Monday, November 23, 2009

Taco Dip

I made this recipe for Taco Dip in addition to the recipe for the Mexican Corn Dip for a OSU vs Michigan party we had a work. Both are the perfect dip for the "game" crowd! This recipe isn't very healthy, but it's always one of the first things gone at parties. I got the recipe from a co-worker a few years ago, so unfortunately I don't have the source for this either.


1.5 lbs lean ground beef
2 packs taco mix
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 8 oz container cream cheese
2 packs Colby jack cheese (about 3 cups)

Brown hamburger and add 1 pack of taco mix. Add about a half a cup of water, but make sure it's not too runny.
In a bowl, mix sour cream, cream cheese, and 1 taco mix. Mix it until you can spread it on like icing.
Place hamburger in bottom on baking dish. Spread cream cheese mix over top. Add cheese until it's about a half inch thick on top.

Bake at 375 until cheese is melted.

Serve with chips, bread, or any dipping items you like.

Mexican Corn Dip

My friend Andrea made this dip for a party we had over the summer and everyone gobbled it up. I have made it a few times since then, and it's always so good! Recipes don't get any easier than this! It's the perfect party dip and fairly healthy too!

3 sm cans or 1.5 large cans of corn with red and green peppers
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 t ground cumin
3/4 cup mayo
2/3 cup green onion chopped
1 package low fat Mexican cheese
Mix all together and serve with nacho chips
(Source is unknown...but it may be from a Cooking Light mag...not 100% sure)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Greek Mediterranean Hummus Dip

This is definitely the go-to party recipe. I had this at a party, got the recipe, and can't stop raving about it. While not everyone likes hummus, this dip never fails to be a hit at parties. The dip doesn't taste hummus-y at all, yet it's still very healthy. I also made this for the baby shower and I had a few people ask me for the recipe. I love this dip with veggies or pita pieces. Not only is this dip yummy, it also has a very pretty presentation. (Sorry I forgot to take a pic of the dip before we started eating it hehe)

2 8 oz. package fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 T. Italian seasoning
3 T lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
3-4 cloves minced garlic
2 small container of classic hummus (I made my own...see previous posts)
1 container of crumbled feta cheese
15 or so cherry tomatoes, chopped
1.5 cucumbers, roughly chopped
a handful of pitted olives, sliced (I left this out since I don't like olives)
3 green onions, roughly chopped

Mix together the cream cheese, Italian seasonings and garlic. In a pie plate, spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of hummus on top and then spread to make an even layer. Sprinkle half of the feta cheese crumbles, then half the cucumber, then half the tomato then repeat. Finish with sprinkles of sliced olives. Top with green onions. Top with green onions. Serve with pita or tortilla chips or mixed veggies.

Blueberry Buckle

As soon as a make this recipe, I always have to grab a piece quickly before Chris gets his hands on it and it's all gone. I always make this recipe with whole wheat flour and it tastes just as good. I left off the topping this time to give it more of a healthy kick, but I'd highly suggest the topping - it's amazing! I've been packing it as breakfast all week for work and I really think it starts my day off better than my usual boring granola bar!

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups blueberries

To make the topping, crumble the sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter with a fork in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch square pan or a bread pan. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, one at a time, and stir in the milk. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl. Gradually stir it into the butter and sugar mixture. Wash and stem the blueberries. Fold into batter, then spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Bake the blueberry buckle for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Let cool and serve.

Source: Family Fun

Tomato & Corn Whole Wheat Pasta

I forget the exact name of this recipe, but you get the jist of it by the title (note to self - find correct title). I whipped out my handy-dandy Martha Stewart "New Classics" cookbook for dinner the other night. I was in the mood for something with veggies and whole wheat pasta. Besides the chopping, this recipe was easy to make (I think chopping gets annoying pretty quickly). I used whole wheat pasta, but you could use white pasta as well.


