Wednesday, February 20, 2013

.hot corn dip.

hot. corn. dip. besides that vegetable word in the middle, there's not a thing i dislike about hot and dip. but let me tell you- the vegetables don't even ruin this rich, creamy concoction. when i was told there would be a going away party for a friend of mine at work, i jumped at the opportunity to try out this recipe. because it would be served to a fair amount of people, i made enough to take to the party and still had some left over to slumber in my freezer until i NEED it. and trust me, i go through moments where i NEED hot and dip.

here we go, mix 2 blocks of room temperature cream cheese, 2 tablespoons minced jalapenos, one and a half teaspoons of garlic salt (feel free to mix garlic powder and salt), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon chili powder in a large mixing bowl.

now, make sure you use room temperature cream cheese. i started stirring it up with just maybe less than fridge cold cream cheese and it was not happening. i'm pretty sure i pulled a muscle in impatience and in my arm. alas, i gave it some time and it was so much easier to combine the ingredients.

go ahead and mix in 3 cups of beautiful, bright yellow corn. that is essentially 2 small, drained cans. (preheat your oven to 350 degrees)

remember what i told you about this 'hot' and 'dip' having corn in the middle? trust me, it still tastes delicious and you can tell everyone you made a healthy, vegetable dish.

do you see that pile of glorious cheese? go ahead and mix in four delicious cups of a mexican blend. you'll need some more reserved for later.

press the creamy, corny blend into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. sprinkle an additional cup of mexican cheese all over the top. you should have enough dip left over to freeze some more and make a couple "sample sizes" for yourself. listen, you don't want to present a dish for the first time without testing it our first. right? right.

while your corn dip is getting hot in the oven for twenty to twenty five minutes, quarter cherry tomatoes, dice up some green onions and cilantro that you will toss on top of the finished product. after the dip is finished baking, broil on low until golden and bubbly (about five minutes).

oh, my great cheesy and corny goodness! (and no i'm not talking about a bad movie) this substantial dip hits all the right spots. it is best served with a mild chip, tortilla or pita. you don't want to take away any of the bang from the dip itself.

oh, and i'm so glad i still have some waiting in my freezer.

hot corn dip
adapted from baked bree

**half of the recipe below is plenty for a party!

what you need
2 blocks cream cheese (room temperature)
2 tbs diced jalapeno
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups (2 cans) corn kernels
6 cups shredded mexican cheese blend
handful cherry tomatoes
palmful of diced green onion
palmful of diced cilantro

what you do
mix the cream cheese, jalapeno, garlic salt, chili powder and pepper in a large bowl. then, blend in your drained corn. preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

stir in 4 cups of your mexican cheese blend. grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and press the mixture in. you will have enough left over to make another dish worth or freeze it. just use one of your other 2 cups of cheese to sprinkle on top. the remaining cup can be used on the second dish or saved until you're ready to make that one.

bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. then, broil on low for approximately five minutes, watching for it to get golden and bubbly.

while baking, quarter your tomatoes and dice up your green onion and cilantro. when the dish is finished, garnish with tomato, green onion and cilantro.

serve with chips, pita points or tortillas. who am i kidding? get out a big spoon and have at it.


Friday, February 15, 2013

.best-in-show blueberry muffins.

i kid you not. this is the absolute best blueberry muffin i have ever tasted in my entire life. an entire life of eating lots of blueberry muffins. best-in-show, blue ribbon, hip hip hooray good.

and more good news? they're easy to make. sift together your dry ingredients into a bowl (minus the sugar). i like to use mathematical terms any chance i get.

whisk together the wet ingredients, along with the addition of sugar.

distribute the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir for a count of 4 +6.

plop in your fresh blueberries after subtracting 1/2 a cup of them to set aside.

stir this for a count of the square root of 9. i used big fresh blueberries and boy oh boy were they juicy. i hate that word, yet i still chose to use it. let's continue...

take some soft butter and butter your ugliest and most used muffin tin. you don't want to use liners. the butter adds to the muffin's success. remember, this is a best-in-show kinda deal here.

top your muffins with the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries and multiply your delicious level.

divide your batter between the 12 muffin wells and pop these big ol' muffins in your pre-heated oven. the recipe calls for baking 20-25 minutes, mine were completely done at 17 minutes. SO, you might want to start around there and then check yours with a toothpick to avoid over cooking.

holy blueberroly! as soon as i easily slid the first muffin out of the tin, i begged it to taste as good as it looked.

a little pad of butter...

can i take a bite yet?

oh yes. oh very yes. seriously, this is the best blueberry muffin ever. i'm talking infinity kind of ever here.

best-in-show blueberry muffins
adapted from pioneer woman

what you need
3 cups minus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heavy pinch of salt
Dash of Nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 generous cup plain, unflavored yogurt (throw in extra if you want)
2 cups fresh blueberries
Vanilla Extract
Softened Butter, for muffin tins

what you do
Preheat oven to 385 degrees.

