BLOOMING QUESADILLA

BLOOMING QUESADILLA adapted from SPACE SHIPS & LASER BEAMS

A Blooming Quesadilla Ring is PERFECT for the upcoming holidays, a tailgate or Super Bowl party or even a church potluck.

20 taco sized soft flour tortillas
4 cups FINELY shredded taco blend Colby jack cheese
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken pieces (OR PROTEIN OF CHOICE)
1 SMALL red bell pepper, seeded and FINELY diced
1/2 cup FINELY diced red onion
1/2 cup salsa your favorite brand
1 cup Taco Bell mild taco sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese finely shredded
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped cilantro

GARNISHES
FRESH chopped cilantro
Lime wedges
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Salsa

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place a large, wide mouth glass jar in the center of the baking sheet.

  • Cut the tortilla’s in half.
  • Cover the halved tortilla’s with a clean dry cloth and set aside so they don’t dry out.

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the shredded cooked chicken, red pepper, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, red onion, salsa and taco sauce.
  • Stir well until all of the ingredients are well mixed. 

  • Sprinkle each tortilla with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons each of the shredded colby monterey jack cheese and the chicken mixture.
  • Roll each of the halved, “filled” tortillas into a cone shape. Be careful not to squish out the filling. The small pointed ends of the cones need to touch the wide mouth jar and form a ring around the jar.

  • Once you have made a complete bottom layer of about 12 to 13 “cones,” sprinkle ¾ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the ring.

  • Repeat the ring of cones for a second layer.
  • Then top with 1 cup of the colby and monterey jack cheese.

  • Repeat for the 3rd and final ring.
  • Remove the glass jar from the center of the cones.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cones are golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  • Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully transfer the quesadilla ring to a platter.
  • Serve the quesadilla ring with your favorite salsa or dipping sauce AND garnishes.

NOTES: If trimming off the excess parchment paper, BE VERY CAREFUL not to touch the hot cheese.


CANDIED JALAPENOS aka COWBOY CANDY

CANDIED JALAPENOS aka COWBOY CANDY Adapted from Foodie with Family yields 4-6 half pints

3 pounds FRESH FIRM, jalapeno peppers, washed
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers and discard the stems.
  • Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, bring vinegar, sugar, celery seed and cayenne pepper to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to boiling again, add the pepper slices and garlic, return to a hard boil, then reduce the heat again and simmer for exactly 4 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar.
  • Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices.
  • Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air.
  • Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary.
    Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel.
  • Add new lids and rings until finger tightness.
  • Place jars in a pan full of boiling water. Be sure jars are covered with at least 2 inches of water.
  • Boil for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints.
  • When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth then label.
  • Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating.

NOTE: These make great gifts! Add any leftover syrup into half-pint jars and process the same as the jalapenos. Save it for brushing on meat for the grill or add it to potato salad or whatever your heart desires??

COON BALLS aka SAUSAGE BALLS – Raccoon NOT INCLUDED

This recipe or a similar version of it has been around since the beginning of time I believe. BUT, I can’t find any direct links to how they originated. I assume them to have began as a southern recipe based on the name, but don’t let the name fool you – there is no raccoon in them, but I suppose there once was probably around the time that the Bisquick was also homemade.

Most recipes call for just the basic ingredients of Bisquick, sausage and cheese. But, the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it any way you want with any flavors you want as long as the proportions are good 😀 Any way you make them, they are simple with few ingredients and virtually foolproof.

COON BALLS are great by themselves, but consider adding a dipping sauce – especially if serving as an appetizer or at a tailgate party. They are also great for breakfast with a sausage gravy.

COON BALLS aka SAUSAGE BALLS

1 pound ground country sausage (hubby likes the hot variety sometimes)
8-16 ounces (about 4 cups) coon cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, FINELY shredded
2 1/2 – 3 cups Bisquick
2 tablespoons FINELY chopped sage or thyme leaves (depending on sausage flavor)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika (once again depending on sausage flavor)

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Using your hands blend all together until well mixed. Now if you’re a bit wimpy use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. This will be a THICK mixture.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls. I use my medium cookie scoop to get uniform sizes.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until browned.

