Pimento Cheese Queso Dip

This recipe comes from a great food/recipe/cooking blog, Creole Contessa, and is also featured in the cookbook, The Classic Slow Cooker.  This recipe which can be an appetizer, snack, side dish or sometimes in my case a main dish, it terrific!  Very easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Great party dish as it can be made ahead of time and kept warm in the crock pot until ready to serve.  Enjoy with crusty french bread, tortilla chips, pretzels or even veggie crudités.  Sooooo much better than that store bought jar of queso cheese dip!

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Ingredients:

1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimiento peppers, drained
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella, diced
1 cup jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup green salsa
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder

Directions:

~Place all the dip ingredients into a slow cooker and mix well.  Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring a few times.

~Serve with toasted french bread dippers (as shown in photos here), tortilla chips, pretzels, bread cubes and could even do veggie crudités.

Parmesan Dutch Baby

Another great recipe from one of my favs, Food Network Magazine, April 2017 edition.  This is a fantastic side dish that is so easy to make!  It is like one giant pop-over that is great to be shared family style in the middle of the table.  This is GOOD!  Even though it may look tricky, it couldn’t be easier!  It is great with soups, salads, pastas, on its own, anytime you would serve dinner rolls, or even for breakfast w/ a little jelly or jam!  Try it…you’ll LOVE it!  I added a bit of grated Parmesan cheese to mine.  The original recipe from FN Mag made theirs with garlic and rosemary.  Really the possibilities are endless with what you could add to this and the flavors you could try here.  It is even fantastic plain, without any extras added in.

Ingredients:

3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp butter
kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 º F.  Whisk 3 eggs with the flour, milk, Parmesan cheese and 1 tsp kosher salt, (use 1/2 tsp if you like it less salty).  Let sit for 5 minutes.  In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, I use my cast iron skillet here, melt the 3 Tbsp butter on the stove top until fully melted, but before starting to burn.  Remove from heat.  Add the batter, just pour over melted butter, no need to mix.  Bake at 425 º until puffed and golden around the edges, anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes as ovens vary.  Start checking after about 15 minutes.  You may sprinkle with salt after cooked if needed, but I find it is plenty salty with the salt previously added and the Parmesan cheese.  Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli
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Roasted Broccoli

IMG_5524Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients:

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine florets with olive oil and salt & pepper to taste on baking sheet.  Spread in a single layer and roast for about 15 minutes until outer florets are crispy and stems are tender.

Almond, Celery & Spinach Salad

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Almond, Celery, Spinach Salad

Place enough of all ingredients for the amount of people you’re serving in salad bowl:  Spinach, diced celery, roasted almonds.  I threw in some grapes that I had on hand as seen in the photo, you could also add raisins, dates or anything else that you’d like.  Top with salad dressing of choice, a nice vinaigrette works well here, toss salad and serve.

Roasted Green Bean side with Feta, Dried Cranberry & Almonds
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Roasted Green Bean side with Feta, Dried Cranberry & Almonds

IMG_7259

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fresh green beans (about 6 cups)IMG_7257
6 oz. container crumbled Feta cheese
1 small pckg. dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:

IMG_7258Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash and trim green beans.  Place green beans on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for ~ 12 – 15 minutes until crispy and starting to brown.  Remove from oven and place IMG_7263on a serving platter.  Top green beans with crumbled feta cheese, dried cranberries and roasted almonds.  You will not use the entire container of feta or package of cranberries.  Eyeball it and top with desired amount as shown in photo.  Serve with main dish.

 

 

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus

IMG_5399

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus (or 2 for a larger group)
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:

Wash and trim asparagus.  Place asparagus on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Gently roll or mix the asparagus around on the baking sheet to combine with oil and seasoning.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for ~ 12 – 15 minutes, depending on thickness,  until just tender.  Serve with main dish.

Baked Beans
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Baked Beans

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 15 oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Directions:IMG_7367

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat until bubbling.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 – 2o minutes until cooked through and flavors are blended.  Serve with main dish.

Broccoli Slaw
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Broccoli Slaw

~From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

Yield: @ 8 cups slaw

Ingredients:

2 heads broccoli (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Toast almonds either on stovetop or in oven.  Stovetop method:  Place almonds in a heavy non-greased skillet.  Stir over medium heat until golden brown.  Oven method:  Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or so until golden brown.  In both cases watch carefully so as not to burn.

Trim the broccoli and chop it into bite size pieces.  Toss the broccoli with the almonds and cranberries.  In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayo, vinegar, sugar and salt until smooth.  Stir in the onion.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and let marinate until ready to use.  Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and add a generous amount of ground black pepper.  Stir the salad until the broccoli is evenly coated with the dressing.  Serve immediately.  Leftovers can be kept covered in fridge for 2 – 3 days if it lasts that long!

Note:  I do not use onion in this recipe as my family doesn’t care for it.  Onions are tough in the sense that it seems you either love them or hate them.  If you’re in the latter group simply omit them as I do.

 

Sweet Potato Fries
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Sweet Potato Fries

IMG_5666

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fry shaped pieces keeping them approximately the same size so they cook evenly.  PlaceIMG_5668 on a baking sheet; I like to line mine with parchment paper for easy clean up.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Give everything a good stir with your hands to make sure the potatoes are nicely coated with the oil and seasoning.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for ~ 20 minutes or until crispy and tender.  Enjoy!

Roasted Yellow Potatoes
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Roasted Yellow Potatoes

IMG_5834

Ingredients:

2 lbs. yellow potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

IMG_5833 2Directions:

Wash potatoes and let dry.  Cut into quarters.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Mix potatoes well with your hands to make sure they are nicely covered with the oil and seasoning.   Bake at 400 degrees for ~20 – 25 minutes.  Ovens vary so check 1/2 way through cooking.  Some people use the convection setting which cooks things much quicker and some ovens run hotter than others.  You probably have a good idea of what you’re working with from past experience so adjust above time as needed.  Potatoes should have a nice crispy appearance as shown above and be easily pierced with a fork.