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

  • 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.

Meatball Sub Cupcakes

This recipe got a “Wow!” from my husband after the first bite.  The best part is they take 10 minutes to assemble and 15 to bake, which makes them great for a busy weeknight. Recipe and photo courtesy of

  • 1 can of refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 4 oz cream cheese, soften
  • 3/4 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 12 1 oz meatballs
  • spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 12 regular size muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside. Remove dough from can; press seams to seal and press into an 8×18 inch rectangle. Cut dough into 12 squares. Press squares into muffin pan cups.
Combine cream cheese, Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Divide the cream cheese mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup. Place meatballs on top of cheese; top each meatball with spaghetti sauceSprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

*If you grocery store carries the seamless Pillsbury dough sheet this would be great for that.

*I had 1/2 oz meatballs so I made these in mini muffin cups and they worked great. Perfect appetizers for a party.

Potato Wedges

I made these wedges for a football party we were having and they were a big hit.  I put the ranch dressing on the side because my husband doesn’t like it, but I will put the recipe here as it was when I found it on Pinterest. There are so many different topping combinations so be creative. Recipe and photo courtesy of


  • 4-6 potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt, black pepper, and seasoning salt

Ranch sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits
  • 1/4 chopped green onion (optional)

Cut potatoes into wedges.  Place on foiled, greased baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and lightly toss with tongs.  Sprinkle the seasonings over the potatoes and bake at 400 for 40 min or until fork tender. In a separate bowl mix sour cream, ranch dressing and milk.  Whisk together. On a separate platter smooth out 3/4 of the sour cream sauce. Place hot potatoes on sour cream sauce.  Drizzle remaining sour cream sauce on potatoes and add your desired toppings.  Place under the broiler for a few seconds to melt the cheese.

Candied Walnuts

These walnuts are perfect for garnishing salads, or just eating straight.  I added them to a salad with cranberries, gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette and it was restaurant quality.  Having a thermometer is pretty important for this recipe, doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it can tell you when the sugar mixture reaches 236 degrees. Recipe and photo courtesy of

  • 1 lb. walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir sugar, cinnamon, salt and milk in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat for 8 minutes, or until mixture reaches soft ball stage of 236 degrees.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add mixture to walnuts and stir to coat. Spoon walnuts onto parchment or wax paper and use a fork to separate. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Queso Blanco

This recipe is so easy to make and really good. This is the basic recipe, but you can add almost anything you want to it to give it a little kick. The American Cheese can be found at the deli counter of the grocery store.

  • 1 1⁄4 lb block of White American Cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup diced green chiles
  • 2⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Cut the cheese into cubes. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and microwave for approximately 5-6 minutes, stirring after every minute.

Guacamole Salsa

Another Pinterest find. This one is courtesy of I would recommend a little more avocado, but really good for taquitos, or dressing.

  • 1 lb. tomatillos (about 10)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (I scraped out the seeds)
  • 1⁄3 bunch cilantro
  • 1 thick slice of red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Peel and wash the tomatillos, then cut into quarters. Follow with the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, garlic avocado and salt. Be sure the tomatillos are at the bottom of the blender and not the avocado so it doesn’t stick to the blade. Blend until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Restaurant Style Salsa

This recipe comes from Pioneer Woman. It is the easiest homemade salsa I’ve ever had, and is perfect for dipping; mindlessly, over and over again.

  • 1  can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2  cans Rotel
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, chopped if desired
  • 1⁄4  teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄4  teaspoon cumin
  • 1⁄4  teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2  cup cilantro, or more to taste
  • 1⁄2  whole large lime juice

This makes a lot of salsa, so use the largest food processor you own. Combine whole tomatoes (or diced tomatoes if you don’t have whole), Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, slat, sugar, cumin, lime juice and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed. Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour before serving.

Chili’s Style Queso

This recipe is a really good copycat of Chili’s queso. I found it on a site called

  • 1 16 oz box of Velveeta
  • 1  cup milk
  • 2  teaspoons paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 28 oz can Hormel Chili (no beans)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin

Cut Velveeta into cubes. Combine all ingredients in crock pot or saucepan and warm until all ingredients are melted.