Hot Corn Dip

I like dips.
I like to eat dips.
I like to make dips.
I like to dip fruits in dips.
I like to dip chips in dips.
I like to dip veggies in dips.
And if its really good...
I like to eat dips with a spoon.

This is one of those 'eat with just a spoon' type of dips. :)

not the prettiest picture, but I failed to get a good one before people had started to dig into it!

Hot Corn Dip
Adapted from GinaMariesKitchen.com
   (feel free to check on her version of it- its a cute food blog)


* 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
* 1 cup shredded Italian Cheese blend (original recipe calls for monterey jack, but I can never find that stuff at the store)
* 1 can rotel (original calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and diced green chilies and diced tomato- this just seemed easier)
* 1/2 cup mayo
* 1/4 tsp garlic powder
* 1- 11oz can of corn (I used mexi-corn to add some extra pepper flavor and spice)
* 1 small can creamed corn (original doesn't call for this, that was my addition to make it a little more creamy and corn-y)
* 2 tbs cilantro and 2 tbs green onion are in original recipe, I omitted due to lack of good selection at store

To Make:

* Preheat oven to 350
* Mix all ingredients (except tomato if using fresh, and cilantro and green onion if using) in a bowl and pour into oven safe casserole dish
* Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly
* If using the fresh veggies and herbs- add as a garnish to top of dish- serve with tortilla chips

Pizza Puffs

Last night, we had a 'surprise' party to go to for our friend Brandon. I offered to make the food. It had been forever since I had spent all day in the kitchen cooking and baking- and I realized yesterday how much I really missed it. I threw on my apron, put on the tunes, and cooked and baked and baked and cooked. I made enough food to feed an army, or in our case, an airforce squadron. :)

I found a recipe for these online at PlainChicken.Com, an amazing food site. They seemed so simple, with only a few ingredients, and looked amazing. The base is basic, and you can add whatever pizza toppings you want before you bake them. The best part? I finally had a good excuse to buy myself a mini muffin pan (and yes, I've gone this long without ever owning one and its tragic).

I will be making these for every party we are invited to for the rest of our lives. The recipe makes 24- I doubled it- and they were completely gone in about 5 minutes at the party. Not only were they gone, but about 10 people asked me for the recipe, and those who didn't show up in time to try them got an ear-full about how they suck at life and missed the pizza bites! I'll call that a successful dish :)

Pizza Puffs
(Recipe makes 24 mini puffs)

Ingredients for base dough:

* 3/4 cup flour
* 3/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp garlic powder
* 1 egg, beaten
* 3/4 cup whole milk

* cheese and favorite pizza toppings- anything your heart desires
note: I can also see these being perfect for things other than pizza toppings- I see cheddar, broccoli, and ham ones in our near future! Seriously- you could put anything in these and I may even throw a little sugar in the dough and do some sweet puffs the next time I'm making them!

Pizza Toppings I used:

* 4 oz shredded mozzerella cheese
* 1/2 cup mini pepperonis
* 1/2 lb cooked sausage, drained of grease
* serve with side of warm pizza sauce as dip!

To Make:

* Heat oven to 350.
* Mix flour, baking powder, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Whisk in egg and milk.
* Gently stir in pizza toppings of your choice. Let stand for 10 minutes
* Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray. Divide batter between the cups- fill them up to the top- they won't puff up too bad and spill over.
* Bake for 20-25 minutes.
* Serve with warm pizza sauce


The kind you eat... not the kind that I'm desperately lacking.

The first time I ever had muscles was shortly after I moved to Ireland. I had no idea where I was going to live, no idea how I was going to live, and was in slight panic mode- but by God- I was going to eat some freshly caught seafood since I was finally living by the water! And eat them I did- an entire buckets worth. New food adventure in a new restaurant, in a new town, in a new city. It was a night to remember, and something I vowed I would do as often as possible.

Fast forward 4 years and I'm living back on the coast- fresh and tasty seafood served everywhere- and I'm here with a husband who hates it (or at least anything seafood that calls a shell a home). I have to wait until he leaves for an evening so I can cook it- and on Friday he had a night-flight- so I took full advantage.

