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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Savory Spinach Bites

This appetizer is perfect for the fall or winter. The stuffing makes them very savory and reminded me of Thanksgiving. They weren't heavy but they were super filling. The recipe makes a lot so they would feed a big group!


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
2 10-ounces packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 8-ounce bag of herbed seasoned stuffing mix
6 large eggs - I used EggBeaters
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter.

3. Add onion and cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes or so.

4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

5. In the meantime, remove excess water from thawed spinach by pressing it between paper towels. **You do not need to cook the spinach.

6. In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix, spinach, eggs, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and onion/garlic mixture. Combine well.

7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. One at a time, using your hands, roll the mixture into individual 1-inch balls. Place each one on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

9. Bake the balls for about 15-20 minutes, or until very slightly browned. **Your kitchen will smell fantastic, I promise.

Dipping sauces: I used marinara, but you could use Ranch dressing, sour cream, horseradish, etc. Whatever you like!

recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Baked Cheesy Artichoke Dip

I am all about artichoke dip. This recipe was so easy to make and really delicious! It's really creamy but not TOO terrible for you with the substitution of low fat products.

Yield: Makes about 2 2/3 cups

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 14-ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water, well drained, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup italian cheese blend
French-bread baguette slices, toasted

Whisk 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, pepper, onion salt, and garlic powder in medium bowl to blend. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts. Transfer mixture to 3-cup ramekin.

Sprinkle dip with remaining 2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese italian cheese and paprika.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake dip until heated through, about 25 minutes (about 35 minutes if chilled).

Serve warm with crackers or toasted bread.

Recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated overnight.

adapted from Picky Cook

Buffalo Chicken Bites

These bites were AMAZING. I didn't read the recipe through before committing to make them and I wish I had because the proofing time for the dough is long. However, it all came together very quickly once the dough was prepped. They were well worth the wait and disappeared quickly! I will definitely be making these frequently!

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (I used chicken from one of my crockpot rotisserie chickens)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup hot sauce (Frank's brand is what I used)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup warm milk ( I used 1%)
2 1/2 cups of flour

To make the buffalo chicken mixture, in a small bowl, combine the chicken, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, softened butter and hot sauce; set aside.

In a 1 cup measuring cup, heat the milk and then add the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; stir into warm milk until dissolved; place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast to the stand mixer and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary. Allow the dough to knead in the stand mixer for 5-7 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Place dough into a clean bowl that's been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Gently press one fourth of buffalo chicken mixture into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces and transfer to a sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with remaining dough, filling and cut into pieces, transferring to sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

Bake buffalo chicken bites in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven (some cheese may have melted out.) and brush tops with melted butter before serving (optional).

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping!

recipe adapted from Joelen's

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken - Crockpot

Another delicious shredded chicken recipe from the crockpot. You can use any flavored barbecue sauce that you like but I went with a fruit infused sauce. It was full of flavor and super easy! 

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts (mine were still frozen!)
1/2 a bottle of Sweet Baby Rays Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup! Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce. Empty can of drained pineapple chunks on top. Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce. Serve over brown rice.

recipe adapted from Six Sisters' 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hot Reuben Dip

Holly knows my love of corned beef reubens and recently sent me this recipe to try. It was killer! Made it for the not so awesome Ravens game yesterday. Tasted just like a reuben sandwich. It was different and unique and a new favorite among our friends. Definitely recommend and can't wait to make again. Plus it was super easy!

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (we used low fat)
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 lb deli corned beef (ask for it chopped at the deli and then give it a little extra chopping when you get home)
½ cup Thousand Island dressing (we used a light version)
½ cup drained sauerkraut
1/2 loaf rye bread, cut into fours

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, 1 cup of the Swiss cheese, the dressing and corned beef. Spread in a pie plate or other shallow serving dish. Top with the sauerkraut and the remaining ½ cup of Swiss cheese.

3. Bake until cheese is fully melted and it's bubbly around the edges (ours took about 25 minutes). Serve hot with cocktail-size rye bread squares.

***recipe & picture courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jalapeno Cheese Sauce

I made this dip to go with soft pretzels and it was AMAZING. It would be great to use with tortilla chips, veggies or whatever you want to dip in it. The flavor is so good and it keeps well in a crockpot to stay warm!

1 T unsalted butter
1 T flour
3/4 cup milk - I used 1%
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1 tsp cayenne pepper

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking about one minute until smooth. Add milk, whisking to incorporate. Add garlic and jalapeno. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes. The sauce should begin to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add cayenne pepper to taste.

White Chicken Chili - Crockpot

I was a little skeptical about how this chili would taste since I've only ever made traditional chili's. However, this was SO good. It was creamy, but not heavy and packed a nice bit of heat without being too spicy. It was perfect football food on a cold winter day.

3 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3- 4 cups cooked chicken (I used shredded chicken from one of my crockpot rotisserie chickens)
1 jar (15 ounces) LITE Alfredo sauce
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1-1/2 cups frozen gold and white corn
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Salsa verde, optional

In a large slow cooker, combine the first 15 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated though, stirring once. Serve with salsa verde if desired.

Yield: 12 servings (1 cup each).

recipe adapted from taste of home