Texas Caviar Dip

Texas Caviar

This is one of my go-to recipes for entertaining, pot luck dinners or easy dinners at home. It is great with tortilla and pita chips or on top of a chicken fajita salad or tacos. And, it is a cold dip so it is so refreshing in the summer!

Most traditional Texas Caviar recipes include black eyed peas, but I prefer the taste of black beans so this version has a little more of a Tex-Mex kick!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Rotel (mild or hot)
  • 1 can strained black beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 chopped avocado
  • The juice of one lime
  • 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons Italian dressing

Instructions:

So easy: mix everything together and refrigerate! Since the dip is so easy to make I love making homemade tortilla chips to go with it! No real “cooking” required!

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Homemade Almond Butta

I love Almond butter!! When I ran out the other day I thought it was perfect timing to make my next batch from scratch! If any of you aren’t hooked already, almond butter is nutty, creamy and much better for you than peanut butter.image

I put it on my toast, in smoothies and in baked goods! I use a VitaMix so this easy recipe took my me just 15 minutes. If you don’t have one [which I highly recommend], I found these other food processor recipes here and here.

Roasted Almond Butter

Ingredients:

3 cups of raw almonds

1/4 cup of canola oil

Making it:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread your raw almonds along a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden and fragrant but not burned.

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Cool the almonds and place them in the Vitamix with the canola oil. Turn the blender on variable speed and quickly increase the dial from 1-10, then flip to high for 1 minute. You should start to see buttery, creamy deliciousness and you know it is done!

I moved mine to a glass jar and added about half a cup to a small mason jar for gifting. Perfect as a part of any hostess or party gift!

St. Patrick’s Day Green Treats

So… St. Patty’s Day is upon us. I typically don’t do anything special for this holiday but it certainly is a good excuse to hang with friends and [over] indulge in some fun food and drinks!

This year we have a St. Patty’s day brunch at a friend’s house, a St. Patty’s day bar-b-que later that afternoon and a wedding that night! Needless to say, I will not be hosting any parties but I wanted to share some recipes of what I would be making for those of you looking for ideas.

Let me know if you try any of them!

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Shamrock Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or vanilla
  • Few drops green food coloring
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Green colored sugar
Directions1.In a large mixer bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened (about 30 seconds). Add sugar and salt and beat until fluffy.2. Add the egg, peppermint extract or vanilla, and a few drops of green food coloring. Beat mixture well.

3. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour to butter mixture and beat well.

4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a roll about 1 inch thick and about 8 inches long. Roll each in green colored sugar. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

5. Unwrap rolls. Slice crosswise so the slices are 1/4 inch thick. To shape each shamrock, place 3 slices of dough with sides touching in a shamrock shape on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut a stem from a fourth slice and attach to the shamrock (save the rest of this slice for cutting other shamrock stems). Gently push the slices together so each leaflet curves in slightly.

6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. With a pancake turner lift the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool. Makes 32 cookies.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens here.

 

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

St. Patrick’s Day Pistacio Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Green food coloring, optional
  • Cream cheese frosting

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix until blended.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Add food coloring to frosting if desired; frost cupcakes. Yield: 1 dozen.

Recipe from Taste of Home here.

Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker

Ingredients

1  pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

6  to 8  drops green food color

1 egg

1  cup creme de menthe baking chips

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.
  • Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Recipe from Betty Crocker here.

Cinnamon Banana French Toast

There is nothing I look forward to more than a relaxing weekend brunch. Anything from a great mimosa on a patio to a fabulous French bistro or a quaint country diner works great for me! And, I love having friends over for brunch and cooking at home.

One of my favorite brunch meals is french toast. There is just something about the all-in-one classic breakfast meal that I crave. It could be topped with berries, smothered in creme fraiche or one of my personal favorites, served with gooey bananas and cinnamon.

I love serving my cinnamon banana french toast with a side of fresh blueberries and strawberries, some scrambled eggs and a giant cup of strong coffee!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of airy, eggy bread (I use the light honey whole wheat kind from the grocery but brioche or challah is soo delicious too!)
  • 6 eggs (usually 4 full eggs and 2 egg whites)
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • a splash of milk ( I use unsweetened almond milk but you can also use soy or 2 percent- even half and half)
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon (for egg mixture)
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon (for banana topping)
  • one banana (not too ripe)

French Toast directions:

  • Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl
  • Melt the butter on a nonstick pan over medium heat
  • Pour the egg mixture in a shallow square dish and one at a time dip the bread into the mixture allowing each side to soak for 30 seconds.
  • Once the butter is melted and the pan is ready (I usually sprinkle a little water on the pan and if it “dances” off the pan, its ready!), place the french toast on the pan making sure each slice is placed on the heated flat part of the pan. I use a square griddle pan like this one but you can also use a wide sautee pan.
  • Cook the toast until golden on each side, approximately 3 minutes per side. I usually peek under the toast with a spatula to make sure it is ready to flip. If needed, adjust the stove top temperature so the bread is cooking consistently and not too fast.
  • As the toast is ready, transfer it to a paper towel over a plate. I usually place a paper towel between each layer of toast so they don’t get soggy.

Cinnamon banana

  • Slice the banana in half then length wise so you have approximately six thin banana slices
  • Place the banana slices across a plate and sprinkle them with the cinnamon on both sides
  • Microwave the bananas for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute or until the bananas are soft and pliable.

To Serve:

Top one piece of toast with 3 slices of banana and place the second slice of toast on top, so the delicious ooey banana is sandwiched in between the hot toast. Guests love to add some powdered sugar or butter on on top to sweeten it up! I love eating mine with pure maple syrup or agave nectar! MMMM delicious!

The Pioneer Woman’s “Knock You Naked” Brownies

That’s right. These brownies are that good!! I enjoyed one [maybe two; okay three] of these at a friend’s house last week and I was hooked! They are just the right amount of gooey, chocolate-y, nutty and sweet. The brownie base is packaged German Chocolate cake mix with evaporated milk, butter and nuts with a layer of ooey carmels and chocolate chips in between the layers of brownie batter.

I topped my brownie with some ice cold vanilla ice cream and was in heaven! Here is the recipe from The Pinoneer Woman. Enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German Chocolate Cake Mix (I Used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk (additional)
  • 1/2 cup Butter, Melted
  • 60 whole Caramels, Unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.

Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.

In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.

Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.

*Adapted from the classic “Knock You Naked Brownies” recipe, based on a dessert at the Salt Creek Steakhouse in Breckenridge. These brownies don’t really knock you naked…but almost.