Cookie Dough Dip

Of all the food served at the recent baby shower I hosted, this dip was probably talked about the most.  I think everyone liked it and several people asked how to make it.  It is a nice sweet alternative to the typical savory dips/appetizers served at parties.  Its also totally addictive!

The only change I make is adding more powdered sugar than what is called for.  I like a thicker dip, so I would guess I added closer to 1 cup but I just eyeballed it.

Cookie Dough Dip

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 {8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioner’s/powdered sugar {I used maybe 1 cup?}

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup chopped nuts – optional {I always omit}

Nilla wafers or graham crackers for dipping

Directions

Melt the butter with the brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Stir until the butter is melted and sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined and fluffy.  Slowly add the cooled butter mixture and beat to combine.

Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.  Place in serving bowl, cover and refrigerate. 

Add additional mini chocolate chips before serving for garnish if you choose.

Layered Fiesta Dip

This is a staple for so many parties that we host or attend.  It is a real crowd-pleaser and can be adapted a dozen different ways.  Some call it 7-layer dip or 8-layer dip or various other names.  But no matter how many layers go into it, the important thing is just to make however you like it.

Below I’ll list the possible layers, but go ahead and add/omit based on what you like and have on hand.  Layer everything in a shallow dish {preferably clear to see layers} starting with the refried beans.

Layered Fiesta Dip

1 can fat free refried beans {leave plain or stir in cumin and garlic powder or other spices to taste}

approximately 1 cup guacamole or 2-3 mashed avocados mixed with juice of 1/2 to 1 lime and a pinch of salt

8 oz sour cream mixed with one packet {1/4 cup} taco seasoning

shredded lettuce

1 cup shredded cheese

cooked and crumbled bacon

1 can black olives, sliced

3-4 green onions, sliced

1 or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Cover and refrigerate at least one hour to allow flavors to meld.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Chicken Enchilada Roll-ups

I love spicy chicken enchiladas so I knew I would love this recipe.   One great thing about it is that it can be served as a chip dip instead of rolls too.  It is great to have that option.  It is also ideal that it can be made ahead of time which I always look for when searching for party recipes.

Chicken Enchilada Roll-ups

{source:  adapted from Sing for you Supper originally from Gooseberry Patch “Come on Over”}

Ingredients

one 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
salt to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded {about 1 cup}
1 bunch cilantro, chopped – I omitted
3 green onions, chopped  
10-oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained well

approximately 6 tortilla shells

Directions

Cook chicken and allow it to cool, then shred and set aside. {Or buy chicken already cooked from the store 🙂  }

Mix remaining ingredients together until well blended; add the chicken and combine.

Spread a layer of filling over tortilla shells and roll.  Place on cutting board and cut into 1″ pieces.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Serve cold or at room temp.

For the shower, I also made a different kind of roll-up.  I spread the tortilla shells with store-bought veggie cream cheese or chive and onion cream cheese, added a layer of deli meat {I used smoked ham, but turkey or anything else you like would be fine.}  Roll and slice.  The addition of sliced olives between the cream cheese and meat is also good, but I left them out this time.

Hot Pizza Dip

Update 9-9-10:  added pictures 🙂

This was a new recipe that I made for the first time at my sister’s baby shower and I thought it was wonderful.  In the future it will definitely be a party staple just like the famous buffalo chicken dip.  Tim quickly gobbled up the leftover dip after the party!

The recipe says that you can heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  But I made it in advance and kept it in fridge overnight.  Then before serving, I baked it at 375 degrees {uncovered} for 20-25 minutes.

Hot Pizza Dip

{source:  allrecipes.com}

Ingredients

1 {8 ounce} package cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried basil

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese {I used 1/2 monterey jack and 1/2 mozzarella}

1 cup grated parm cheese

1 cup pizza sauce or tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers – I have omitted before and have also substituted sliced jalapeno

2 ounces turkey pepperoni, chopped

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and dried spices.

Spread mixture in the bottom of a 9″ pie plate that is microwave/oven safe.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozz and 1/2 cup parm on top of cream cheese.  Spread pizza sauce over all.  Sprinkle with pepperoni, olives, and peppers.  Then top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Cover and microwave for 5 minutes.  Serve HOT with crackers, Italian bread, crusty french bread, or tortilla chips.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

I think I should change the name of my bliggity blog to  “copy everything that the Pioneer Woman makes.”  I feel like I make so many of her recipes!  But, the truth is that they never fail me.  They appeal to the style of food that Tim and I love which is just simple down home cooking with little or no frills.  And they are delicious.  The only drawback, if you can even call it that, is that her recipes feed an army so I always cut them back.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

Source:  PW

Sponsored by HPClick Here
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients
  • 8 pieces Chicken Legs Or Thighs {I used 4 thighs}
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil {I used 1 Tbsp}
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes {I used one jar of pasta sauce}
  • 1 can (14 Ounces) Whole Tomatoes {I omitted}
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • Fresh Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary {I used dried basil and parsley}
  • 8 cloves Garlic {I used 4}
  • 16 ounces, weight Pasta {I used bow tie}
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, For Serving
  • ½ cups White Wine (or Red Wine)
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Salt and pepper chicken thighs.

