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Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil on a stick!

19 Feb

These are perfect for a party! So easy to put together too.  These pictures aren’t the greatest, but you get the idea!  Pour some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette before serving.

Spicy Sausage Dip

9 Feb

For the AFC Championship Game, DH had a friend over to watch the game. Of course they needed some football worthy food to go along with the game!  This was one of the things I served up.  I have to admit, this dip doesn’t look pretty.  DH was skeptical when he saw me making it.  But as it turned out, he and his friend loved it!  It was spicy and flavorful.  It must have been good, because they nearly finished the whole thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 (16 oz.) package spicy ground sausage
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
Hot sauce, to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the crumbled sausage until browned.  Drain off any excess fat.  Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the tomatoes, cream cheese, and hot sauce.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is warmed through and the ingredients are well blended.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Serve warm.

Recipe from – http://annies-eats.com/2010/02/02/spicy-sausage-dip/

Herbed Ricotta Crostini

23 Oct

I have had this recipe bookmarked since last October!  When Daniel and I had a small dinner party earlier this fall, I was searching for something to go along with the shrimp and veal meatballs I made.  This was the winner!  There is a restaurant at Foxwoods that serves this and I can tell you, this recipe mimics it!  The ricotta is so creamy and the herbs give this an explosive flavor.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups of ricotta (I used whole milk)
3 tablespoons minced scallions
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Salt and Pepper
1 loaf of ciabatta bread ( I used ciabatta garlic sticks)
Good Olive Oil
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half

Directions:
Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, and some olive oil;  set aside.  Cut the bread in half and cut each half into smaller pieces.  Brush the bread with olive oil and rub each price with garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread with the herbed ricotta.

Recipe adapted from Country Living Magazine, October 2010.  Originally from Barefoot Contessa:  How Easy is that?

Guacamole

6 Aug

Guacamole is one of those things that you either like or you don’t.  There really isn’t an in-between.  I didn’t always like guacamole…not because I didn’t like the taste or texture of it…but because I never tried it!  I’m not sure what changed, but one day I decided to give guacamole a try.  Since that day, I have never looked back!  I could eat this stuff everyday.  Whether as a snack or to go along with your meal, its delicious! 

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados (pitted and skin removed)
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 medium size tomato, diced
1 bunch of cilantro – I used about 1/2 cup and chopped up into tiny pieces
1 lime
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
Place avocado into large bowl or into a mortar and pestle.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can mash-up avocado using a spoon and fork.  I like my guacamole to be a little chunky, so I don’t mash it up all the way.  When it’s to your liking, add diced jalapeno, tomato, and red onion.  Mix well.  Next add in your  cilantro, salt, and juice from the lime.  I love cilantro, so I always add a bit extra, but not everyone likes cilantro.  So if you don’t like it, you could omit it.  At this point, I would give your guacamole a try.  If it needs more of something, add it in now!

Finally, grab your favorite brand of tortilla chips and enjoy your guacamole~

Calamari, Tomato & Caper Salad

26 Dec

In celebration of Christmas Eve, I thought it would be perfect to try this recipe I had recently bookmarked.  My husband loves Calamari and he did enjoy this recipe.  However, I feel like the tomatoes were on the stove to long and made this more into a stew than a salad.  We both agreed that this recipe would be good if the calamari was grilled and the tomatoes were the good ones from the summer time!

 Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound calamari, cleaned, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Season the calamari with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Saute, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the mixture in a colander.

*The original recipe calls for capers and a lemon and olive oil dressing which I omitted.  See link below for remaining ingredients.

Adapted from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/calamari-tomato-and-caper-salad-recipe/index.html

Salsa Salsa Salsa!!!

19 Dec

To me, there is nothing better than tortilla chips and salsa for a quick snack. In a perfect world, I’d eat the salsa from “On the Border” everyday! Their salsa is so flavorful, fresh, and the perfect consistency. Unfortunately I can’t go to On the Border everyday! As a backup, I always make sure I have a jar of salsa or some store made
pico de gallo on hand; they are great in a pinch! However, when I’m looking for salsa similar to my favorite Mexican chain restaurant, I make it! This is the real stuff! To me, this stuff screams On the Border! It’s spicy. It’s fresh. It’s good!

If you don’t like spicy things, I would recommend using 1 jalapeño first. After tasting salsa with 1st jalapeño, determine if you want more spice. If you want more spice, add second jalapeño! Get ready for the heat!
To keep the salsa freshest the longest I store in 2 large size mason jars. The presentation in itself is nice; but these salsa filled jars make lovely gifts as well! Just add a bag of your favorite tortilla chips and your friend will be delighted!

Ingredients:

2 fresh jalapeño peppers
5 cloves of garlic
6 Roma Tomatoes
1 28oz. Can of diced tomatoes; with liquid drained
1 tbsp. Cumin
1 small yellow onion
1 small red onion
1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

In food processor, combine the jalapeños and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add all other ingredients to the food processor.

Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the consistency you desire. For this kind of salsa, I prefer for everything to be chopped and diced up very finely.

Adapted from:
http://annies-eats.com/2009/01/25/my-favorite-salsa-ever/

Brandy’s Chili Dip

12 Dec

One of the many hits this weekend at my party was Brandy’s Chili Dip.  Everyone loved it!  How can something so tasty be so easy to make they asked.  Well it’s true – this recipe only uses 3 ingrediets – cream cheese, can of chili or homemade chili if you are feeling adventerous, and cheese.

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature

2 cans of chili; no beans included

1 8oz. package of Mexican blend cheese 

Directions:

Soften cream cheese and spread into the bottom of a 9” by 11” aluminum pan.  Spread the cans of chili on top.  Lastly, cover with cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is completely melted.  Serve with your favorite brand of tortilla chips!