Flank Steak-Topped Oven Fries

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If there’s one self-admitted food weakness that the hubs has, it’s fries. There’s a restaurant here in town that serves a humoungous bowl of Honey Truffle Fries, and when we’re talking about going out for supper, there are a lot of nights where we don’t get past the discussion of those fries. At least they don’t know our names there… yet 🙂

I saw this Buzzfeed recipe on my Facebook feed, and I knew it was something that we needed to make soon.  It worked out as a great weekend dinner for us (particularly after our 12 mile hike this weekend!), but I could easily see this adapting into something that appears in our house more often once football starts back up!

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The potatoes are cut, mixed with spices and oil, and then baked. With the oven temperature as hot as it was, I didn’t find that I needed to use a wire rack to elevate the fries. Laying them directly on the pan worked great, although I did line my pan with foil. I actually didn’t even turn the fries during the bake time. They did ‘stick’ a little to the pan, so it might be a good idea to turn them with a spatula halfway through.

The flank steak that we picked up was a thicker cut than I’ve used with flank steak in the past, and I definitely needed longer cooking times to cook it to our desired doneness. As written in the Buzzfeed article, it was definitely rare. If you prefer, I think the steak would be great grilled!

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Flank Steak-Topped Oven Fries
Adapted from Buzzfeed

Ingredients:
For the fries:
2 russet potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika

For the steak:
1/2-lb flank steak
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking the steak

Toppings:
1/2 to 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
Cojita cheese (Can sub queso blanco or feta)
1 avocado (mashed with pepper, garlic salt, cumin, and lime juice) or prepared guacamole

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil.

Place the flank steak and ingredients from the salt through the lime juice into a ziplock bag. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Rinse the potatoes and dry them well. Slice lengthwise into 4-5 slices, and then cut into fries that are 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Place the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and spices and mix until the potatoes are evenly coated. Line the potatoes, in two rows, onto the baking pan so that no pieces are overlapping. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crispy and golden brown. You may want to flip the pieces halfway through the bake time. After the fries are complete, switch the oven to low broil.

Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and cook the steak until desired doneness in the skillet. Alternatively, you can also grill the steak. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Cube the pieces of steak. Pile the fries back into the skillet and top with the shredded cheese and then the steak pieces. Broil 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with Greek yogurt, guacamole, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and Cojita cheese.

Jalapeño Popper Cheesy Stuffed Pretzel Bites

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It’s been a minute since I made these. These poppers from The Slow Roasted Italian were one of my contributions to the Super Bowl spread back in February, but with March Madness back in full gear this weekend, I though some cheesy game food made sense.

But honestly, it’s not like I really need a special occasion for these when you’re talking cheese + beer + japaenos + salty pretzels. Just maybe someone to help us eat them!

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Making these pretzel bites went much more smoothly than the last time I tried making homemade pretzel buns. Let’s just say adding baking soda to boiling water can end up like those volcanos you used to make with baking soda and vinegar as a kid. I was seriously cleaning baking soda off my stove and oven forever (it was even between the glass on the oven door). So as you can imagine, I appreciated that this recipe added baking soda to hot water in a bowl. And I can promise you I set that bowl in the sink when I added it just in case!

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The dough for these bites starts off using a beer rather than water for the main liquid in the dough. The recipe was written using a Blue Moon, however I used a Belgain white beer. I think you could work with anything lighter in the lager-hefeweisen class, although I’m not sure you would want to go too dark or too hoppy for this recipe. If you’d rather not try the beer, the original poster comments that you could substitute water or milk.

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Cheesy Pretzel Bites
From The Slow Roasted Italian

Ingredients:
12 ounces warm light beer warmed in the microwave to 110-120 degrees
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
12 ounces of bacon, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4oz) can diced jalapenos (can sub chopped green chiles)
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt plus more for pretzel tops
2 Tbsp. baking soda
2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pour beer into a microwave-safe bowl and heat until it reaches 110-120 degrees F. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Add sugar and stir. Allow the yeast mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy and smells like yeast.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix cheese, cooked bacon, and jalapeños.

In a small bowl, beat egg and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add flour and salt to the mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on to speed 1 for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes together in 1 ball. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed if the bread is too sticky. Turn the speed up to 2 and add flour slowly (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough is no longer tacky, about 1-2 minutes. Take the dough out of the mixer and form into a ball. In order to divide the dough in pieces, first quarter  the dough. Roll each quarter into a fat log. Cut the log into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a long and cut into 3 more pieces. When you are done, you should have 36 pieces.