Heat ovenproof dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. When oil/butter is hot, add chicken legs to the pan. Using tongs, brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Pour in wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes with their juice and add tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn off heat. Add herbs, cloves of peeled (but whole) garlic, and the chicken. {Try to submerge the chicken in the sauce as much as possible.}  Put lid on pot and cook in the oven for 1 hour. {I cooked mine for 45 minutes since I used less chicken.}

Remove pot from oven and allow it to sit on the counter with the lid on while you boil the pasta.

Remove lid and check sauce. If it’s overly thin, remove the chicken from the pot {keep warm} and boil the sauce on the stove top for 5 to 10 minutes.   {my sauce was the perfect consistency and I didn’t need to do this step.} Check seasonings and adjust as needed.

To serve, pour sauce over cooked pasta, then arrange chicken pieces over the top. Sprinkle generously with fresh Parmesan and serve with crusty French bread.

Potstickers

These potstickers were a little time consuming, but turned out great.  It was my first time working with wonton wrappers and making a dish like this, so I’m sure I can get faster at making them with more practice.  Tim could take them or leave them, but I thought they were really flavorful and very different from my normal cooking rotation.  I’ll definitely try them again.

Potstickers

{source:  adapted from several sites including foodnetwork.com, Cate’s World Kitchen and Mrs. Sac’s Purple Kitchen}

Ingredients

1/2 pound ground pork/turkey/chicken/beef {I used pork}

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion {about 5 or 6 green onions}

2 medium carrots, shredded

1/2 package small mushrooms, finely chopped

1 cup finely sliced Napa cabbage

a dash of freshly ground pepper

1-2 tsp freshly grated ginger

2 cloves of minced garlic

3 tbsp soy sauce {plus more for serving if desired}

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

one package wonton or potsticker wrappers

water to seal edges

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook the pork on medium heat till done.  Drain fat and remove meat from pan.

Add the veggies and cook for 3-6 minutes, or till cabbage has slightly wilted.

Remove from heat and combine with the cooked meat.  Also add the pepper, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Thoroughly combine all.

On a dry surface, lay out the wonton wrappers. Have a small bowl of water handy, and dip your finger in the water and wet the edges of the wontons, this will be the glue that holds it together. Put approximately 1 tbsp of filling in the center, and fold the opposite edges together and crimp/press down on the edges, forming a pouch.  Set all completed ones aside.

In a clean nonstick skillet, heat up 1 tbsp vegetable oil over med-high heat and add the potstickers.  Leave them alone for a minute or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Add 1/3 cup of water and put the lid on immediately.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the tops are steamed and water has evaporated and the bottoms are golden brown and stick slightly to the skillet.  May need to cook them in a few batches. Remove from pan and serve with dipping sauces such as spicy mustard and soy sauce.

Enjoy!

Diaper Cake #2

I have decided to put this diaper cake in a post of its own.  It is for my sister’s shower that’s coming up.  I’ll post all about the entire shower after it takes place, but I wanted to devote a separate post to how to make this diaper cake.

As I said in my other Baby Shower post last year, I did not invent the concept of diaper cakes.  However, I have come up with these original designs on my own.  And below, I’m going to tell you the steps involved in making this diaper cake.

This particular cake consists of 16 white cloth diapers, 10 baby wash cloths, 3 receiving blankets, and a fleece blanket.  Other materials include:  4 diaper pins, ribbon, decorative glass cake pedestal, and a small teddy bear.

I started planning the design for this cake by determining the overall theme for the baby shower.  I gave the guest of honor {my sister} a few choices for gender neutral themes {they’re not finding out the sex until the baby is born} and she picked “sweet pea in a pod” as the theme.  From there, I pretty much only knew that I would be working with shades of green.

The next important step was to consider that she plans on cloth diapering their baby.  So, I knew I wouldn’t be working with 60+ disposable diapers like my previous diaper cake.  Since cloth diapers are washable and reusable, I figured that she would only need somewhere in the ballpark of 20 diapers {I’m just guessing here}.  So, I bought a package of 12 white cloth diapers.  And my mom also bought an identical package of cloth diapers for me to use.