NOTES:

  • DO NOT USE PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE! Pre-shredded cheeses contain a moisture blocking cellulose that will dry out your mixture. Shred your own!!!!
  • DO NOT DIP measuring cup into the Bisquick. Spoon the Bisquick into the measuring cup. When you dip into the Bisquick it tends to pack the cup. You need a looser fill.
  • They freeze really well! To freeze uncooked sausage balls FLASH FREEZE (so they don’t stick to each other) them flat and separated on baking sheets before transferring to ziplock bags or containers to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. If freezing already cooked make sure to COMPLETELY cool them before the FLASH FREEZE.

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP ENCHILADAS

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP ENCHILADAS adapted from TALKING MEALS

This ooey gooey, creamy, cheesy, spicy, and utterly delicious appetizer dip makes an exceptional ooey, gooey, yet crunch dip, but is even better as a taco or enchilada filler or even to top a salad for an entree.

CHICKEN
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
4 tablespoons Frank’s original buffalo hot sauce
2 teaspoons avocado oil

  • Toss all together and set aside.

DIP BASE
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
8 ounces Mexican sour cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Frank’s original Buffalo hot sauce
¼ cup Blue cheese crumbles or shredded cheddar or pepper jack
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  • Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, seasonings and hot sauce together.
  • Stir in the celery, green onion and cheeses.
  • Adjust seasoning.

DIP VEHICLES
Celery sticks
Carrot Sticks
Crackers
Tortilla Chips

  • Transfer the dip to an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
  • Top with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Bake the dip in the oven for 10 minutes or until its warmed through and the top is melted.
  • Serve and enjoy!!

SMOKEY WHISKEY WINGS

SMOKEY WHISKEY WINGS Serves 4

Sweet, savory AND a bit of a kick.

WINGS
2 pounds chicken wing sections
3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts cold water
2 tablespoons canola oil
FRESH ground salt and black pepper
2-4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Combine the 3 tablespoons salt, sugar, and water in a large bowl.
  • Add the wings and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Remove wings from brine and pat dry.
  • Toss wings in a bowl with the FRESH ground salt and black pepper and cornstarch until coated evenly.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Arrange wings in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 30-45 minutes until cooked through and crispy.

SAUCE
3 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, FINELY minced
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup whiskey
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup Tabasco OR Frank’s Original hot sauce (optional)
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (flavor of choice)

  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Whisk in the brown sugar, whiskey, hot sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
  • Stir occasionally 10-15 minutes.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, toss together the wings and sauce, coating them well.
  • Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing.

SUPERBOWL PARTY DIP TRAY ~ CHEESY GAME DAY DIPS ~ BUFFALO CHICKEN, BACON & CHEESE, SPINACH & ARTICHOKE, PHILLY CHEESESTEAK

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? or FOR SOME RACING? or HOW ABOUT SOME OLYMPICS? On this weekend we are doing grazing meals and this recipe I found on Facebook will be perfect!

I found this recipe on Facebook a couple years back and it was written for 4 dips done in a rectangle. Since it’s usually just the 2 of us I make much smaller quantities and have adjusted the flavors to our liking. I’ll then take the leftovers and mix them together if they are compatible and make another plate for the next day!

CHEESY GAME DAY DIPS

serves 12 people if you make ALL 4 dips

1 pound of your pizza dough

Avocado oil

BACON and CHEESE DIP
1 3/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, split
1 cup cooked bacon bits
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-4 to 1/2 cup Frank’s original hot sauce (depending on your level of heat)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup FINELY grated cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped chives

SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped artichokes
1/2 cup chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK
1 cup cooked beef, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces shredded mozzarella “provolone” cheese

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Grease and line a deep sheet pan.
  • Mix together all ingredients for each dip until combined.
  • Roll pizza dough into ping pong size balls (20 grams) and place around the edge of the sheet pan and across through the middle to create four equal quarters. If only making 2 or 3 dips adjust your size and shape accordingly.
  • Spread one dip into each of the areas and smooth out.  
  • Brush the dough balls with avocado oil and let proof for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until dough balls are golden brown and dips are bubbling.
  • Serve while warm, enjoy!