Fill a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water and SLOWLY add baking soda. Place the baking sheet, baking soda after, and the cheese mixture on the counter within reach.

Roll each dough piece into a ball and then flatten it into a circle. Add 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center. Carefully pull each side over the cheese and pinch to seal the cheese mixture completely inside. Set aside until you have 3 stuffed balls. Transfer the 3 stuffed balls into the hot water mixture. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set on the baking pan. Continue until you have filled all the dough pieces. Brush egg wash onto the balls and sprinkle with course salt.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are browned. Enjoy!

SRC: Lightened-Up French Onion Dip

lightened up french onion dip with celery

It’s the beginning of a new month, so it’s time for our group to post our recipes for the Secret Recipe Club. My secret blogger this month was Isabelle from the blog Crumb. She has a great sense of humor that comes through in her posts (just read her about me), and a recipe archive full of recipes I’d love to make. I can honestly tell you I have several more recipes bookmarked!

This month, it was a little easier for me to pick out a recipe. We had some family in town this past weekend, so I actually had a reason for a Superbowl spread 🙂 Straight to the appetizer section and this recipe for lightened-up french onion dip.

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While it takes a little bit of preparation time, making the dip is pretty straight forward. The more time you can give to the onions, the better. You want them to get that great brown (but not burnt) color. I made the dip the same day that we ate it, although in the future, I would try to do it the day before to allow the flavors to blend just a bit longer. We enjoyed the dip along side some veggies as a lighter side to the Superbowl goodies, but I’m sure it would be good with chips too. 🙂 Thanks Isabelle!

(Printable Recipe)

Lightened-Up French Onion Dip
From Crumb

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced red onion
1-1/2 cups diced sweet onion
1-1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
dash Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue to cook the onions until caramelized, about 20-25 minutes longer. Stir occasionally.  If the onions appear to dry out and start to burn, you can add a little water (about 1 tablespoon) at a time to keep them from burning. Cook until the onions have turned a nice brown color and are very soft. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. When the onion mixture has cooled, add and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed. Cover and chill the dip for at least 1 hour (or up to 48 hours) to allow the flavors to blend together. Serve with vegetables or potato chips.

Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs (Subs)

mozzarella stuffed meatball with dripping cheeseThe weather here has been rainy and dreary all weekend, and it has quickly thrown me back into winter comfort food mode. The temps haven’t even been that cool, but the rain completely drains me of any energy. Aren’t rainy days suppose to be for sleeping in, cuddling up with a good book, and maybe wandering in to the kitchen to bake?

The weirdest thing about this is how do you develop a craving for something you’ve never really (at least memorably) eaten? Truthfully, it has been a couple weeks since we made these meatballs. They came about a couple weeks ago during our freezing spell here as a direct result of a meatball craving on my part. Huh? In fact, I can’t really remember a time where I have actually had meatballs. Growing up, we occasionally had meatloaf, but I never remember mom making meatballs. Nonetheless, meatballs it was. Meatball subs in fact. I suppose the recipe is actually pretty timely considering there may be a big game coming up this weekend. I can promise you none of that was planned in advance. Maybe my unconscious is trying to tell me something?

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The recipe I used is from Kelly Craves but was originally adapted from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe. I followed Kelly’s adaptions pretty closely, although I made a few substitutions based on what was available in my kitchen  – mostly whole wheat Panko bread crumbs + Italian seasoning rather than Italian-style bread crumbs. As I referenced above, I served the meatballs over rolls with extra marinara and some additional shredded mozzarella cheese. Of note, I felt that the baking time needed to be a little bit longer than the 15 minutes called for in the recipe. I used the full 2-lbs of meat called for in the recipe, but I also ended up with 25 meatballs rather than 18. I baked mine for 18 minutes, and a few of them had just a touch of pink in the middle. It is hard to use a thermometer in these due to the cheese, so use your best judgement in baking them.

Baking time aside, we really enjoyed these both on the subs and alone with marinara for lunches. Given the opportunity, I am sure they would also make a great hot appetizer served with toothpicks for any appetizer-appropriate sporting events. 🙂 If it says anything about the recipe, my husband asked which recipe I was working on while I was composing this post. His response, “Man. Those were good.” Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs (Subs)
Adapted from Kelly Craves, originally from Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped finely or grated
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. plus 1/3 cup marinara sauce (use your favorite)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs. lean ground beef (we used 93/7)
fresh smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed into 1/2-inch cubes
olive oil, if desired
whole wheat hoagie bun
extra marinara
shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the onion, it can be grated or added to the bowl of a food processor until chopped very finely. Mix the onion, parsley, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, egg, 2 tablespoons marinara, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Add the ground beef and mix with your hands until the mixture is completely uniform. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs (mine were about the size of a standard ice cream scoop). Flatten each slightly. Add the mozzarella cube and re-form the meat around the piece of cheese.

