Recipe—Herbed Cucumber Bites

Herbed Cucumber Bites

I have been wanting to host a tea party type of event and this year Easter was the perfect occasion. We were just having a couple of people over so I did all sorts of small bites. So fun and classy! The cucumber rounds were one of my faves! They were so light and refreshing and reminded me of the typical cucumber sandwiches you would have at a tea party, minus the rye bread. These are definitely the perfect snack for bridal showers, baby showers, or an afternoon tea.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 c fresh dill (or 1 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp dill pickle juice (just the stuff form the jar)
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
parsley to garnish (optional)

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese, dill, pickle juice, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and green onion until smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag.
  • Pipe the herbed cream cheese mixture onto each cucumber round.
  • Garnish each cucumber with a sprig of parsley on top.
  • Serve immediately or cover and store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
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Recipe—Sweet Cream Dip with Strawberries

Sweet Cream Dip

 

My name is Rebecca, and I am a strawberry addict. No really. I am. I have memories of going to the grocery store with my mom and getting little green baskets of strawberries. (Does anyone else remember the classic little basket?) Anyways, she would have to get an extra basket because I would sit on the car ride home and eat an entire basket! No joke. Straight to my dome. My childhood was amazing like that.

We are officially in June, which means full swing strawberry season in California! I think strawberries are perfect just as they are and I could still eat a fresh basket of them straight up. However, this recipe takes them to a whole other level. I actually made this for a pool party we went to at a friend’s house. Thought it would be something fun and different. We destroyed the whole bowl of dip. No shame. We ran out of berries and were dipping anything else we could find into it. Graham crackers, pineapple, you name it. Still amazing! Try it. You will love it too.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c Kahlua
1 c Cool Whip
Strawberries

STEPS

  • Place the brown sugar and cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add in the sour cream, vanilla, and Kahlua and continue mixing until nice and smooth.
  • Fold in the Cool Whip until well incorporated.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for 2–3 hours. (Good luck waiting that long!)
  • When ready to serve sprinkle with a little brown sugar and serve with strawberries or any other favorite fruit.

If you like this recipe then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome dessert dips!

Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

DivaDiCucina_ToffeeAppleDip

Toffee Apple Dip

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip

Recipe—Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

Does anyone else have a weakness for fruit and chocolate besides me? I love the combination. I will eat chocolate covered bananas, strawberries, mandarins, apples, cherries, you name it. I wont discriminate. Now add in cream cheese, mind blown!

This dip combines the sweet creaminess of a cheesecake with the flavor of cherries and the crunchiness of chocolate chips giving you the best dessert dip ever! I warn you though, if you are like me you will be eating this by the spoonful. (I can sometimes be a pig like that.) I like to serve this with chocolate graham crackers but you can serve it with anything you want. Nilla wafers, animal crackers, Oreos, etc. Go crazy with your dipping vessles! It is perfect to bring to a party and your friends will appreciate the unique dessert that is easy to serve and sure to be enjoyed by all!

Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

Note: This will thicken up once refrigerated. I like to take it out about a half hour before I serve it so that it isn’t so firm that it breaks the crackers when dipping.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c maraschino cherry juice (the liquid from the jar of cherries)
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c maraschino cherries, chopped
1 c mini chocolate chips, divided
Chocolate graham crackers or similar item for dipping

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined.
  • Add in the maraschino cherry juice and powdered sugar until well combined and smooth.
  • Fold in the chopped cherries and 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets.

If you like that, then maybe you will love this!

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie DipFunfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip

Recipe—Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Jalapeño Popper Sammy

Chicken Popper Sammy

I swear, I take one look at this photo and I instantly start to salivate. Jalapenos, cheddar, and cream cheese coming together in the perfect combination. Add in some flavor packed shredded chicken on big warm bun and you will have a super tasty sandwich. Not only do I love this recipe because it tastes amazing but I also love it because it takes no more than 3 minutes to prepare and maybe 5 minutes to finish. Just throw together some greens for a salad or some fries in the oven and you have a meal ready to go. Perfect for us working folks who never seem to have enough time at the end of the day.

INGREDIENTS
2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 (10 oz) cans original Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 c heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c canned jalapeños, chopped
extra canned jalapeños for topping

STEPS

  • Place the chicken, onion, garlic, and Rotel in the crock-pot.
  • In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, and salt and sprinkle over all the items in the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Remove the cooked breasts from the pot and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Using two forks shred the chicken and place back into the crock-pot.
  • Cover the crock-pot and keep on low.
  • While the chicken is soaking up all those tasty flavors start the cheese sauce by heating the heavy cream over medium-high heat.
  • Allow the cream to come to a boil stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in the cream cheese until melted.
  • Add in the cheddar and chopped jalapeños and stir until smooth.
  • Assemble the sandwiches by placing a scoop of the shredded chicken onto the bottom of the bun (I use tongs to try and squeeze out the excess juice), then add a spoonful of the cheese sauce, add additional sliced jalapeños if desired, and top with the other half of the bun.
  • Chow down!