2 T butter
6 tomatoes
1 medium to large white onion
2 T thyme
1 T coarse salt
3 ears of corn
1 package whole wheat pasta shells

Add 2 T butter to a large sauce pan with chopped onion. Cook about 6 minutes until onions are tender. Add 6 chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add corn, thyme and salt and cook 6 more minutes. In the meantime, cook pasta shells in a separate pot of boiling water. Add cooked pasta to final mixture of tomatoes, corn and onion. Serve.

The BEST Sugar Cookies

These are honestly the best sugar cookies ever! They taste just like Cheryl's Cookies. The recipe is from a family friend passed way down to a bunch of people, and now I've got my hands on it! I made this the other day for a baby shower I went to. I iced them too, but I forgot to take a picture of them iced - oops! These are perfect for the holidays. I plan on making cookie bins to take in and pass out at work in the next month or so. My sister started that tradition about five years ago, giving cookie bins to her friends and my dad's co-workers. I hope I get the time to put together a quality assortment this holiday season!
Do you like the picture of my cookie icing helper?! He's so cute!

*This makes a lot. I halve the recipe!

1 c margarine or butter (4 sticks)
2 c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 c sour cream
1 teas salt
8 c flour
2 teas nutmeg
1 teas baking soda
2 teas vanilla

Cream butter, sugar, and egg yolks.
Add sour cream.
Mix in other ingredients.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 mins.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I am proud to say that this recipe is one of the best things I have ever made, if not THE best thing I have ever made! After Chris tried the pizza, he told me we should open a pizza shop haha! (WE?? I don't remember US making the pizza...I remember me making it and him sitting on the couch watching ESPN). While my cooking skills are nowhere near the professional opening a restaurant worthy, it was a nice compliment! It was just a few months ago when I was so discouraged with my horrid cooking skills that I was ready to throw in the towel and eat take out, frozen dinners, and ham steak every night. Now that I'm starting to enjoy cooking and the return results, I still do not enjoy the cleanup. So, being the crafty, witty wife that I am, I have convinced Chris that if I'm going to the trouble of making a meal for him, he should have to clean up after the mess (and believe me, the kitchen is a hot mess after I'm done...we are talking tornado here people). I still think he is getting the better part of the deal here because cooking definitely takes longer than cleaning up. Plus, Chris is used to picking up after my mess (a tragic result of my dad spoiling me and picking up after me my whole life). He's a wonderful cleaner-uper! Aren't spouses supposed to compliment each others weaknesses in the first place?!

I found the crust recipe on Annie's blog. Annie said it's the best pizza crust and boy was she right. I've made homemade pizza crust a few other times with different recipes and this crust was by far the best. This is going to be my go-to crust from here on out. I always get a little nervous when I make homemade pizza crust because I worry about the yeast rising properly and ruining the whole dough. I followed the recipe very carefully and had success. Yay! Since I am on a new health food kick, I substituted the white flour for whole wheat flour. The flavor was still great. I used the recipe to make two large crusts, but you could make three medium crusts with it instead. California Pizza Kitchen has a great chicken pesto pizza, so I tried to emmulate that recipe somewhat. This pizza was so good, the two of us ate an entire large pizza! Oink oink!

1/2 cup warm water
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
Corn meal (optional) for dusting work surface

1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

(I Omitted steps 2 & 3 - see below method I used)
2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by h and for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

Pizza Dough Kneaded by Hand
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Pizza Dough Kneaded in a Standing Mixer (this is the method I chose)
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the toppings of choice.

Toppings I used:
(in order)
Pesto (homemade - see previous entry)
Mozzerella cheese
Grilled chicken cut in slices (I used a Trader Joe's pre-cooked pack to save time)
Pine nuts

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or so.

Source: Annie's originally from Baking Illustrated

Monday, November 2, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

My final adventure with the food processor (and the most time consuming) was Butternut Squash Soup. Chris took me to The Worthington Inn for my birthday Friday, and I had the Butternut Squash Soup there. It was to die for! Therefore, I tried to find a recipe that mimicked the taste of The Worthington Inn masterpiece. After sorting through several recipes online, I found this one, and I turned out great! I was very pleased with the results, and I plan on making this again in the future. I doubled the recipe listed below and froze some of the soup for future dinners. I added fresh ginger and coriander to the recipe and it really added to it.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (I found it already cubed and cut at the store)
3 cups vegetable stock
salt and ground black pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
*ground fresh ginger (I put in a good amount and it really added to the recipe)
*2 t coriander

Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion in the butter and oil under tender.
Mix the carrots and squash into the pot. Pour in vegetable stock, and season with salt, pepper, ginger, coriander, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Return to the pot and serve. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg.

