Monster Party Dip

Monster Party Dip

Party time again! This time for my adorable nephew’s 1st birthday, he had a monster theme and I was in charge of an appetizer. I went with a family favorite and old stand by, Spinach Dip but you could add any dip to this cute hollowed out bread bowl.

For the eyes I used toothpicks covered with asparagus stalks then topped them with mushroom caps and inserted black olives into the cap.

Monster Party Dip

For the mouth I cut a red pepper into a tounge and used carrot sticks for the teeth.

Monster Party Dip

and for the arms and feet I used chunks of a separate round loaf of bread and uses the asparagus tips for fingers and toes gut from a radish on his legs. I attached them with toothpicks as well.

Monster Party Dip

 

I think it was a great addition to the Monster Party!

Monster Party Dip

 

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

 

This chicken is great in tacos, enchiladas, burritos  or rice bowls.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

6 chicken thighs

3-4 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce chopped, plus 3 T of the Adobo sauce

1 yellow onion cut into eighths

1 T chopped garlic

1 tomato chopped

1/2 c tequila (optional)

2 limes juiced plus 1 t of zest

2 T cumin

3 c chicken broth

Add all ingredients to a crock pot / slow cooker.  Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Move chicken to a platter and shred with 2 forks, spoon 1/2 c cooking liquid over the chicken and serve or fill tortillas.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken Tacos

 

 

Roast Beef With Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

 

 

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

2 lb top round roast

1 T Montreal Steak Seasoning

1 T Black Peppercorns ( Add to a ziplock baggy and crush slightly with a meat mallet)

2 t olive oil

3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

1/4 c brandy

2 T corn starch

3/4 c heavy cream

1 t Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 325, place in roasting or broiler pan, sprinkle all sides with Montreal Steak seasoning. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until it reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven and cover with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing ( * slice this cut of beef thin to avoid toughness)

In a lage pan heat oil over med high heat add onions and cook until soft, add garlic and peppercorns and cook 1 more minute. Deglaze pan by adding brandy while still over med high heat. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Combine cold cream with cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk into pan with broth and cook over low until sauce thickens, add mustard . Serve over sliced meat.

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Mango Quinoa

Mango Quinoa

 

Quinoa is a food trend that is delicious and healthy. It is as versatile and as easy as rice. This recipe is a perfect side dish to a spicy entree like jerk chicken, Hot wings or Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken. Try incorporating it into some of your weekday dishes. For ease and clean up I make mine in my rice cooker.

3 c water

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 c chopped mango

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 c chopped cilantro or parsley ( I used a combination)

1/4 c crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese or Feta

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t olive oil

Add water and quinoa to the rice cooker and turn on, when quinoa is finished pour into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, stir and serve.

 

Oma’s Potato Salad

Oma's Potato Salad

I was not sure I would ever post this recipe here. It is kind of a family treasure. My Oma (grandmother in German) would make this for every family gathering, it was our favorite, and now my mom makes it for all the special occasions. Everyone I know who has tried it loves it, it is so simple but so good. It is not the traditional warm German potato salad, we never had that, this was the only potato salad I ever knew until I was a teen. I have tried adding some other ingredients or doing it a little different but it is just not the same. It has to be made just the way Oma taught me.  So I have been sitting on this recipe not sure if it was a sacred family secret, and then my mom asked me to share it (said it would be perfect for Summer barbecues) so I guess it is ok to let the family treasure out of the bag. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Oma’s Potato Salad

5 lbs red skinned potatoes

1 c mayo

1 c  dill pickles chopped, **only use Claussen or other high quality refrigerated pickles

1 cup red onion chopped

1/2 c of the juice from the pickle jar

salt and pepper

Boil unpeeled red potatoes whole in salted water until they are cooked through. Use a fork to test doneness. Drain and wait until the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm (very important).  Peel and cut into bite sized pieces and place into a large bowl. while the potatoes are still warm pour 1/2 or the pickle juice over the top ( 1/4 c) When the potatoes are warm they absorb the pickle juice like a sponge, much like salting fries when they are still warm. Stir in the mayo, chopped pickles and onions and rest of the pickle juice. stir until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve. ( Although my son likes it best when it is still a little warm)

Oma's Potato Salad

Oma's Potato Salad

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

 

 

Pasta with cream, spice, and everything nice, including one of my favorite condiments sriracha sauce, that tangy hot sauce found in Thai restaurants.

 

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

5 links Chicken Italian Sausage sliced into rounds

1/2 c chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 T sriracha sauce

3 c tomato sauce

1/4 c cream

1 T butter

1 package rigatoni pasta cooked and drained

1/2 t black pepper

1/4 c grated parmesan

1/2 c chopped fresh arugula

In a large pan, saute sausage and onions over medium high heat until sausage is cooked and no longer pink. Add garlic cook for 1 more minute. add Sriracha sauce and cook another minute . Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes, add butter, pepper and cream and heat through.

Add Sauce to drained pasta and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Toss with Parmesan and arugula and serve.

 

Beet and Carrot Salad with Cilantro

2 c fresh raw beets, peeled and shredded

2 c matchstick or shredded carrots

2 T honey

1t salt

3 T olive oil

juice from 2 limes

1/4 t pepper

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/4 chopped fresh cilantro

in a small bowl whisk together honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, set aside. In a large bowl add carrots, beets, and cilantro. Toss together. add dressing and stir

Raspberry Chipotle Pork Chops

 

Sweet, smokey and a little spicy, try this with chicken too. Simple enough for a weeknight dinner, elegant enough for company, and romantic enough for date night.

Raspberry Chipotle Pork Chops

2 pounds boneless pork loin chops ( although this would work on any pork or chicken cut)

2 T veg oil

For the rub

1 t salt

1 t lemon pepper

1 t garlic powder

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t chipotle chili powder ( I used Mc Cormick’s)

For the sauce

6 0z fresh raspberries

2 T red wine vinegar

1 t chipotle chili powder

2 t sugar

Mix together the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (Salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and 1/2 t of chipotle chili powder) Sprinkle on both sides of the chops.

 

Heat oil in a large pan, add chops and cook for approximately 5 min per side on med heat, depending on thickness.(use a meat thermometer to check doneness)

Remove chops to a plate. There will be juice left in your pan.

 

Add red wine vinegar, sugar and raspberries to pan, cook over low heat about 3 minutes of until raspberries fall apart and sauce thickens slightly. Break up raspberries with the back of a spoon until smooth. (You may add water if you did not have enough pan juices)

 

Spoon sauce over chops and serve.