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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Taco Dip

I absolutely love this dip! It's a cheesy cream cheese dip, but still tastes fresh since it is topped with salsa, lettuce, and tomatoes. Everyone always seems to love it.

It is definitely one of my favorite party appetizers to make. It's fast and easy, and I can throw it together in no time. I also love that it is a cold dip. Since I don't have to worry about baking it, I can transport it easily to someone else's house. It's also great to make if I know my oven will be crowded with other things.

You can top the cream cheese mixture with any of your favorite taco toppings. I usually stick with mild salsa, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce since most people tend to approve of those toppings. If you and your crowd are a fan of olives, scallions, and jalopenos, however, then I would add them too! I have a friend who hates onions and a boyfriend who hates spicy things so I always have to keep them in mind! If it was up to me, I'd be using jalopenos, spicy salsa, and hot sauce on top! I like thinks spicy, but since most people don't, I usually keep this dip as mild as possible. Don't be afraid to customize the dip based on what you love. Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:
  • 1 (16 oz) container sour cream
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of softened cream cheese 
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of salsa
  • 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • shredded lettuce
  • tortilla chips
Recipe:
  • Using a hand mixer, mix together sour cream, cream cheese, and taco seasoning.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture on the bottom of a dip dish
  • Spread salsa on top of cream cheese mixture
  • Sprinkle cheese on top of the salsa
  • Scatter lettuce and tomatoes on top of cheese
  • Serve with tortilla chips

 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

25 Minute Week Night Meal - Pesto Chicken and Roasted Tomatoes

This is by far one of the easiest weeknight dinner recipes on my rotation list. It takes only 5 minutes max to prep, and the chicken and tomatoes take 20 minutes or less to cook. Yes, I have to admit that I use jarred pre-made pesto sauce. That is why this recipe is so fast and easy. If you have pesto ingredients and are feeling like an over achiever, by all means make your own pesto. Either way, it will taste delicious!

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of pesto
  • parmesan cheese
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Spray a baking dish with cooking spray
  • Season chicken with pepper, and spoon pesto over top of chicken
  • Sprinkle the top of chicken with parmesan cheese
  • Bake chicken for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through
  • Place cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet
  • Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Roast tomatoes in oven for about 10-12 minutes

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pumpkin Picking at Sweet Berry Farm

There is nothing like fall in New England. A couple weekends ago, we took a day to drive around to different farm stands. I wanted to find some pumpkins and fall directions to decorate the house.

We ended up finding Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island. It was the perfect place for everything fall! They had apple picking, pumpkin picking, as well as a small market and cafe. It was adorable. We ended up getting a wheel barrel and picking some great pumpkins. It was my first time  pumpkin picking EVER so I was very enthusiastic!! I picked up the wheel barrel and was ready to get to work.
I ended up getting six pumpkins but I wanted even more! There were so many unique pumpkins to choose from. I especially wanted some white pumpkins and some heirloom pumpkins. No regular old orange pumpkins for me!! lol!
We came home and decorated the porch with the pumpkins we picked. We also got some hay and mums from a couple other farm stands near by. I think it makes home feel so cozy.
So far, my fall bucket list is going well. There are so many fun fall things to do. Next, is Halloween activities, and I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

 
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne 
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:
  • Stir together cumin, coriander, and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub mixture on both sides of steak. 
  • Place steak on hot grill. Grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer steak to cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, cayenne, olive oil, and some salt to a food processor. Pulse and blend until sauce is made. 
  • Thinly slice steak, against the grain, and serve with sauce. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Here is a recipe in honor of National Cheeseburger Day. Yes, there is such a day and yes, it is in fact today! I have no idea who makes up these days, but I'm not complaining because I get to share this amazing recipe with you. You might be thinking that there is no way pickles on a pizza would taste good. In fact, it is probably one of the most amazing combos ever. And of course, I had to turn it up a notch by adding bacon and making it a BACON cheeseburger pizza. So delicious!!
Ingredients:
  • 1 can of Pillsbury pizza crust
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 1/3 cup diced white onion
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp relish 
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • dill pickle slices
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Press the pizza dough in the pan and bake crust for 8 minutes. 
  • In a large skillet, brown the beef and onion. Drain. Add Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a small bowl, add the ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and relish.
  • Remove crust from the oven and spread the sauce on evenly. Sprinkle on half of the cheese.
  • Sprinkle on the beef mixture and bacon. Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until cheese has melted and crust is golden brown.
  • Top with pickle slices  and serve.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Mango Salsa