I decided to make muscles for the first time ever. Its one of the less-expensive seafood delights you can find at the market. I bought a 2lb bag, knowing full well I can take down a ton of those things in a short amount of time, and looked up recipes online. I took what I loved of a bunch of recipes (and what was available in my fridge and pantry) that I found and here is what I came up with...

Muscles in Tomato and White Wine Sauce


* 1 lb muscles, cleaned
* olive oil
* 1 small white onion, diced
* 1 glove garlic, minced
* 2 cans diced tomatoes (I used one regular, one italian)
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* seasoning of your choice- I used some italian seasoning and salt and pepper

To Make:

* Add olive oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until softened. Add minced garlic.

* Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasoning to onion and garlic mixture, stir, and cook until bubbly. Slowly add white wine and simmer.

* Steam muscles until they pop open. Add opened muscles to tomato mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

* Serve muscles in a bowl and pour tomato sauce over them. Eat muscles with a giant scoop of tomato sauce. Enjoy.


Mushroom & Bacon Stuffed Chicken

What's better than stuffing a chicken full of anything your heart desires and baking it? The answer is: eating it!

On a no/low carb diet, chicken rollups are the key to success! Easy to make, quick to bake, and a dieters dream! We make these in our house quite often with various ingredients rolled inside: gouda and spinach, blue cheese and bacon, and... this one...

Mushroom and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts. This was by far my favorite of all of the stuffed chickens we've made. I scoped out about 10 recipes and took what I loved from all of them (plus what was available in our fridge without running to the store) and came up with a pretty tasty dish!


* 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1 packaged sliced mushrooms
* 3 pieces super thick cut bacon
* 1 small tomato (or 7 grape tomatoes from my tomato plant!)
* Parsley
* Oregano
* Basil
* salt and pepper
* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 cups panko
* 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
* Gouda, swiss, mozzerella, blue cheese- whatever you want to use
* Worchestire sauce
* 2 tablespoons butter
* olive oil

To Make:

* Preheat oven to 375.
* Sautee 1/2 pack of the mushrooms in butter. season with salt and pepper
* cook bacon in skillet until crispy. once cooked, transfer to paper towel to drain grease
* Chop cooked mushrooms and cripsy bacon- place together in a bowl
* Dice tomato and add to mushrooms and bacon
* Add 1 teaspoon each of parsley, oregano, and basil to mixture
* Add 1 dash of worchestire sauce to mixture

* Flatten chicken breasts with meat mallet until 1/4th in. thick
* Add mushroom mixture and cheese to one side of chicken, roll, secure with toothpick

* In small bowl, beat egg
* In medium bowl, mix panko and parmesan cheese together
* Dip each stuffed chicken breast into egg wash, then cover generously in panko mixture
* Head olive oil in skillet- brown each chicken breast in oil so panko crisps and browns

* Place chicken breasts on tinfoil covered baking sheet. Bake in oven for around 25 minutes- or more depending on how thick your chicken is. Mine took about 30 minutes.


Oreo Cupcakes

I've made these TWICE in the last two weeks: first for my friend Jennifer's birthday, and second for BUNCO night. Want to impress a bunch of people you've never met before? Make. These. There was not one woman who ate these who didn't absolutely love them.

Since I didn't really alter the recipe at all, like I usually do, I'll just post the direct link to the site that I found these on:


The only thing I did differently was to save all the extra oreos for the frosting- not mix half with the cake batter. I figured the cupcake would benefit more from having super kickass frosting, especially when the devils food cake is already so rich and delicious!

Enjoy :)

Alpine Mac'n Cheese

This recipe it taken out of Cuisine at Home (Feb. 2012 edition).

I had made a cajun mac and cheese earlier in the month, but given that my husband loves anything with kielbasa, cheese, and pasta- I figured it couldn't hurt to try another recipe. This one is a 'fancier' version of what we usually make in our house- and invovles some cheeses I've never made mac and cheese with before. Look at us- all fancypants with our cheese that really isn't all that fancy- its just not served in 'singles' like the Kraft stuff is.

