Let me tell you about my new favorite snack. Well, healthy snack. I’m still a sucker for Sour Cream and Onion potato chips. Which is why I tend to not buy them. Unless I have a good excuse. Like people coming over for a grill out and game night. Such as happened over the weekend. And why I’m now sitting here munching on processed food deliciousness.
Salty and crunchy foods are always my mid-afternoon craving, so I try to keep a smarter option on hand. A bean dip is a great snack – full of protein and fiber – and I can enjoy it with a slightly guilty pita or tortilla chip along with carrots and celery. I think the biggest challenge with eating healthy is satisfying those unhealthy cravings, so it’s important to “cheat” in a smart way. By combating salty chips with a filling and healthy dip you end up feeling satisfied.
This black bean dip is a huge hit! I’ve made it three times now. If it’s still on the table when my husband gets home I find I don’t have any left the next day. My son even enjoys it – he’ll eat it with his hands, off a spoon, or even gnaw it from a piece of celery.
Black Bean Dip
- 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 C salsa
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- Place beans in food process and pulse until they’re broken up. Add salsa, garlic, cumin, chili powder, olive oil, and lime juice. Puree until smooth.
- Season to taste with S+P and add in the cilantro. Pulse until combined.
- Serve with multi-grain tortilla chips, pita chips, pita bread, or veggies.
*This recipe is adapted from Bobbi at http://www.bobbiskozykitchen.com/2015/02/chipotle-black-bean-dip-sundaysupper.html#.VSrAH_nF_0e*
For Cinco de Mayo, which conveniently falls on a Monday, I wanted to do something traditional. If you’re a returning reader to Sew You Think You Can Cook you know that almost every Monday I feature a Mexican-inspired recipe for Mexican Mondays. How authentic my recipes are is very debatable, and I don’t pretend that they are. Most of what I make spins from the American version of Mexican cuisine. But for Cinco de Mayo I thought I’d pay tribute to the holiday.
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day like most Americans believe. (Fun fact: Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th) Cinco de Mayo is not a national Mexican holiday or even celebrated throughout the country. Oddly enough, the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration occurs in Los Angeles!
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla when the Mexican army defeated the French in 1862. Puebla is considered the melting pot of Mexico – Spanish, French, and the Oriental flavors were given to native Aztec and Mayan foods. While Puebla is known for it’s Mole Poblano I planned to prepare Chiles en Nogada (stuffed chiles in a walnut cream sauce), even it it’s not typically served until the fall when walnuts and pomegranates are in season.
Note I said planned to prepare?
Life got in the way. Weekends were spent out of town and Stuart was on travel (I wasn’t about to spend so much time and effort on a dish just for me). So my Plan B was to create a sweet traditionally found in Puebla – Jamoncillo Pinion. The [translated] recipe looked simple enough. And then I was placed on bed rest. My mom generously offered to give it a shot. Somewhere along the way we failed at candy making. Whether something was lost in the translation or we were simply too impatient I’m not sure. But the candy never set – even after putting it in the freezer overnight. (Before I get in trouble, I am in no way blaming her! I’d be posting the same story if I were the one standing at the stove.)
So now what? I can’t NOT have a post on Cinco de Mayo!
With Cinco de Mayo being widely popular in the states and salsa being the number one condiment in America, why not a simple salsa?
Spicy Blender Salsa
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 small jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 C fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed.
*This recipe is adapted from Kelley at http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2012/01/quick-and-easy-blender-salsa/*
Stuart has now put a ban on all grocery store salsas and demands this be made every time instead.
I want to provide you with another option for your New Year’s Eve party.
I know this doesn’t qualify as Mexican Monday – but it could if you decided to substitute Mexican chorizo in place of the breakfast sausage. In fact, that actually sounds delicious! My dad felt that the pinwheels were actually missing something, such as a dipping sauce. But we were all stumped as to what that could be. Red pepper jelly seemed to work, but still wasn’t just perfect. Using Mexican chorizo might give that needed something.
A friend of mine brought these sausage pinwheels to a party last year and they were gone in the blink of an eye. Even my cream-cheese-hating husband gobbled them up.
- 1 roll breakfast sausage
- 2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
- 2 pkgs cream cheese, softened
- Brown the sausage and drain any fat.
- Mix cream cheese and sausage.
- Roll out crescent dough and press together seams. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture. Roll the crescents lengthwise. Repeat with 2nd tube of crescents.
- Place rolled up pinwheels in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Slice pinwheels into 1/2″ rolls. Place pinwheels cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes, or until crescents are cooked through.
