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
**********************************************************************
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~

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~

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~

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~

Coconut Chicken Strips

I accidentally bought chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts the other day and needed to make them tonight!  I found a recipe that was perfect for dinner, because I knew the girls and Joe would eat it, but also perfect for the “football food” theme.   It’s very simple, doesn’t take much time and will wow any crowd, young and old.   Pair these chicken strips with some yummy dipping sauce of your own or use mine, and it’s sure to be a touchdown!!!!   (Sorry — I had to).  This can also be made into a meal!   Follow the same directions using butterfly shrimp for a different taste!  YUM!

Coconut Chicken Strips

 1-2 pounds — chicken tenders (cleaned)

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

salt (to taste)

oil (for frying)

 Set out 3 bowls.  In first bowl combine and mix eggs and coconut milk.  In second bowl combine salt and flour and in third bowl combine planko breadcrumb and shredded coconut.

 While your oil is getting nice and hot, dip each chicken tender first in the flour mixture, then egg/coconut milk mixture, and then coat it in the planko and coconut mixture.   Once oil is hot, place chicken into pan and cook approx. 3 – 4 minutes on each side and until chicken is golden brown and crispy.  If they are thicker tenders you may need to cook a little longer.

 Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain excess oil and let sit for a few minutes.

 Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.   ENJOY!!!

 

Here is what I whipped up for my dipping sauce and it was delicious:

Dipping Sauce for Coconut Chicken or Shrimp

No recipe — so add ingredients to taste

 Apricot Preserves  (I used about 10oz) — you can use Orange or Peach too!

Soy Sauce (about 1 tbsp)

Spicy Brown Mustard (about 1 tsp.)

Juice of half a lemon

Ground ginger (about 1tsp.)

Sesame oil (about 1/2 tsp)

 

Mix together and serve!

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~gianna~

Beer & Chili Meatballs

These little balls of deliciousness have been an old standby of mine whenever I’m asked to “bring a hearty appy!” because you can make them in bulk and they are so yummy!  I also always add them to my own menus..when I’m hosting a party!  I usually cook them on the stove, and then transfer them to my crockpot and keep it on warm, just to keep them hot!  (They aren’t as good served room temperature..or cold!)   And even though they do have beer in them……kids go coo-coo for them!  The alcohol burns off…so don’t worry (I never do) ;oP  And they are made with ground turkey, so they are a tad more healthy!  BONUS!!!  They are also great for any time of year…I’ve done them for New Years Eve….a Summer Luau or any day in between.  I was recently told by friends that they started making these for parties and they call them “Gianna’s Meatballs”.  I’d be happy to have my name attached to this recipe!  


You must make these for the next “bring a hearty (or any) appy!” party!  And you won’t be disappointed…NO ONE will!

Beer & Chili Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350°

You will need for meatballs…

1 lb ground turkey

1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs

2 eggs (beaten)

3/4 cup milk

Mix all in a bowl (I use my KA Stand Mixer)

Form small meatballs (like bite-sized or a little bigger)

Put on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled

Bake for 30 minutes


You will also need

1/2 cup beer (any kind)

1/2 cup brown sugar

A bottle of chili sauce

(people often ask where to find this in the store.  It’s usually near the cocktail sauce and ketchup)


In a large pot on the stove mix in all ingredients and drop in meatballs. Stir occasionally, let simmer for 15-20 minutes!

 

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~gianna~

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Here is an oldie, but goodie!  I used to make it all the time for parties….it was one of my go-to dips.  But then other dips/appys took it’s place and I kinda stopped bringing it.  The nice thing about this recipe is that someone, somewhere ends up bringing it to a party or get together we are at…and it resurfaces itself.  Which is exactly what happened again. A friend of mine brought it to our New Year’s Eve party this year….and now it’s baaaaaack!   If you like buffalo-style chicken wings, you will love this dip!  It’s creamy, with a little crunch and a whole lot of spice and it’s really easy!  It’s a perfect dip for anytime..but especially football season!   It’s also one of my husband’s favorites!

 I tweaked my original recipe (which I got from one of my best friends, Alyssa) to make it a somewhat lighter version.   The only difference is to swap out regular cream cheese for the 1/3 less fat (or fat free) and serve it with crackers and tortilla chips instead of celery and carrots!    You decide which is the right fit for you!  🙂

Buffalo Chicken Dip (the healthier version)

 

2 pkg. 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese

2 small or 1 large can of chicken (I use all white meat Swanson)

1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch (dry mix)

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (more or less to your liking)

1/2 cup diced celery

Celery, Carrots, Crackers or Tortilla Chips for dipping

 

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch packet in a bowl and mix well with a mixer (hand or stand) until smooth.

Add chicken and celery and mix until it’s incorporated.  

Pour mixture into an 8×8 baking dish.  

Cook for about 20 minutes or until it starts to bubble…stirring every so often.

 Serve warm with celery sticks, carrot sticks, crackers or tortilla chips. 

 ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Super Bowl Time!!!

There has been a lot of talk around here about the Super Bowl….NOT because either of our local teams are in it…sadly, they are not, but because New Jersey is hosting it this year.  Neither the JETS (my team) nor the Giants will be playing, but we will still be watching.  We are a football liking family.  My husband is a football lover, but he has 2 daughters and a wife….therefore we like, we don’t love unless the JETS are playing.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting lots of recipes that would be perfect for any Super Bowl party or football Sunday!  My family and I love appetizers, dips and other fun finger foods….messy ones especially!  The messier, the better in my opinion.  You will find lots of great recipes over the next few weeks…all of which are tried and true.   Dips to hearty appetizers….lightened up recipes and sweets too!

Let’s start the party off right with this little number!  Someone made these for  my New Year’s Eve party this year and it was definitely the big winner that night!   People were raving about these hot dogs.  I even overheard a father pushing them on his 8 year old daughter…”You gotta try this….it’s the best thing you will ever eat!  It’s a HOT DOG..WRAPPED IN BACON!!!!!  (very enthusiastic!)   You really just have to try it, you won’t be disappointed!”  She took one bite and was hooked!  I heard another father say to his 13 year old, “It’s a hot dog wrapped in bacon…if you try it and don’t like…I will give you $5!”   Another one hooked!  Both True Stories.

It was the only food (and we had a lot of delicious food that night) that was completely GONE by the end of the night!   I have no idea where they got the recipe, but I’m so glad these landed in my kitchen!   They are FAR from healthy…in fact they might just be one of the most unhealthy things ever…..but who cares??   If you are still sticking to your “New Year’s Diet”….then just bookmark this page for a month from now…when you won’t give a damn and you’re looking for a great Super Bowl recipe to please everyone (even the ones still dieting)!

I’ve gone ahead and named this recipe “Jimmy’s Smokies” because  he and his wife recently told me they have named meatballs I make (recipe coming soon), “Gianna’s Meatballs.”  It felt like the right thing to do!  🙂  So without further ado….

Jimmy’s Smokies

1 package of hot dogs

1 package of bacon

Brown Sugar

Toothpicks

Preheat Oven to 350°

Cut hot dogs into quarters.

Wrap each piece of hot dog in 1/3 of a strip of bacon and secure with toothpick all the way thru (so you can easily pick it up and eat it later).

Place all wrapped hot dogs on baking sheet.

Sprinkle brown sugar all over hot dogs.

Cook for 25-30 minutes.

***Keep and eye on them from 20 minutes on….just to make sure they aren’t burning.  Oven times may vary***  

HEAVEN!!!!  

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~gianna~

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