Summer completely flashed before my eyes, and I'm trying to get all my last summer recipes in before the cold weather hits. I'm not sure if you got the memo, but today was in fact national guacamole day. I was so excited to make guacamole! I went to the store to get all the ingredients and low and behold the avocados were hard! I went to two different grocery stores and I couldn't find ONE ripe avocado. SO I improvised, and made the next best thing, salsa. I spruced it up a bit by adding some mango (my fave!) and it was DELICIOUS.
Ingredients:
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 of 1 red onion, diced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 of a lime
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Recipe:
  • Mix all ingredients together, and serve with chips!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Our Camping Trip

Before it gets to be too late, I wanted to share with you some pictures from our camping trip over labor day weekend. We had the most amazing time. It was great to go up north for a few days and experience some of that cooler weather. We got to snuggle up in flannels next to the fire, and it was amazing. I am so ready for fall!
While we were there, we cooked the most DELICIOUS food. That smoky flavor from the fire pit just can't be beat. I also realized that I am missing something from my life, a castiron skillet. I know I've been saying that for a while, but I think its finally time to bite the bullet and do it. We basically cooked all our food in Ericka's cast iron skillet, from bacon and eggs to nachos, and of course my FAVORITE beer brats with a cheddar sauce. Unfortunately, it was too dark to get a picture of the brats so you'll just have to take my word on it that it was delicious.
The views while we were camping were unbeat. It was so great to just relax by the river or go hiking through the woods. It was such a nice and relaxing weekend. 
We also made this simple but delicious salmon. We simply wrapped it up in tin foil with some salt, pepper, butter, and a squirt of lemon. It cooked right on top of the fire pit grate, and turned out beautiful!

I'm hoping we can get out another camping trip before it gets TOO cold, but even if we can't, this trip was certainly one for the books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cheesy Crescent Dogs

It's finally football season which means lazy Sundays watching the game and eating yummy football food with my main squeeze. Usually, I'm the one in the kitchen cooking during the games, but this past weekend, I was able to just sit and relax. Kyle was craving hot dogs and got in the kitchen to make these super easy crescent dogs. Basically, they are just pigs in a blanket on steroids. You only need THREE ingredients for this recipe, and it takes maybe 15 minutes to prep. It makes the perfect dish for a party or a football snack. And just so we are clear, Kyle deserves all the credit for this. Best. Boyfriend. Ever. Hopefully, this butters him up enough to cook for me again next weekend!!  
Ingredients:
  • 8 hot dogs
  • cheddar cheese, cut into 8 strips
  • 1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls
Recipe: 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Slit hot dogs down the middle and place cheese into the slits
  • Seperate the crescent rolls into triangles
  • Wrap each hot dog with a piece of dough
  • Place hot dogs on a greased sheet
  • Top with extra shredded cheese if you like
  • Bake for about 15 mins

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Weight Watchers BLT Pasta Salad


Sometimes its the little things in life that mean the most, like picnics in the park with your best friends. Today was such a beautiful day. It was warm and sunny, and besides my zebra-like sunburn that I came home with, things were just as perfect as these pictures.

My friends and I relaxed, talked, went for a beautiful walk in the park, and enjoyed this yummy (and healthy!!) pasta salad. We set up our picnic right next to the water, and had the most beautiful view.
The park also has great walking paths, and the scenery is just GORGEOUS. I'm so blessed to live five minutes away from this place. It's a great place to just come by yourself and clear your mind, or enjoy it with friends like I did today.
Now back to what you probably came here for...THE FOOD. For lunch, I made us ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit salad, and this pasta salad. I didn't want to make anything heavy so this weight watchers pasta salad was just PERFECT. It was super yummy, and if I didn't make it myself, I would have NEVER known it to be "diet" food. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of pasta, cooked
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 cup lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup scallion onions
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:
  1. In a small bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise mixture with the pasta and tomatoes. 
  3. When ready to serve, mix in the lettuce, and place a scoop of the pasta salad on the plate. Sprinkle with bacon and scallion onions. 
Note: You may want to double check these weight watcher points yourself. I did slightly alter the recipe (aka I added more bacon!), which I'm sure altered the points.
  • Weight Watchers Points: 3 points per ½ cup
  • SmartPoints: 4