Recipe adapted from Food Fanatic.

Recipe—Individual Peanut Butter Mousse Pies

Peanut Butter Mousse Pies

I’m baaaaack! And with a bang at that! What? Were you getting worried? My apologies for taking another long break from the word of blogging but life has been crazy and busy and I just needed to step away for a bit. But I am back and with a lineup of some great recipes for all my wonderful followers. And I have some very exciting news that I will share in a few weeks if all goes as planned. Still working on fine-tuning so keep your fingers crossed for me would you please?

So even though I wasn’t posting recipes over the past couple of months I was still cooking up a storm and making sure to photograph my delicious meals so that when I was ready to get back to posting I was prepared with some great materials. So here we go, let’s get to it!

Individual peanut butter mousse pies=a heavenly dessert in super cute little mason jars. As my followers know I LOVE mason jar desserts. And if you didn’t know that then you must be new here. Welcome! Mason jars are perfect because there is no serving involved other than getting out a handful of spoons and they travel great! I made these for a bbq we went to over the summer and they were very well received. Right, Sabrina and Sandy? 😉 The peanut butter is so light and just the perfect amount of sweet. And then you get this yummy crisp chocolate crust to add in a little texture. Nom nom nom! I actually ate one of these a couple of days after I initially made them and it was still great! It didn’t separate or get funky so they will hold up for a few days if you have leftover or even if you want to make them the day before you plan on serving them. Well it is great to be back and thanks for all the continued support! I will be in touch soon!

Xoxox
The Diva

Note: The number of “pies” you get will depend on the size of your jars or serving dishes. I was able to make 12 half pint jars. If you are planning on traveling with them be sure that you don’t fill past the brim so that you can get the lids on them.

INGREDIENTS
20 Oreo cookies, crushed
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla, divided
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c creamy peanut butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

STEPS

  • In a medium sized bowl mix together the crushed Oreos and melted butter.
  • Distribute the crumbs evenly among the jars leaving about a 1/4 cup for garnishing.
  • Using the back of a spoon gently pres the crumbs into the bottom of the jars.
  • Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl and add in a 1/2 cup of the confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.
  • Beat the whipping cream using an electric mixer on high until it begins to thicken and peaks start to form.
  • Put the prepared whipping cream in the fridge for the time being.
  • Place the cream cheese, peanut butter, and remaining cup of confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  • Add in the condensed milk and the remaining tablespoon of vanilla and continue beating until mixture is creamy and smooth.
  • Remove the prepared whip cream from the fridge and add about 1/3 of it to the peanut butter filling and fold in using a rubber spatula.
  • Transfer all of the peanut butter filling to a one-gallon Ziploc bag, seal, and cut off the corner.
  • Pipe the filling into the jars filling up about 2/3 of the way.
  • Next, transfer the whip cream to a one-gallon Ziploc bag, seal, and cut off the corner.
  • Top each mousse cup with some whip cream.
  • Garnish each jar with leftover oreo crumbs and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Recipe—Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

I run a household that always seems to be full of friends and family who come to visit on the weekends. I absolutely love entertaining and cooking delicious meals for my visitors. What I don’t love is when I’m in the kitchen for hours on end. It means I am missing out on valuable time with them. This is a breakfast dish that is perfect for when you are entertaining, or heck, even if you just want an easy breakfast in the morning for the family. You prepare this in advance before your company even arrives, and then just pull it out and pop it in the oven in the morning. And by make it in advance is that you literally take the ingredients, plop them in a dish (in an orderly fashion of course) and refrigerate. How much more easy could it get? Easy to prep and easy to bake. That is my kind of breakfast!

INGREDIENTS
12 slices French toast bread, cut into 1” cubes
16 oz (2-8 oz blocks) cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 c blueberries
12 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c syrup
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish.
  • Spread half of the bread cubes into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle about three quarters of the cream cheese cubes over the bread.
  • Sprinkle about three quarters of the blueberries into the dish.
  • Top with remaining bread, cream cheese, and blueberries.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, syrup, and vanilla.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the entire dish.
  • Using your fingers or the back of a spatula gently press all of the bread pieces down into the egg mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake remove the dish from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Keep the dish covered in foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is s nice golden brown and the egg mixture is set, about an additional 20–30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Cut and serve.