Add the remaining 1/3 cup of marinara in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the meatballs inside. Drizzle the meatballs with olive oil at this point if desired. Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is browned and cooked through. While the meatballs are cooking, warm the extra marinara on the stove top.

Turn the oven to low broil. Split the buns if necessary, cutting only part of the way through the bread (like a hot dog bun). Add 3-4 meatballs to each bun. Top with extra marinara and shredded mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Spicy Orange Chicken with Apricot Orange Dipping Sauce

spicy orange chicken with apricot orange dipping sauce on rice

There are 2 things that a recipe title that long can tell you – 1) The “I can’t think of a good name for this so I’m going to just tell you everything that is in it” syndrome or 2) It’s an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Not that I can blame them. I also find it a little hard to be creative with my recipe names and often end up in the first camp 🙂

I’ve talked before about how much I enjoy the cookbook The Best Light Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. At this point, I am not sure how many times I’ve checked it out from our library, saving a few more recipes each time. In reality, I am not sure I ever would have made this recipe save for the jar of apricot preserves my husband randomly brought home from the store. It actually wasn’t bad on toast alone, but peanut butter and apricot preserve sandwiches just didn’t work quite as well.
Needless to say, I was looking to use up the rest of the jar.

spicy orange chicken with apricot orange dipping sauce

We enjoyed these chicken skewers with the dipping sauce over rice for our meal, but I am confident that they’d work equally as well on an appetizer tray for New Year’s Eve or any remaining holiday parties. In fact, the recipe is actually in the “appetizer” section of the cookbook. The book indicates that the recipe (as an appetizer) will serve 10. As written, we ate it for a main dish with a couple meals as leftovers. The sauce here is a little sweet but just in the right way and really compliments the chicken. In the past, I’ve been a little wary of the fruit and meat combination, but after these fajitas and this skewer recipe, I’ve found I really should keep an open mind. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Spicy Orange Chicken with Apricot Orange Dipping Sauce
From The Best Light Recipe

Ingredients:
Chicken:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup apricot preserves
nonstick cooking spray

Apricot Orange Dipping Sauce:
1 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Slice the chicken across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips (about 30 strips). In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the parsley, salt, orange zest, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Add the apricot preserves and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (can be left for up to 24 hours).

For the dipping sauce, puree the apricot preserves and vinegar together in a blender or food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Stir in the parsley, orange zest, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The dipping sauce can be made up to 48 hours before and stored in the refrigerator.

Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. If desired, the chicken can be cooked on an outdoor grill over medium heat until cooked through, flipping skewers partway through the cooking process. Alternatively, adjust an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil and top with a slotted broiler pan top; spray the broiler pan top with nonstick spray. Lay the skewers on the broiler pan and cover the skewer ends with foil. Do not cover the chicken. Broil until the meat is lightly browned and cooked through, 5-8 minutes, flipping skewers over halfway through. Repeat the process if necessary to cook all the meat. Serve with the prepared apricot dipping sauce.

Overnight Crusty Bread

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I’ve had a couple complete flops in the kitchen lately. I’m sure anyone who regularly cooks new recipes has a few that turn out just okay. Not horrible, but not good enough to spend time making again (especially in a blogger household!). These weren’t that. They were bad. Like throw it out because we will not eat it bad. The first was a pumpkin frozen yogurt that I attempted to make with plain greek yogurt. The second, a beer bread that I am attempting to blame on skunky beer 🙂 

As you can see, I was due for one of those “wow recipes.” This was it for us. In fact, my husband’s exact comment was, “Did you make this? It looks like it came from a bakery.” He’s already asking me to make it again, less than a week after I made it the first time.

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The best part about that. This might be one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. The only caveat is that the recipe needs an oven-proof pot with a lid. You spend 5 minutes mixing together 4 ingredients the night before. Let it sit overnight, put it in a pot, and bake it. That’s it. A hearty crusty loaf with little to no effort. Better yet, you can easily add herbs or cheese to the mixing part if you want. I think I’m seeing a repeat side to all those soups I’ve been talking about on here. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Overnight Crusty Bread
From Jo Cooks Amazing Recipes, Originally from Simply So Good

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups room temperature water

Mix the flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl. Add herbs or cheese if desired. Add the water and mix until the mixture has just pulled together. It will be sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set on the counter for 12-24 hours. 