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Game Day Cuban Sliders

If you are unfamiliar with cuban sandwiches, you are missing out. Normally, a cuban has ham or shredded pork, cheese, mustard and pickles. Then, it is pressed on a panini grill. So yes, this recipe isn't authentic by any means, but it is super fun and delicious. It is SO easy and fast to put together and is great finger food so it is perfect for a potluck or on game day. We ended up having it for dinner with a side, which was also great. No matter when you make it, I'm sure everyone will love it. I'm definitely going to be saving this for game day. I get so excited for football season for the sole reason of getting to make yummy and fun dishes like this, and I already have SO many recipes saved. I can't wait!!

Ingredients:
  • 8 small hamburger buns
  • 1 package of ham
  • 1 package of sliced swiss cheese
  • dill pickles
  • half of a white onion, chopped in small pieces
  • dijon mustard
  • 1 stick of butter
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease two baking dishes (or one depending on how big your baking dishes are)
  • Place the bottom buns in the baking dish.
  • Layer two slices of ham, one slice of swiss, and a few pickles on top of the bottom buns, then place the top of the rolls on top. 
  • Whisk together melted butter, dijon mustard, and onion.
  • Pour butter mixture on top of sandwiches.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

SERIOUSLY the BEST Mac and Cheese in the WORLD

I love mac and cheese more than anything and for YEARS I've been trying to find the perfect mac and cheese recipe. I like my mac and cheese creamy and cheesy (but who doesn't?!), and I will NOT settle by using velveeta. As I may have mentioned before, I hate the stuff. In order to find the perfect recipe, I am constantly trying different techniques, but nothing seems to do the trick. Usually, the mac and cheese turns out to not be creamy enough, or taste cheesy enough. Fear not though!! After continuous trial and error, I have FINALLY found the million dollar winner. THIS recipe is BY FAR the BEST mac and cheese I have ever had. As you can see, it is ridiculously rich and creamy, and it is SO flavorful. If you want to treat yourself, or impress someone special, make this recipe. If you follow the recipe perfectly, I can GUARANTEE you will love it!! This is the only mac and cheese recipe you will ever need.
Just a side note, this is a stove top recipe. If you like baked macaroni and cheese, follow these directions after making the mac and cheese: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; 2. Spray a baking dish with Pam; 3. Pour the mac and cheese in the baking dish; 4. Mix panko bread crumbs with melted butter or olive oil; 5. Top the mac and cheese with shredded cheddar; 6. Sprinkle the panko on top; and 5. Bake the mac and cheese for 25-35 minutes, or until the mac and cheese is golden brown.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound cellentani pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
 Recipe:
  • Cook pasta according to package directions
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and whisk in flour. Whisk for 2 minutes then turn heat to low. Whisk in milk. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk.
  • Add the evaporated milk to skillet.
  • Add the Dijon mustard and all remaining seasonings to the skillet.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened (continue to whisk). 
  • Whisk in sharp cheese until melted. 
  • Add pasta and toss until evenly coated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Crockpot Irish Beef Stew

The best thing about living around the corner from friends is getting free dinner. Okay, there are other benefits to living close to each other too...but really...that food though. My friends Ericka and Cornelius are THAT couple who you always want to hang out with because they are thoughtful, outgoing, positive people, and overall a fun time to be around. Not to mention, they love food as much as I do and feed me, so thats always a win win. (As you can see, I'm TOTALLY trying to butter them up so they make me more food lol. No, but really, love you guys.) Yesterday, Cornelius made this amazing Irish Beef Stew and I just had to share it on the blog. Gotta love a man that cooks. This was such a comfort food meal. I can't wait to save it for those cold fall and winter nights. Cornelius made it with irish soda bread, and it was the perfect pair. Can't wait to see whats for dinner tomorrow guys!! lol just kidding....but not really.
Ingredients:

  • 2 lb chuck round, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, halved
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 medium white potatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • rosemary, thyme, parsley (equal parts chopped to 1 tbsp)
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:

  • Mix flour with salt and pepper and coat beef.
  • In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown beef on all sides. 
  • Place beef in in slow cooker. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. 

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