Warm Bacon and Cheese Dip

Here is a yummy dip recipe that I’ve made for parties!   Very simple and very delicious!  Who doesn’t love a combo of cheese, onions and BACON?  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm……….. All cooked together into melty goodness?    It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Warm Bacon and Cheese Dip
1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 bag of shredded cheese, mild or sharp
1 16 oz. jar of sour cream
2 or 3 oz bacon pieces
-I buy the Hormel brand and the jar is exactly what you need, 2 or 3 oz, that is the way it comes — pieces not bits
1 cup of chopped green onions
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Combine all ingredients
Put in oven safe dish
Cover in foil
Bake on 350* for 35-45 min
Serve with tortilla chips!
ENJOY!
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~gianna~
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Lentil Soup

I got this recipe from my cousin, Rachele when I was looking for a yummy soup recipe!  I had a feeling my kids nor Joe would like it (and I was right) BUT I LOVED it!  Lentils are something my Mom and Nana used to make often and something I always looked forward to eating.  I’ve also made them before for my family and my girls used to eat them….but not like this, because of the spinach.   It was OK..more for me!  🙂 This recipe was very good and I highly recommend it!  I like my lentils a little more on the mushy side so I cooked them awhile longer than the recipe told me to!  I also like my lentils with grated parmesan cheese……the recipe and my cousin called for a dollop of plain yogurt.  I tried it both ways, but liked the cheese better!  OBVIOUSLY!

Lentil Soup

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 large vidalia onion

2 cloves of garlic

1  3/4 quarts chicken broth

olive oil

piece of ginger root (approx 2 inches) — peeled and sliced

grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)

2 cups lentils

5 cups fresh spinach

 salt and pepper

1 cup plain yogurt

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Peel slice the carrots.

Slice the celery.

Peel and chop onions.

Peel and slice and garlic.

Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat.

Add all vegetables and garlic to pot.

Cook until  vegetables are soft, but not mushy.

Peel and finely slice the ginger. 

Add broth to pan with lentils, ginger and tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer  (with the lid on),  until the lentils are cooked…approx 20 minutes.

Add  spinach and  cook for another minute or two.

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Top with a dollop of plain yogurt or sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese (YUM).

ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of my most favorite foods.  It has every component for a complete meal too and uses ingredients I always have on hand!  My family doesn’t love them as much as I do…but they will eat them.  The girls like the filling, so it works!  They are very, very simple and so delicious.  I LOVE red peppers and don’t love green….so I usually opt for the red, but will use green too.  It’s really just a personal preference!

This is one recipe, I have other recipes too for stuffed peppers….stay tuned for more!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large red or green peppers (cut tops off and clean inside seeds out)

2 cups of rice (cooked)

1 lb. ground turkey

Diced Vadalia Onion (about 1/2 c)

2 gloves of garlic (minced)

Oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato sauce 

Breadcrumbs

Shredded Cheese — I used cheddar but you can use anything.

8×8 (or 9×9) Baking dish

********************************************************************

In a large pan heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add drained can of tomoatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add to the mixture. Add handful of cheese and mix well. Stuff the peppers with mixture.  You can either half the peppers (like I did this time) or keep them whole and standing in the pan.  

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Top the peppers with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs.

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Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Buffalo Wings

I tried to find some recipes that were local to the 2 Super Bowl teams for this year….Denver and Seattle.  I couldn’t find any recipes that stood out to me for either region…in fact I couldn’t even find a good base food to even come up with a recipe.  Salmon and other seafood and some fresh fruit for Seattle, none of which screamed FOOTBALL to me!  And Denver…..3 WORDS….Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Not touching that one, literally or figuratively.   🙂  If you don’t know what they are…….look it up!

So let’s stick with Buffalo Wings…now that screams FOOTBALL!!!!

This is a very simple buffalo wing recipe and it’s delicious if you like a more crispy, not wet wing.  I tend to like them better this way….so if you do too, give them a shot!   Serve them up at your Super Bowl party with some blue cheese dressing and celery and enjoy!

