Thanks everyone, I just realized I made it to 50,000 views. I started this on a whim and never went through the proper channels to advertise or upgrade but still the hits keep coming so my little hobby has paid off in my eyes. Hope you enjoy my blog and recipes. The most popular post to date is still Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip. Have you tried it? Thanks again to all my Facebook, Pinterest and email followers for viewing and sharing my posts.
This month’s book selection was the suspenseful mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was the perfect book for book club, lots to discuss, surprising twists, crazy characters and a unique writing style. I liked it a lot, but I may be biased because it was actually my pick. That also meant that book club was at my house so I had to really bring it with the food. Hmm where to start, how about the beginning, on the day Amy goes missing she is makes crepes for their 5th anniversary breakfast. Crepes are not generally a finger food though and since there is always tons of food at out book clubs, the portion size would be too big. So I thought about it and decided to make my own surprising twist on quesadillas, crepe-a-dillas. Individual triangles of crepe-y goodness, perfect for parties.
8 0z marscapone cheese
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/4 c lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3 T honey
10 crepes (you could make your own, but I used pre made ones found in my produce section of the grocery store, flour tortillas would also work)
Blueberry Balsamic Sauce
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 c sugar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c water
For the filling, mix all ingredients with a mixer until incorporated. To make crepe-a-dillas lay one crepe flat, spread thin layer of filling on crepe, fold in half and then cut into wedges with pizza cutter of knife.
Place on a plate and put wax paper or plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking, place in refrigerator until ready to use.
For the sauce, add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Place in small bowl and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.
I also made a Chicken Frito Pie, just like the nice woman brought Nick after his wife disappeared which I will share the recipe to in my next post. We also had members bring manchego cheese, chocolate truffles, chili cheese fritos and casseroles, all thematic for the book.
For decorations I really wanted to have live lobsters in a pot (too mean), so I looked for fake ones but I couldn’t find them. I also wrapped a large box in a blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store ( I couldn’t find plain blue wrapping paper anywhere) for the centerpiece. I had a number 5 candle in my crepe-a-dillas. I also thought it would be fun to make some fun quizzes for book club like the ones Amy wrote for magazines.
Caution tape by the front door would have been a nice touch but I thought of that after book club.
I kept a bowl of red jelly beans close by for our discussions so that they could be throw at people for fun if you disagreed with their thoughts about the book. By the way I am still finding red jelly beans in and under my couch.
I love the combination of blueberries and basil, so when I was asked to make salsa for a wine and cheese party, I decided to add a little twist. This salsa is great with goat cheese, brie, blue cheese or even cream cheese, serve over top the cheese on a cracker or bread. This would also be great on chicken or fish.
Blueberry and Basil Salsa
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 c red onion
5 large fresh basil leaves
1 tsp honey
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until salsa consistency.
We always have a book club Christmas party, and the stakes are high. Not only can these girls read and have intelligent conversations, they are crafty, gourmet cooks and food connoisseurs. So when choosing a dish to bring you can’t resort to the usual stand bys. Last year I saw a picture of this cheese ball snowman and thought that’s it, food performance art. Now I know culinarily speaking it is not that exciting but it makes up for it in entertainment value.
Frosty The Cheeseman
1 large box and 1 small box of velveeta cheese any flavor
2 bricks cream cheese softened
cut the velveeta into 3 pieces, like a snowman they should vary in size from large to small, using your hands roll them into ball shapes ( velveeta is like playdoh, its easy)
frost the balls with the cream cheese and stack them using toothpicks to hold them together.
cut arms, hat, and buttons from carrots ( be creative use whatever vegetables you have)
cut a bow out of a green pepper
use black olives for eyes
Heres the fun part, put frosty in a fondue pot or electric fry pan on low, watch Frosty melt into a puddle of goodness, and serve with chips.
I always thought I hated sweet potatoes/yams when I was young because the only way I had ever had them was canned at Thanksgiving with the marshmallows on top. Well then I realized that they could be used in as many applications as regular potatoes and they were fresh and delicious. This was one of my very first sweet potato recipes and is still my favorite, try this for Thanksgiving instead of the old mushy stand by.
Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 4ths
1 t salt
2 T butter
1 small jalapeno minced ( use more or less depending on your tastes and heat of your pepper)
2 t minced garlic
1/4 c cream cheese
1/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes with salt in a large pot until tender. Drain potatoes and add to a bowl, add butter, jalapeno, garlic, cream cheese and milk, mash together with a potato masher or whip with a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve. This makes approximately 4 servings, can be doubled or tripled.
Cauliflower replaces the higher carb potatoes or grits in this easy cheesy casserole.