BAKED BEAN DIP

One of the things I have realized lately that is I have become TOO precise in my blogging. Some days it just seems to be a struggle to get the words out so I write my recipe precisely and get it posted without the commentary. Well, that needs to end. Not only do I need to add more commentary to the recipe, I need to get back to regular blogging.

I LOVE cooking and only post those recipes that are successful so I need to use more words and tell you WHY we love the recipe and WHY it works and WHY I use certain flavor combos and cooking dishes. I promise to try and get better starting with this recipe.

It’s fall y’all and tailgating season for NFL and NASCAR on top of that was what I wanted to be able to and intended to write, but time got the best of me and now we’re having it as an appetizer for New Year’s Eve 🙂

Who couldn’t resist this warm to the touch AND the taste buds creamy, cheesy, mouth watering re-fried bean dip???? It is so easy to make AND ALWAYS a crowd favorite, even if that crowd is just the two of us,  when you add your favorite tortilla chips and garnishes for that extra crunch.

BAKED BEAN DIP

16 ounce can of FULL FAT re-fried beans
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
4 ounce can diced mild green chiles, drained WELL
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
1-2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Tex Mex seasoning
FRESH ground sea alt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided

GARNISHES
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
chopped cilantro,
copped avocado,
sliced jalapeños
chopped grape tomatoes
chopped olives
a dollop or two of sour cream
sliced limes
Cotija cheese sprinklings
Tortilla chips, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a large bowl, combine the re-fried beans, sour cream, salsa, seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

  • Spread the bean mixture into a 2-quart baking dish (8×8). Personally I like a nice enameled cast iron to retain the heat, but also make it easy to clean.
  • Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Top with garnishes of choices
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips.



NOTE:

  • You CAN use low fat ingredients, but I truly believe the flavor suffers if you do! You can also substitute the sour cream with Greek yogurt, but again I feel that the FULL fat sour cream works best.
  • You can also add a protein if you want to load it up

ALTERNATIVE SEASONING BLEND
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika

DRIED BEEF PICKLE DIP

DRIED BEEF PICKLE DIP
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon onion powder
5 ounces dried beef, chopped and rinsed WELL
1/4 cup small chopped dill pickles

  • Beat together sour cream, cream cheese and onion powder, beating until smooth and well blended.
  • Fold in dried beef and pickle pieces.
  • Cover and chill 2 hours at least.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and/or crackers.

HOT ITALIAN SANDWICHES

HOT ITALIAN SANDWICHES
1 package King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls
1/2 cup QUALITY mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Classico tomato pesto
6 slices provolone cheese
6 slices Tavern ham
6 slices Hard Salami
6 slices oven roasted turkey
6 slices Pastrami
1 cup giardiniera, chopped small
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup FRESH basil leaves
1/2 SMALL red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup River House Parmesan Herb dressing (or a zesty Italian)
Pepperoncinis, garnish
Giardiniera, garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Slice the rolls horizontally in half.
  • Lightly spray a 11×7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise and pesto until well blended.
  • Spread mayonnaise mixture over the cut rolls.
  • Place roll bottoms in baking dish.
  • Layer the provolone cheese followed by the meats in an even layer.
  • Add basil in a single layer followed by the red onion slices and giardiniera.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Place roll tops over the ingredients.
  • Gently press to flatten.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and and brush with dressing.
  • Bake another 5 minutes.
  • Cool slightly before slicing.
  • Serve with pepperoncinis and giardiniera.

CRISPY HOT HONEY WINGS

CRISPY HOT HONEY WINGS
WINGS
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Line a sheet pan with foil, then place a metal rack on the pan.
  • Mix together the salt, pepper and paprika to make a dry rub.
  • Pat the wings dry, then generously sprinkle with the rub on all sides.
  • Place them on the rack, making sure they are not touching.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, then pull them out.
  • Use tongs to turn them over, then put them back in the oven and bake another 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

SAUCE
1 cup QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce 
1 tablespoon Frank’s original hot sauce 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

  • Add the honey, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, jalapenos and serranos to a small pot over low heat, stirring to combine well.
  • Bring to a simmer and continue cooking 20 minutes or so until reduced and slightly thickened. Stir regularly.
  • Remove the wings from the oven and turn the oven to broil.
  • One by one, dunk the wings in the sauce.
  • Place them back on the rack and broil for 2-3 minutes to caramelize. Watch so they don’t burn.