One word of advice: cut back on the amount of dijon used- I had already cut it back in the recipe to appeal to my audience of picky eaters, and it was still strong in the dish!

Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home

Alpine Mac 'n Cheese


* 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (we used panko for a crunch)
* 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley (omitted in ours- alex hates flakey green things)
* 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste

* 8 oz cavatappi or elbow pasta
* 8 oz kielbasa sausage
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp minced shallots
* 1 tbsp caraway seeds

* 2 tbsp flour
* 2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
* 1 cup shredded gouda
* 1 cup appenzeller, gruyere, or emmental cheese (we used gruyere)
* 3 tbsp dijon mustard (i used 2 and it was still strong tasting)
* 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

To Make:

* Preheat oven to 400. coat casserole dish with nonstick spray
* for topping: combine crumbs, parsley, and melted butter in a bowl. set aside
* cook pasta in salted boiling water, drain, set aside
* brown kielbasa in a pan with olive oil. drain on paper-towel covered plate
* melt 2 tbsp butter in same pot over medium heat, add shallots, caraway seed. cook until seeds are toasted (we omitted seeds)
* whisk in flour. cook one minute. whisk in milk, cook until slightly thickened. reduce heat to low. add cheeses by the handful, whisking until melted.
* stir in dijon and worcestershire sauce. then add pasta. then add sausage. transfer to casserole dish and sprinkle crumb topping over the top.
* bake until sauce is bubbly and crumbs are brown- about 20 minutes.

Fresh Corn and Chicken Chowder

I'll give my hubs some credit here: he made this meal. I was out for the night, and he still cooked what we had planned- so proud! I ate it the next day for lunch, and the leftover chowder was just as good as I imagined it being the night before.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens 30 Minute Dinners magazine


* 12 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts
* 4 ears of corn
* 1 32oz container chicken broth
* 1 small green pepper, chopped. (I added some sauteed red pepper on top of mine)
* 1 1/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes
* 1 cup milk
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper (optional, for heat)

To Make:

* In a dutch oven, combine chicken, corn, and chicken broth. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Cover with lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes. When cooked through, transfer chicken and corn to cutting board.
* add half of the pepper to the broth mixture in the dutch oven. Stir in potato flakes and milk. Shred chicken and return to dutch oven. Cut kernals off cobs of corn and add to dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper
* Serve in bowls and sprinkle remaining pepper- this is where I used the sauteed red pepper


Banana Split Pie

Um... yeah... now that I have your attention...

Besides being delicious, what do all of the above ingredients have in common? They taste good on a sundae, right? That answer is 100% correct, but not the one I'm looking for. The super-correct answer is: They all taste good on a slice of Banana Split Pie.

We haven't had dessert in our household for quite a long time thanks to my dieting. I felt as though my husband needed a treat, so I asked him to pick one. Lesson learned: husband is dooming himself to diabetes by the age of 30. Not only did he harass me all day about when it would be 'pie time', but when 'pie time' finally arrived, he ate TWO pieces decked out with almost all of the ingredients seen above. You betcha.

The original recipe was taken out of a magazine I have containing a bunch of summertime recipes, but I've altered it so much that I really don't think they are the same at all- I just used the one I found for inspiration. The inspiration for this one called for banana liquor, pudding made from scratch, and a from-scratch nutty pie crust. No, thanks. I like to keep things simple.


* 1 frozen deep dish pie crust
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* 10 oz milk chocolate chips (I used Hershey brand chips)
* 1 large package instant banana pudding
* 2 bananas, sliced
* Whipped cream (usually I make my own, but this time I went with the bottled stuff)
* Various toppings: chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, pineapple topping, strawberry stopping, marachino cherries, chopped roasted peanuts (I used praline almonds), etc.

