Southwestern Nachos Potato Skins

We came across a 2010 issue of Food Network magazine where they made a themed potato skin for every team in the NFL and their toppings for the Arizona Cardinals themed potato skins was just too scrumptious to pass up without trying !

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes (we used 5*)
  • Melted butter
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • Salsa (mommy used Pace Picante medium chunky salsa, I used La Victoria Thick’N Chunky Salsa Verde Medium that was pureed**)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • Chopped scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional) (we used Kraft Mexican Four Cheese)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Stick the potatoes in the oven, directly onto the oven rack and let them cook for one hour or until the potatoes are tender. Pull them out and let them cool (we let them cool for 15 minutes and found they were still hot so we cut them in half lengthwise and found that after an additional 15 minutes, they cooled down enough). Set the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Once the potatoes are cool, cut each potato into 4 pieces lengthwise and scoop out enough flesh until it’s only a ¼-inch thick shell. Take melted butter and brush both sides*** of the potato skin with it, seasoning the skins afterwards with salt and pepper. Stick the potato skins back in the oven, skin-side up, until the skin feels crisp, around 15 minutes or so should do the trick. If you want cheesy skins, flip the potato skins over, sprinkle the cheese over them and stick them back in the oven**** for an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients into the potato skins and enjoy !

*Some of our potato skins fell apart so it really is a good idea to bake an extra potato just in case something goes wrong with one of the other potatoes.

**The picante salsa is red so it really pops better against the other toppings. Mommy like the flavor of the picante salsa with the other toppings and I enjoyed the salsa verde more even though it didn’t stand out color wise since it’s green.

***We brushed both sides of the potato with the butter when we stuck it in the oven and it dripped down to the bottom of the oven and created so much smoke ! We had to turn on the fan over the oven and lower the window so the smoke could go somewhere. It really freaked our cat Ghost out (he even hissed at the stove at one point) so we turned the heat off after 5 minutes and just left them in there for the remaining 10 minutes.

****After the butter fiasco, we decided to take a baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil. We put the potato skins on the lined baking sheet, skin-side up, and spread the cheese over them afterwards. We put the baking sheet in the oven for the 5 minutes (oven still turned off but had plenty of residual heat) and it came out with the cheese melted and no mess to clean up like we would have, had we put the skins directly on the oven rack.

This is such a great game day snack even with the problems we ran into ! The skins might have been crispier had we left the oven on but otherwise it was still delicious. You can pick it up with your hands to eat and the skin’s firm enough that the toppings don’t go spilling everywhere. You get some heat and acidity from the salsa and pickled jalapeño slices, a freshness to the dish from the scallions and cilantro, the sour cream adds a tanginess as well as tempers the heat from the salsa and jalapeño slices, and it’s nice having that cheese flavor come through as well in the dish.  You can really change up the flavor of this simply by changing the salsa ! If we make this again in the future, we’ll probably skip spreading the melted butter over the flesh side of the potato skin.

We weren’t paid in any way to mention Food Network, La Victoria, Pace salsa or Kraft.

Take care everybody !

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Lite (or maybe not so lite) Cheese Vegetable Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. reduced calorie margarine or margarine (we went with regular margarine)
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced onions (we used yellow onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (we sliced ours)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Cream Style Golden Sweet Corn
  • 1 (8.5 oz.) Green Giant Sweet Peas, drained (we could only find cans that were bigger than 8.5 oz. but we still used the whole can of peas)
  • 2 ½ cups skim milk (we used whole milk)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 10 oz. (2 cups) cubed light pasteurized processed cheese (Velveeta light) (we used regular Velveeta)

Directions

  1. Take a Dutch oven or large saucepan out and add the margarine to it, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the margarine’s melted, add in the cabbage, onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring constantly for 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables feel crisp-tender. After those 8-10 minutes have passed, add in the corn, peas, milk, pepper, and thyme, stirring to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the cheese, stirring constantly until all of it has completely melted. Make sure the soup’s heat through, turning the heat down if necessary so that the soup gets heated through but DOES NOT BOIL in the process. Add salt to taste (we didn’t think that it needed any) and serve immediately.

Recipe source unknown.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Green Giant or Velveeta.

Take care everybody !

Salami Snack

This is what we’re eating on New Year’s Eve !