Buffalo Wings

2 pounds of wings (separated at joint)

1/2 cup Hot Sauce (any kind you like..I used good ole Franks)

6 TBSP butter

Blue cheese dressing

Celery sticks

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°

Place wings on a foil lined baking sheet.  Make sure to leave space between wings and use 2 baking sheets if needed. Salt and pepper wings to taste.

Cook for 30-40 minutes until cooked thru.

In a small pot ob low/medium heat whisk together butter and hot sauce.

Remove chicken from oven and toss in butter/hot sauce mixture.

Put coated wings back on baking sheet and in oven for another 5-10 minutes.

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Remove and serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.

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ENJOY!

~gianna~

Spinach Pizza Bread

There are many ways to make pizza breads I already shared my pepperoni one HERE.  But I make other versions as well.  I’ve done a chicken parm one….which is filled with breaded chicken cutlets, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.  I’ve also done it with sausage, peppers and onions and I’ve done my favorite which is filled with spinach and provolone cheese.  YUMMY!  I like to have a variety of flavors when I make things like this because not everyone likes pepperoni and not everyone likes spinach.  In my family alone, Joe and Olivia go for the pepperoni one, while Ava and I like the spinach one.  So those are the 2 I make most often.  The worst part of this recipe is squeezing the water from the spinach…it’s the worst, I get annoyed and it’s messy…if anyone has an easier way to remove water from spinach PLEASE share!   Obviously I’m being a bit dramatic because I still make it often, but it still annoys me!

Spinach Pizza Bread

2 packages of frozen CHOPPED spinach (make sure you get chopped)

Garlic (minced)

Olive Oil

1 pound of pizza dough

Sliced provolone cheese  (you can use shredded too)

Preheat oven to 375°

Defrost all spinach and remove water (by squeezing to your heart’s content and then draining a bit longer on paper towels).  You want most of the water removed.  This will give your hands a good workout!  You will lose some spinach down the drain, don’t panic…it happens.  

Once water is removed from spinach, saute with garlic and oil in a pan until flavors incorporate and spinach is cooked thru.   I LOVE garlic so I use a lot, but go by your taste.  I didn’t include measurements.  Let Cool.

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Roll out your dough into an oval.  Remember you are going to be folding it all over…so make sure it’s big enough, but not too big that it won’t fit on a baking sheet.

Cover the rolled dough with cheese and then with spinach.  

Fold up sides and ends.

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Oil the bottom of the baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Place bread on baking sheet

Brush the entire bread with an egg white (beat).

 Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until brown on top and crispy.  

Slice and enjoy!

chicken parm

**this is a picture of the chicken parm one…I don’t have a finished spinach bread one!**

~gianna~

Fajitas

Fajitas are one of my favorite things in the world……I can’t even imagine anyone NOT liking them.  Cheese, peppers, sour cream, cheese, chicken, cheese, guacamole….CHEESE!!!!  And I  sometimes even use the full fat version of everything!!!!  Mmmmm….I love fajitas.

So while I have never met a chicken or shrimp fajita I didn’t like…I’ve also never met anyone who doesn’t like these fajitas….welllllll..except my sister-in-law, Ann…who slathered hers in ketchup when I made them for her and my brother in law!  I don’t think I ever made her fajitas again……and I probably never will!  🙂  Her loss!

These fajitas are so easy and so delicious, thanks to one special ingredient…the marinade!  It’s all in the marinade  and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  Someone perfected a perfect (in my opinion) fajita marinade and WOW it’s great!

marinade

When I make this I usually make extra so we have leftovers for lunch or another dinner.

So I don’t have many measurements and I sometimes substitute shrimp and it’s equally delicious!  I also love peppers and onions, so I go heavy on those!

