Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jalapeño Popper Dip



Dip:

2 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cup shredded blended Mexican cheese
1.2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 4-oz can sliced jalapeños (add more if you like it really hot!)
1 4-oz can diced green chilies

Top layer:
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter

Recipe adapted from: Big Red Kitchen

Add the first 6 ingredients in a food processor (I used a blender) and process until smooth.  You don't need to drain either can of chilies, just throw it all in, juice and all into the blender.

Once the ingredients are combined, spread the dip into a greased 2 quart casserole dish.

In a bowl mix bread crumbs and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Pour melted butter over top crumb mixture and combine all ingredients well.  Add an even layer of this to the top of the mixture in the casserole dish.

Top with some pickled jalapeños.


Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  You want to make sure that the top gets browned slightly and the sides are bubbly.  See picture below:


I serve this dip with corn tortilla chips but you can use crackers, pita bread, whatever suits you fancy.

I'll guarantee one thing, if the room is full of femmes; they're gonna be asking for your phone number.  This dip is a real crowd pleaser.  I have yet to find someone who doesn't love it!


Strawberry Lemonade Bars


I love lemons. I love nearly everything lemon flavored.  I also love strawberries.  So, when you combine strawberries AND lemons, you have nirvana.  Give these bars a try, take them to a potluck, or just keep the whole batch for yourself.  You won't regret it! Well, except for the few extra pounds you'll pack on lol.

Crust:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Filling:
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium size lemons)
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Adapted from: Food.com - Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy.  Working at low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly.  Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, strawberry puree, sugar, and eggs and process until smooth.  Add in flour, baking powder, until smooth.  Add in flour, baking powder, and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking.  Return to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes until the filling is set (There will be a light colored "crust" on top from the sugar in the custard).  Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.  Store bars in the refrigerator.  Dust with powdered sugar.

The crust mixture is very crumbly.

Pat down crust mixture and bake for about 17 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven.  The layer is set and doesn't "wiggle."

Sprinkle powdered sugar over bars and cut with a wet knife.


These bars are slightly tart and full of yummy strawberry and lemon flavor.  I've made them for friends and everybody loves them.






Saturday, June 7, 2014

Singh Farmer's Market


Okay,  I've been really lazy.  I haven't baked much or cooked either but this post will be about food though.  Sometimes photographs are just as fun as recipes right?

 Today I got up at 5:00am on a Saturday to go out and take some photographs at a desert botanical garden with a friend.  Afterwards she suggested that we go to a local farmer's market called Singh Farm in Scottsdale, AZ.  She told me that it was a little hideaway.  I envisioned a few tent stands with fresh produce and people milling around.

When we got there, I couldn't see anything because there were so many trees hiding the place.  Make no mistake there was something wonderful going on behind those trees because there were cars parked everywhere on the side of the road.  A woman jumped out of her car and zoomed past us in a sprint to get to the market.    I chuckled and turned to my partner, "Damn, what's the rush?"


We walked into big parking lot and beyond that was a lush green oasis of trees, picnic tables, and stands with every kind of food and vegetable.  The whole market was covered by a big canopy of beautiful shade trees.  People were everywhere eating at tables and in line to buy fresh pastries, roasted corn, and you name it.  They had everything!


There was a little wooden building in the middle of all of this that was buzzing with people so we went to check it out and found freshly baked loaves of all kinds of breads and fresh vegetables.  On window sill they had fresh honey for sale.  I couldn't resist taking a photograph because it was just so beautiful here and I loved how they presented their food!


We ended up buying some tomatoes and oh my gosh, can I tell you, they were DELICIOUS!  It's not often that we buy homegrown tomatoes because it's just so convenient to get them at the grocery store.  After biting into these babies, we have definitely changed our mind and will make the trip back to buy some more.


They even had fresh flowers that you could purchase in quant glass jars.  People were snatching them up like crazy.  How could you blame them?  They were so pretty!


We ended up buying a huge watermelon, some tomatoes, and some loaves of breads.  After lugging around the watermelon I sat at a picnic table while my partner and friend went to go look around.  The lady I sat next to had a beautiful bouquet of flowers so I asked her if I could take a picture of them.   She obliged and after introducing ourselves to each other we spent the next few minutes chatting about how lucky we were to have found this place and how pretty it was.


So, the moral of this story for me (and you) is to not be lazy, get out and explore, take pictures of fresh food and make new friends.

Have a great day!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing




You know that saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?  Well, sure, I don't mind making lemonade but that's got a lot of sugar.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fresh homemade lemonade.  Even as I type this I'm craving it.  But, since I'm trying to lose weight and when a friend handed me a bag of lemons, I decided to made a tasty lemon vinaigrette salad dressing instead!!  I searched online and found an easy recipe; one that called for everything that I already had available in my pantry.  I'm really big on simple recipes and this one fit the bill.

Recipe:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (I added 4 cloves!)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sugar ( I added 1 tsp)
1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground pepper

For the salad:
Spring mix
Fresh spinach
Feta cheese
Grape tomatoes

Adapted from Food.com

I used a recycled glass container to for my dressing so I didn't need to whisk the ingredients because I shook them in the jar.  If you don't have a closed container then whisk all the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.  Chill for an hour. Whisk ingredients before serving, or in my case, do the cha cha as you shake the jar.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Low Calorie Blueberry Scones


As you can tell, I LOVE home baked goodies.   That's why I bake all the time but the biggest drawback is the calories.  Now this is where this great recipe comes in handy.  These scones are only 196 calories as opposed to 460 at Starbucks.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Starbucks and am a regular customer but man, when they started listing the calorie content of their foods...uh, that was like an instant repellent for me.  I can't live without a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a nice chilled coffee drink in the afternoon but the extra calories and poundage I'd gain from eating their scones or pastries...umm..no, not good.  Anyways, as I'm waiting in line to order my coffee I wistfully gaze at the scones and wave goodbye to them.   Too many calories!

Determined to find a way to be able to have my cake and eat it too, I went on a recipe hunt. I didn't have to hunt for very long though.  Hello...CookingLight.com.  This recipe calls for very little butter and sugar which is a good thing.  An even better thing is that they taste really good.  I've baked them and everyone who's tasted them really like them.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light:

1/2 cup 2% reduced fat milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

To brush over scones:
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar ( I used turbinado sugar-natural brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Cut butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  I usually start out using a pastry cutter then end up using my hands to combine the butter with the flour mixture.  Add milk mixture, stirring until moist.  Warning: The dough will be really sticky especially if you're using fresh blueberries that have just been rinsed.  That little bit of extra water on the blueberries adds to the stickiness.



Dust a surface flour and turn dough out onto it.  I also dust the top of the dough too so its easier to work with.  Pat dough down into 10 wedges and place dough wedges onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

I used a flower cookie cutter with this batch so that the scones would be round but you can cut yours in to triangles.  Either way looks attractive.

I use parchment paper every time I bake cookies and scones.  It just saves to much time and is so much easier to bake the goodies on.  It's not that expensive so I highly suggest that you buy a roll.

Brush egg white over dough wedges, sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.  Bake scones at 375 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm.



Mmmmm, nothing like warm blueberry scones right out of the oven!!! Yummm!!!