Twice Baked Cauliflower
1 1/2 heads of Cauliflower, cut into large pieces
1/4 c water
1/4 c cream
4 oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 T butter
1/4 t cayenne pepper, 1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
2 eggs (beaten)
6 strips of cooked bacon crumbled
Place cauliflower and water in a large pot, bring to a boil reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 7-10 minute or until cauliflower is soft. Drain Water. Add cream and butter. Using a hand held blender, puree the cauliflower until smooth. (you could mash, use a blender of food processor too)
Mix in cream cheese, cheddar, salt, cayenne and pepper. Add in eggs. Pour into a large baking pan and top with cooked bacon (omit for a vegetarian option).
Bake at 350 for about 30 min.
My kids love goopy, buttery, Alfredo sauces. They are fine every once in a while, but pretty fattening and lack any sort of vegetable or seasonal ingredient. I put this dish together using fresh summer corn and basil from the garden. It is a lighter summer version of a white sauce with a hint of sweetness and no butter or cream.
2 ears of corn, kernels removed with a knife (or about 3 cups corn frozen of canned)
1/2 one lemon juiced
1/2 c milk
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 oz cream cheese
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 t minced garlic
1.5 lbs chicken breast ( I cut mine in to bite sized pieces but you could use whole breasts)
4 T chopped basil
Remove kernels from cob if using fresh corn.
add kernels, lemon juice, and milk to a food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Add milk salt pepper and cheeses, pulse until mixture is well combined.
Set aside and heat a large skillet over med high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. add to pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Add corn and cheese mixture to pan, simmer for about 5 min over low
Stir in fresh basil and serve.
Serve over, Rice, Noodles or Pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired.
What goes better with cheese than wine? I love little cheese plates for snacks and parties. I always like to serve them with fruit spreads to add a little sweetness and contrast. Apricot jam, Pear preserves etc.. but then I heard of wine jelly and thought, yum! I decided to incorporate some fruit and other flavors into mine, much like you would for a sangria. I am not a jelly/jam maker. I don’t have jars and tongs and all that jazz so I made a simple batch and just refrigerated it. Do plan ahead because even though this is easy to make it can take 1-3 days to get to a jelly like consistency.It will loosen at room temp, but re-jells when refrigerated. Serve as a side on a cheese plate, over cream cheese with crackers, or on top of grilled chicken or pork.
Sangria Wine Jelly
2 1/2 c of wine ( I used a Cabernet)
Juice from 1 Orange
Juice from 1 Lime
Juice from 1 Lemon
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of zest from above citrus fruits
1 pkg dry pectin
2 1/2 c sugar
Add all ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and add to an air tight container. Refrigerate until set 1-3 days.
Served over Cream Cheese
Hosting an Olympic themed party, try this cute and festive dessert, you may take home the gold.
Olympic Fruit Tart
2 packages of dry sugar cookie mix
1 80z tub Cool Whip
12 oz cream cheese softened
1 t vanilla extract
2 T sugar
1 cup apple jelly
about 1/2 c each of:
Raspberries, Blackberries, Pineapple, Blueberries, and Green Grapes
Mix up sugar cookie dough according to package directions, spread into a large rectangular cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Cook for about 15 minutes or until cookie is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Flip cookie onto a large flat board or platter (you can leave in pan if desired). To make frosting, combine cool whip, cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl, I used my kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment, you could use a hand mixer or food processor. Beat about 4 minutes on high or until no longer lumpy. Spread on cooled cookie.
To make olympic rings use a small bowl and make circular indentations onto the frosting.
Use the fruit to make rings, Chop black berries and grapes in half, and pineapple into small pieces
Melt apple jelly in a small sauce pan over med/low heat and brush over tart with a silicone brush.
Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.
We eat a lot of wings around here. I have two teenage boys and I think if it was up to them we would eat pizza and wings every night. I saw a post awhile back from a fellow blogger, Fantastic Frugal Foods from Justa’s Kitchen for a Buffalo Chicken Casserole. What a great idea for my family. So when I was in my kitchen with some extra chicken cutlets that need to be used up, I remembered her recipe. I wanted to use what I had in my kitchen without going to the store, so I kinda of created my own version, but here is hers.
Buffalo Chicken Casserole
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 t chopped garlic
2T hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1/4 c chopped celery (if you are not a celery fan, try carrots)
1/4 c flour
3 cups milk
3 oz cream cheese
2 T blue cheese
16 oz box of ziti (or other pasta), cooked and drained
1/2 c crushed Buffalo flavored Pretzel Crisps
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Add butter to a large pan and melt over med high heat, add chicken, garlic, 1 T hot sauce and celery. Sauté til chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. remove from heat and sprinkle chicken and veg with flour.
Place back on burner over low.for 1 minute. Add milk and bring to boiling, turn to low and add cream cheese, blue cheese and remaining 1 T of hot sauce cook until cheese is melted into sauce and it is slightly thickened.
Add sauce to pasta and stir, pour into a large baking dish, 9×13
Top with crushed pretzels.
Bake for 20 minutes.