Appetizers, Side Dishes, Snacks

Recipe—Roasted Carrot Fries

A couple of weeks back we got these GORGEOUS rainbow carrots in our box of organic produce and when my son saw them he honestly didn’t believe me that they were carrots.  They ranged from a deep purple to red and even white. They were just too pretty to get tossed into a salad or cooked any ordinary way. I wanted these to stand on their own. I know I have mentioned in many previous posts that I am always looking for fun and healthy after school snacks for my little man so we decided to make roasted carrot fries. They were awesome! I just sliced, baked, and served them with a little side of ranch (because every 3 year old loves to dip their food in sauce).  These were super quick and a wonderful way to enjoy these rainbow carrots.

INGREDIENTS
4–5 large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
olive oil for drizzling
salt
ranch for dipping (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Carefully cut the carrots into “fry sized” pieces.
  • Place the carrots on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Toss the carrots to coat and season with salt.
  • Bake the carrots for 15–18 minutes or until crisp tender, flipping once halfway through cooking.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a serving dish or plate.
  • Serve with a side of your favorite dressing or enjoy all on their own.
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Appetizers

Recipe—Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Every couple of months I get together with a fabulous group of ladies for a book club meeting. I don’t know why we really call it a book club meeting because about 20% of the time is spent discussing the book we read and the other 80% is spent drinking fabulous wines, eating delicious foods, and catching up with some good old fashioned girl talk. Maybe wine and food club meeting would be more appropriate? Either way, we always end with an awesome variety of the most wonderful treats. Our last meeting was on a Friday night right around dinnertime so I wanted to bring something filling and yet low carb (I try and cut out carbs from the food when I know I will be consuming plenty in the wine.) These were absolutely wonderful! They were light yet completely filling. The meatballs were packed full of wonderful Mexican flavors and they really complemented the turkey nicely. The refreshing creamy cilantro lime sauce is actually from a recipe I shared a couple months back for shrimp taco cups. I LOVED that sauce and wanted to make it again. I could put that sauce on everything. So tasty!

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c panko or breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

SAUCE STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

MEATBALL STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients.
  • Using your hands mix well.
  • Using a large spoon, scoop a spoonful of the meat mixture and shape into 1”–1 1/4” round meatballs.
  • Place the formed meatballs into a greased baking dish making sure they don’t touch.
  • Bake for 16–20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with the cool cilantro lime dipping sauce.
  • Enjoy!
Appetizers

Recipe—Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Any recipe that has bacon, cheese, and jalapeños is a home run in my book. Wrap that up in a flaky delicate layer of puff pastry and it is a grand slam baby! These look like they would be heavy because they are good sized but the puff pastry is actually really light. These are the perfect appetizers for any occasion. The puff pastry takes what is an average appetizer and glamorizes them. Delicate enough for girl’s night in or macho enough for a guy’s night of watching sports. Either way, everyone will love them!

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

INGREDIENTS
9 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, deseeded, and deveined
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 c bacon, cooked and chopped
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a medium-mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese, garlic, and some salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pepper half with a heaping mound of the cheese filling and set aside.
  • Unfold the thawed puff pastry and cut each sheet into 9 squares.
  • Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the pastry squares and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet as you finish them, making sure they are about an inch apart.
  • Whisk together the egg and water and brush the egg wash over the top of each popper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the poppers are golden brown on top.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Reclaiming Your Castle.

Appetizers

Recipe—Creamy Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups

This is actually a recipe adapted from one my mother-in-law made back around the holidays. They seemed like such a great idea and were absolutely delicious. She brought her Mexican inspired wraps over all rolled up in Saran wrap and then just sliced them when she got to our house. They traveled great! When she put them out I could not stop eating them. They were so yummy! So when I was invited to a summer pool party a couple weeks back I knew these would be a hit! Me being the tinkerer I am I had to put my own twist on them. I added in the chicken, olives, and cilantro to help bulk up the filling. They were wonderful additions. If you have any parties coming up definitely keep these in mind. They are relatively easy to assemble and are the perfect finger food for a party of any kind.

Note: You can use a couple of tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning or just part of an envelope of taco seasoning you would pick up at the store. If you like a little heat add in a chopped jalapeño.