Source: All Recipes


After I finished the hummus, I rinsed out the food processor and made a quick batch of hummus. This recipe was also out of my "New Classics" Martha Stewart cookbook. I double the recipe because I've heard you can keep this stuff for a few weeks or free it and use it later. I thought the recipe called for too much olive oil, so I reduced that a little bit. I plan on using the pesto sauce as a spread for lunch sandwiches this week, for a pasta dish I want to try, and for whole wheat chicken pesto pizza.
6 c packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
Coarse salt
1/2 c or so of olive oil
1/2 c parmesean cheese
Combine all ingredient in food process starting with basil and ending with the olive oil. Refrigerate, serve, or freeze.


My mother-in-law got me the food processor that I really wanted for my birthday (I know, dork alert), and I couldn't wait to use it. I came across several recipes that I couldn't make because they all required food processors. Chris and I go to get homemade hummus at least once a week at local restaurants, so I really wanted to start making hummus myself. No need to spend the money and take the time if you can do it at home very easily! I've heard hummus was easy to make, and the rumors were true! It couldn't have been much easier! (The hardest part was getting my new food processor assembled!) There are so many recipes for hummus out there, so I just picked Martha Stewart's basic hummus recipe because all of her food is delish. I got the recipe out of her "New Classics" cookbook. I plan on trying out several other recipes in the near future (I bought way too many cans of garbanzo beans).
2 (15.5oz) cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans (they are the same thing)
1/3 c of fresh lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c tahini (I couldn't find this so I substituted it for 1 T nutmeg and 1 t cumon)
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 1/4 t coarse salt
A few tablespoons of water to desired consistency
Drain and rinse chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Add all ingredients to food processor, starting with chickpeas. Store and refrigerate in an airtight container up to one week.

Health Food Kick!

I had a great weekend celebrating my 25th birthday and eating lots of homemade red velvet cake (thanks mom)! After consuming at least a forth of the cake in two days, I decided I need to start caring more about what I eat. I have found several great health food blogs that talk a lot about the importance of eating the right thing. It's not that Chris or I are trying to lose weight, I just think we have realized we need to care more about what we are putting into our bodies, especially with H1N1 and the cold season starting. We already exercise frequently, so at least we've got that part down pat! Now onto the healthy eating adventures...

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are the best grocery stores in C-Bus, hands down. Whole Foods in a little too expensive to do 100% of our grocery shopping, so I opted to go to Trader Joe's, and it did not disappoint. Trader Joe's is ah-mazing! The prices! The quality! The healthy-ness! The free samples (oops)! The unique selection! I've been to Trader Joe's before, but I've never really bought an entire weeks worth of groceries there. Trader Joe's blows The Iggle and Wally World way far away. I took a picture (above) of a few of the things I bought.

We are at least going to try out this new healthy eating kick for two weeks and see how it goes...stay tuned for more updates on our adventures!

Margarita Pizza

Margarita pizza is Chris and my favorite type of pizza, so I thought I'd give it a shot and make one myself. I didn't follow a recipe for this, but I think next time I will. I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand too. The pizza was really basic, but really quick to prepare.

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust (thin crust)
Olive oil
3 tomatoes cut into thin slices
Fresh mozzarella cheese cut into thin slices
Basil (one pack of the fresh stuff)

Pre-heat oven to directions on back of pizza crust roll. Sprinkle baking stone or cookie sheet with corn meal. Unroll pizza crust onto stone. Drizzle a light layer of olive oil on crust. Layer tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on top of crust. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake according to pizza crust directions. Add basil for last 4 minutes (not sooner or it will burn).