When ready to bake, place a cast-iron or other oven-safe pot (with a lid) in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Flour your work surface and hands and form the dough into a rough ball. Take the pot out of the oven. Drop the ball of dough into the pot. Cover and bake (with the lid on) for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for another 15-20 minutes to allow the bread to brown. Let cool almost completely prior to slicing.

Crazy Feta Dip

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Olympic fever. I’ve been seeing it all over the blogs. I certainly seem to have caught a case of it myself. Unfortunately, I am not able to stream the events live while I’m at work, but you’ll know where to find me in the evenings for the next couple weeks. Go USA!

Last Summer Olympics (2008) the hubbs and I were so inspired by the swimming events that we thought we’d do a few laps in the pool at the gym for a workout the next day. Despite the fact I’d like to think we are both in pretty good cardiovascular shape, we were done in about 2.5 laps. I can’t imagine swimming as much as many of those athletes!

While this dip may not have much of a relation with the Olympics, it certainly would make a great appetizer for any Olympic parties that may unfold. The dip comes from Jessica’s blog, How Sweet It Is. If you have never visited her blog, please do. Her recipes always look amazing, and her posts are completely entertaining. Jessica indicates this recipe comes from her cousin who invented it after having something similar at a restaurant. All that I can say is thank you! 

I made this recipe to take to a work potluck a couple weeks ago. It was pretty unassuming sitting next to many of the other dishes, but as soon as a couple people stared eating it, it disappeared quickly. I halved the recipe using only 1 large jalapeno, and used crumbled feta due to ingredient limitations. All that I can say is the lemon, a bit of heat from the peppers, and the salt from the feta combine to make something amazing. I served it with crackers, but I think it would be equally as good with pita chips or slices of baguette (maybe sourdough?). Try it out. You just may go crazy for feta!

(Printable Recipe)

Crazy Feta Dip
From How Sweet It Is

Ingredients: 
16 oz. feta (bricks or crumbled)
3 jalapenos, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup olive oil + olive oil drizzle
1 bulb garlic
juice 1/2 lemon
zest 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top of the garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap the bulb in foil. Brush the pepper pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the peppers and garlic in the preheated oven. Roast the garlic for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden in color. Roast the peppers until the skin is blistered and blackened, about 15-20 minutes. Once the jalapenos have cooled, remove the skins and chop into small pieces.

If using feta bricks, crumble the feta into a large bowl. Add the chopped jalapenos, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Squeeze the garlic bulb, and the roasted cloves will fall out into the bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil. Mash the dip together with a fork. The dip will look “wet.” Season with salt and pepper as needed. Store in the refrigerator, although the consensus seems to be that it tastes best at room temperature.

SRC: Beef Empanadas with Black Bean Dipping Sauce

There have been some big changes to the Secret Recipe Club this month. In the 5 months of it’s existence, the blog group has grown enough that we are now divided into 3 segments – one managed by Amanda of Amanda’s Cooking, one by Tina of Mom’s Crazy Cooking, and one by Angela of Big Bear’s Wife. The group is really fun. Who doesn’t love getting to check out a new blog, new recipes, and having some air time for their own blog 🙂 Not only that, but Amanda has rolled out a great blog page for the group featuring recipes from each of the members. Sweet!

My blog assignment for this month was A Bountiful Kitchen. One of the things that I loved about her blog was the surplus of Mexican-themed recipes on her blog. We love Mexican and Southwest flavors here, so I had a really hard time choosing amongst her recipes. I kid you not, I have no less than 3 more enchilada recipes and a salsa recipe bookmarked to make at a future date. Of course, Mexican foods aren’t all you’ll find… I have frosted sugar cookie bars and a great lasagna bookmarked too 🙂

In the end, I choose these empanadas because they are something different from what we normally make. While they were new to me, I found the recipe quite easy. It is basically cooking the meat filling and folding it into purchased puff pastry (I suppose you could make your own, but I’m not quite that confident). I followed her recipe almost to a ‘T’ except that I added about a teaspoon of adobe sauce and a de-seeded chipotle pepper to the sour cream mixture to give it a little bit more kick. 

