Appetizers

Recipe—Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball

I have always loved the idea of cheese balls, but have been turned off by the fake processed taste of the premade ones you get at the store. Well cheese balls seem to be redeeming themselves with all the creative gourmet versions popping up all over the place. I recently threw my husband a little birthday bbq and wanted an appetizer that could be prepared ahead of time and then just set out once the party started. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew it was exactly what I was looking for! My husband loves bacon, and of course loves the spice of jalapeños. (Don’t all men? Okay I guess vegetarians may be repulsed by the bacon but there are substitutes for that.) Once I had the bacon cooked and the jalapeños chopped this recipe came together in about 5 minutes. It was super quick and easy. A perfect recipe for any social events you may have coming up. By the end of the night I had several people asking for the recipe, which, in my mind, is a very good sign.

Note: This can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped, divided
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1/4 c pecans, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Fold in half of the chopped jalapeños and half of the crumbled bacon until well blended.
  • On a large plate combine the remaining jalapeños, remaining bacon, and the pecans and mix together.
  • Using your hands shape the cream cheese mixture into a large even ball.
  • Once you have formed the ball roll it in the pecan mixture until it is evenly coated.
  • Place the finished cheese ball on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  • Serve with your favorite crackers.

Recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

Uncategorized

Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas

CincoDeMayo

Time to bust out your sombrero, and crank up the mariachi music, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! If you are looking to throw a fiesta, or even just cook a festive dinner for the fam, I have some awesome Cinco de Mayo menu ideas for you.  I hope you take the day to kick back, relax, enjoy a margarita (or three), and celebrate this Mexican holiday. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Refreshing Adult Beverages

Blended Mango Margarita

Grapefruit Margarita on the Rocks

Let’s Get this Fiesta Started!

Shrimp Taco Cups With Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Mango Salsa

Queso Fundido

Chubby Chicken Taquitos

Main Courses

Shrimp Tacos

Cheesy Mexican Chicken

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Burger With Guacamole

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Sweet Potato Burritos

Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Tasty Extras

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Mexican Corn on the Cob

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins

For the Sweet Tooth

Piña Colada Pie With Drunken Rum Sauce

Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Burger with Guacamole

This chicken burger is the love child of Mexican and American cuisine. It is delicious. Or should I say was delicious, because my husband and I each devoured ours. The entire thing. This had to be the most flavor packed chicken burger I have ever had. Usually when I think of turkey or chicken burgers I think of dry flavorless patties. Not the case with these bad boys! These jalapeño cheddar chicken burgers were incredibly moist and definitely not short on flavor. If you are looking for a way to spruce up the average burger, or even to cut some calories give these burgers a try. They are definitely unique and unlike any chicken burger you have probably ever had before, the perfect burger to enjoy with a refreshing Corona on a warm summer day. Ahhhhhh yeaaahhhhh. That’s what I’m talking about.

Note: These can definitely be cooked on the barbeque. I used my skillet because ground chicken tends to stick easily due to the low fat content.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 c yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp jalapeño, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 c shredded cheddar
kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2–4 buns

FABULOUS TOPPINGS
guacamole
slices of cheddar cheese
lettuce
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Combine ground chicken, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, paprika, cheddar, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Using your hands mix everything together.
  • Form the mixture into 2–4 patties depending on the size you want.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the patties and cook for 5–7 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  • While the patties are cooking toast the buns in the oven or 4–5 minutes.
  • Place each patty on a bun and garnish with whatever your heart desires. (I would use all the garnishes I recommended if I were you.)
Kitchen Tips

Kitchen Tip—How to Roast Peppers

Roasting peppers at home is surprisingly easy. They are great in sandwiches, Mexican dishes, and even pasta. I use roasted bell peppers and jalapeños pretty frequently in cooking. They seem to hold up best since they have a nice thick flesh. If you have an abundance of peppers and you are unable to use them all before they spoil, roasting and freezing them is a great way to preserve them. This is what I did with my crop of jalapeños at the end of the summer. They will last in the freezer for 3–6 months depending on how you store them. I love always having them on hand ready for whatever flavorful dish I’m cooking up next!

INGREDIENTS
any type of pepper, washed and dried

STEPS FOR ROASTING PEPPERS

  • Put your oven’s rack on the highest rung possible and turn on the oven broiler.
  • If roasting small peppers, such as jalapeños, place them on a skewer for easy handling.
  • Place the peppers on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Broil the peppers for 10–12 minutes or until the skin is blackened.
  • Flip the peppers over and broil for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the peppers from the oven and skewer and place them in a paper lunch sack. If you do not have a paper lunch sack place them in a small bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap.
  • Allow the peppers to steam in the bag or bowl for 15 minutes. This helps to loosen up the skin for easy removal.
  • Pull the stems out of the peppers and carefully peel off the charred skin.
  • Slice the peppers down one side filleting them open
  • Spread the pepper open and use the backside of the knife to scrape the seeds out.