In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, cap-ful of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10.

Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.

Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes (my oven only took 17 minutes) and allow to cool completely. (which i have no patience for and immediately popped one in my mouth)

Monday, February 11, 2013

.buffalo chicken meatball subs.

traditional italian meatball subs have been around for as long as (mumble mumble pretend i really know). spice up your kitchen life and try this twist- buffalo chicken meatball subs. you could throw in some of your own variations, based on your home's flavor palette. this was a home run for my eye guy and i believe everything he tells me. here we go!

dice up a few cloves of garlic. disclaimer: i now wear gloves when working with garlic or jalapenos so that i don't get any of the strong smells or spices on my babycakes. even if you don't have your own babycakes, i highly recommend this so your hands don't stink.

chop up some parsley. not too little, not too much. preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

mix one pound of ground chicken with your garlic, parsley, freshly ground pepper and salt in a mixing bowl.

disclaimer number 2: i have never before made meatballs of any form and wasn't sure if i would need eggs for binding or breadcrumbs for filler. i decided to go straight to forming the chicken balls to see if they would hold. alas, they did. i placed them on a cookie sheet a couple of inches apart; just like i would cookies before baking.

to add a little something something, i drizzled some of this chipotle blue cheese sauce from target. yumm. you might want to add in blue cheese crumbles or regular blue cheese dressing if you have it. this is what i had and this is what i used. pop your chicken balls in the oven for 10 minutes. disclaimer number 3: i swear i have really pretty cookie sheets that don't have years of proof on them, but i always pull out this really ugly pan so that you feel sorry for me i guess.

melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet with about 1/3-1/2 cup hot sauce. remove your chicken and flip them over. return to oven and cook for 8 more minutes.

when that timer goes off, toss your meatballs in the buffaloesque sauce until covered. put back on the cookie sheet and cook for another 2-4 minutes.

meanwhile, cut open your hoagie roll. because it was way cheaper and i didn't need a big ol' bag of hoagie rolls, i just bought one loaf of french bread and cut my own sub-sized portions from it. the bread was probably wider than i would have liked, but it worked. did i mention it was cheaper?

plop in your buffalo chicken meatballs, top with some parmesan cheese (or blue cheese or mozarella or whatever you have in your fridge). put the sub back in the oven to bake and maybe even broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

remove from the oven and drizzle a little more hot sauce if you're feeling daring on top and some more blue cheese sauce. i even added some celery pieces for crunch and to add to the buffalo chicken atmosphere.

like i told you before, it was a hit and a dish i'll be making again. take a bite out of your menu monotony and try these for your crew.

buffalo chicken meatball subs
makes 2 subs

what you need
1 lb ground chicken
3 cloves garlic
1/3 bunch of parsley
salt and pepper
3 tbs butter
1/3-1/2 cup hot sauce
blue cheese or blue cheese dressing
cheese for topping (parmesan or blue cheese or mozarella)
chopped celery for topping (optional)
2 hoagie rolls OR 2/3 loaf of french bread cut into two sandwiches

what you do

Mix in a bowl, one pound ground chicken, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Add in blue cheese if you have it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Form meatballs and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with blue cheese dressing if you did not add in actual blue cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and flip.

Bake for another 8 minutes.

On a skillet over medium heat, combine 3 tbs of butter with 1/3-1/2 cup hot sauce. I used Frank's hot sauce.

When 8 minute are up, remove from oven and toss the chicken meatballs in your buffaloesque sauce. Put them back on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 2-4 minutes.

Cut open your subs and stuff with chicken meatballs, top with cheese and bake (maybe even broil) for another 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts.

