Taco Dip

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Mr. Meat Eater and I recently went to a birthday party and since I can’t seem to go anywhere empty-handed, I made this taco dip that I found on Skinnytaste.  Now, I am always careful when using low-fat, no-fat products because many times they make up for the lack of flavor with sugar.  Most of the time, I just go with the full fat or less fat item and not the fat free.  For this recipe, I used less fat cream cheese and sour cream but used regular cheddar cheese.

I like this recipe since I am not a fan of refried beans and so many of these recipes use them.  It’s a super easy recipe and great to take anywhere.

Skinnytaste Taco Dip

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
8 oz reduced fat sour cream
16 oz jar mild salsa ~ if you like things spicier, use medium or hot
1 packet taco seasoning ~ I use less sodium
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese ~ I use regular
small can sliced black olives, drained

Using an electric mixer, mix the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

Spread this mixture on the bottom of a serving dish or platter.

Sprinkle the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives over the top.

Refrigerate until serving time.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes at least 24 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Balsamic Chicken Wings

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You have GOT to try these wings!  I like Buffalo wings as much as the next person but I really enjoy a different tasting wing and these are it.  They are tangy and a little sweet and really just delicious.  I found the recipe on Epicurious but have seen it on Food.com and some other sites.

The thing to watch out for is while they are baking at 500º, they will smoke up your oven.  I know that Alton Brown has a trick to make them not smoke up your oven but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is.  Anyway, watch out for that.  Otherwise, they are super simple to make and everyone will love them!

Balsamic Chicken Wings

4 lbs. chicken drumettes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 large shallow baking pans (17 by 11 inches) with foil. Put pans in oven and preheat oven to 500°.

Pat wings dry, then toss with oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and divide between preheated pans, spreading wings in 1 layer. Roast, without turning, until golden and tender, about 35 minutes.

While wings roast, simmer vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

Remove wings from oven and let stand in pans 1 minute (to make wings easier to remove from foil), then transfer with tongs to a clean large bowl.

Pour balsamic mixture over wings and toss to coat well. Let stand 5 minutes, then toss again.

Makes 6-8 appetizer servings.

Happy Cooking!

Parmesan and Garlic Fries

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These are to die for!  The hardest thing about this recipe is cutting up the potatoes.   I wanted mine to look like fries so it took a bit to cut them up and then I realized I had a little contraption that would have done it for me.   Argh!!!  No matter how you cut them up, you have to try them ~ they would be perfect for a Super Bowl party, too.

Parmesan and Garlic Fries

4 large russet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch strips ~ you can leave them unpeeled if you prefer
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425º.

In a large mixing bowl, place the cut potatoes and pour the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle on the garlic, thyme and seasoned salt. Mix well until the potatoes are evenly coated. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. DO NOT throw away the oil that is left in the bowl.

Bake 30 minutes, turning the fries over halfway through (I didn’t do this because I forgot and I don’t think it really matters if you do or you don’t). After 30 minutes of baking, return the fries to the bowl with excess oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Toss to coat and return to baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes.

If desired, sprinkle fries again with a few shakes of Parmesan and a few shakes of seasoned salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

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I am still stunned at myself for choosing to make a Sandra Lee recipe as she is not a favorite of mine and I usually don’t watch her show.  For some reason, I had the FN on before the holidays and Sandra made these mushrooms and since I am addicted to mushrooms,  I tried them.  They ARE good!  They take a bit of time to make but are easy to assemble.

The pictures are lousy because I didn’t get a chance to put them on a plate before they were scarfed up!  I had to elbow my way in to grab a couple pictures.

Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large stuffing mushrooms
olive oil
4 links sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 1/2 cups diced leeks
1 cup cornbread stuffing
1/2 cup warmed chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375º. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Wipe mushrooms clean and remove stems but save the stems. Brush each cap with some olive oil.

Dice the stems.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsps olive oil. Add mushroom stems and cook for 1 minute. Add sausage; breaking up any clumps. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the diced leeks and saute for another 3 minutes or until the sausage is completely cooked through and the leeks are tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the stuffing and warmed broth. Let sit for a minute or two until the stuffing softens. Stir in sausage mixture, sage, garlic, and 2 tbsps Parmesan into stuffing.

Fill each mushrooms with some stuffing mixture and place on prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining 2 tbpsp of Parmesan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Easy Guacamole

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I have a couple of recipes for guacamole but I turn to this recipe the most because it’s super easy to make and doesn’t call for a bunch of ingredients.  I really *HATE* cilantro so I don’t add it and no one has ever missed it.  Sometimes I sub parsley but usually I just leave it out altogether.  This guac seems to stay green longer than other recipes I have tried but it doesn’t keep until the next day so use it up!

I found this recipe on Food.com submitted by Theresa in Chi-town.

Easy Guacamole

5 Hass avocados
2 limes
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped ~ leave it out or sub parsley if you don’t like it
1 tomato, diced and let sit on a paper towel for a minute to drain off much of the liquid
salt
chopped jalapenos ~ I used diced from a jar but fresh is fine as well or you can leave it out

Place meat of the avocados in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lime over the top immediately to prevent browning. Using a fork or potato masher, mash up the avocado to the consistency that you want. I leave mine a little chunky.

Add the onion, tomato, and cilantro and mix together. Add the juice of the second lime and then add the salt to taste. Mix to combine. Add jalapeno and mix together.

Use as a dip or topping.