*This recipe is adapted from Leah at http://abiteofmylife.blogspot.com/2009/02/cream-cheese-sausage-pinwheels.html*
It’s the time of year for cocktail parties. Saying goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.
Bacon-wrapped anything is always a safe appetizer to take with you to your New Year’s parties. And bacon wrapped dates are your best bet. The dates caramelize in the oven and turn into candy. The bacon crisps up. What you are left with is essentially a chewy centered candy.
I have a big lesson learned to tag along with this recipe. Bake your bacon wrapped anything on a cookie sheet with a rim! Why? Bacon releases fat/grease. This grease is not solid. This grease will most likely drip off of a flat cookie sheet. In a 450 degree oven this grease will catch fire. Now what?! Turn off the oven. According to dummies.com keep the oven door closed and the lack of oxygen will cause the fire to die. But if want to save your bacon wrapped anything quickly and carefully remove them from the oven and throw either baking soda or salt on the flame. DO NOT USE FLOUR. Apparently, flour will cause an explosion!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- Soak toothpicks in water, to prevent them from catching fire. Preheat oven to 450 deg.
- Cut bacon in half. On a plate, microwave bacon for 2 minutes (covered with a paper towel).
- Wrap each date with bacon and skewer with a toothpick.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bacon is cooked and crispy.
*This recipe is adapted from Beau at http://oursavorylife.com/a-delicious-paleo-snack-recipe-bacon-wrapped-dates/*
Last week we were invited to a friend’s surprise birthday party. I knew I was going to bring something edible to the table, but had to decide on what that was going to be. I thought about doing my Corn and Black-Eyed Pea Dip but as it’s fall decided to go with something heartier.
I decided to do some recon on the birthday girl’s Pinterest boards and saw that she had posted a Buffalo Chicken Dip. I stopped searching there and decided on this recipe.
Every Christmas Eve my brother’s fiance’s family has a party. My future sister-in-law makes this dip every year and it’s a crowd favorite. Two years ago for Christmas she gave me a fantastic cooking gift basket filled with Giada DeLaurentiis products as well as a recipe box, including her Buffalo Chicken Dip.
Unfortunately this food post does not have a photograph to accompany it as I forgot to snap a picture before the party. We were running late and it completely slipped my mind. Next time I make it I’ll add it to this post.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Approx 3 lb chicken, cooked and shredded (Kelli boils hers, I baked mine)
- 12 oz hot sauce (Kelli uses Crystal and so did I)
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 16 oz blue cheese dressing (I used Ranch)
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese and dressing. Stir until the mixture is smooth and cream cheese is melted.
- In a large bowl combine cooked chicken, hot sauce, and the cream cheese mixture. Pour into a casserole dish.
- Cover the casserole with the shredded cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and cheese is golden.
I interrupt my recount of Hawaiian food to bring you this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge! This month the task was to combine Coconut and Tomato. Upon seeing the ingredient list I thought I was going to sit this one out as I am allergic to coconut. But then I got an idea and decided, why not! Just because I can’t eat it doesn’t mean my friends can’t be my taste buds.
My original idea was to do a play on the Bloody Mary – either make a virgin version substituting vodka for coconut water, or simply adding coconut water to the cocktail, or even making a “creamy” version with coconut milk, garnished of course with toasted coconut.
This idea was altered slightly when I searched Food Network’s website for Bloody Mary recipes. I’d never had one before! I found Rachael Ray’s recipe for Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail and thought, that’s a better idea! And I can serve it with coconut shrimp instead of typical shrimp cocktail. This way also prevents my husband from trying multiple Bloody Marys before I came up with the right recipe. I also bought cocktail shrimp so I could dip in too!
I served this appetizer during last weekend’s football game. We had some friends over and I was given the “this is addicting” nod of approval. I hope this boozy dip makes it to your next tailgate!
Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip
Ingredients for Shrimp:
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
- 1 C flour
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 1 C panko breadcrumbs
- 1 C shredded sweetened coconut
Ingredients for Dip:
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire
- 2 tsp hot sauce
- 2-3 shots of vodka, to taste
- Bring oil to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. In another bowl beat eggs and season with S+P. In a third bowl combine coconut and panko. Season shrimp with S+P and dredge in flour, egg, and panko. Fry shrimp 2 minutes on each side. It’s best to do this in batches so as not to decrease the oil temperature too much.
- Combine dip ingredients. Serve with celery sticks!
*The shrimp is adapted from The Neelys and the dip is modified from Rachael Ray*
Click the link below to see other blogs that participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge!