great snack for March Madness (or, because it’s green, St. Patrick’s Day!).

Dill Pickle Dip
(from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2- 4 Tbsp. pickle juice (depending on how thick you want the dip to be)
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients well and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue

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Mark and I aren’t big fans of going out on holidays – especially holidays when everyone else wants to go out - so we usually just do a nice meal at home for Valentine’s day. The last few years, we’ve picked up nice steaks, but this year we decided to do a fondue night at home.

This cheese was the hands-down hit of our Valentine’s Day meal. Mark cut up some green apples, broccoli and bread while I melted the cheese and then we chatted as we devoured it all. It was a nice meal to make and enjoy together - and we stuffed ourselves enough that we had to put off the chocolate course for a few hours. It’s definitely going in the “make again” file.

 

Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue
(adapted from For the Love of Food)
Serves 4 as an appetizer

12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 tsp. chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. Green Goddess salad dressing
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
French bread, green apples, broccoli and baby carrots, for dipping

In a small bowl, toss the cheese and flour together.

Add about 2″ of water to the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and pour chicken broth into the top pot. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add half the cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly, until all is melted. Stir in Green Goddess sauce and pepper.

Pour into a warm fondue pot and keep warm over low heat.


Recipe Swap: Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

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The latest recipe swap was all about game-day eats – and as soon as I saw these on Sarah’s blog, I knew I had to make them. I’ve been on a huge pizza kick lately, so pizza in a sandwich form seemed like a great way to sneak it onto our weekly menu, again.

They’re also perfect for eating in front of the TV while you’re engrossed in football or basketball or hockey or the Olympics. Plenty of sports going around right now, so you have plenty of excuses to make them!

We loved them and if you’re a fan of pepperoni pizza, I bet you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
(from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 1 dozen sliders

For the sandwiches:
12 slider rolls
3/4 cup pizza sauce
24-36 slices of pepperoni (about 1/2 lb.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the topping:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

In a 9×13″ baking dish, place the bottoms of the slider rolls. Spread a little pizza sauce on each one and top with 2-3 slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle cheese over the pepperoni. Spread a little more pizza sauce on the inside of the top of the slider buns and top.

Whisk together the topping ingredients in a small bowl and brush over the sandwiches with a pastry brush. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb, then cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes, until the tops are slightly browned. Serve immediately.

You can check out what the other swappers made below.


Sweet Potato Taquitos with Chipotle Sauce

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When I was browsing The Jey of Cooking for something to make for the latest recipe swap, I pretty much fell in love with these. I’ve made a few different kinds of taquitos before, but not a vegetarian option. I always think of beans when I think meatless Mexican so I loved that they were sweet potatoes (so seasonal!) over some kind of bean.

It wasn’t until I was making them that I realized how awesome these would be as a Thanksgiving appetizer.  We always have a spread for munching before the big meal, and these would be such a great addition. Or, if you make whipped sweets as part of the meal, these would be an awesome way to rework any leftovers.

 Sweet Potato Taquitos with Chipotle Sauce
(slightly adapted from The Jey of Cooking)
Makes 12 taquitos

3-4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and largely diced
3/4 cup dried coconut flakes Dried
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
12 6-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 spoonful of adobo sauce

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Steam sweet potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to the bowl of an electric mixer and add coconut flakes, coconut milk and cilantro. Mix until well combined.

Divide sweet potatoes between tortillas and roll up as tightly as possible. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle cheese over each.  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges start to brown and the taquitos become crispy.

While the taquitos are baking, mix the chopped chipotle and sauce into the sour cream.  Serve as a side for dipping.

 

Interested in other vegetarian dishes? You can check out what other bloggers made below. Thanks to Sarah for hosting!


Recipe Swap: Jalapeno Popper Pizza

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Happy Recipe Swap Friday! The latest swap was blogger’s choice so I could pick anything I wanted off of Jenni’s blog, Dough See Dough. As it usually happens, I couldn’t pick - so I sent the link to my husband for his opinion. He took all of 5 minutes to decide on this pizza.

We made this on a Friday night instead of going out. It was a really fun, restaurant-type dish at home. Pizza at our house is usually of the plain or pepperoni variety, so this was outside the box for us and we really enjoyed it. If you’re looking for something for dinner tonight or to much during the football games this weekend, this pizza is an awesome idea!

Jalapeno Popper Pizza
(from Dough See Dough)
Serves 4

For the jalapeno-ranch sauce:
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 green onion, ends trimmed
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup light mayo
1 Tbsp. cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened

For the pizza:
1 lb. pizza dough
Jalapeno-ranch sauce
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Place a pizza stone in oven and let it heat for at least 30 minutes.

