Guacamole Parfaits

Ingredients

  • 1 diced avocado (we used 2 avocados since they seemed small)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste (we used kosher salt)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 chopped seeded jalapeño
  • Cilantro, lime wedges and tortilla chips for toppings

Directions

  1. In one bowl, mix together the diced avocado and lime juice, adding salt to taste. In a separate bowl, mix together the tomato, red onion, jalapeño and salt to taste. In a martini glass, layer the avocado and tomato mixture (we start the parfait with a layer of the tomato mixture).
  2. Top this with any cilantro, lime wedges and tortilla chips you may be using and enjoy !

This was a simple but tasty guacamole. You could taste every component in this. Even though the jalapeño was seeded we could still get a little bit of heat.

We got this recipe from Food Network Magazine.

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

Take care everybody !

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Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms

A great handheld snack for any occasion !

Ingredients

  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed (we used hot Italian sausage)
  • ¾ cup chopped pepperoni slices, divided
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Take a rimmed baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil.
  2. Take a large skillet out and set the heat to medium. Once the skillet’s hot, add in the Italian sausage, ½ cup of the pepperoni, and the minced onion, stirring now and then for 7 minutes or however long it takes for the sausage to be fully cooked and crumbly. Drain off the grease afterwards. Add the cream cheese and pizza sauce to the skillet, stirring until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture looks smooth. Take the skillet off the heat.
  3. Spoon the skillet mixture into the mushroom caps (keeping the filling even with the top of the mushroom or maybe a little over) and place it on the lined baking sheet. After filling the caps, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and what’s left of the pepperoni over the top and stick the sheet in the oven.
  4. Let the mushrooms cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese looks golden brown (20 minutes worked for us). Serve right away (we found if you let them cool down a little before eating them, they’re a lot more enjoyable).

If you eat them right after they’re done cooking, you’ll have the water from the mushroom come squirting out and it dilutes the flavors to the point of it just tasting “meh” but if you let the mushrooms cool down a little so the juice doesn’t come bursting out when you take a bite, that’s when you can really taste the flavors of the filling. Using hot Italian sausage adds just a little bit of heat that wouldn’t have been existent in the dish otherwise. The Italian sausage and pepperoni adds some texture to the dish, the cream cheese provides a creamy tanginess and the pizza sauce adds a little sweetness.

We got this recipe from a Cooking with Paula Deen magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote the Paula Deen magazine.

Take care everybody !

Satay Lettuce Wraps

 Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil (we used peanut oil)
  • 1 ¼ pound thinly sliced pork or chicken cutlets, or 1 ½ pounds ground pork or chicken (we used ground chicken*)
  • Pepper
  • ¼ pound oyster, baby white, or shiitake mushrooms, chopped or thinly sliced (we went with shiitake mushrooms and thinly sliced them before chopping them up)
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped or thinly sliced (we sliced ours)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • one (1 ½-inch) piece ginger, cut into thin matchsticks or finely chopped (we chopped up our ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice or chicken stock (we used chicken stock)
  • ¼ cup tamari sauce
  • A few dashes hot pepper sauce (we used sriracha)
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, core removed and head quartered

Directions

  1. Using a food processor just your knife and arm strength, cut up the peanuts until they look finely chopped.
  2. Take a large-sized skillet out and pour your choice of oil in. The original recipe talks about tilting the pan twice or so at this point but really we think that was their way of trying to tell the reader to make sure the oil coats the inside of the skillet. Once you’ve swirled the oil around, turn up the heat to high and wait for the oil to get hot. Once the oil’s hot, throw your pork or chicken in and cook it for 5 minutes, or however long it takes for the meat to look browned, seasoning the meat with the pepper while it cooks. Next thing to do is toss in the mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and ginger, tossing or stirring all the ingredients around constantly for 2 minutes. After those two minutes pass, move everything in the skillet off to the side or edges so that you can plop the peanut butter down in the center, allowing it to melt. Using a whisk preferably or a fork if you don’t have a whisk, stir in the stock or apple juice, tamari, and your choice of hot sauce to the peanut butter, adding the peanuts to the skillet afterwards. Stir everything in the skillet together at this point, combining the sauce with the skillet mixture.
  3. Take the mixture out of the skillet and place it either in a group serving bowl or into individual bowls so everybody knows they’re getting equal portions. Serve the lettuce cups/wedges alongside the mixture and when you’re ready to eat, simply spoon however much of the mixture you’d like into each lettuce wedge and enjoy !

Serves 4

*We didn’t realize until we got home that the brand of ground chicken we bought adds up to 1% vinegar and rosemary extract. Hopefully it didn’t affect the end results flavor.

This was a tasty dish that was fun to eat. It had a little saltiness from the tamari and chicken stock, a savory taste from the chopped peanuts as well as the peanut butter, and a faint heat at the end of the bite from the hot sauce. Great thing about this serving style was that everyone else can enjoy a mild heat while you can spread some more hot sauce onto your own portion before chowing down to up the heat level for yourself. The crunch from the lettuce and chopped peanuts was a nice contrast to the rest of the textures in the meal. It was also a pleasant surprise that you really do feel full after eating this dish, no side dishes necessary.

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

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 !

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 !

