Appetizer · Holiday · Recipes

Holiday Treat: White chocolate peppermint popcorn

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This is another great holiday treat that is very simple to make. This does not seem like much, but it is irresistible. Whenever I set this out, people cannot stop eating it:)

All you need:

  • Air popped popcorn (ten cups)
  • 12 oz white chocolate, melted
  • crushed peppermints, a few handfuls

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Step one: Pop the popcorn in a very large bowl. Crush peppermints in a ziploc bag.

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Step two: melt the white chocolate. Melting white chocolate can be very problematic, especially in the microwave. If that is your only option, Sally’s Baking Addiction has good advice on how to do it.I recommend a double boiler, or you can rig one with a sauce pan and a pyrex bowl, like this:

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Step three: Drizzle the melted white chocolate and blend with the popcorn. It will be a gooey mess. Toss in the crushed mint.  Store in an airtight container.

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Delicious and addicting

Appetizer · Recipes

Buffalo Chicken Dip

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Many people have their version of Buffalo chicken dip, but this is my favorite – stolen from my friend Hector:)

You will need:

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 16 oz.  Philadelphia cream cheese – full fat, softened
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot original or Buffalo
  • 2 (12.5 oz) cans of drained white chicken breast or rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • 1-2 dollops of sour cream (not too much or it will ruin the flavor)

HEAT oven to 350°F. Blend cream cheese, garlic, and salad dressing until smooth. Mix hot sauce, cheese and chicken. Pour into a baking dish (8×8).

BAKE 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through and bubbling. After it has cooled down, blend the ingredients.

Appetizer · Recipes

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

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This is a recipe I modified from: http://stayforsupper.com/2012/08/21/buffalo-chicken-taquitos/ and it has become a mainstay when we host parties.

Serve with blue cheese dip and/or celery sticks. You can also cut the hot sauce with regular buffalo sauce to diminish the heat.

Serves: If you wrap the taquitos tightly, it will yield about 18. 

You will need:

  • tortillas – I prefer El Banderito – some brands aren’t that good for rolling (i.e. mission)
  • 4 cups shredded chicken – you can cook it yourself, or use a rotisserie
  • 2 cups mozzarella
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup franks hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin

Step one:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small sauce pot over medium low heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add garlic and cumin to the melted butter, and stir.
  4. Add the cream cheese and stir until it is melted completely and combined with butter and spices.
  5. Whisk in hot sauce and milk and simmer for 5 – 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add shredded chicken to the mixture and blend.

Step two:

  1. Lay out a tortilla; I use maybe 2 tbs chicken and a sprinkle of mozzarella.           IMG_0208          IMG_0210-0
  2. Tightly roll up the taquito and place on a greased baking sheet; repeat until chicken is gone. I use a pastry brush and water to seal the tortilla well.                                                                                    IMG_0212
  3. Brush the taquitos with a little vegetable oil on all sides.                                            IMG_0213
  4. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes; rotate them every 5 minutes, until golden brown

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Serve and Enjoy:)

Appetizer · Holiday · Recipes

Pumpkin Dip


I plan to set this out for friends and family as we get ready to trick or treat tonight, but this is a nice treat to bring to a party or in to work to share:)

Serve with: Ginger snaps, apples

You will need:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Step one: blend sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together

Step two: add in pumpkin and spices. Blend until smooth

Step three: chill for three hours and then serve. enjoy:)


Appetizer · Mediterranean · Recipes

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

I found this recipe in a Mediterranean cookbook, and decided to use it for our annual Oscar party. It was ideal because I was looking for a good dip to use that was vegetarian, but delicious. It is very versatile, and very easy to make. I would definitely use it as a spread for sandwiches, as well.

You will need:

  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Serve with pita chips, bread, or vegetables.

Too Busy? 

Instead of roasting the red peppers yourself, use one cup of purchased roasted red sweet peppers, drained

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the peppers in half and deseed and destem. Place the pepper halvess cut side down on the sheet. Arrange the onions and garlic on the baking sheet with the pepper halves. Brush vegetables and garlic with some of the olive oil.
  2. Roast the vegetables for 30 to 35 minutes until the pepper skins are blistered and the onion is tender. Remove them from the oven and wrap the vegetables up in foil. Let them stand for 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skins from the peppers.
  3. Add the peppers and onions to a food processor or blender.  Squeeze the garlic from peels into the blender, as well. Add the remaining olive oil, and all of the remaining ingredients. Blend/pulse until nearly smooth.

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Appetizer · Mediterranean · Recipes

Goat Cheese & Basalmic bread

Here was an experiment that began with a delicious baguette and left over goat cheese. This turned out nicely and we paired it with some Chianti. For this particular situation, I chose to lay it out on a baguette, however slicing and toasting the bread into Crostini would be ideal for a party.

You will need:

  • Fresh baguette
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella or fresh sliced mozzarella
  • Basalmic glaze (you can make it or buy it)* recipe below

Step one:

Cut baguette in half and place on a baking pan. Preheat oven to 350. Brush with a little olive oil.

Step two:

Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Cook onions for at least 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook down until onions are caramelized (around 15-20 minutes total).
            
Step three: 

Add mozzarella on your bread. Add onions and tomatoes. Add goat cheese and fresh cracked pepper. Place in oven and cook for 8 -10 minutes.

Step four:

While bread is cooking in the oven, slice spinach and gently sauté over medium heat using the same pan you used for the onions. Cook until tender and set aside.

Step five:
Sprinkle spinach on top of the bread and drizzle with glaze. Enjoy!

To make a balsamic glaze:

Bring 2 cups balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a boil and reduce heat for twenty minutes.