Makes 6-8 servings (or more)

Happy Cooking!

Hot Ham and Swiss Party Rolls

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This recipe should come with a defibrillator.  They are so bad calorie-wise but every time I make them for a party, it’s the one appetizer everyone raves over the most.

This recipe is found in so many cookbooks and all over the internet.  It’s small size makes it great for parties or tailgating or a picnic.  I try to skimp some on the butter so that it isn’t quite so bad for you but you’ll have to decide for yourself.  I do hope that you try them once ~ they are excellent!

I made mine early in the morning so I did not marinate overnight and that worked out fine.  In fact, I like it better.

Hot Ham and Swiss Party Rolls

1 cup butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons spicy mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

24 small dinner rolls
mayonnaise
24 slices thin slices deli ham
24 slices thin slices Swiss cheese

Line two 9 x 13-inch baking pans with non-stick or regular foil.

Prepare marinade: Saute onion in butter over low heat until onion is soft. Add poppy seeds, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar is melted into the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.

Slice the buns in half. Spread bottoms of buns with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Fold ham slices to fit the bottom of each bun. Repeat with Swiss cheese slices, folding to fit buns. Replace bun tops. Place ham and cheese buns into prepared baking pans. Pour marinade evenly over both pans of buns.

Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake marinated buns covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Makes 24 appetizer sandwiches.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Chipotle Chicken Wings

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I found this recipe in a Pillsbury holiday magazine and the picture just looked so delicious that it went right on my list for party appetizers.  I like somewhat spicy and Mr. Meat Eater likes enough spice to make him sweat and it’s hard to come up with something we can both eat.  This recipe is not overly spicy but the heat is there.  It’s flavorful and I really like chipotles (chipotles are smoked jalapenos in case you don’t know) so I would have eaten it no matter what, LOL!  Our guests raved over them and I probably could have made double the amount and still run out.

My picture is not nearly as delicious looking as Pillsbury’s but I had to grab it before they were gone!

Chipotle Chicken Wings

2 pkgs chicken drummettes
3/4 cup chili sauce
3 tbsps brown sugar, packed
2 tbsps chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp grated lime peel
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oven to 375º and line a 13×9 pan with foil (the easy-off foil is great for this). Arrange drummettes in pan in a single layer.

Mix well all of the rest of the ingredients in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until the sugar is dissoved. Stir sauce well and pour over drummettes in the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, turn drummettes over, and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes longer or until glazed and cooked through entirely and no pink remains.

Makes about 20 appetizers but you may want to double recipe.

Happy Cooking!

 

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Tart

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This is such a simple appetizer but packs loads of flavor.  It was a huge hit at our party and with my family.  I made it again the next day so we could have a bigger piece.  It would be great as a light supper as well as an appetizer.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Tart

Mushroom Filling:
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
3/4 cup coarsely shopped onion
2 tbsps butter
salt to taste
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Tart:
1 refrigerated pie crust
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
Leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

To make the spread:
Clean the mushrooms, remove stems and cut into quarters. Place the mushrooms and onions in a food processor and finely chop ~ I just chopped finely by hand.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the mushroom/onion mix, salt and thyme and saute for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and saute for 5 minutes longer or until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture is like a paste in texture.

Spoon into a small bowl and let it stand until cool. Add lemon juice, mayo and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.

This filling may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated until needed.

For the tart:

Preheat the oven to 450º. Let pie crust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll the pastry on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Spread the mushroom filling evenly to within 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme. Fold in one edge of the pastry toward the center covering part of the filling. Work around the edge, pleating as you go.

Bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350º and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Six Layer Dip

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First, this picture is awful!  In my defense, I forgot to photograph it until it was half gone so there you have it, LOL!

I love layered Mexican dips but I don’t love refried beans so when I found this recipe, I knew it would become my favorite.  I also love that it uses fresh avocados instead of prepared avocado dip AND it can be made a little ahead without the avocados turning nasty and unappetizing colors.

Six Layer Dip

2 medium size ripe avocados
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/2 tbsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce ~ I use several shakes of Tabasco
1 cup sour cream ~ I use light
1 small can chopped black olives ~ I use a small can of sliced black olives
1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa ~ I usually use medium heat salsa but use whatever you like
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese ~ I use taco flavored

In a large bowl, mash the avocados with thelemon juice, garlic salt, and hot sauce. Spoon into a deep dish pie plate ~ mine is 9 inches ~ or a similar dish.

Layer the sour cream, olives, salsa, tomatoes and cheese on top of the avocado mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving with tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups dip.

Happy Cooking!

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

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This is a super easy easy appetizer and the dip is spot on with the tortellini.  I am addicted to this stuff!  It’s perfect for a party or even as a side dish on your table.  I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook submitted by Cheryl Lame.

I cut regular wooden skewers in half instead of buying some just for this and it worked out well.

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsps olive oil, divided
1 pkg (10 ozs) refrigerated spinach tortellini
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/8 tsp pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes

On a double thickness of aluminum foil, place the garlic cloves and drizzle with 1 tbsps olive oil. Wrap the foil around and roast in the oven at 425º for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Cool for 15 minutes.

While garlic is cooking, cook tortellini according to the package, drain, rise in cold water. Toss with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Parmesan, milk, pesto and pepper. Squeeze the garlic into this mixture and stir until combined.

Thread tortellini and tomatoes onto skewers and serve with pesto dip.

I made all of this ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 dozen skewers and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Happy Cooking!