INGREDIENTS
2-8 ox packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp taco seasoning
10 oz can Rotel tomatoes and chilies, drained
rotisserie chicken, skinned and chopped
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
4.25 oz chopped black olives
1 package burrito sized tortillas

STEPS

  • Using an electric mixer beat together cream cheese, shredded cheese, garlic, and taco seasoning until well blended.
  • Fold in the canned tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, green onions, and chopped olives.
  • Lay a tortilla out flat and place a heaping spoonful of the creamy mixture in the center.
  • Use a rubber spatula and spread an even layer of the filling out to the edges of the tortilla.
  • Roll up the tortilla and as you finish each place on a cutting board or plate.
  • Continue until the filling is gone.
  • Place the rolls in the freezer for 30–45 minutes allowing them to firm up. (I do this step so that when I slice them they keep their round shape.)
  • Slice the rolls into 1 inch thick pieces and arrange on a plate.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Side Dishes, Snacks

Recipe—Roasted Fennel Fries

Awhile back I posted a recipe for kale chips. Kale chips are a delicious and healthy snack that my son absolutely loved. I was eager to find more recipes that were just as simple, tasty, and nutritious. I recently used the same seasoning and cooking technique with roasted fennel and had fabulous results. These roasted fennel fries were absolutely addicting. My son and I could not stop eating them! We didn’t even waste time getting out a plate. I kid you not, we were eating the pieces straight off the baking sheet. They were that good! Think french fries, but without the calories and even more flavorful. Roasted fennel fries are not only a great snack but they also make a great side dish for any dinner. Just be sure you make enough because these fries will go fast!

INGREDIENTS

2 large fennel bulbs, fronds removed and sliced into 1/3” thick pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fennel slices in a single layer.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 30–45 minutes flipping once halfway through.
  • Bake until the fennel is fork tender and a golden brown.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Truffles

This recipe is definitely an oldie and a goodie. The first time I made these was over 20 years ago when I was a Brownie. We made little boxes of these for our moms for Mother’s Day. (My mom was our troop leader so this is actually her recipe.) These are great for any occasion as individual truffles but you can also have fun with various shapes. Occasionally on Easter, my mom would make us homemade peanut butter eggs. I actually did that this Easter for my son’s teachers.

These are super easy to make and they blow Reese’s out of the water! Come on, you know anything with peanut butter and chocolate is going to be delicious. It is a fun and easy recipe to make, so get the kids involved. What kid doesn’t like to get in the kitchen and use their hands? I hope you and your family love these as much as mine.

Note: Finished truffles should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. My hubby thinks they are best when frozen.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp butter, softened and divided
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 lb powdered sugar
24 oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips

STEPS


  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of the butter, corn syrup, vanilla, and whipping cream until well incorporated.
  • Add the powdered sugar to the bowl, and using your hands mix until everything is completely incorporated.
  • Pinch off bite size pieces and roll into balls. As you finish the balls place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Once the balls are frozen, in a medium microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate chips, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tbsp of water.
  • Microwave the chocolate for 1 minute.
  • Remove the chocolate from the microwave and beat with a fork. If there are still chunks, continue microwaving and stirring in 30 second increments.
  • Once your chocolate is smooth allow it to sit on the counter for a minute.
  • Dip each frozen ball into the melted chocolate and turn until evenly coated and place back on the wax paper covered baking sheet. (I find using a fork works great to remove the balls from the melted wafers so that the extra chocolate can drip off between the prongs.)
  • Once you have finished dipping all the balls place the baking sheet back in the freezer so that the chocolate can set.
  • Enjoy!

Appetizers, Dinners

Recipe—Chicken Cordon Bleu Rollups

My son loves chicken strips dipped in honey mustard and he also loves croissants. (Who doesn’t, really?) I whole-heartedly made this for him because I knew it would be a hit with the munchkin. Turns out the whole family loved them! This recipe is so simple, quick, and cheap to make. My little guy was even a wonderful helper in assembling them, and of course he made sure to be on quality control check while we were putting them together. Little rascal. I just served these with a big green salad for a balanced dinner. We had plenty of leftovers and they reheated extremely well in the oven. I’m definitely keeping these in mind for appetizers too. They were a perfect finger food and were fun to eat and make!

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c honey
1/4 c yellow mustard
1/8 c mayonnaise
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 tbsp butter
2 cans crescent rolls
8 slices Swiss cheese, cut in half
8 slices ham cut in half lengthwise

STEPS

  • Combine together honey, mustard, and mayonnaise in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • Place the chicken tenders in a large Ziploc bag and add in 1/2 of the honey mustard sauce and toss to coat.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the saucy chicken breast tenders flipping once until done, about 10–12 minutes.
  • Separate the crescent rolls into the individual triangles.
  • Spread the remaining honey mustard on each one.
  • Place a slice of the Swiss cheese on each crescent triangle and then top with a slice of ham folded in half.
  • Top each with a cooked breast tender.
  • Roll up the crescent starting at the wide end and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. (The parchment paper helps make cleaning up the melted cheese a breeze!)
  • Repeat with remaining chicken tenders and crescents.
  • Bake for 18–20 minutes or until golden brown.