Thursday, January 28, 2016


These next two weekends are big for football - with the ProBowl and then the SuperBowl, it's time to cheer on your favorite division and team, and also time to make some fun dips! Today and Monday, I'll give you two new recipes perfect for eating while football viewing.

This BLT Dip was actually christened in my family this winter as a DINNER! I know. I did also serve fruit. (I think.) Dips for dinner once in a while are not a bad thing, and as the chef and dinner presenter, you do score big points with the kids. My family LOVES bacon and they love BLTs, and it was the kids who actually stumbled upon this recipe and asked me to make it. So we had a snacky dinner, and it was a huge success. We ate this with toasted baguette slices.

Delicious is an understatement.

You'll be the hit of the party when you make this, football season or not!

Find more great inspiration at Clever Chicks, Full Plate, Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent, Hearth and Soul, Show and Share, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Fabulous, Tasty Tuesday, Try a New Recipe.


12 slices bacon
2 - 8 oz. packages low fat cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream (low fat or fat free is ok)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce

Cook the bacon until crisp and crumble into small pieces.

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, Mozzarella, mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1/2 cup of the crumbled bacon, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir together until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to a greased 2-quart baking dish and spread evenly across the bottom. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon crumbles, the diced tomatoes and the shredded lettuce. Serve hot with crackers or baguette slices.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Emily Bites

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pistachio Bars

These bars. They are filled with so many interesting flavors and textures, I wondered after trying one if the name "pistachio bars" was a bit of a misnomer. In addition to pistachios, they are studded with both cranberries and cherries AND coconut.

And all of that sits suspended in a gooey syrup atop a lovely shortbread crust. But I understand that you can't be naming things "pistachio, cranberry, cherry and coconut syrupy goodness shortbread bars." So pistachio bars will have to do.

Oh, and the white chocolate! They are drizzled with white chocolate. Now the title would be even longer...

Anyway, these bars received rave reviews at home and at a party. They are interesting, complex, different, and delicious. Make them for yourself; I'm sure you'll agree.

Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Show and Share, Tasty Tuesday, Try a new Recipe, Create Link Inspire, Fabulous.

Pistachio Bars

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
1 egg
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, process 1 cup flour and 2 tablespoons sugar until combined. Add butter and pulse until only pea-sized pieces remain. Press mixture into prepared pan and bake at 375 until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. (If you don't have a food processor, whisk together the flour and sugar, then cut in the butter using two forks, a pastry blender or your fingers until only pea sized pieces remain.)

Whisk egg, syrup, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, remaining flour, and remaining sugar in large bowl. Fold in pistachios, cranberries, cherries, and coconut, then spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Bake until topping is golden and begins to pull away from sides of pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Using foil overhang, lift cookies out of pan. Cut into 2½-inch squares and cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Microwave white chocolate in small bowl, stirring occasionally, until melted, 30 to 60 seconds; drizzle over the bars. Place on wire rack until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Store in air tight containers for up to a week. Makes 18 bars.

Recipe Source: The Church Cook

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin and it is often my main dish of choice for dinner parties. So far, I haven't met a preparation of this versatile cut of meat that I don't like: grilled, roasted, slow cooked, easy, more complex. There's not a bad apple in that bunch of recipes! And even though I have my favorite preparation methods and flavors, I love trying new things, too. This version, from Cooking Light, is absolutely delicious.

The great thing about pork tenderloin, especially for dinner parties, is that it cooks relatively quickly, and you don't have to fuss much with it (maybe brushing with sauce once in a while but that's it!) leaving you available to do other things. It's also important that the meat rests for 5 minutes or so after being removed from the oven, which lets you put the finishing touches on side dishes.

Pork tenderloin is great not only for dinner parties; it's great any night of the week whether you have company or not. I oftentimes serve pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes or garlic mashed, and some variety of brussels sprouts or green beans. Cranberry salad or sauce is also a great addition!

Find more great stuff at Full Plate, Wow Me, Showcase Your Talent, Wow Us, What's Cooking, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 1 pound pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. grape jelly
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced green onion

Combine salt, pepper, 1 tsp. oil, thyme and garlic; rub over pork. Place pork on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 500 for 10 minutes.

Combine remaining 1 tsp. oil, grape jelly, vinegar and onions in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Brush half of jelly mixture over pork; bake for 5 more minutes. Turn pork, brush with remaining jelly mixture. Bake 5-8 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145 degrees. Place pork on cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Serves 3-4.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Creamy Dilled Shrimp Fettucine

There's just something about the dark days of winter and the cold temperatures that makes me want more and more comfort food. Creamy pasta dishes fit the bill perfectly. This is just one of several you will see posted here in the next few weeks, and this recipe got such rave reviews when I made it, that I'm sure it will be part of our regular rotation. I was excited to be assigned to Jane's beautiful blog, The Heritage Cook, for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

Jane has a lot of recipes to choose from! It was hard to narrow it down, but eventually I settled on this, due to my whole comfort food trend. I made just a few adjustments to this recipe to suit our tastes. The biggest change I made was to the preparation - I simplified it a bit to save time and dirty dishes... and the results were wonderful. I hope you'll try this soon - it will brighten and warm up any dreary winter day!