Drizzle more blue cheese dressing and some hot sauce if you like heat on your sub. You can top with some chopped up celery if it suits your fancy.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

.kale and creamy pasta.

there's been a lot of firsts around my kitchen lately. the newest of my new is kale. it's another one of those foods that is everywhere i look, except on my dinner plate. this scrumptious pasta dish was an ever-so-kind way to meet sir kale. let me introduce you.

dice up 5-8 garlic cloves (depending on your love for stinky breath). sautee over medium-high heat with a little olive oil until fragrant.

while the garlic is beginning to make your kitchen smell like you've got something legit going on, slice in half about a pint of cherry tomatoes. let me tell you, if i had some fresh basil, a good deal of these wouldn't have made it into the dish.

add the tomatoes to the garlic and cook about 6-8 minutes; just enough time for the little red beauties to begin opening up and softening. this is a great time to get a pot of water boiling for you pasta.

kale, meet (insert your name). (insert your name), meet kale. it looks healthy because of the green, doesn't it? is the same true for green skittles, m and ms, sour patches? yes.

after chopping up your new friend, kale, about one cutting board worth, toss it in the pan along with one cup of vegetable stock, salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes for heat.

we like dishes spicy at my house, but you may not. so go heavy or easy handed on this step. if your boiling pot of water is ready, add about 2/3 a box of pasta. could i be any more specific? sorry. use whatever pasta you like. i had these little shells on hand and threw them in my water.

it takes about 10 minutes to get the kale to turn wilty-like and that is the texture you want for the dish. just stir it every once in a while so it doesn't feel neglected. you are new friends after all.

when your pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot. then, pour in your entire skillet with the kale in it that has been cooking. to that, add 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt and...

...hello old friend. hello lover. oh how i missed you when i was pregnant. goat cheese, you make my day brighter, my night darker, my rain wetter...ok, sorry. i digressed. you're also going to stir in 4 oz of goat cheese until the dish becomes one big pot of creamy goodness.

creamy goodness.

listen, this was the most lovely of lovely ways to meet kale and i'm already looking forward to our next excursion together. i hope you feel the same way.

creamy kale pasta

adapted from family of foodies

what you need
8 oz kale
1 cup vegetable stock
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 garlic cloves
crushed red pepper flakes (1/2 to 1 tsp)
1 lb pasta (penne, shells, fusili, macaroni etc..)
4 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper

what you do

Chop garlic and sauté in large skillet over medium high heat until slightly caramelized and fragrant.

Slice grape tomatoes in half; adding to garlic in pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes until they begin to soften.

Start boiling a pot of water for pasta.

Add 8 oz kale (one cutting board worth), vegetable stock, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Cook until greens are tender and wilted, stirring occasionally.

When water begins to boil, cook your chosen pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and place back in pot, pouring kale mixture over hot pasta.

Mix in goat cheese and 1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt. Stir well to coat pasta with cheese.
Mix until goat cheese is melted and well distributed.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

.quinoa spinach mac and cheese.

so good.

so so good.

i'm on a quinoa kick. mainly, it is because i bought a bag of it and might as well use it. when i ran across this recipe on tasty kitchen, i thought i'd take it for a spin.

although making this yummylicious recipe takes a little more effort than boxed mac 'n cheese, it is quite worth it.

the texture and taste combined is terrific and i felt like a culinary superstar! (insert molly shannon superstar move here)

now it is your turn. you probably have most of the supplemental ingredients already in your pantry. if you buy a bag of quinoa to make this, you'll surely have enough left over to make these quinoa burgers another night.

dig in!

quinoa spinach mac and cheese
borrowed from tasty kitchen

what you need
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
1-½ cup Whole Milk
2 dashes Freshly Grated Nutmeg
¼ teaspoons Salt
8 ounces, weight Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 cups Cooked Quinoa (cooked According To Package Instructions)
2 bunches Fresh Baby Spinach

½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
¾ cups Panko Bread Crumbs

what you do
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter and flour and heat over medium heat. Whisk continuously until a paste forms. Whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil whisking the whole time.

Stir in the nutmeg, salt and cheddar cheese. When cheese sauce is smooth remove from heat.

In a large bowl mix together the cooked quinoa, cheese sauce and spinach.

Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish (I used an 8 inch cast iron skillet). Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

In a small bowl mix together the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Bake on 350 F until bubbly, about 20 minutes.