Ingredients

  • 2 (4 oz. each) packages of genoa salami, cut in half
  • 1 (32 oz.) jar of whole pickled pepperoncini, sliced (we would’ve bought them pre-sliced to save ourselves some time but we could only find them whole)
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened

Directions

  1. Take a halved slice of salami and spread a layer of cream cheese over one side. Lay a slice or two of pepperoncini on the cream cheese and tightly roll up the salami. Insert a toothpick into the middle of each one you make if you don’t want to eat these directly with your hands (the salami can get a little greasy). You can enjoy eating them right away but we like letting them chill before digging in.

This might sound like a weird combination but it is really delicious ! It’s a great snack to have at any party, not just on New Year’s Eve !

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
  • ¼ cup small-curd cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, plus more for topping
  • 4 frozen waffles (untoasted)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. jam (any flavor) (we used strawberry flavored jam) (we used 2 Tbsp. per waffle sandwich to create the ooze effect and to fill the pockets)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more if needed
  • Ground cinnamon, for topping

Directions

  1. Take a medium-sized mixing bowl out and add the cream cheese, cottage cheese and confectioners’ sugar to it, stirring to combine. Take half the waffles and spread your desired amount of jam over them. Now take the mixture from the bowl and spread that over the jam and top with the other two waffles left.
  2. Take a large skillet and add the butter to it. Turn the heat up to medium-high* and let the butter melt in the skillet. Once the butter’s fully melted, place the sandwiches in the skillet and let them cook until they look nice and golden and have a nice crispiness to them, cooking the sandwiches for roughly 3 minutes* per side, adding additional butter to the skillet if necessary. (Don’t be afraid to turn down the heat if the sandwiches are cooking too quickly.)
  3. Once the sandwiches are done cooking, take them out of the skillet and let them sit for one minute. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon over the sandwich if you want.

*We cooked ours on medium-low heat for 2 minutes per side.

Serves 2.

We really loved this dish. It felt like a “funday” breakfast to us. We found that the cinnamon added more flavor but we still enjoyed the dish without the cinnamon or extra confectioners’ sugar. The filling was sweet and a little tangy, we enjoyed the creaminess of it against the crunch of the waffles. In order to enjoy that contrast though, you need to eat it right after it’s done cooking. Unfortunately the sandwich will get soft as it sits.

We got this recipe from Food Network Magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Food Network Magazine.

Take care everybody !

B.A.T.H. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

We were thinking about the b.l.t. sandwich and decided to do our own initial-based sandwich !

Ingredients

  • Sourdough bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Habanero cheese (we used 3 slices per sandwich, divided)
  • Avocado, sliced (½ of an avocado per sandwich)
  • 1 pound of Oscar Mayer Naturally Smoked Bacon, cooked (you’ll need 4 slices per sandwich and any bacon leftover is great for munching on)
  • Tomatillo spread
    • 1 pound of tomatillos, husks removed and afterwards cored and quartered (halve the quarters if the tomatillo is big)
    • ¼ cup water
    • ½ tsp. kosher salt

Directions

  1. First start off by making the tomatillo spread: Add the tomatillos and water to a blender. Puree until smooth. Take a large skillet out and add the pureed tomatillo mixture into the skillet. Set the heat to medium-high and add the salt in, stirring to combine. Stirring frequently, reduce the mixture until it has a spread-like consistency. Let it cool down to room temperature.
  2. Now you can start making this sandwich. Spread mayonnaise on one side each of two slices of sourdough bread.
  3. Get a large skillet out and set the heat to low. Once the skillet’s hot, place one slice of the bread in the skillet, mayonnaise side down. Use enough of the tomatillo spread to cover the non-mayo side of the bread followed by: 1 ½ slices of the cheese, bacon, avocado, the other 1 ½ slices of cheese and finally the other slice of bread, mayonnaise side facing outward.
  4. We don’t remember how long it took to cook the first side but it couldn’t have been more than a minute or so ! At this point you flip the sandwich over and cook until it has a nice golden brown crust to it. Eat right away !

This turned out really good ! The avocado adds a nice creaminess, the tomatillo spread has a great tanginess to it, the habanero cheese provides a little heat and the bacon provides a nice contrast in texture as well as a nice level of saltiness.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Oscar Mayer.

Take care everybody !

