Monday, February 29, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Meatballs {Crockpot!}

These meatballs are so delicious. And so versatile! They would make great party appetizer fare, and are equally great as a main course. They bask in a wonderful sweet and spicy sauce, and stay warm in the crock pot which makes them ideal for a party. And we loved them for dinner with potatoes and green beans.

You can adapt the sauce to make it as spicy as you like. But don't leave out the wing sauce entirely - use at least two teaspoons to provide a nice balance against the sweetness/tartness of the cranberry sauce. These were so good - I couldn't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Try a New Recipe, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Wow Us, Wow Me, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
22 saltine crackers, crushed
1/3 cup minced onion
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
1 - 14 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. or more Franks Buffalo Hot WINGS Sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, mix until well combined. Roll meat mixture into desired meatball size. (You will get 70 1" meatballs or 35 2" meatballs.) Place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet (or line a baking sheet with parchment) and place meatballs onto rack. Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir well to incorporate.

Line the bottom of your slow cooker with meatballs, then a layer of sauce, then the remaining meatballs followed by the remaining sauce. Gently stir meatballs an hour after cooking.

Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Taste and stir in additional hot wings sauce if it's not spicy enough for you. Keep warm until serving.

Recipe Source: Carlsbad Cravings

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tomato and Chicken Sausage Soup with Tortellini and Spinach

You might wonder how many recipes for tomato tortellini soup a person needs, and I would say "at least two." Two years ago I made this one which I loved because it was based of canned tomato soup, which I always have on hand. And then I found this recipe - which features my new favorite protein, the chicken sausage!

It also includes spinach, which is a total win, cause I can get picky kids to eat spinach when it's in soup. So here we have a soup chock full of good veggies and protein that will warm you up on the coldest of days. It's not too cold here at the moment, but I'm sure we're not done with winter yet so I'm glad to have another soup to count on!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Try a New Recipe, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share.

Tomato and Chicken Sausage Soup with Tortellini and Spinach

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 chicken sausage links, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 - 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained and pureed if you like
1 - 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup dried tortellini (or 19 oz. refrigerated)
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. parsley

Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the sliced chicken sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.

Stir in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until tortellini is tender. (If you're using fresh or frozen tortellini, it should only take 4-5 minutes.)

Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the spinach until wilted. Stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese for topping, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Neighbor Food Blog

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


I am a late in life snickerdoodle adopter. I've typically shunned the "plain cookie" as I didn't deem it worthy. I couldn't have been more wrong. I recently became addicted when they were served, with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (be still my heart!), at a recent work dinner. So when one of the kids wanted to make them for a teacher gift for Christmas, I quickly and willingly agreed. (Snickerdoodles are the teacher's favorite cookie, and now I know why.)

Yes, these look sort of plain. I haven't changed my mind on that. But they are SO tasty. It's hard to eat just one. If you've shunned the simple snickerdoodle in the past, I urge you to give them another try.

Find more great stuff at Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and mix well. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

In a small bowl or shallow plate, combine the cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon and sugar to coat. Place the balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with silpat or parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 375, one sheet at a time, until the edges are light golden brown and the centers are soft and puffy, about 9-11 minutes. The cookies will flatten after they come out of the oven. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup

I love expanding my soup repertoire! It's been COLD the last few weeks, and soup is one of my favorite dinners. At least when I eat soup it warms me up enough so I don't have to wear 5 layers of clothes at the dinner table. I also love smoked sausage, and potatoes, and cheese, so I knew this Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup from April's blog would be right up my alley. And I was right. It's super hearty and super delicious, and my whole family ate it up.

I have lots of other potato and/or sausage soups that we enjoy, including Northwoods Bean Soup (with sausage!), Spicy Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup, and Potato Soup. But now, thanks to April and Secret Recipe Club I have another great soup option for these winter days.

Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound smoked or Polish Sausage (Cut in 1/4 inch slices and then into half-moons)
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
1 can evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. flour

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook till onion is translucent. Add potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then continue cooking over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Potatoes should just be starting to fall apart. Add smoked sausage and cook for 5 minutes more.

Combine flour with 3 Tbsp. water and whisk until smooth. Add it to the soup and stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Add evaporated milk and cheese and cook till cheese is melted, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serves 6-8.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blackberry Orange Cake

This lovely cake is just what you need to bring a ray of sunshine to a snowy February. Maybe it's not snowy where you live. This cake will still brighten up your February.

I love blackberries. And they've been plentiful this year, shipped in from warmer climes to the frozen tundra. I so appreciate great produce in the dead of winter.

This cake is simple and satisfying. It's beautiful and delicious, two of my requirements for great desserts.

Find more great ideas at Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Clever Chicks, Show and Share, Fabulous, Create Link Inspire, Try a New Recipe, Wow Us, Wow Me, What's Cooking, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Blackberry Orange Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups fresh blackberries
Powdered sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and orange peel. In another bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Transfer to a greased 9" springform pan.

In a bowl, toss blackberries with remaining flour; arrange over batter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake portion comes out clean.

Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove rim from pan. Cool on a wire rack; dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 10 servings

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Shrimp Scampi Dip

So Sunday's the big day. Either for football watching, eating, laughing at commercials, hanging out with friends and family, or all of the above. And even if the Super Bowl is not your thing, you should still make this dip. I first tried this for Christmas Eve dinner (unconventional, I know) and we loved it so much that I made it for a family gathering for New Year's Eve. The dish was licked clean. Tender shrimp swimming in a garlicky cheese sauce, scooped up on toasted bread - there is so much to love here.

This is perfect noshing food. Or dinner food (we did eat a green salad, too!). It's just perfect.

Find more great stuff at What's Cooking, Wow Us, Wow Me, Full Plate, Favorite Things, Hearth and Soul, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up.

Shrimp Scampi Dip

2 Tbsp. butter
12 ounces medium cooked shrimp
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 30 seconds, then stir in wine and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in shrimp, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.

Spread mixture into a greased 9" baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake at 350 until bubbly and golden, about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately with baguette slices, crackers or crudite.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Damn Delicious
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