STEPS FOR FREEZING ROASTED PEPPERS

  • Place your roasted peppers on a wax paper lined baking sheet making sure they don’t touch.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer and leave there over night.
  • Once the peppers are completely frozen place them in an airtight baggie or container. By freezing them on a sheet first it keeps them from sticking to each other once in a single container or bag.
Sandwiches

Recipe—Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

This was one of my recipes in the running for the Hot and Spicy Week I did back in September but I just had too many good jalapeño recipes to share so this one got the boot. Well my jalapeño plant was still producing in November thanks to this unseasonably warm weather so here it is, the jalapeño popper grilled cheese sammy! It is creamy, cheesy, and spicy, all the qualities a person looks for in a popper. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
2–3 large jalapeños, roasted
2 tbsp butter, softened
4 large slices of sourdough
1/3 c cream cheese
8 slices cheddar cheese

STEPS

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Spread one side of each piece of the bread with butter.
  • Place two slices of bread butter side down in the skillet.
  • Top the bread in the skillet with the sliced cheddar cheese.
  • Add the roasted jalapeños to the sandwich.
  • Spread the remaining two slices of bread with cream cheese on the sides without butter.
  • Place the bread cream cheese side down on the sandwich.
  • Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until the bread is a toasty brown.
  • Flip and cook for another 3 minutes until cheese is melted and the other side is a nice toasty brown.
Dinners

Recipe—Sweet Potato Burritos

I have always been a lover of sweet potatoes… at Thanksgiving. Besides the typical mashed sweet potatoes I make with candied pecans and then of course the trending sweet potato fries I just don’t really cook with them that often. Not because I don’t love them, but because I just really only know one or two ways to make them. The other night I saw recipe for Mexican stuffed sweet potatoes and I thought to myself, okay interesting. And then the next week I happened to get two perfect sweet potatoes in my organic produce box. Coincidence, I think not. I knew these sweet potatoes were destined to be something different and fabulous. They became the primary filling for sweet potato burritos. And they were wonderful! These sweet potato burritos are flavor packed, healthy, and unlike anything you have ever had before. The sweet potato really takes on a while new identity when mixed with these strong Mexican flavors. Since I am trying to serve one vegetarian meal a week in our house these were perfect but they would also be great with some grilled chicken or even an added scoop of rice. Why not try something totally unique and give these a try.

Note: This makes approximately 8 burritos. I wrapped my extras up in saran wrap minus the avocado and they freeze and reheat great. Perfect for a speedy lunch later down the road!

INGREDIENTS
2 large sweet potatoes
15.25 oz canned corn, drained
1 tbsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
15.25 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
8 burrito sized tortillas
1–2 c pepper jack, cheese shredded
1 avocado, sliced

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Bake the sweet potatoes for 45–60 minutes or until they are fork tender.
  • Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and allow to cool.
  • While sweet potatoes are cooling place the corn in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat. Roast the corn for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes until the corn is brown and roasted on the outside.
  • Add in the butter, onion, garlic, and jalapeño and cook until onions are translucent.
  • Add the black beans to the skillet and allow to continue cooking on lowest heat.
  • Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the meaty insides into a bowl.
  • Coarsely mash the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, cumin, chili powder, and lime juice. Stir in the cilantro.
  • Heat up your tortillas in the microwave or stovetop.
  • Spread each tortilla with a layer of the sweet potato mash and add a scoopful of the corn mixture to the middle. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and add in the avoado.  Roll up the burrito and continue repeating until all the fillings are gone.
  • As you finish each burrito place them in a baking dish.
  • Bake burritos in the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and brown the tops of the burritos.
  • Remove burritos from the oven and serve.
Dinners

Recipe—Jalapeño Popper Chicken

Today is the 5th and final day of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one! 

One of my all time favorite appetizers has got to be jalapeño poppers. I pretty much like anything with jalapeños but when you combine them with cream cheese and cheddar, oh my, it is good! This dinner recipe combines this awesome appetizer with a meaty chicken breast that ends up being so moist and tender. For this recipe I used crushed Ritz because I really like the crunchy buttery exterior but I really want to try it with Cheez-Its instead next time. I think that would be pretty darn tasty giving it that extra layer of cheesy crispiness.

Note: As much as I like my fried chicken this recipe has you bake it. If you aren’t concerned about cutting the extra calories you can certainly fry it up and then finish it in the oven for an even crispier exterior.

