Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ranch Sausage Stars

The family all headed up to cabin for New Years - and we did our annual New Years Eve meal as appetizers!!  Of course I had to try  some new ones!!  We had a little issue with getting the right ingredients - so if any one has a good spring roll recipe, let me know :)

These were really, really, really good!!  Pretty easy - my only suggestion would be to let the wonton bake a little longer....ours were good, but it was really hard to get them out of the pan - so they sort of broke apart as you ate instead of being bite size.  Other than that - they were super tasty!!

Makes 4-5 dozen
1lb sausage, cooked
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup ranch dressing
2.25 oz sliced black olives
1/2 cup green and red pepper, chopped
1 package wonton wrappers
canola oil

Heat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients.

Press wrapper into a mini muffin pan.  Brush with oil and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove wrappers from pan and place on baking sheet.  Fill with mixture.

Bake 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Crab Spread

New Years up at the cabin - WOOT WOOT!!  So yeah - this app looks AWFUL!!  We had some "issues" with our meals this weekend....haha.  "We" (aka Ross) bought green taco sauce....but in all fairness - it did have chili's listed in the yeah, it was almost the same as chili sauce.  It actually still tasted good - just had to keep your eyes closed to eat it :)

Makes 2 cups - Recipe Girl

12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2 small onion, grated
6 oz chili sauce
6 oz can crab meat, drained and flaked apart
freshly chopped parsley

In a medium bowl, use a mixer and blend cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mayo, and onion.  Spread on a serving platter.  Spread chili sauce over - then sprinkle with crab meat.  Sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

Refrigerate for several hours.  Serve with crackers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Wreath Appetizer

Had the "adult" cousins over to our house after Christmas Day for some games - so even though we had been eating all day I had to make up some apps!!  I made up everything for this app the day before - and then just assembled them when we got home - and they were a hit! (only had 2 left)....and's a WREATH!!  :)

Taste of Home - 16 servings

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper

Remove crescent dough from packaging (do not unroll). Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11-in. circle on an ungreased 14-in. pizza pan.

Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over wreath; top with broccoli, celery and red pepper. Form a bow garnish with celery leaves. 

Herbed Goat Cheese Bites

So this was super good - but we did it a little different than it says below!  I didn't have time to cook the bread etc - so I just used leftover pita bread from our Pita Tree Appetizers - and served it that way!  It still tasted really good - and it was different than your normal cheese dip.  I really liked it!!

1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 (8-oz.) goat cheese log, softened
12 slices of loaf bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray
Combine and finely chop the fresh herbs. Place the chopped herbs and sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and combine with the softened goat cheese until fully incorporated. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the bread slices by cutting off the crusts. Cut each slice in half and gently press each half slice into muffin cups in muffin pans. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
Bake the bread in muffin tins at 350° for 7 to 9 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from oven; let cool in pans 5 minutes.
Place a dollop of the goat cheese mixture onto the toasted bread slices and serve.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pita Tree Appetizers

We are heading to the Sodahls for Christmas Eve - and we get to stay the WHOLE night long!!  First time for that - and first time for this app!!  Technically, new apps are not "allowed" to be introduced but these were so good - and hey....they were festive so it was ok :)

Betty Crocker - makes 32 servings

4 flavored or plain pita folds or pita (pocket) breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
16 thin pretzel sticks, halved
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup guacamole
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper

Cut each pita fold into 8 wedges. Insert pretzel stick half into center of bottom of each wedge to form "tree trunk."

In small bowl, mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley and garlic-pepper blend. Spread about 1 teaspoon sour cream mixture on each pita wedge.

Blot bell pepper with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon bell pepper on each wedge or arrange to form a garland. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

Sodahl "secret" Cheese Ball

It wouldn't be Christmas Eve at the Sodahls without chex mix from Bruce, chicken wings and wild rice soup from Barb, and the cheese ball from Stacy!!  Stacy was in Atlanta this year - so the tradition was passed onto us - so I made Ross make it :) Tastes amazing - and is a hit at every party!!  (Stacy even won an award somewhere for best app....)

2 (8oz) cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
Small jar Port Wine cheese (see picture)
Small jar Armour dried beef (see picture)
Sour cream
2 bunches of green onions

Cut dried beef into small pieces.  Mix everything together in a bowl - and then squeeze with hands to form a ball.....snowman.....tree....whatever you want!!  (This is a good time to wear those kitchen gloves - keeps your hands all nice and clean!)