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

 Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

As I announced a few weeks back after my break from blogging I started a new job back in August. It’s always a rough transition moving out of your comfort zone into something totally new. New environment. New responsibilities. New coworkers. Eek! It can be kind of nerve racking! Well the way I deal with nerves is food. Yes, I am an emotional eater! So I made a batch of these wonderful delicious bars but I couldn’t bear to eat them all so what did I do, I took them to work to share with my new co-workers. Way to bond and score some points at the new gig, right? Well these were a hit and I apologize that the recipe is 5 months late getting to you. Good news is I am still at my job so I must have made quite the impression with my tasty treats or maybe it’s my mad skills.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
5 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c flour
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Line a 8” x 8” baking dish with foil making sure there is enough to go up all four edges of the pan.
  • In a medium bowl mix together all of the graham cracker crust ingredients.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking pan using a spoon or backside of a spatula making sure that it is firmly packed.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  • While the crust cools beat together all of the cheesecake ingredients on low speed until smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the flour until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkle small clumps of the cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake mixture making sure to cover most of the dish.
  • Bake until the cookie dough looks cooked and the cheesecake has set, about 25–30 minutes.
  • Move the dish to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Remove the entire “bar” from the baking dish by holding onto the edges of the foil and lifting it from the pan.
  • Slice into small squares and eat up.

Recipe—Smothered Chicken

Smothered Chicken

I am not posting this recipe because it is super easy or quick. Not that it is challenging by any means, just lots of steps and dirty pans. But hey, sometimes meals are completely worth it. I am posting this recipe because it is rich, tasty, and a wonderful indulgence. This is the type of dinner for a romantic night, a special occasion, in or if you are entertaining a couple of guests. The name says it all, a simple chicken breast smothered in all sorts of wonderful, creamy, scrumptious, goodness. This is the perfect recipe for all the low carb lovers out there. When I’m focusing on eating low carb I typically go for lower fat items but sometimes you just need something rich to satisfy those cravings. This is it.  Even if you aren’t watching carbs, this will be a wonderful indulgent dinner.

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices, mozzarella cheese

CREAMED GREENS INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp red onion, minced
1 bunch of kale or chard, inner stalks stripped out and greens chopped
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

SAUTEED MUSHROOM INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter
2 c mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c white wine
1 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper

CHICKEN STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken.
  • Place the seasoned chicken in a greased baking dish and bake for 16 minutes.

CREAMED GREENS STEPS

  • While the chicken is baking, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the red onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2–3 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped greens and cook until they are completely wilted.
  • When the greens are done stir in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Continue cooking until the cream cheese is melted.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

 SAUTEED MUSHROOM STEPS

  •  Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned all over.
  • Add the wine, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Continue cooking until most of the wine is cooked out.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • When the chicken is done cooking, remove the dish from the oven and flip the chicken over.
  • Divide the creamed greens over the top of each breast.
  • Add the sautéed mushrooms to each breast.
  • Top each breast with the sliced mozzarella.
  • Continue baking the smothered chicken breasts for another 14–16 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Butter, Bacon, Cheese, and Garlic.

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.

Recipe—Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes

Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes

Last weekend we went to another summer BBQ. This one was about two hours away and would be a long windy drive. I needed a dessert that would transport well. Pies seem to always end up squished and most of my Pyrex dishes wont fit in my ice chest. I have seen individual desserts in mason jars trending on Pinterest and I thought to myself, “I bet something like that would transport wonderfully.” And they did! Now what to put in them? Hmm…

If you have been following my blog for a while now then you may know that I love my cheesecake. I am not picky about my desserts but if it has the word “cheesecake” in the name I will lack all self control. So I knew I wanted some sort of cheesecake in a jar. (I know, pretty self-serving right?) Blueberries were on sale at the grocery store and so my decision was made. I would be taking individual blueberry cheesecakes in mason jars. They made a great presentation, were out of this world good, could not have been easier to serve, and they were fun to eat. In other words, they were amazing!

Note: I was able to fill six 8 ounce mason jars. You can get also get 4 ounce jars for smaller servings.

BLUEBERRY FILLING INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
4 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp water

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c butter, melted
1 1/4 c sugar, divided
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c milk
8 oz tub of Cool Whip
mason jars (see note above regarding sizes)

BLUEBERRY FILLING STEPS

  • Melt the 2 tbsp of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add in the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and pour into the pot.
  • Lightly mash the blueberries with a hand held masher making sure to leave about half of the berries in tact.
  • Bring the blueberry filling to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
  • Cook the filling for 6–8 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat.

CHEESECAKE STEPS

  • While the blueberry filling is cooling, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1/4 c of the sugar.
  • Distribute the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of each jar saving a couple of spoonfuls for garnish.
  • Using a hand held mixer, beat together the cream cheese and remaining cup of sugar until well combined. Gradually add in the milk until it is nice and creamy.
  • Distribute the cream cheese filling among the jars. (I transferred my filling into a Ziploc bag, cut of the corner, and piped it into each jar.)
  • Add a layer of the blueberry filling to each jar.
  • Fill the rest of the jar with Cool Whip and sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crumbs.
  • Add lids if you will be transporting your dessert.
  • Chill for at least one hour before serving.
  • Enjoy!