Then, I needed to determine how to incorporate textures and other colors into the cake to make it interesting.  I knew I wanted to supplement the diapers with blankets, or towels, or other items to add color and bulk.  I also wanted the components of the cake to be useful to my sister.  We decided to go shopping together so she could pick out some blankets that she liked and that I would be able to incorporate into the design.  I was keeping an open mind as we shopped and had no real plan in mind for the finished product.  After all, it was only my second diaper cake ever and my first cloth diaper cake.  I felt the best thing to do was buy several items that would possibly work and then bring them home to try them.  I knew that any items I didn’t use in the cake could just be gift wrapped and given to my sister since she picked them out and knew they would be useful.  I ended up buying a package of 10 white and green baby wash cloths, 6 or 7 color coordinating receiving blankets, and the fleece blanket which I knew would be the focal point because it has a pea pod on it.

Once I brought everything home, I just started experimenting by rolling up diapers and blankets and trying to determine the quantities and sizes necessary to create tiers.  I knew the little wash cloths would be the top tier because they were the smallest items.  I ended up wrapping them in a solid off-white receiving blanket.  I also knew that the focal point pea pod fleece blanket wrapped around diapers would be the middle tier so it would be easy to see.  The bottom/largest tier is made up of about 10 rolled cloth diapers surrounding a receiving blanket with another receiving blanket on the outside.

Top Layer:

Middle Layer:

Bottom Layer:

The final step was to add the decorative ribbon to secure the top and bottom tiers.  I chose to layer a simple green ribbon over a wider textured woven ribbon.  Then I held them together with cloth diaper pins that are cute and functional.  The pea pod fleece blanket is held together by 2 diaper pins since ribbon would cover up the design.  Lastly, I added a small teddy bear as the topper because I think it looks like the bear in the pea pod.

That’s all!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful if you plan to make a diaper cake in the future.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Garden Plan 2010

Well, its that time of year again!  Time to plan and plant the garden.  We started last weekend by planting strawberries, 3 rows of white onions, 3 rows of red onions, 3 rows of peas, a couple rows of carrots, and a row of lettuce.

Soon, we will plant sweet corn, green beans, melons, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.  Maybe cucumbers and squash too.

For reference, or in case you weren’t reading this boring blog last year…here’s the link to last year’s garden post {click here}.  And here is a follow up post {click here}.

Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins

Um, wow…these were really good and sooo quick and easy to make.  They are a perfect treat for dessert or breakfast.  They definitely have the flavor of a donut without all that greasy fried business.  The chocolate glaze = major heaven.  And whatever you decide to do with any leftover glaze is your business so do what you gotta do to get rid of it.  😉

Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins

{Source:  Originally from Elle’s New England Kitchen, as seen at Milk & Honey and Elly says Opa!

Make 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

For the Muffins

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • scant 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/4  tsp. vanilla extract

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • sprinkles (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a standard muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the canola oil, butter, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, combining gently by hand until just moistened.
  3. Spoon the batter in the prepared muffin tins {they will be very full!} and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. To make the glaze, combine the chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup and vanilla extract in a double boiler (or in a stainless steel or glass bowl over some simmering water). Stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is incorporated.
  5. Dip the tops of the muffins into the glaze and immediately top with sprinkles, if using.

Carrot Cake

Happy Easter!

To celebrate Easter I decided to make my first carrot cake.  I really had no idea what recipe to use, so I just grabbed 4 or 5 cookbooks off my shelf and compared the carrot cake recipes.  I eliminated any that called for raisins or pineapple.  I’m sure they would have been perfectly tasty, but I was in the mood for just plain carrot cake.  And this one turned out great!  It is one of the moistest cakes I have ever had.

Most of my changes were to the frosting.  I chose to make a layer cake instead of 9 x 13, so I knew I would need extra frosting.  See below for my changes.

Carrot Cake

{source:  adapted from Paula Deen Celebrates!, page 82}

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1.5 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups ap flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt {I used 1/2 tsp}

2 cups shredded carrots, about 4 medium carrots

1/4 cup chopped walnuts {I used about 1/2 cup}

Icing Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, softened {I used 2 sticks}

3 cups powdered sugar {I used at least 4 cups but just kept adding until the consistency was right.}

one 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup chopped walnuts {I omitted}

splash of vanilla

gel food coloring – optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with Pam and dust with flour. {I used two 8″ round pans.}

Combine sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine at low speed until smooth.  Stir in the carrots and walnuts by hand.

Place the batter into the prepared pan(s) and place on the middle rack in the oven.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan(s) for 15 minutes.  Then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by beating the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together with electric mixer until smooth.  Slowly add the sugar. {If you are using the walnuts, stir them in now and ice the cake while it is still warm to improve spreadability.}  I did not include the walnuts in the icing, so I cooled my cakes completely, frosted, and layered them.

I reserved a small amount of icing to color for decorating.

Refrigerate the cake before serving.