Then top with sour cream - and sprinkle green onions on top.  Super easy and Super tasty!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Menu Boards

For Christmas this year - I decided to make some menu boards for people!! (including myself)!  I saw this idea given to someone for their wedding, and being that I cook and come up with my menu each week - I figured I would pass the love on! 

It's SUPER easy to make - and if you don't have a cricut machine to make your letters - COME ON OVER!!  (Rossy just got me one for Christmas -- woot woot!!)

Picture frame
Scrapbook card stock
Vinyl Letters
Dry Erase Marker

All I did was create the letters using Perrine's silhouette machine - and NOW I can use my cricut!!  I headed to Michael's and found the Vinyl Letters (they were about $10) - and then print and stick!!

Throw some pretty scrapbook card stock in the back of the frame - and attach a dry erase marker....and AWESOME!!!  Super easy and so fun!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A gift for our "Brave Soldiers at Home"

My cousin Jake is deployed in Iraq right now - and being that it was Christmas and his first time not being there, I made a little something for my aunt/uncle/cousin.  It's a little homemade count down till he gets home!!

Glass Jar
Candy Kisses

I wrote up a little note that said "Kisses from Jake - eat/take out a kiss from Jake each day - and when they are all gone your brave son/brother will be home!!"

I put extra kisses in so that he will for sure be home - but it's a fun way to see how close the day is coming!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stuffed Taco Shells

Ross is BACK!!!  WOOT WOOT!!  No more eating for 1 - and then having leftovers for the rest of the week :)  Ross was nice enough to make up this dish for me (and he remembered to take a pic - how awesome is he!!), since I was out visiting cutie Leah Assmann!!  He said it wasn't that hard to make - and it tasted GREAT!!  I just liked that it was a different spin on tacos!  I'm not a fan of the shell anyway - so this was perfect!!

Tiffany Blog

1lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 4 once package cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 cup sour cream

In a fry pan cook ground beef and add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and allow to fully cool. While burger is cooking, cook the pasta shells, drain and toss well with butter.

Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce.

Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, uncover, and sprinkle crushed chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on top.  Cook for about 15 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, additional salsa, black olives or whatever you think goes good with tacos!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Candy Cane Place Cards

We hosted the Sodahl "early Christmas" yesterday, and it was a blast!  Not only did I get to use ALL my Christmas Spode dishes, my individual salt/pepper and butter containers, but I made super cutie place card holders just for the occasion :)

These were super easy (well, if you have patience with a glue gun!).  All you need is a pack of little candy canes - and a glue gun/super glue.  Glue three of those bad boys together - take card stock and make the name card....and you are all set!!  How cutie!!!

I also wanted to give a shout out to our Christmas Meal - this was sooo great cause we were able to prepare everything ahead of time - and then just put stuff in the oven / stove top for an hour before we ate....perfection!! 

Wild Rice

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm MELTING.....snowman cutouts

I decided tonight that we didn't have enough cookies (haha - yeah right!), so I wanted to make up these cute guys!  Actually - I wanted to give Martha Stewart a run for her money!!  How awesome are these cookies - they were super tasty, pretty easy to make, AND they are super cute and I got LOTS of comments on them at our "early Christmas party" :)

Frosted White Sugar Cookies OR if you need a faster alternative - 1 package Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
10 large marshmallows
I batch of frosting Frosted White Sugar Cookies

Mix up your cookie dough recipe -  then just grab a golf ball sized chunk and squish it down until it's about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Do not worry about the shape or how lumpy it is, the more misshapen the better! Bake according to recipe directions.

Once the cookies are cool, load them up with the cookie icing and spread it around with the back of a spoon, let some dribble over the edge for a "puddle" look.

Spray a microwave safe plate with cooking spray, and place marshmallows on the plate. Set the microwave for 30 seconds, but watch the marshmallows as they cook. Stop the microwave as soon as the marshmallows start to get puffy, do not let them double in size.  Spray your fingers with cooking spray or grease them up with shortening, and carefully pull the marshmallows off, by the base, and set them on top of the frosted cookies.