Chicken Fajitas  (or shrimp)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (washed, trimmed and sliced into bite sized pieces)

OR

Uncooked shrimp (devined and shell removed)

World Harbors Fajita marinade (I usually use 1/4 – half a bottle)

Olive oil

Red bell peppers  (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Green peppers (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Vidalia onion (cut in half and then sliced)

Olive oil

Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese  (LOTS!)

Sour Cream

Guacamole or Avocado

Salsa

Clean and cut chicken.

In a large pan add chicken and Fajita marinade and toss and cook until it’s done.  Usually takes about 10 minutes.

Wash and slice peppers and onions into strips.

In another large frying pan add peppers, onions and olive oil.  Just enough for sauteing.   And cook those until done.  “Done” for the peppers and onions is however you like them.  I like mine cooked until still slightly crunchy. 

Heat tortilla shells (follow directions on bag)

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fajita2

Fill (or stuff…like I do) your tortillas with all the yummy toppings, roll it up and ENJOY!!!!

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~gianna~

7 Layer Taco Dip

This is a favorite of mine and it’s something that I have been making for years and years….I think the first time I brought it to a party I was actually in High School……sooooo it’s OLD!   But it’s something that never disappoints..well except this one time when I brought it to a party and some drunk friends decided to put it in the oven and cook it……..people still ate it, but it wasn’t very tasty.   PLEASE…DO NOT HEAT THIS DIP….TRUST ME!  The nice thing about this dip is that you can make it however you want…..and add or subtract ingredients….or add extra or less of others…..Just make it to your liking.  There really aren’t measurements to it!  This is perfect for any time of year……and a great dip for football games!

7 Layer Taco Dip

 

Can of refried beans

Container of Guacamole (or make your own, which I often do)

Container of Sour Cream

Package of taco seasoning

Tomatoes — seeds removed and chopped

Olives — sliced

Shredded Mexican blend cheese

Scallions

Tortilla chips (I like the bite sized ones….they are perfectly sized for dipping and enjoying!)

 

1.  Spread refried beans over a large circle serving platter.  I try to use one with a small lip.

2.  Spread guacamole on top of beans.

3.  Mix sour cream and taco seasoning in bowl and then spread over guacamole.

4.  Layer chopped tomatoes on top of the sour cream mixture.

5.  Spread sliced olives all around.

6.  Sprinkle cheese on top of the tomatoes and olives.

7.  Sprinkle chopped scallions over the entire dip.

8.  DO NOT COOK  🙂

9.  Serve with chips

10.  ENJOY!!!!

taco dip

~gianna~

Sausage & Peppers

This is always a crowd pleaser because it can be served as a main dish during a party or it can be served as an appetizer.  It can be served on bread or just in a plate and some do it over pasta.   I have become a huge fan of turkey sausage, so feel free to use that instead…..AND if you like a little spice in your life you may opt for hot sausage as opposed to sweet.    So as you can see, it’s very versatile.  It easy to make for a large group too.  My Mom used to make it all the time when she had large amounts of people over.   This recipe is what I usually make for my family of 4 (with a bit leftover),  so if you are making it for more people make sure you make more.   In the summer I usually  throw them on the grill for the last 10-15 minutes just to give them that nice grill taste, but here in Jersey it’s way too cold to be grilling when it;s just as easy and delicious to keep them in the oven.

Sausage & Peppers

1 package of sweet Italian sausage

1 red bell pepper

1 green pepper

1 vidalia onion

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Rolls, baguettes or a French loaf of bread

Preheat oven to 375.

Lightly oil the bottom of a 8×8 Pyrex dish.

With a fork pierce a few holes in each sausage link and lay them in Pyrex.

Cook for approx. 30 minutes.  Half way through flip them over.

At 30 minutes remove from oven and slice the links open (butterfly them) and return to oven.  Cook for about 15-20 more minutes until no longer pink inside.

OR

Slice links and put them on a preheated medium heat grill and cook for about 15 minutes until no longer pink.

