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

 

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

 

Mashed Potatoes are my favorite food and these are one of my favorites. These would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving, an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes, or a weeknight meal.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

6 large Gold Potatoes peeled and quartered

1 1/2 c peeled baby carrots

1/2 c cream or milk

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

4 T butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of boiling salted water, cook until fork tender ( your fork should be able to mash them easily). Drain and return to the pot, add cream/milk, salt, Pepper, butter, and thyme. Use and electric mixer or mash by hand until smooth. Stir in cheese and serve. These also make a great topping for Shepherds or Cottage Pie.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thanksgiving Favorites

Yes, I have been a slacker lately, I have lots of new and delicious recipes but I just haven’t gotten around to posting them, it is on my to do list this week though. Since November seems like it is flying by and I wanted to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes before the big Turkey Day.

Spiced Pear Sangria

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos 

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus with Beer

Enjoy!

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

I love pumpkin ravioli but who has time or energy to make that, get all the flavor with none of the work with this baked ziti dish.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

1 16 0z package of ziti or other pasta cooked and drained

2 c pumpkin puree

2 c ricotta cheese

1/4 c  shredded parmesan cheese

1 T honey

1 egg

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

While pasta is cooking, mix pumpkin, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, honey, egg, nutmeg and sage in a bowl. When pasta is done drain and return to pot, add butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add pumpkin/cheese mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in salt and pepper. Add to a large baking pan and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 min at 325 or until cheese is melted.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

It’s that time of year!: Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

I love fall and even though it’s not quite here yet I couldn’t resist making something with pumpkin. This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes or try these.

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

2T pumpkin puree

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

3 T olive oil

1 t honey

salt and pepper to taste

add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth ( you could also wisk by hand)

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

 

Corona Chicken Stew (and the confession of a beer snob)

Corona Chicken Stew

 

If you follow my posts you will know that I love craft beer, and the hoppier the better. But come close, I have a small confession and I don’t really want it to get out. I like Corona, there I said it. When the hops are too heavy and its 90 degrees outside, I love an ice cold refreshing watered down lager with a lime.  So as it happens I may have some left over in my refrigerator and let me tell you it is pretty tasty in this light Caribbean slow cooked chicken stew, and if no one is looking I may drink one with dinner.

Corona Chicken Stew

3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4s

1 yellow onion sliced

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 bottle of Corona or Corona Light Beer

2 T brown sugar

2 T ponzu or soy sauce

1 T garlic, minced

1 T ginger, minced

2 T jerk seasoning ( I used McCormick’s)

1 large orange, juice and zest

2 limes, juice and zest

1c frozen corn

 

In a crock pot or slow cooker add potatoes and onion, then position chicken on top. pour in beer. Sprinkle with brown sugar, soy sauce, jerk seasoning , garlic and ginger. Add zest from limes and orange and their juices.

Corona Chicken Stew

 

Add corn and cover, Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8. Serve over rice.

Corona Chicken Stew

Corona Chicken Stew

Corona Chicken Stew

Food Trend: Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

 

Burrata cheese is popping up on menus all over town. What is it? Pure indulgence, it is fresh mozzarella cheese filled with shredded mozzarella cheese that has been soaked in cream. Here is my recipe for a delicious salad using the best that summer has to offer. Make sure you use good ripe tomatoes for this recipe.

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

makes 1 dinner or 2 appetizer portions

For the vinaigrette

2 T fresh Basil leaves

1 T honey

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix the above ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

Salad

1 vine ripened tomato sliced

1 c spring mix greens

2 T thinly sliced radish

2 t sliced fresh basil

1 T pepitas ( roasted pumpkin seeds)

1 ball Burrata cheese

Layer greens, and tomatoes on a plate, sprinkle sliced radishes, pepitas and chopped basil on top. drizzle with Basil Honey Vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

 

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

This is a simple soup with natural ingredients that is big on flavor. Perfect for lunch or with a sandwich or salad at dinner. It is also vegan/vegetarian so it is a meatless Monday favorite.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

2t olive oil

1 yellow onion chopped

4 clove garlic chopped

6 cups sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2″x 2″ pieces

4 c water

1/2 t dried Chipotle Powder ( found in the spice aisle, a little goes a long way )

1 lime zest and juice

1 t salt

Fresh herbs or arugula for topping if desired.

Heat oil in a 2 1/2 quart sauce pan over med high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, water, salt, lime juice, lime zest and chipotle powder. bring to a simmer, cover and cook 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly by removing from heat. Add to blender in 2 batches if necessary and puree. Add back to pan and keep on low until ready to serve. Add chopped herbs or arugula if desired.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool off this Summer with this refreshing, easy and tasty pasta salad.

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

8 oz pasta cooked, drained and rinsed

2 cucumbers peeled, quartered and cut into 1 ” pieces

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped fresh parsley

1 T chopped ginger ( I used the refrigerated pre-minced found in the produce section of my supermarket)

1/2 c sour cream

3 T rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to incorperate. Chill and serve.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Graduation Party Revisited

Graduation Party Ideas

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since my oldest graduated from high school. He has now completed his first year of college and is working part time. He votes, pays taxes and insurance and is a true adult in everyone’s eyes but mine, to me he is still my baby. As I see many parents getting ready to celebrate their own children’s accomplishments and graduations I decided to revisit some of the highlights from last year’s graduation party and post them here.

For decorations we did all of our sons school and baby pictures under a sheet of clear plastic on the table, it was fun to reminisce and see all the crazy hairstyles he went through as a preteen. We also rolled the napkins into diploma shapes and tied them with black ribbons. Then made little stacks of them around the table.

Graduation diploma napkins

For food we incorporated his favorite food, chips and set up a chip and dip bar. We set out various types of chips and dips in different bowls plates and cake stands and let everyone mix and match.

Chip and Dip Bar

Don’t worry we also had vegetables for dipping.

Veggie platter

Some dip ideas are… ( click on the link for the recipes)

Salsa and Guacamole

Bacon Horseradish

Kalamata Olive

Beer Cheese

Goat Cheese and Marinara

Sweet Potato Hummus

Pimento Cheese

Also you could include some dessert dips

Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip

Key Lime Pie Dip

I was lazy and let Publix make the cake, but this book cake would be pretty easy to replicate using 2 different sized rectangular or square pans.

Publix's Book Style Graduation Cake

Congrats to all who graduated and the people that helped them get there, have fun celebrating this momentous occasion.