Then just decorate as you'd like :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Buffalo Grilled Cheese

So I was really excited for tonight's cookbook club.....1. because it was GRILLED CHEESE night!  and 2. Because I got to use my new panini grill!!  (Thanks mom and dad!)  The recipes all give instructions how to use a pan - but if you have a panini grill, use that!  It was SUPER easy - and cooked the sandwiches perfectly!  The clean up was super easy - and the sandwich might have even tasted better on it -- hehe!!  But yeah - this sandwich.....GREAT!  ahhh I love hot cheese....and chicken.....oh, and bread....doesn't get much better in my world!!

4 thick slices of french bread
2 pads of real salted butter
1 tablespoon blue cheese salad dressing
3 tablespoons organic cream cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoons shredded cheddar
1/2 cup cooked shredded organic chicken breast
1.5 tablespoons Frank's hot sauce
Once you've got everything out, combine all the cheeses into a small bowl.  Stir together until you get a smooth consistency.  Now combine your finely chopped chicken with Frank's hot sauce and stir.

Smear on a little over a tablespoon of the mixture onto each slice of bread (or however much you want!).  Then divide half the chicken on top of each piece of the smeared bread.  Now smear the other slices of bread with cheese and put the top on the sammie.

Gently apply 1 pad of butter to the top of the grilled cheese and place it butter side down in your pan.  Once they're in the pan, turn the heat to high and butter the other side of the bread.

This cheese mixture will melt really quick, so make sure to check the brownness of each grilled cheese about every thirty seconds or so.  It'll probably take about a minute and a half once the pans hot and you'll want to take it off when it looks like this on both sides.

Apple and Brie Grilled Cheese

Hmmm we almost ate all the brie before it made it into this sandwich - but WOW!...Who knew Grown up grilled cheese could be so great!!  This was super yummy - and how easy !!  ahhh next go to grilled cheese in this house!!
Serves 2

4 slices of Italian bread, about 1/2" thick
1 large apple, thinly sliced
4 oz brie, thinly sliced
2 T apple butter
1 T butter

Spread apple butter on one side of bread slices.  Layer brie and apple slices on one side and top with remaining slice of bread.  Heat griddle over medium heat and melt half of the butter on the pan.  Add sandwiches and spread remaining butter on tops of bread.  Let cook about three minutes and then flip.  Cook an additional two to three minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted as desired.  Cut and serve.

Avocado Fries

Cookbook in the house - and "Mr" Rogers got "Oil Crazy!!!"  :)  Thank god Rogers was here - she was the master of the well as cutting avocadoes in french fry shape!  I thought this was going to be a little "eh" - but um, these were amazing!!  Even the ones we burnt the first round (oil too hot) were yummy!!  It was super weird eating fried avocadoes - but dang...I wish I had made these earlier....super good!!

Oil For Frying
2 Avocadoes
2 Eggs, beaten
1 and 1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs (used panko - worked good!)
1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin

Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce:

5 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of Lemon

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, lemon pepper, salt and cumin. Set it aside.  Cut the avocados in half and then slice them vertically into 4 inch by 1 inch wedges. Set them aside
Heat the vegetable oil to 335 degrees Fahrenheit in a large frying pan, adding enough oil so that the oil is about 3 to four inches deep.
Dredge the avocado slices in the breadcrumb mixture, then in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture again. Place them in the hot oil and fry them for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon or tongs, and set them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Allow them to dry for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a serving tray and serve them immediately with the Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce.

For the Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce, place the mayonnaise, cilantro, and lemon juice in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy in texture.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Had Miss Anna over for dinner tonight - and after being at 12 bars of Christmas last night, this was the best meal ever!!  I am in the search of the perfect lasagna - and this was pretty close!!  It was so different than any I've made before - and it had the best flavor!  It did take a little time to make / bake - but it was worth it!  If you got some time on your hands - try it out :)
Serves 12 - OBB cookbook
Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 lb ground beef or Italian sausage
2 (15-oz) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
15-oz can tomato sauce
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped or grated
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
About 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (this neutralizes the acid)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or skillet with a lid, brown ground beef (or sausage), onions, and garlic until meat is cooked and onions are tender.

Add the remaining ingredients to the cooked meat, stir, and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, remove from heat.

Lasagna Ingredients:
1 recipe of sauce (see above)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 oz shredded mozzarella, divided
4 oz shredded fresh Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
16oz tub container ricotta cheese

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) real butter, NO SUBSTITUTES
1/4 cup white flour
2 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350.

