28 May 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Doug's sister, Emily, made her famous Buffalo Chicken Dip for her brother's graduation a few weeks ago. I tried to snap a picture of that dip, but the lighting was all funky, so I didn't get a good picture until now. Taylor brought over cowboy caviar and a delicious buffalo chicken dip last weekend. This picture is actually a picture I took of Taylor's dip, so if you want her recipe, then click here. The recipe I posted below is Emily's recipe. Both are delicious - your guests will love it either way!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
(Emily's Recipe)
Yield: Serves Many

2 Packages Cream Cheese (reduced fat)
2 C. Ranch Dressing (Fat Free)
2 Bags (2-cup size) Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Celery, diced (to taste)
3/4 C. Buffalo Wing Sauce (more or less to taste)
6-8 Boneless Chicken Breasts, cooked & shredded

In a large bowl, mix (with beater) cream cheese, dressings, celery, cheese, squirts of buffalo wing sauce. Add chicken; stir all together. Put in a 9x13'' pan. Add more cheese on top. Bake at 375F degrees for 20-40 minutes (until top is golden brown). Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, and celery sticks.

27 May 2010

Cowboy Caviar

My friend, Taylor, came over this past weekend for our now monthly movie night. She brought over a few appetizers for all of us to try. I've seen a variation of this cowboy caviar in specialty stores, but I've never made it myself. The recipe includes fresh and healthy ingredients that I think are just perfect for this time of year! It really was delicious. Thanks for letting us try your cowboy caviar! Taylor posted it on her cute blog today too! If you haven't checked out her blog, Greens and Chocolate, you should pop over there and say, "Hello!"

Cowboy Caviar
(Taylor's Recipe)
Yield: 6-8 Servings

1 C. Dried Black-Eyed Peas or 2 (15 oz) Cans of Black-Eyed Peas (or black beans)
1/2 C. Red Onion, diced
1/2 C. Bell Pepper, diced (you pick the color!)
2 Medium Tomatoes, seeded & diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded & diced
3 Tbsp. Green Onion, chopped
1/4 C. Canola Oil
1/4 C. Rice Wine Vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper

If using dried black-eyed peas, prepare them according to the package. If using canned black-eyed peas or black beans, you will want to drain, rinse, and drain again. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the freshly chopped veggies in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors marry.

26 May 2010

Bunny's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are THE BEST oatmeal raisin cookies!!! I think it took me about two years to get this recipe from my friend's mom. Lucky for you, I just got the "go ahead" to share the recipe with my readers. Want to know why they are the best? The secret is soaking the raisins in eggs and vanilla for one hour. They get plumped up and make a surprising difference in the end result. You should probably do yourself a favor and make a batch for the long holiday weekend!

Bunny's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Recipe from Bunny S.)
Yield: 3-4 dozen

3 Eggs, well beaten
1 C. Raisins
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 C. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Sugar
2 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 C. Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

Combine eggs, raisins and vanilla; let stand for one hour covered with plastic wrap. After one hour, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add flour, salt cinnamon, and baking soda to sugar mixture; mix well. Blend in egg-raisin mixture and oatmeal. Dough will be stiff. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and serve with a cold glass of milk!

25 May 2010

Spring Vegetable + Asian Noodle Salad

Warning: Only make this salad when you have company over or if you are going to a BBQ! I didn't realize that this would make as much as it did. Let's just say that I had A TON of leftovers...! I didn't complain though because it is loaded with fresh vegetables and the dressing is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I'll definitely be making this recipe again. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Spring Vegetable & Asian Noodle Salad
(Adapted from Ree)
Yield: 8 Servings

1 Package Linguine Noodles, cooked, rinsed & cooled
1/2 Head Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
1 Small Head Purple Cabbage, center core removed, thinly sliced
2 C. Fresh Baby Spinach, loosely packed
1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 Orange Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 small bag Bean Sprouts
Fresh Cilantro (1/2 bunch to 1 whole bunch), chopped
Cashews, lightly toasted, for garnish (I omitted & added chow mein noodles)

For the Dressing:
1 Lime, juiced
8 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1/3 C. Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Whole Jalapenos, seeded & minced
Fresh Cilantro, freshly chopped (I used about 1/4 C.)

Mix salad ingredients together. I pre-chopped all the salad ingredients and put it in a large plastic-zip bag so that everything was easy to throw together at the last minute. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, except for the fresh cilantro - you'll want to add that at the last minute or else it will wilt. When you are ready to serve, add the cilantro to the dressing, pour over the salad ingredients, and toss in a large bowl or platter with tongs or clean hands. Garnish with chow mein noodles or lightly toasted cashews. Note: Dressing will keep for 3 days before serving (without cilantro). Can be served with sliced grilled chicken breasts on top if making this a main dish.