GARNISH (if desired)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or green onions
Bleu Cheese dressing, for serving 

  • Place the wings on a platter and sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
  • Serve with a bowl of dressing for dipping.

 

49er CHILI & CHILI DOG CASSEROLE

Like most men, my husband LOVES chili dogs. But, we don’t eat much bread these days. So, when I saw Sandra’s recipe for Chili Dog Casserole it was right up our alley! The only thing I did different was make a batch of 49er Chili! 49er chili is an OLD scrap of a recipe I found on one of our recipe box searches in antique stores. This casserole really is like having your chili dog and fries, all in one spot and gets rave reviews from everyone. It’s perfect for picnics, BBQs, church potlucks or backyard get togethers.

CHILI DOG CASSEROLE
6 hot dogs your favorite brand, sliced into small pieces
15 ounce can chili or 1 1/2 cups homemade
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained WELL (I used spicy seasoned)
1 cup shredded or very thinly sliced, carrots (optional – hubby didn’t care for them)
12 ounces crinkle cut French fries, frozen
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium sized skillet, saute the sliced hot dogs until nice and fragrant and seriously browned. We like them really charred 😀
  • In a medium bowl, add the hot dogs, chili, tomatoes, and carrots.
  • Stir until evenly combined.
  • Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Evenly arrange French fries in a single layer on top of the hot dog mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Evenly sprinkle the cheese on top of the fries, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Chile is one of the oldest dishes around and dates back to the Aztecs in Mexico. I assume this one received its name after an old gold miner’s recipe. I have revamped it a little as time went by, but we love it.

49er CHILI
2 pounds SMALL lean beef pieces or ground beef
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 medium white or yellow onion, FINELY chopped
2 teaspoons chile powder
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tomato sauce/puree
3/4 cup room temperature beer
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar

  • Combine the beef, onions and garlic in a large dutch oven and brown SLOWLY.
  • Drain off any excess grease.
  • Return meat mixture to pan and add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

1 LARGE can chili beans (optional)

  • Stir in beans if using and and simmer 15 minutes more.

2 tablespoons corn flour
1/4 cup water

  • Whisk corn flour and water together.
  • Stir corn flour mixture into chile.
  • Simmer 20-30 minutes more.

Shredded cheese
Chopped onions
Sour cream

  • Serve HOT with topping of choice.

“ASIAN KETCHUP” MEATBALLS aka HOISIN MEATBALLS

Jess is certainly right about one thing – Meatballs are the “little black dress” of party foods. They are completely adaptable and go with just about everything. Whether you serve them for a wedding reception, BBQ, picnic, church potluck, cocktail hour, graduation party or an open house you always have the perfect crowd pleaser! This recipe is made from scratch, but is easy enough and such a refreshing replacement for the typical pre-cooked frozen meatball that you find at those events.

HOISIN MEATBALLS aka ASIAN KETCHUP MEATBALLS adapted from Cooking is my Sport who adapted it from Food Network Magazine and Cooks Illustrated

MEATBALLS
3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
2 tablespoons FINELY minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 1/2-2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 LARGE eggs

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Line two baking sheet pans with aluminum foil and place two wire racks on top of each pan. Lightly spray with non-stick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and sausage with the ginger, garlic, sugar, pepper, and scallions.
  • Add the liquid aminos and eggs.
  • Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the panko breadcrumbs and mix together by hand, but don’t knead it too much though, or the meatballs may be tough. If the mixture seems too wet, you can always add the extra 1/2 cup more of the panko breadcrumbs to tighten it up.
  • Shape into meatballs (about 2 heaping tablespoons each).
  • Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) rack in an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.  
  • Bake 15 to 20 minutes on the middle rack, or until browned.

SAUCE
3 teaspoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 cups orange or pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, white and green parts sliced 1/8 inch thick on bias
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Sesame seeds, optional

  • Melt about 3 teaspoons of avocado oil in a medium sized saucepan and heat until shimmering.
  • Add the grated ginger and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant.
  • Add the Hoisin sauce, juice, and broth and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the saucepan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces and thickens to desired consistency.
  • Stir in the sesame oil and the scallions.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.