Gussied Up Mac ‘N’ Cheese

We found this recipe in a Southern Living magazine and just had to try it out !

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz.) package cavatappi pasta (we used corkscrew pasta)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • ½ lb. andouille sausage, casings removed* (we used a whole pound of Roger Wood brand andouille)
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (16-oz.) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cut into 1-inch cubes (we used original Velveeta)
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup freshly shredded aged Gouda cheese
  • ½ cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 (5-oz.) package unsalted kettle-cooked potato chips, crumbled (lightly salted potato chips may be substituted) (we used Lay’s Lightly Salted potato chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Look at the box the pasta came in for cooking instructions and follow those directions for the al dente results, adding that one tablespoon of salt to the water. Once cooked, drain the pasta and leave it off to the side for now (we put our pasta in a sealed mixing bowl so the pasta wouldn’t get dried out or stuck together).
  2. While the pasta’s cooking, quarter the andouille lengthwise. Now take each of the quartered pieces of andouille and slice them into ¼-inch-thick pieces.
  3. Take a Dutch oven out and set the heat to medium-high. Once the Dutch oven’s hot, toss the andouille in and let it cook for 3 minutes or until it looks browned around the edges, stirring constantly. Once browned around the edges, scoop out the andouille and lay it on a paper towel lined plate so any grease can drain off.
  4. Pour the cream into the Dutch oven and wait for it to come a simmer. As soon as you see the cream is at a simmer, turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese product. Keep stirring until the cheese product has completely melted at which point you can add all the other cheeses in and toss the sausage back in, remembering to continue stirring constantly. Once all the cheeses have melted, turn off the heat and take the Dutch oven off the the stovetop. Stir the pasta in afterwards.
  5. Take a 3-quart baking dish or 12 (8-oz.) ramekins out and butter up the inside(s) of whichever one you go with (we used a 3-quart baking dish). Pour the Dutch oven mixture into the baking dish and top it with the potato chips you crushed earlier. Stick the dish in the oven for 20 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and looks browned. Take the dish out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

* This is how we removed the casing from the andouille:

We had trouble picking between all the scrumptious mac & cheese photos that we took so we’re posting several but really, is there such a thing as too many pictures of macaroni & cheese?

This is such a scrumptious comfort food dish. It’s creamy, the potato chips add a crunch to the dish. The pasta was perfect for catching all the sauce with. Naturally the andouille brought a ton of flavor to the dish as well. You do have to eat the mac & cheese when it’s hot though or else you’ll only be able to eat a small portion before feeling full.

We weren’t paid in any way to promote Southern Living, Roger Wood, Velveeta, or Lay’s.

Take care everybody !

Two-Cheese and Ham French Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (1 lb.) French bread
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard
  • 8 slices (3/4 to 1 oz. each) Swiss cheese
  • 8 slices (3/4 to 1 oz. each) Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 lb. thinly sliced cooked ham
  • 3/4 cup strawberry or raspberry preserves (we used strawberry)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut out a 30 x 18-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil. Take the French bread and slice it in half horizontally. Take the honey mustard and spread it equally over the two cut sides of the bread halves. Take the bottom half and lay it down on the foil.
  2. Take the two cheeses as well as the ham and layer them evenly on the bottom half of the bread. Place the top half of the bread over the meat and cheese and wrap the whole loaf up tightly using the double-fold seals method*.
  3. Place the wrapped loaf in the oven for somewhere between 30 to 35 minutes or however long it takes for the cheese to melt and the loaf sandwich to get heated throughout.
  4. Pull the loaf out of the oven and carefully unwrap the foil so steam can escape before cutting the loaf up into 6 pieces. Serve the sandwich with the preserves acting as a dip for it.

*We don’t know what they might have meant by “double-fold seals” but this is how we did a double-fold seals:

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Serves 6

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This is a tasty sandwich ! You’ll need to eat it right away to fully enjoy the ooey gooey cheese and the crispiness of the bread but the flavors all together are tasty. The sweetness of the honey mustard is a nice contrast against the salty, savory flavor of the ham and cheese. It can be a messy sandwich to enjoy though so we’d recommend having some napkins or paper towels with you while eating this. We tried using the preserves but the flavor overpowered any honey mustard you could taste. For us, the idea of maybe something tangy would be more appealing of a dip to use.

We don’t know where we got this recipe from.

Take care everybody !