Creamy Dilled Shrimp Fettucine

1 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream)
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. lemon juice
A few drops of Sriracha, Tabasco or other hot sauce, optional
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained well and cut into strips
1 lb medium cooked shrimp
8 ounces fettucine

Cook the fettucine until al dente in a large pot of boiling water; drain and rinse.

Meanwhile, in a glass measuring cup, heat the milk/cream in the microwave for 1 minute.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions to the pan and cook til softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the wine and whisk until slightly thickened. Gradually pour the hot milk into the mixture and whisk vigorously until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and the dill, and hot sauce, if you're using.

Add the pepper strips, shrimp, and pasta to the sauce and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a greased 2 or 3 quart baking dish. Bake at 375 until it is bubbling around the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oatmeal Spice Muffins

These are not the most glamorous looking muffins by any stretch of the imagination. They don't have any fancy fruit inside, or even chocolate chips, but that shouldn't stop you from making them. These plain looking muffins are hearty and delicious, full of good-for-you oatmeal and spiced just right. Some muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast (and don't get me wrong, I love those!) but these are more on the healthy side - loaded with that good oatmeal, you will be ready to face the day and won't have a sugar crash!

This recipe makes two dozen muffins. Whatever you can't eat in a few days, stash in the freezer, and you'll have a healthy breakfast whenever you need it.

Find more great ideas at Wow Us, What's Cooking, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate.

Oatmeal Spice Muffins

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla

In a batter bowl or large measuring cup, stir together oats and buttermilk. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

After oats have finished soaking, stir in brown sugar and eggs. Mix in oil, yogurt and vanilla, and then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Evenly divide batter among 24 greased or paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 muffins or until tops of muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Five Heart Home

Monday, January 11, 2016

Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Here's another hearty, healthy, delicious meal for your New Year. I cannot get enough of the combo of black beans, corn, chicken... in the last two weeks I've made chicken tortilla soup and Southwestern Pot Pie using those ingredients. This casserole is easy peasy, especially if you have cooked rice and cooked chicken already on hand. Throw in the beans, corn, salsa, yogurt and cheese, and dinner will be ready in no time. And you can adjust this according to your taste - leave out the chilis, use spicier salsa, use pepper jack cheese if you want! Make it your own, but make it.

Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice

2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
4 cups cooked rice (your favorite variety)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1-4 oz. can green chilis
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except for 1/2 cup cheese. Stir well to incorporate the yogurt and cheese, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an 11x7 or equivalent baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

Recipe Source: Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Monday, January 4, 2016

Honey Sriracha Chicken

After all the cookies, candy, fudge, appetizers, cheese and crackers, turkey, ham and potatoes, I am ready in this New Year to get my healthy on. And this recipe is just the ticket! This stir fry, loaded with chicken and lots of veggies - just how a stir fry should be, right? - has a special sweet spicy sauce that pulls it all together. You'll probably find yourself making this again and again this winter. At least I hope you do! Something this good and this good for you definitely deserves a regular place in the meal rotation...

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Create Link Inspire, Tasty Tuesday, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Full Plate, Thursday Favorites.

Honey Sriracha Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces, about 1 lb
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets, about 3 cups
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup snow peas, cut in half
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped (or about 1 1/2 cups chopped mini peppers)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
3 tbsp. of water
1 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chicken in a mixing bowl and toss to coat the pieces. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the honey, soy sauce, vinegar and sriracha. Set aside.

Heat the oils in a large pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute while stirring for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the broccoli, onion, peas, red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring or tossing constantly for another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetable colors brighten and then are barely softened.

Pour the honey/soy sauce mixture over the skillet. Toss well to coat. Mix the water and cornstarch and quickly add it to the skillet, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. Serve over rice or noodles. Makes 4-5 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Friday, January 1, 2016

Countdown to 2016: What I'll Make This Year

Happy New Year!

Today is called a "Wildcard" Day for the Countdown, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing. Instead of looking at more recipes on my blog, I like to think about what recipes I can't wait to try in this New Year! It's fun for me to "check in" with this list later throughout the year and see how I did.

Last year, I made several things on the list, including the Lasagna Soup, Caramel Banana Tiramisu and Chicken Pepper Jack Pizza (post to come in the New Year!) But I certainly didn't get close to trying everything on the list. New Year's Resolution: try everything on this list! (I've linked to the original recipes below; these can all be found on my Pinterest boards.)

White Seafood Lasagna

Shrimp, scallops, crab! Swimming with cheese and spinach in layers of pasta! This may be just the recipe for New Year's!

Spinach, Artichoke and Brie Crepes

Or maybe THIS is the recipe for New Year's! Some of my favorite things, tucked inside a crepe.

Cherry Almond Coffeecake

I love cherries. And almonds. And cake. And coffee.

Apple Fritter Waffles

I want to make anything and everything with "apple fritter" in the title.

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Seems like the perfect Superbowl food to me!

Swedish Meatball Soup

Comfort food at its finest, right here.

Triple Coconut Donuts

This would be a breakfast to take you to the tropics! And I might need that in early February!

Caramel Banana Cake Roll

This is the second year that a caramel banana dessert has made the list.

Phew! That's quite a list. Looks like it'll be a tasty 2016!

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