Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted-Tomato-Salsa-7This summer we tried our hand at gardening and on a whim I bought three tomato plants. They took root much better than I planned and I ended up with a wonderful tomato harvest. I have one other salsa recipe but it uses canned tomatoes so I knew I would need something different for fresh tomatoes. I first tried roasting the vegetables over direct flame, but I really didn’t like the way it turned out, so the second time I tried under a broiler in the oven and it worked beautifully. This recipe was so so good.

  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 chiles, I used Anaheim, seeded and halved
  • 1 large white onion, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • large handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your broiler to high. Place all your veggies and the unpeeled garlic skin side up on a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomatoes and chiles have blistered and blackened pretty thoroughly on top. Remove pan from the oven, and peel and discard the skin from the garlic cloves.  Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onion and chiles to the bowl of a food processor or blender.  At this point (if you’re feeling impatient and hungry), you can either go ahead and add in the remaining ingredients and puree the salsa until it’s smooth while it’s warm.  Or you can transfer the roasted veggies to the refrigerator and let them chill until cooled, then proceed with adding in the remaining ingredients and pureeing the salsa until smooth. Taste, and season with extra salt or lime juice if needed.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Crockpot Lil’ Smokies

little-smokies-4I’m adding this recipe to the site because even though it’s only 3 ingredients and super simple to make, I always forget if it’s barbeque or chili sauce. So it’s here it is. Make them for your next get together and your guests will love you.

  • 2 packages beef smokies, 13 oz each
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce (found with the ketchup)
  • 12 oz grape jelly

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 3 hours on high til warmed through and the sauce comes together, stirring occasionally.

Cranberry Brie Bites

downloadMy sister made this recipe for Thanksgiving this year and they are crazy addicting. I made them for my open house and they were a big hit. I like to make my own homemade cranberry sauce but if time is an issue you can definitely used a pre-made whole berry cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • zest from half an orange

Brie Bites

  • 1 tube of original crescent rolls
  • 1 wheel of Brie cheese
  • cranberry sauce
  • rosemary sprigs, optional

Start by combining all of the cranberry sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the cranberries to burst and the sauce to reduce down to a pretty thick consistency. From here you can use the sauce immediately or, if you are making this in advance, put it in a container and store in the fridge.

When you are ready to assemble the bites, preheat the oven to 375. Roll out your crescent rolls on a piece of wax paper, pinching all the lines to make one smooth sheet. I like to take a quick rolling pin to the sheet to make it an even thickness. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheet into 24 pieces and fill each slot in an ungreased mini muffin pan. Put a piece of brie cheese (without wax) into each slot and top with cranberry sauce. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Veggie Dip

I hosted my first ever Christmas party this weekend, and when I was looking for recipes to make I knew I wanted a veggie dip of some kind. I loved that this one was simple, and I knew the Parmesan would be delicious. Recipe and photo courtesy of stonegableblog.com.

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Kraft Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. As with most dips, I found the flavor to be even better second day, so if you can, refrigerate overnight.

The Best Bean Dip

I love me a good bean dip and this one definitely did not disappoint. Recipe and photo courtesy of the-girl-who-ate-everything.com.

 

  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 cup picante sauce (I used my salsa recipe)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin (or more to taste)
  • tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; transfer to a small (1 1/2 qt) slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until heated through, stirring intermittently. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.

*Optional ways of preparing: The slow cooker is ideal because it keeps the dip warm but you can also prepare this in the oven or even microwave. For the Oven: Bake dip at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Microwave: Heat in a microwave safe bowl for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir every couple of minutes.

 

 

 

Ranch Oyster Crackers

This is another of my paternal grandmother’s favorite party appetizers. They are so easy and addicting, and come together so quickly.

  • 12-16 oz plain oyster crackers
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Recipe Salad Mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4-1 cup salad (vegetable) oil

Combine mix and oil, add in dill weed, garlic powder and lemon pepper. Pour over crackers, stir to coat. Place in warm oven (250) for 15-20 mins.

Peach Salsa

I love this peach salsa because it’s so simple and quick to bring together, but tastes amazing. Pioneer Woman hit a home rum with this recipe, as usual. I am posting it using fresh peaches, but if you want to use canned that works too. Recipe and photo courtesy of Pioneer Woman.

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (or 28 oz canned, juice reserved
  • 1 whole medium onion, diced very fine
  • 1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and diced very fine (optional)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • dash of salt
  • juice of 1 lime

Peel and slice the peaches, giving them a rough chop and put them in a bowl.  Dice up the onion, bell pepper and jalapeno very finely and add to the peaches. Chop half a bunch of cilantro and mix in. Finally add the juice of 1 lime, the chili powder and salt. Combine completely and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Dates, and Bacon

Brussels-Sprouts-with-Bacon-Dates-Apples.jpgI would not call myself a huge brussels sprouts, but this recipe has made me a convert.  It was the perfect balance of salty/sweet, crunchy/chewy. The recipe recommended a reduced balsamic glaze, but I left it off. I even went back for seconds, so if you are on the fence about brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed. Recipe and photo courtesy of arismenu.com

  • 2 cup brussels sprouts, halved and stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped, with grease reserved
  • 6 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Set aside any leaves that fell off during halving as you will add them later. Add the brussels sprouts flat side down and season generously with salt and pepper.  I fried my bacon before hand and added the grease to the pan to help sear the sprouts. After about 5-7 minutes, flip the sprouts and let them cook a couple minutes longer.  Add the bacon, chopped dates and extra leaves, toss to combine.  Let cook for another 5 minutes or so, then remove from the heat.  Right before serving, add the chopped apples and give it a quick toss.

If you are using the balsamic glaze, place in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally until it has reached the desired thickness.

Cranberry Jelly

cranberry jellyMy husband saw this in the Food Network magazine and requested it especially this year because he missed the canned jelly and I was so happy with how it turned out.  It was so much better than the stuff that comes out of the can.

  • 1 pound cranberries, thawed if frozen
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the cranberries in a sauce pan.  Remove wide strips of zest from 1/2 an orange with a peeler; add to the saucepan with the juice of both oranges (about 1/2 cup).  Add the sugar, coriander, pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and remove the orange zest; stir in the vanilla extract.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a serving dish (I put mine in a mason jar), pushing the sauce through with a spatula.  Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

I first made this recipe for the Super Bowl and it was a huge hit.  It is great for a crowd and will please even the pickiest of eaters.

  • 1 1/4 lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 1/2 lb of thin sliced bacon
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dark brown sugar, chili powder and cumin. Mix well.  Clean and trim about 1 1/4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Cut the bacon into thirds, roll around the chicken cubes and secure with a toothpick.  If making ahead, put in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Prep a jelly roll pan with aluminum and rack, then spray with PAM.  Roll the pieces in the brown sugar mixture, making sure to pack some in the ends.  Place on the rack.  Bake for about 35 mins, or until golden brown and the bacon is crispy.  You can then put them in a heavy dish and cover with foil, or keep them in a crockpot until ready to serve.