To Make:

* Prepare pie crust as detailed on bag- mine said to let it sit and thaw for 15 mins, then bake for 12 minutes at 400degrees. Let cool.
* For chocolate ganache: heat heavy cream on the stovetop over medium heat. Take off heat and stir in chocolate chips. Pour into the pie crust. Place into fridge for 15 minutes so ganache cools.
* Once ganache is hardened, place single layer of banana slices on top of ganache.
* Prepare instant pudding mixture. Mine said to mix with 2.5 cups of milk- I did a mixture of half milk, half heavy cream to thicken it up. Spread pudding mixture on top of banana layer of pie.
* Let set in fridge until ready to eat.
* Once ready to eat- top with a layer of whipped cream and slice.
* Let everyone 'decorate' their slice of pie with whatever toppings they'd like! and if you're my husband... do it twice :)

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

There are 1,000 recipes for spinach and arthicoke dip online. I found a really great one the other day and vowed to make it. Did I write it down or save it in any way? Of course not.

Yesterday, we had a dinner get-together at our friends house and I told her how bad I wanted to make this dip. She agreed it sounded delicious- perfect for a stormy day. I fought the storm and the horrible drivers to Walmart (where you would have thought people were stocking up for the apocolypse since the shelves were empty- come on people- its just a little rain!). I got there and went to my phone to try and find the recipe so I could get the ingredients, but thanks to the storm, I had no internet. Dang.

I tried to remember as much of the ingredients as I could and pushed my way through the crowds, through the self-checkout, and back out into the rain. I got soaked by cars driving by, got into my car, and carefully made my way to the highway. Halfway home I remembered I forgot a few things, but wasn't going back since the weather was getting worse. I figured I'd alter the recipe and make due with what I had. Back home, I was *thrilled* to find we had no internet at our place either. I guess I'm winging this dip!

At the get-together later that night, both girls asked me for my recipe because it was so tasty! :) Woo! I told them it was literally just a random piling of whatever I had around, but I'd still like to chalk some of the success up to my mad cooker skillz!

I can happily say this recipe is all mine! How about that?!


* 1 bag frozen spinach (thawed)
* 2 cans artichoke hearts
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 cup mayo
* 4 oz cream cheese
* 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup gorgonzolla cheese
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* dashes of onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste

To Make:

* Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix well.
* If you'd like to serve it warm, heat oven to 350 degrees and cook for around 30 minutes
* Serve with pita chips

Creamy Herbed Chicken & Pasta

Slow cookers are my best friend. Granted, I am home all day, doing nothing, so its not like they help me out in the 'I have no time to cook' department. I'm just lazy. I spend all day just playing with the boys, waiting for the hubs to come home. It just mostly happens that around the time I would usually start cooking dinner, both boys need to be fed/bathed/paid attention to so its always difficult to prepare food with them crying and running between my legs in the kitchen. Again, slow cookers are my best friend.

This recipe is altered a bit. I found a recipe for creamy herbed chicken in my Taste of Home Slow Cooker magazine I picked up while waiting in the checkout line at Walmart. I couldn't find the specific packet of seasoning that was called for in the original recipe, so after about 20 minutes of looking and 30 curse words later, I gave up hope and went in search of the next item on my list. Turns out, in the dressing aisle, Kraft has pasta seasoning packages! Not exactly what the recipe called for, but I'm going to say it was a very successful substitute!


* 1 lb chicken breast (I use the packages of 3)
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
* 1 package garlic and herb pasta seasoning (Knorr brand used in original recipe)
       My substitute: Kraft Parmesan Seasoning Packet in Rosemary and Garlic
* Salt and Pepper
* Pasta of your choice

To Make:

* Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray
* In a medium bowl, combine soup, milk, thyme, parsley, and herb seasoning packet. Whisk together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste
* Add chicken breasts to slow cooker. Pour soup mixture over chicken
* Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked
* Cook pasta according to package directions

I also added a little flour mixed with cold water to the liquid after pulling the chicken out of the slow cooker to thicken up the sauce so it could be poured over the noodles. I used fettucini noodles, but since it was a parmesan based seasoning package, it could very well have worked over some cheese tortelloni or something like that... delicious!