Thursday, September 29, 2011

Warm Bacon and Caramelized Onion Dip

There is something fantastic about warm, cheesy, and creamy dips. On Sunday, the family settled in for the Packer v. Bear game and munched on this delicious creation. Earlier in the day I text my sister for any requests, and she responded with 4 different things. One of the requests was bacon dip. I decided to be creative and came up with this appetizer. It was a hit! Even my three year old nephew dug in.

Tomorrow Ron and I are taking a second look at a house!! I really like this one so keep your fingers crossed for us!


Ingredients
12 oz cream cheese
1/3 up sour cream
10 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 onion, sliced thin
1 cup grated Swiss cheese, divided
2 Tbl butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
Add butter and olive oil to a medium skillet. Turn heat to medium-low and add onion. Allow onions to cook slowly and caramelize. This takes about 20-25 minutes so be patient so the onions do not burn. When onions are cooked, drain and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream. Gently stir in onions, bacon, salt, and pepper. Fold in 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese. Spread dip into a small baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until sides are hot and bubbly.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash & Bacon Risotto

Happy Birthday to my nephews lil' G and lil' D. They are two of the sweetest babies and they are celebrating their second and third birthday (technically we are celebrating lil' G's birthday tomorrow and lil' D's was technically on Thursday). Today Ron and I were talking about how funny it is when kids pick their favorite toy themes as they get older. Lil' G loves Cars and Dora (backpack backpack!!), and lil' D loves Thomas the Train and four-wheelers. I love how they have different tastes for their toys.

In addition to being proud aunt and uncle, Ron and I are house hunting. We found a real looker today, but are going to see a few more to compare.

I made this dish a few days ago for dinner. Sometimes we get into dinner grooves (especially when there is chili in the fridge), and need a new dish to snap us back to variety. This dish is really delicious! We grilled the pork tenderloin whole with a bit of salt and pepper, but if you do not have two people running back and forth can be a challenge! Searing or roasting the tenderloin works just as well. Enjoy!
Ingredients
1 cup Arborio rice
4 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 pieces bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cup butternut squash, cooked and cubed (I thawed a frozen bag we had on hand)
1/2 mediu onion, diced
1 Tbl maple syrup
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
Salt & Black Pepper
1 pork tenderloin (1 1/4- 1 1/2 lbs)

Instructions
Season pork tenderloin with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add bacon and onion. Saute till bacon is cooked completely and onions are soft and translucent. Stir in rice, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in squash. Add 1 cup stock and cook 3-5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly (The stock should sizzle when it hits the pan to make sure you don't keep your heat too low).  Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. This takes about 20 minutes so now is a good time to start your pork depending on how you choose to prepare it (you will want to start it earlier if you choose to roast it). In my case I sent my husband outside to the grill.

Right before you serve the risotto, stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Plate and top with sliced grilled pork.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recipe Swap: Grilled Sriracha “Poppers”

Tonight's post is my first time participating in the Recipe Swap Roundup hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking. I love trying new things and joined the roundup to do just that! The theme of this roundup is Tailgating/Appetizers! Really could there be a more perfect theme? I think not. I contributed my Brat Bruschetta (hopefully a midwester got it- might make some nervous).  I was randomly given Grilled Sriracha "Popper" for my recipe. I was so excited to make these! Number one it involves grilling, number two it involves tailgating, and number three- Jalapenos!!! I never grilled a jalapeno pepper and was excited to give a try. This recipe was really easy and the flavor is so close to a popper (minus all the oil and fat!). Do not be nervous about the heat level with the sriracha and jalapenos- the cream cheese cuts it perfectly. This fantastic recipe comes from Oishii and you can find the recipe here. I really enjoyed reading the blog- lots of different choices! I tried to stick with the original recipe, but subbed cheddar cheese for monterey jack (we also used our gas grill). Ron and I decided that we are going to prep these babies and bring the with us to our stadium tailgate for the Packer v. Rams game in a few weeks. Check out the round up at A Taste of Home Cooking, and try these poppers!

Grilled Sriracha “Poppers”
from Oishii

12 medium to large-sized jalapeños
7 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 TBS. Sriracha
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. cumin
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Prepare a gas grill.
Wash the jalapeños and pat dry. Cut off the stems and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scrape out the seeds and membranes. Arrange jalapeño halves on a large platter.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Sriracha, cheddar cheese, and cumin and mix well. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Fill each jalapeño half with the cream cheese filling.