So how were they? Pretty awesome! I wouldn’t change a thing. We ate them for dinner, but I am sure they’d make a great addition to an appetizer spread for a party too. We also made the fresh, but I am thinking they would freeze pretty well to make a quick meal. Maybe freeze them just after assembly, but before baking? Then you could probably bake them right out of the freezer, just adding a couple of minutes. Either way, be sure to stop by A Bountiful Kitchen. I know I’ll be making more recipes from there!

(Printable Recipe)

Beef Empanadas with Black Bean Dipping Sauce
From A Bountiful Kitchen (Originally adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:
Empanadas:
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (17.3 oz) pkg. frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 large egg yolks, beaten for glaze

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 can (15 oz can) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 Roma tomato, seeded, chopped, divided
1 large green onion, sliced, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, chopped onion, and garlic; cook, stirring often and breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon until beef is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring often, to let flavors meld, about 4 minutes. Add cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper. Let filling cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (optional – I have baking stones, so I skipped this step). Cut each pastry sheet into 4 equal squares for a total of 8 squares. Lightly brush the edges of each square with the yolk glaze. Spoon filling into the center of each, dividing equally. Fold edges over, forming triangles. Dip the tines of a fork into flour and crimp the edges of each triangle to seal. Divide triangles between baking sheets. Brush the tops with glaze. (Assembled empanadas can be prepared up to 6 hours prior. Cover and chill.) Bake until tops are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree the beans, sour cream, pepper, and adobo sauce in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in half the tomato and half the green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining tomato and green onion over the top. Serve with the baked empanadas.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Can I get a woo hoo! I finally got my Authorization to Test (ATT) today to take my board exams! I’ve been trying to study, but it’s a little hard to concentrate without a test date looming. I have two of them now – one next week and one the week after. So, if my posting is a little less frequent, please forgive. My nose will now be to the grindstone. These should be the last tests I’ll have to take in my professional life, and I promise that I will be back after the 9th in full force. 

Outside of all that hoopla, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Hope you all have some fabulous plans with friends and family (much better than my dates with my books). Please remember to think of our troops during our celebrations this weekend, as part of the holiday is to honor their service to this country. 

While this hummus may not quite be patriotic, it is “redish,” and I thought it would make a great last minute dish if you are still looking for something to take to that Monday barbecue. Hummus is always a great appetizer, and roasted red pepper has to be my favorite variation that I’ve tried. It also can make out to be healthier side because the chickpeas give it quite a bit of fiber and vegetables make great dippers (not that pita chips don’t). It doesn’t melt and transports well, so there really isn’t any excuse not to bring this along. I know I will dig in if you do 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
From The Best Light Recipe

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini
3/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (1/4 tsp.)
pinch cayenne pepper

Process the chickpeas, water, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, 2 teaspoons of the oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne together in a food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. The hummus covered, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature. To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, and drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the well (can skip this step). Serve with pita chips, crackers, or desired vegetables for dipping.

I am linking this to Mangia Mondays.

Taco Ring

This might be the recipe that won me my husband. See, being from Nebraska, we both were (and are) huge Nebraska football fans since as far back as I remember. My husband and I actually met while we were both in high school, and it was at one of these Nebraska football parties where our relationship really began. Guess what dish my girlfriend and I had made to bring to the party 🙂

Story aside, we had both sadly forgotten about this recipe until my husband brought it up during my menu plan a couple months ago. While football season is still a few months out, it worked quite well as our main dish for the college basketball finals several weeks ago. One of the things I love about this dish is that it looks really impressive while still being really easy to make. If you can brown hamburger and chop vegetables, you can master this recipe. Besides game day, this recipe would also work great for backyard barbecues and graduation parties. The other thing I love. The taste. It really is all the taste of tacos in a more portable vehicle. What’s not to love? We certainly won’t be waiting as long to make this again. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Taco Ring
Recipe from the Dobbes

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp. water
2 pkg. crescent rolls
1 medium green bell pepper (any color will work)
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
1 can sliced black olives
1 cup salsa
light sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine cooked meat, seasoning mix, cheese and water in a large bowl. Arrange crescent triangles in a circle on a 13″ round baking stone or other baking dish with bases overlapping in the center and points to the outside (there should be a 5″ diameter in the center). Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the meat mixture over the rolls. Fold the points of the triangles over the filling and pinch dough together at the center (filling will not be completely covered). Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Using a v-shaped cutter or regular knife, but off the top of the bell pepper. Remove seeds. Shred lettuce and cube tomato. Chop onion. Place bell pepper in the center of the ring; fill with salsa. Mound lettuce, onion, tomato, and olives around the pepper. Garnish with sour cream. Slice with pizza cutter and enjoy.