While  sausage is cooking…

Slice peppers and onion and stir fry on stove top in olive oil  ans salt and pepper (to taste) until cooked, but still slightly crispy.  I like mine on the harder side, but if you like yours softer you can cook them longer.

Once sausage and peppers and onions are fully cooked serve both on bread of your choice.  I like to eat mine with ketchup, but you can also use your favorite marinara sauce or eat it plain!

 ENJOY!

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~gianna~ 

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

This is not only a perfect game day food, but also a food that I grew up with!  My Mom used to make pizza breads often and she always changed them up, which is why I love this recipe.  There are so many fillings you can use and they are interchangeable….even the food itself is called different things.  I’ve seen it called Stromboli,  stuffed bread, and pizza bread…as I’m sure there are other terms for it!    Today I will be blogging about Pepperoni Pizza Bread (which reminds me I have heard it called Pepperoni Bread as well). I don’t really use a specific recipe for amounts, I just wing it on how much stuff I want to fill it with.  Sometimes I’m in a cheesy mood so I’ll put more cheese, sometimes if I’m making it for a larger group with men,  I’ll put more pepperoni.  Some people serve theirs with a side of marinara sauce for dipping, I do not.  But feel free to add some on the side if you’d like.  You can also use any kind of cheese….mozzarella and provolone are the 2 I’ve used with pepperoni.

PEPPERONI PIZZA BREAD

 1 pound of pizza dough — store bought or homemade (make sure it’s at room temp)

Pepperoni (sliced thin from the deli counter)

Shredded Mozzarella (you can use provolone too, I personally like mozzarella in this)

Olive Oil

1 Egg White

Preheat Oven to 375°.

Roll your dough out flat and longer than a round pizza on a WELL floured surface.  Length should fit in a baking sheet.

Grease the baking sheet with a thin coating of olive oil.

Layer pepperoni, leaving an inch or two the whole way around.

Add cheese to the middle of the layer of pepperoni.

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Gently pull up sides and meet at the middle.  Make sure you press down on the fold to nothing seeps out.

Gently pull up the ends and press down firmly so nothing seeps out.  

Lift the entire thing and place it in the center of the baking sheet (I do mine seem side up).  If you don’t think you can do this part (it takes some practice) you can place your dough on the baking sheet prior to layering the pepperoni and cheese and then fold it up.

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Using a pastry brush, brush the entire thing with egg white.  

 Cook for about 25 minutes at 375° or until the top gets golden brown.  

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Let it set and cool for a few minutes, then slice it gently.   AND ENJOY!   Serve plain or with a side of marinara sauce.  

~gianna~

Crockpot Baby Back Ribs

I love using my crockpot, but sometimes it gets hard finding recipes I like in the crockpot.  Sometimes the recipes make the food too wet or too dry and sometimes it tastes “crockpotty” (the taste it gets from sitting in a crockpot all day — there is a certain taste, trust me).  

So I decided to give baby back ribs a try in the crockpot.   Last time I made ribs in the crockpot, they were very good…..but I used country ribs (bone in)….this time I decided to use baby back and cook them on low instead of high!  I also changed things around a bit.   I gave them a dry rub and waited to add the BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays obviously!) until the end!  And HOLY COW….I hit a home run!  These were AMAZING!  Probably one of the best things I’ve made in my crockpot!


1 large rack of baby back ribs (I honestly don’t remember how much it weighed).

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp tyhme

1 TBSP brown sugar

Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use…..all together now……Sweet Baby Rays)

Cut your ribs into sections (4 ribs in each)….you should get 4 or 5 sections.  

Combine all your dry ingredients and give those ribs a good rub down…make sure to coat the entire thing. 

Generously spray your crockpot with cooking spray.

Stack your ribs sideways/vertically in the crockpot….bone side down.  Kind of lay them against each other.

Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours.

After the 8 hours is up, uncover and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce.  I pretty much smothered mine…but I like them saucey!  Cover and turn heat up to HIGH and cook for another 30 minutes!

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~gianna~

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