21 May 2010

Lime + Tangelo Margaritas

As promised, here is the margarita recipe I made to go along with our Tequila-Lime Shrimp Tacos. Don't you just love these cocktail napkins? They say, "Hey! I speak Spanish! Margarita!" I found them on sale at Sur la Table and knew they had to be mine. Margaritas are my favorite summertime drink! Cheers and have a great weekend!

Lime & Tangelo Margaritas
Yield: 1 Serving

3 oz. Fresh Lime and Tangelo Juice
2 oz. Tequila (good quality!)
1 oz. Triple Sec
Splash of Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup (equal parts water to sugar)

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and give it a good shake (at least 15 seconds). Fill glass full of ice cubes and pour the strained, cold cocktail into the glass. Serve with a wedge of lime and tangelo (or your favorite citrus fruit).

20 May 2010

Tequila-Lime Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream + Cilantro Puree

Are you looking for a new summertime dinner idea? These tacos are seriously out of this world! Yes, there is a lot going on... but it is sooooo worth it! I know who is going to make these tacos the first out of my readers... My mom. She is always looking for new recipes to try for the summer weather. Have Dad put the shrimp on the grill and it will take on a whole new flavor. The chipotle cream sauce is pretty spicy, but the cilantro puree sort of calms that down. Need something to wash it down with? Try my Lime & Tangelo Margarita recipe!

Tequila-Lime Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream & Cilantro Puree
(Adapted from Recipe Girl)
Yield: 8 Tacos

Marinade - Put all these ingredients in a large plastic zip bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes:
1 Orange, zested and then juiced
2 Limes, zested and then juiced
1/4 C. Tequila + 1 Tbsp Sugar (OR 1/4 C. pre-mixed Margaritas)
1 1/2 lbs. Large, Raw Shrimp, peeled & de-veined (tails removed)

Chipotle Cream Sauce - Whisk all these ingredients together in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use:
8 oz. Sour Cream (no fat works just fine!)
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Canned Chipotle Chile in Adobo Sauce, chopped
1 tsp. Adobo Sauce (from the can)
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, freshly squeezed

Cilantro Puree - Blend these ingredients together in a food processor until combined; put in small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use:
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic
Pinch of Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice

Additional Ingredients
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, seeded & thinly sliced
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
8 Soft Taco-Size Flour Tortillas, warmed
1/2 Head Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
2 Tomatoes, diced (optional)
Lime Wedges (for garnish)

Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-heat. Saute the thinly sliced bell pepper and onion until slightly charred. Drain shrimp from marinade and add to pan. Stir until shrimp turn pink; remove from heat. Warm tortillas in a small skillet and keep warm until ready to serve. Assemble the tacos by placing shrimp, peppers and onions on the tortilla. Add the lettuce and tomatoes; drizzle with the chipotle cream and cilantro puree. Serve with lime wedges and a margarita!

18 May 2010

Lemon-Thyme Chicken Salad Crostini

I saw this on Katie's fabulous blog, Good Things Catered, and knew that I had to give it a try. I went to the farmer's market and picked up some radishes that were picked that morning! There is nothing better than fresh produce! You can make the chicken salad before your guests arrive and simply assemble the crostini when they arrive. This chicken salad is also delicious served on a bed of greens or in a sandwich. Enjoy!

Lemon-Thyme Chicken Salad Crostini
(Adapted from Katie)
Yield: 8 Servings

3 Chicken Breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Lemon, zested then cut in half
2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
3 Large Celery Stalks, diced
1/4 Medium Red Onion, diced
1/2 C. Light Mayonnaise
3 Scallions, thinly sliced (both white & green parts)
4 Radishes, ends removed & thinly sliced
Baguette, sliced 1/4'' thick

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Prepare a dish lined with foil. Place chicken in the dish, brush with some olive oil, squeeze juice from lemon over chicken, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, and sprinkle a few sprigs of thyme on top. Bake for 20 minutes (depending on thickness); remove and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the diced celery and onion. Mince the remaining sprigs of thyme and add it to the bowl. Shred the chicken breasts (after they are fully cooked) or cube them and add them to the bowl. Add mayo a little at a time, just enough to lightly coat the chicken. Add the scallions, 1 tsp. of lemon zest, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Add more seasonings to taste. Cover and place in the fridge to cool (this can be done ahead of time). To serve, toast the sliced baguette in the oven until golden brown. Top with chicken salad and a few thin slices of radishes.

14 May 2010

Giveaway Winner...

Random.org generated lucky number TWO. Congratulations, Emily!

I'll send you the book! You'll love it!

11 May 2010

One Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

I almost missed it... MY BLOG'S FIRST BIRTHDAY! Can you believe it has been one whole year since this all began? I love looking back at my first few posts and thinking about how far I have come in just 365 days! I have truly enjoyed getting to know all of my readers and feel like you guys are my friends. You all brighten my days with your lovely comments - THANK YOU!