To prepare Béchamel sauce, melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. When melted, whisk in flour until combined. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Heat until bubbly and thickened to a medium consistency that that looks like this on a spoon:

Mix the Béchamel in with the red sauce.  After you've made (and mixed) the Béchamel, combine 6 oz. mozzarella (about 1 3/4 c.), ricotta, Parmesan, and the beaten egg.

Using a ladle that measures 1/2 cup (or a 1/2 c. measuring cup), spread 1 cup of sauce onto the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add 3 noodles. Spread a layer of the cheese mixture. Spread 1 1/2 cups sauce and repeat so you have 4 layers of noodles. You should end with a layer of sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella (and some extra Parmesan if you have some left over).

Cover tightly with foil and bake about 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and remove foil. It will probably look a little runny. Don't be scared--you still need to let it stand about 15-20 minutes. During that time, it will thicken up nicely and it won't even be that oozy when you cut it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Orzo Chicken

Ok - I didn't even know what orzo was till a couple weeks ago, and I already found another recipe with it in it!  I had boot camp and dance tonight - so again, I needed something FAST FAST and FASTER!  This was super quick to throw together - and then I was able to get ready while it baked.  It probably isn't super healthy for you with that thick cream - BUT the flavor was totally worth it!  It's super yummy....AND I get leftovers AGAIN tomorrow!!  Perfect serving for 2 :)

Serves 2: Best Casserole Cookbook Ever

2 tablespoons flour
salt / pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
3/4 cup plain orzo
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 - coat a shallow 2qt casserole with cooking spray. 

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl - and coat the chicken halves.  Heat the chx broth so it's hot!

Spread out the orzo in the bottom of the casserole dish and pour the hot chicken broth over it.  Top with the onion, tomato, and seasoned chicken breasts.

Mix the heavy cream and sour cream together - spoon over chicken.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Sprinkle with the cheese and let stand for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

Bingo and Donni bday celebration tonight - needed something quick and easy, but yummy!!  This was awesome!  I didn't really think it would be anything special, but it was so so good!  AND it made enough for my lunch the next day too - a perk to cooking for one :)  But yeah - looking for an alternative to your normal spaghetti - do it up!  Super good!!

Serves 2

4 oz dry spaghetti
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoon pine nuts
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonaded

First, start your garlic oil. Pour in olive oil and chopped up garlic into a small frying pan and let it cook over low, until the garlic starts to brown on edges. Immediately remove from heat and reserve.

While that’s starting up, boil up some spaghetti.

Chiffonade some basil leaves. Fresh is, as usual, the best.  Then you take some cheese…Some pine nuts…
And dump it into a large bowl, with the garlic oil, garlic chunks and all. Squeeze in lemon juice. Throw in the spaghetti and toss until well combined. Plate, crack some black pepper on it, and nom.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Guac Football Field

Girls Fantasy Football Team Party today!!!  Woot Woot!!  I may not be winning....WE HAVE TO BEAT DOBIE!!...but we are still having a blast playing and smack talking each other.  I'm even learning a little about the players - and don't mind watching the pregame show so I learn a little!

In honor of our party - I had to make all food football related....take a look at a couple of the apps I made: this awesome football field (see below), Deviled Footballs and Cheesy Football.

For the football field - I just made up my famous Guac!! recipe - and then shaped into a field.  My plan was to pipe the field lines with sour cream - but I got lazy and made them with frosting.....don't do this!  :)  We just ate around them....haha!!  The goal posts I just made by super glueing toothpicks together!  So much fun and so tasty!!  Heart my Fantasy Football Team!!  (for all you ladies that the snow "hated on" - we missed you!!)

Deviled Footballs

I made up this recipe for Deviled Eggs - and then had to put a Football twist on them!!  Um yeah - football everything around here.  I just used green onions to make the time probably take the time to make the laces smaller or something so they look a little more football like - but hey , they still are cute :)

Cheesy Football

Super bowl party goers pay attention - how cute is this ?!  You can pretty much use any cheese ball recipe - and then shape into a football!  Thought it was fun!  This wasn't my favorite cheese ball recipe, but it was pretty good - and hey, it looked cute :)  OH - and new platter got a cutie football for the occasion :)

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup  MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
2 tablespoons pimiento strips
RITZ Crackers

Beat first 5 ingredients with mixer until blended. Stir in onions. Refrigerate several hours.

Form into football shape; coat with nuts and add pimentos for the lacing. Serve with crackers.