When the grill is hot, Using tongs, carefully place the jalapeño poppers in the center of the grill (We used a grated grill pan). Cook for a few minutes, or until the bottoms of the jalapeños just begin to char. Move the poppers to the edge of the grill so that they can continue to cook over indirect heat for about 10 minutes more. Poppers are ready when the jalapenos are soft and cream cheese puffs and starts to become golden.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Creamy Cucumber Salad

I know this picture is not very pretty- looks can be deceiving. This is one of Ron's favorite side dishes ever besides his precious cheese beans. I love these cucumbers. They work perfectly with a burger hot off the grill or as a light side with a stove top dinner. I sub greek yogurt for mayo and sour cream base to give an extra protein boost. You can add any herbs you like to this dish, but I like to keep this dish simple.

It is so sad we are creeping closer and closer to fall. Good this us Wisconsin folks aren't afraid to grill in our snowsuits.
Ingredients
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
2 Tbl reduced fat mayo
6 oz greek yogurt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sugar

Instructions
Mix all ingredients besides cucumbers into a medium bowl. Fold cucumbers into yogurt sauce. Place in cucumbers in a tupperwear container and allow them to chill 2-24 hours (the longer it sits the better the cucumbers and sauce meld together).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Summer Vegetable Risotto

In Green Bay we are still smiling about our win on Thursday. What a great game! This was a quick dinner I put together after receiving a bunch of delicious garden goodies. The salmon and risotto are simple, but the flavor is wonderful! It is helpful to have two sets of hands for this dish (one for grilling and one fo risotto). If you ae cooking fo yourself you may want to bake or poach the slamon so you can keep an eye on it while the risotto is cooking. Ron is not a zucchini lover, but gobbles up his entire dish. Success! This is really easy and a wonderful way to use your summer vegetables.

Ten years ago the United States was faced not only with tragedy, but sadness, fear, anger, and uncertainly. I think it is important to remember the innocent that lost their lives, the bravery of those who rushed to help, and emotions that took us all.  There was a portion of a speech given by President Clinton that always makes me think moving forward and what kind of person I want to be. I do not want to stand with my fists clenched.

The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs.  The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.  ~William J. Clinton, 1997
Ingredients
1 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable to create a vegetarian dish)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 large shallot, diced
1 medium zucchini, quartered and chopped
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh corn
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbl chopped fresh basil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl butter
3 1/2 Tbl olive oil, divided
1 lb fresh salmon
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Brush salmon with 1 Tbl olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and carrots to skillet and cook until shallots are translucent (about 5 minutes).
Stir in rice, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes, corn, lemon juice, lemon zest, and zucchini cook about 30 seconds to one minute depending on how much juice your tomatoes have. Add chopped herbs. Add 1 cup stock and cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly (The stock should sizzle when it hits the pan to make sure you don't keep your heat too low).  Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. This takes about 20 minutes so now is a good time to start your salmon depending on how you choose to prepare it. In my case I sent my husband outside to the grill.

Right before you serve the risotto, stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Plate and top with grilled salmon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Creamy Spinach And Radish Dip

Football season is in the air in Green Bay! We are gearing up for the game on Thursday and are excited for the show beforehand. This is a great dish for tailgating because it ca be made ahead of time and is easy to transport. I also thought this was an appropriate dish for today because the addition of the radishes was Ron's idea and it exactly one month since our wedding. Happy 1 month Ron! It was also my sister and brother in-laws wedding anniversary. They are expecting a baby in January and just found out it is a girl! We are all over the moon with excitement for her arrival! Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! Enjoy! 
Ingredients
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup reduced fat mayo
1 packet Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 can sliced water chestnuts, halved
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3-4 medium radishes, finely diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 pumpernickel or rye bread round (to hold dip)

Instructions
Mix all ingredients together. Store in a covered container 3-24 hours. When you are ready to serve the dip, cut the top of the bread round in a circular shape. Make sure to make the hole large enough to fit the dip. Pull bread from the inside of the round for serving. Rip the cut out top of the bread into bite size pieces. place dip into bread bowl and serve with bread bites.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tuna Melt Casserole

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! Here is a easy labor casserole for you to try. I have been craving tuna casserole for awhile, but wanted something different than the cream soup, peas, and noodles. I saw this recipe on Good Housekeeping and knew I had to give it a try. The casserole hit the spot and is filled with creamy pasta, flavorful tuna, and tasty veggies. This is a great twist on an old favorite!  Enjoy!

Tuna Melt Casserole
Ingredients
16 oz package pasta (we used  gluten free macaroni)
3 cup fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (we used gluten free)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cup milk (we used 2 %)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (we used reduced fat)
12 oz chunk light tuna in water, drained and flaked
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large saucepot, cook pasta in boiling salted water 5 minutes; add broccoli to pasta and cook another 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender and pasta is al dente. Drain well and return to saucepot; set aside.

Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until blended and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese until blended.

Add cheese sauce and tuna to pasta and broccoli in saucepot; toss until evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to shallow 3 1/2-quart casserole or 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish. Arrange tomato slices on top, overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Cover baking dish with foil and bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly
Serves 6.