Caroline, from Through Rose Colored Glasses, sent me the new Sex and the City book on Friday and I already finished it! Cover to cover in two days! This book is awesome and so is Caroline's blog - so check it out! I want to pay if forward and pass it along to one of my readers :) All you need to do is write a comment on this post! I will pick a winner at 11:00AM CST on Friday, May 14th and send you this book. Cheers to blogiversaries!

Key Lime Tarts

My mom's key lime pie holds a special place in my heart. She has a special touch and can make the perfect meringue topping every single time. I get impatient and sometimes add the sugar too fast; thus, the meringue weeps. However, I found the perfect recipe for those of us who want to make dessert for guests ahead of time and not have to worry about making that perfect meringue.

This recipe even has a coconut graham cracker crust! You'll want to serve this at your next springtime dinner party! Trust me.

Key Lime Tarts with Coconut Crust
(Adapted from Bunky)
Yield: 6 Tartlets or 1 Pie

1 Pkg. Graham Crackers, crushed in a plastic bag
1/3 C. Sweetened Coconut
2 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
1 (14 oz) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (I used fat-free)
4 Large Egg Yolks, at room temperature
1/2 C. Fresh Key Lime Juice (or good quality bottled juice)
1 C. Heavy Cream
1 tsp. Plain Gelatin
1 Tbsp. Cold Water
2 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed graham crackers, coconut, sugar, and butter with a fork. At this point, you can press this mixture into a 9'' glass pie pan or between six 4'' tartlet pans. The mixture should be pressed into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes on the middle rack in the oven. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks with a whisk until combined. Add in the lime juice and whisk until combined. Evenly pour the filling between the six cooled tart crusts. Bake on a rack for 12 minutes (or 15 minutes if you are making a 9'' pie). Cool pie on a wire rack and then refrigerate for 3 hours (or 6 hours for a 9'' pie). About one hour before serving, put heavy cream in a bowl fitted with an electric mixer. Place gelatin and water in a small dish and microwave for 8 seconds. Add this mixture to the cream and whip until combined. Refrigerate this mixture for an hour. Right before serving, add powdered sugar and vanilla; whip until desired consistency is reached. Place whipped cream in a pastry bag and pipe onto the pie(s).

06 May 2010

Chicken with Quick-Roasted Garlic

You know those days where you don't really feel like cooking, but you still want to serve something delicious and memorable...??! Yea, well, I had one of those days this week and turned to my trusty Food & Wine magazine that Jenn got for me. I stumbled across this recipe and had all the ingredients in my fridge.... Love when that happens! I was able to make this in no time at all and it turned out to be quite delicious. The next time you want a quick-fix meal, I would highly suggest making this one! Enjoy!

Chicken with Tarragon & Quick-Roasted Garlic
Yield: 4 Servings

3 Large Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Cutlets
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 C. Dry White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1/2 C. Chicken Broth, Low-Sodium (I made my own)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Tarragon, chopped
2 Tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until there are brown spots on all sides of the garlic (it will be tender when pierced); turn occasionally for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer chicken to a plate and return the skillet to the stovetop (do not clean the skillet)! Peel the garlic. Add garlic and white wine to the same skilled; cook and reduce by half, mashing garlic with a fork. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until the liquid is again reduced by half. Add cream and simmer to sauce consistency (about 2 minutes). Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning on occasion. Transfer chicken to a plate and spoon sauce over it. Serve with southwest rice and corn salad with lemon dressing (optional).

05 May 2010

Southwest Rice + Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing

Doug took one bite of this vegetable and rice salad and said, "This is like Chipotle rice on steroids. I love it!" What I enjoyed about this recipe is that it makes enough for a large crowd, it was easy to throw together, and it is filled with fresh veggies. I used cilantro from my herb garden! This would be a fitting side dish for any sort of Cinco de Mayo celebration that you might have today. Enjoy it with an ice-cold margarita and you'll be ready to celebrate!

Southwest Rice & Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing
(Adapted from Food & Wine, May 2010)
Yield: 8 Servings

1 C. White Rice, uncooked (I used kasmati)
1/4 C. Fresh Lemon Juice (or lime juice would be fine)
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
1 1/2 C. Fresh Corn Kernels (from 2 ears), or frozen and thawed
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded & chopped
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded & chopped
1 Small Green or Yellow Zucchini, cut into 1/2'' cubes
2 Avocados, halved, peeled & diced
1/2 C. Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 C. Fresh Cilantro, loosely packed & chopped

Cook rice until just tender (about 12 to 15 minutes). Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. Meanwhile, whisk lemon (or lime) juice and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add corn, yellow and green bell peppers, and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables are just tender (about 6 to 7 minutes); transfer to a large bowl. Add rice, avocado, green onions, cilantro, and dressing. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper (if needed). I served this with a wedge of lemon to squeeze on top and I highly suggest doing that!