In a food processor, combine all sauce  ingredients except for the cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Pulse in cream cheese until well combined.

For one large pizza, stretch pizza dough into a circle 12″ in diameter. Fold edges over to create a crust.

Pour the jalapeno ranch dressing over dough and smooth to the crust. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Top with jalapeno slices and bacon.

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and crust is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

You can check out what the other swappers made below. As always, thanks to Sarah for hosting!


Taco Bread Twist

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I realize it’s only mid-August, but I’m mentally preparing myself for fall. Fall is always a weird season for me. I love so much about it: apple everything, pumpkin picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, changing leaves, football. The end of Fall is always disappointing. I hate winter so I try to stretch out fall as long as possible. Which means even though it’s only preseason, I’m in full football mode. And that I’m making fun Sunday dinners while watching the game.

This easy dish could be either dinner or a fun appetizer. It was also a lot easier and quicker than I was expecting. It’s basically all the goodness of a taco, shoved inside a bread. The recipe relies on pre-made dough, but you could use your own favorite French bread recipe.

Taco Bread Twist
(from Bev Cooks)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground chicken
2 T. taco seasoning
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 chipotle peppers, diced
3 t. adobo sauce
1/3 c. black beans
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 (11 oz.) tubes refrigerated French bread
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. Mexican oregano

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

In a large pan, brown the ground chicken. Stir in the taco seasoning, red bell pepper, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, black beans, salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook another 3 – 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat.

On a clean and lightly oiled counter, place the French breads side by side. Using a serrated knife, lightly cut into each loaf from tip to tip. Using your fingers, spread the dough until you get a 4-inch well in the center.

Sprinkle the cheese along each well. Divide the chicken mixture between the wells. Using your fingers, pinch the dough tightly, closing the mixture inside the bread.

Transfer each loaf to a lined baking sheet, placing them seam side down. Twist each loaf around each other.

Lightly brush the twist with the egg wash. Using a small knife, lightly score little slits across the top of the twist, allowing for ventilation.Sprinkle the Mexican oregano on top of the twist.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread is cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.


Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

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I feel like I’ve been seeing versions of these on Pinterest forever. They peaked my interest, but I never had a good excuse to try them out. They finally landed on the menu when I decided that I needed to make pigs and blankets for dinner. This was their accompaniment – a way to throw in some veggies and still make it feel like a junk food night.

I was actually surprised how much I liked these. You’re not going to fool anyone into thinking these are actually chicken wings, but they’re good in their own right. The cauliflower becomes almost creamy within the baked coating. And because it’s made with whole wheat flour and baked, it’s much better for mindless snacking. I’m sure these will be a repeat during football Sundays!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”
(slightly adapted from Self)
Makes enough for 4-6 as a side

1 head of cauliflower
1 c. milk
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 c. buffalo wing sauce
1/2 c. ranch or blue cheese dressing

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, flour and garlic. Dredge each piece of cauliflower in the flour mixture, allowing extra to drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet.

Spray the tops of the “wings” with cooking oil and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked pieces to a large bowl. Drizzle the buffalo wing sauce over and toss to coat. Return the coated pieces to the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Make It Yourself Monday: Classic Hummus

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When I introduced the Make It Yourself Monday series back in the beginning of January, I envisioned it to be a regular feature of the blog. I wanted it to be the push for me to make more “basics” myself. Since then, I’ve put up a whopping two posts. What happened? Well, I’m just really not doing as well with the cooking-from-scratch things as I hoped.

But, the beauty of a June birthday is that it’s like another reset button mid-year. I’ll be celebrating my birthday on Wednesday and this year there will be more cooking from scratch!

Hummus is something I’ve wanted to make for a while. I’d planned on trying it a few years ago and then couldn’t find tahini. I just happened to turn around in the grocery store a few weeks ago and noticed tahini on the shelf! It went into the cart immediately and I made this as soon as I got home.

The most tedious part of this recipe is peeling the chick peas, but it’s so worth it! The end result is the smoothest hummus I’ve ever had.

Classic Hummus
(from Branny Boils Over)
Makes about 3 cups

2 (15 oz.) cans chick peas, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. tahini
2-4 T. water, as needed to reach desired consistency
1/2-1 t. fine grain sea salt
1/4 t. ground coriander seeds

To peel the chick peas: drain them from the cans and rinse thoroughly. If you squeeze the chick peas lightly, they should pop out of their skins.

Add the peeled chick peas to a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until very smooth.