Buffalo Cheese Dip


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and Happy 2015!! As I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, I receive a ton of recipes emailed to me on a regular basis from various online sources, and saw one I wanted to try, especially since the big “Game Day” is approaching and I know people are always looking for new dishes to serve up at Super Bowl parties. The great thing about this recipe (by Pillsbury) is there are only five ingredients; well, really four… one is an optional garnish. The one thing I did differently from the original is heating up the dip. I tried it both cold and hot, and in my personal opinion, it’s much better when warmed. You can also add some shredded chicken, if desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 4-5 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup Yoplait® Greek 100 plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)

Directions

  1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and all but 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese with electric mixer on medium speed about 30 seconds or until combined.
  2. Add yogurt and wing sauce; beat 30 seconds longer.
  3. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with 2 tablespoons reserved blue cheese and green onions. Drizzle with additional wing sauce, if desired.
  4. For the heated version, follow steps 1 & 2, transfer to a greased casserole dish, and cook in a preheated 350° oven for approximately 35 minutes or until hot. Stir, then top with the reserved blue cheese and green onions.
  5. Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, cauliflower, broccoli, tortilla chips, or chicken strips.

Yields 16 servings

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Creamy, Dreamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole


Chili Mac & Cheese

I decided since I was off work today, and it was a long & grueling week due to our fiscal year-end crunch, some comfort food was definitely in order. I was thrilled and honored when I was asked by Ragú® earlier this week to create my own spin on their Chili Mac recipe, so I chose to add the ooey-gooey goodness of cheese, both Colby Jack and cream cheese, in addition to some sautéed chopped onions, to turn it into a hearty, creamy casserole masterpiece. This is serious comfort food at its best! If you’re a meat eater, and enjoy mac and cheese, you will truly love this dish!

Feel free to substitute cheddar if you’d prefer, and/or to turn up the heat on this dish, you can increase the chili powder to two tablespoons or add some red pepper flakes.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onions for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring and breaking up into small pieces.
  5. Stir in pasta sauce, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  6. Stir in cream cheese until blended, then add cooked pasta, and 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese, and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, and cook in oven for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  8. Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Creamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole

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Smoked Salmon Crostini


Smoked Salmon Crostini

Last month, I was invited to a pot luck party, and was trying to narrow down all of the yummylicious things I could bring that were easy to travel with, didn’t require reheating and would be a crowd pleaser. I decided on these little gems, and they were a hit… not a single one was left. Personally, I think dill adds a nice delicate flavor to the cream cheese mixture, and pairs incredibly well with salmon. The recipe I initially saw for these, called for using a loaf of sourdough bread, but I decided to use whole grain melba toast rounds which worked perfectly, and saved time from having to bake the bread. These tasty treats are incredibly easy to make and throw together in no time, and will be a huge hit with all who try them. If you want to cut down on carbs, or simply desire some variation, you can use cucumber slices instead of the rounds or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. smoked salmon
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt (or light mayo)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. dill leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • Melba toast rounds, or crackers of your choice

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine all of your spread ingredients: cream cheese, greek yogurt, minced garlic, freshly chopped dill, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Mash it all together with a fork, and mix until well blended.
  2. Spread the cream cheese mix over the top of each melba toast round or cracker.
  3. Top with a piece of salmon and garnish with dill sprigs.

photo-972 photo-971

 

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Oreo Truffles


Oreo Truffles

My Mom told me about these little gems recently, and how incredibly scrumptious they were, so it goes without saying… I just had to try them out. I did last night and she was NOT kidding! Today, I brought them into work and they went over like gangbusters! In addition, everyone was shocked that they’re only made up of three ingredients and the inside is totally creamy! They do take a little bit of work to put together, but I promise you, it is well worth the effort!

I decided to divide the recipe in half and make these smaller than one inch instructed on Kraft’s site (although they look larger in the picture), and thought they were the perfect size.

Ingredients

  • 36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Philly cream cheese, softened
  • 4 packages (4 oz.) Bakers semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Peanut butter oreos in food processor
Peanut butter oreos in food processor
Oreo crumbs
Oreo crumbs

Directions

  1. Break Oreos into small pieces, place into food processor (or blender) and grind to fine crumbs.
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the crumbs.
  3. Combine cream cheese & remaining crumbs in a bowl until well blended.
  4. Shape into approximately 48 (1 inch) balls.
  5. Put in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  6. Melt chocolate in microwave* or in a chocolate warmer (my favorite).
  7. Dip the oreo-cream cheese balls into chocolate, using one or two forks, or a toothpick, until covered, and place on wax or parchment paper-covered rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Sprinkle immediately with reserved crumbs and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

* To melt chocolate: Place chocolate in microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.

Store in airtight container in fridge.

A Different Batch Using Milk Chocolate & Almond Bark
A different batch made with milk chocolate & almond bark

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Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas


I just finished my second batch of these and will probably make a third sometime in the next couple of days… they’re that good! I am not a chicken enchilada connoisseur by any means, but think these are pretty darn tasty! After my first batch came out of the oven, I decided I wanted to add a little sauce on top, so I whipped up  a quick & hot enchilada sauce that turned out to be a nice addition. The only thing that I did differently the second time, was to make the enchilada sauce just before the dish was ready to come out of the oven.  However, you can skip the sauce if you’d like. This recipes serves four, so simply double the ingredients if you need to make more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chopped chicken breast
  • 1/2 pkg (4 oz) cream cheese (can use light or fat-free)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I prefer peach mango salsa w/medium hotness)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (sautéed)
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 can condensed reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 small can of green chilis, drained (or jalapenos for extra heat)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 4 medium flour tortillas

Enchilada sauce (optional)

  • 1 cup red Enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Lightly grease a 8×8 glass baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan & add onions; cook until soft or desired doneness.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese, salsa, cream of chicken soup, green chilis, chili & chipotle powder and cook until melted/blended together.
  5. Add chicken and sautéed onions.
  6. Put a little of the chicken salsa mixture on bottom of pan (this step is optional).
  7. Lay out tortillas & spread a few heaping tablespoons of mixture and 1/4 cup of cheese down center of one tortilla.
  8. Roll jelly-roll style and place filled tortilla, seam side down in dish.
  9. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  10. Spread remaining chicken salsa mixture evenly on top of enchiladas.
  11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Uncover, sprinkle with additional cheese. Add black olives and diced tomatoes (optional).
  13. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
  14. Remove from oven and serve immediately with or without enchilada sauce.

For the enchilada sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, combine enchilada sauce, sour cream, salsa and corn starch over medium heat, until blended and bubbly.
  2. Pour over baked enchiladas.