Smoky Pork BBQ Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. white distilled vinegar
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp. pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • ¼  cup plus 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce (we used Jack Daniel’s Honey Smokehouse)
  • 4 hoagie rolls, split and toasted* (we used Cobblestone Bread Co. Philly Steak bread) (We spread Hellmann’s Real mayonnaise over the inside of the roll before toasting them and we loved the effect it had.)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (we didn’t measure how much mayonnaise we used) (we used Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise)
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (we used one bunch of cilantro)
  • 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (we used 2)

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven (we put our rack up in the top slot) and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl (a bowl with a 2-cup capacity will be big enough) add the radishes in, along with the vinegar, sugar and ¼ tsp. of salt, stirring to toss the radishes in the pickling mixture. Let the radishes marinate, tossing them around periodically so the slices get evenly pickled (the radishes turn this beautiful shade of pink when they get pickled, it really pops when it’s in the sandwich).
  2. Take a baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil** and place a rack on top of the lined baking sheet, spraying the rack with nonstick cooking spray*** afterwards. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the pork together with the two tablespoons of barbecue sauce along with the pepper and remaining salt. Form 16 balls from the ground pork mixture, placing them on the rack-lined baking sheet afterwards. Brush some of the remaining barbecue sauce over the top of the meatballs, sticking the meatballs in the oven for 10 minutes afterwards. Pull the meatballs out long enough to flip them over, brushing them with more barbecue sauce and sticking them back in the oven for an additional 10 to 12 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through (it took us longer than 12 minutes to reach 160 degrees).
  3. Spread mayonnaise over the cut sides of the toasted bread before adding the following ingredients in layers: pickled radish slices, meatballs (4 per sandwich), cilantro leaves, jalapeño slices, and roll tops. (We’d suggest adding cilantro on first so it gets stuck to the mayonnaise and doesn’t fall off the sandwich as easily, but it’s up to you to you really on how you choose to add the components to the sandwich.)

Serves 4.

*We suggest toasting right near the end of the cooking time so there’ll still be some crispiness or crunch to your toasted bread. Do it too early and the bread may get soft on you all over again before you even have a chance to enjoy the sandwich.

**The original recipe never mentions lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil but doing so will save you a ton of clean up since the sauce will drip some during the process of applying it and during the cooking of the meatballs.

***The original recipe also never mentions spraying the rack with nonstick cooking spray but we REALLY recommend doing it. The first time we cooked these and didn’t apply the nonstick spray, the meat really stuck to the rack when we went to flip the meatballs and it was a pain getting the rack cleaned afterwards. Applied the spray and the meatballs flipped so much easier, had barely any meat stick to the rack and cleaning was a lot easier.

These sandwiches are so freaking scrumptious ! The meatballs are tender, the barbecue adds a little bit of smoky sweetness, the jalapeño slices bring heat, pickled radishes bring a little bit of tang, and the cilantro brings its own signature taste that works perfectly with the other components. The bread, jalapeño slices and pickled radish slices bring some crunch and texture that contrasts against the tender meatballs, creamy mayonnaise, and cilantro leaves. It’s a sandwich we would love eating while watching the Super Bowl or as an everyday dish. You could also slice up the sandwich and serve it as a snack !

Recipe source unknown.

We weren’t paid in any way to mention Jack Daniel’s, Cobblestone Bread Co., or Hellmann’s.

Take care everybody !

One Pan Banana Bread

On Friday the 8th, we did our last bit of prep shopping before Irma rolled through. We had got some bananas and we overestimated how many would be eaten before they got too ripe. Not wanting food to go to waste, decided to let them sit a little bit longer so they’d be perfect for banana bread. We had to buy some eggs but that was the only new cost involved since we had all the other ingredients on hand already. We didn’t use nuts since my father doesn’t like nuts. It worked in our favor this time since we didn’t have the money to spend on them anyhow. We’re sure the nuts would provide a nice contrasting texture for the bread but the banana bread is delicious even without them ! Bonus to making this banana bread is that it makes the house smell wonderful ! It’s awesome when you walk into the house and the aroma of the bread baking hits you. It’ll make you want to eat it as soon as possible.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (we didn’t use it)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a 9 x 5 x 3-inches loaf pan out and thoroughly grease the bottom of the pan (we lined the inside of the pan with aluminum foil* and sprayed the bottom foil with cooking spray). Mix all the ingredients together in the loaf pan using a fork until just combined, followed by mixing it vigorously for 1 minute (we mixed the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and then poured it into the loaf pan to avoid scratching up the pan).
  2. Stick the pan in the oven for 55 to 66 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes back out looking clean. Let the bread cool for 5 minutes before running a knife or metal spatula around the sides of the loaf and gently pressing on the loaf and taking it out of the pan (our way is easier*).

*It just dawned on us on one day “Why not try this with aluminum foil?”. Without the aluminum foil, it’s harder to get the loaf pan cleaned up plus the inside would get scratched up from us trying to get the bread out of the pan. We didn’t think the aluminum foil would affect the cooking so we went for it. It was one of those moments where you go “Omg why didn’t we think of this before?”. It’s so easy to pull the bread out of the pan and then just toss the aluminum foil afterwards. No muss, no fuss !

(This is what our bananas looked like that we used for this recipe.)

(Wanted to show you the consistency of our bananas after we mashed them.)

Delicious on its own or with some butter spread on it. Good for breakfast or for snacking on.

If you want banana bread but don’t have ripe bananas, you can sometimes find ripe bananas on sale in the produce area of your supermarket. One time mommy didn’t have as much of the bananas as what the recipe called for so she decided to use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for the rest needed since it seemed like it had a similar texture and some natural sweetness. Turned out really well !

Recipe source unknown.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Bisquick.

Take care everybody !