INGREDIENTS
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 jalapeños, deseeded and chopped
1/4 c cream cheese, softened
1/2 c cheddar, shredded
1 egg
1 1/2 c crushed Ritz crackers

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar, and peppers.
  • Using a small sharp knife carefully cut a pocket into the side of the thickest part of the chicken breasts.
  • Using your fingers work the cream cheese filling inside each breasts until they are packed full.
  • Secure the opening in each breast with a toothpick
  • Using a shallow bowl beat the egg.
  • Dip the chicken pieces into the egg and then the crushed crackers making sure to cover the chicken completely.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish.
  • Bake for 30–35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before serving. The cheese filling will be very hot!

Side Dishes

Recipe—Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins

Today is day 3 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one! 

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins

Looking for a quick and easy side dish you can serve with your bowl of chili this coming winter? This is a great recipe I have been making for years. This takes the typical corn bread muffin and gives it a little extra kick.  In my opinion, there is no better complement to a fresh jalapeño than cheese. These go great with a spicy rubbed steak and some grilled veggies or even a side of your favorite soup. They are incredibly easy to make since you’re taking a box mix and just spicing it up with a couple simple ingredients. Perfect for busy moms, or dads, short on time.

Note: You can use any corn bread mix you prefer. I just really like Marie Callender’s. These proportions are perfect for a mix that makes a dozen muffins. You also don’t have to use the muffin pan liners as the recipe is written. I just find that sometimes the cheese adheres to the muffin pan and can make it difficult to get the little rascals out when they aren’t used.

INGREDIENTS
Marie Callender’s Original Corn Bread Mix, 16 oz
water
1 1/4 c shredded cheddar, divided
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and sliced
muffin cup liners (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Prepare corn bread mix according to instructions.
  • Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar and the diced jalapeños, making sure not to over mix.
  • Prepare muffin pan with liner cups and evenly distribute the muffin mix in each cup filling up about 2/3 of the way.
  • Top each muffin with a slice of jalapeño and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar on top of each.
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

Dinners

Recipe—Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Today is day 2 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one!

Looking to add some spice to your life? These shrimp enchiladas will do the trick! While the enchilada filling has a good kick to it, the jalapeño cream sauce balances out the heat nicely giving the enchilada a cooling creamy exterior. I love that these are packed with some serious veggies. The sweetness from the corn goes great with the roasted shrimp. It is probably one of my favorite flavor combinations. While these are a little more time consuming to make they are well worth it! Enjoy!

Note: I would like to advise that these do pack a bit of heat so beware. You can leave out the chipotle peppers and add a teaspoon of chili powder to tone it down if spicy isn’t for you.

ENCHILADA FILLING INGREDIENTS
2 lbs medium shrimp, cleaned and peeled
4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 white onion, diced
2 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 c shredded carrots
8 oz canned corn, drained
5 c baby spinach
8–10 tortillas
2 c jack cheese, shredded

JALAPENO CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c chicken broth
3/4 c sour cream
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (I used 1 red and 1 green)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Place cleaned shrimp on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Place sheet in oven and bake for 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350º.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or wok.
  • Add the garlic and onion and cook over medium high heat until onions are translucent.
  • Toss the peppers, oregano, carrots, corn, and spinach into the skillet and cook until the spinach just begins to wilt and reduce heat to low.
  • While the filling mixture is cooking cut the shrimp into bite size pieces.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and toss to combine.
  • Remove skillet from heat.
  • In a large saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour until light gold in color.
  • Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and cook until simmering.
  • Stir in the sour cream, jalapeños, and garlic powder and simmer until nice and thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
  • Warm the tortillas a couple at a time and place on a large flat surface.
  • Place a scoop of the shrimp filling on each tortilla and top with cheese.
  • Roll up each enchilada and place seam side down in a greased baking dish. Repeat this step until the shrimp filling is gone.
  • Pour the jalapeño cream sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas.
  • Put finished enchiladas in the oven and bake until tortillas are golden on the edges, about 20 minutes.

Appetizers

Recipe—Queso Fundido

Today is day 1 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one!

Planning a fiesta anytime soon? If so, this is a perfect appetizer sure to start the party off right. It is quick and easy. I have made this for two social gatherings in the last couple of weeks since jalapeños are in abundance at our house and both times the dish was practically licked clean. It is one of those appetizers that you just can’t get enough of. Just serve it up with your favorite tortilla chips and watch it disappear.

Note: If you have a small appetizer sized crock-pot you can put the finished queso fundido in it on low heat to stay warm.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped
3 tbsp tequila
2 c jack cheese, shredded
1/4 c milk
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium high heat and add tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños.
  • Cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Carefully add in tequila and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Mix in cheese and milk and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  • You can serve as it is OR you can put the cheese mixture in an oven safe dish and finish off under the broiler for 3–4 minutes or until just starting to turn a golden brown on top.