because what is life without good food?

Sauces spreads dips

Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon

Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

My latest creation … please go over to my blog’s new “home” www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com for the recipe!


Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I have blogged this delicious spread before, but I have decided it deserves its own post. After all, I’ve made it three times now, and everyone that has tasted it has raved about it … and I keep missing it when it’s gone and having to make more.

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I hope you will zip over to my new site for the recipe … and while you are there, make sure to enter your email address in the right sidebar and click the “Get Recipes by Email” button. Eventually I won’t be posting over here anymore and I would really really hate to lose you …

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!


Fire-Roasted Salsa Sisters

Fire Roasted Salsa Sisters

I’ve had some really good salsas lately that were fire roasted, so I decided to try making some. The key to making a fire roasted salsa is to roast the vegetables on the grill. The “fire” from the grill gives the salsa a delectable smoky flavor. (Okay, it’s really smoke from the coals that adds the smoky flavor, not fire, but “smoke roasted salsa” just doesn’t have the right ring to it …)

It’s very simple to do, really, but it makes for such a delightful-tasting salsa. So the next time you fire up the grill, I suggest tossing some peppers, tomatoes and onions on there and make up a fire roasted salsa. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious condiment to go with a good quesadilla (like this chipotle black bean quesadilla with avocado cream I made the other day), tacos, eggs, and so much more … I really love a good salsa and always have some homemade salsa in my fridge. This fire roasted salsa has totally won my heart. Strangely, it’s the simpler red one that I love the most, although the hearty Adobo salsa with cilantro and white beans is also lovely in its own chunky way. They each have their own personality, so to speak, just like sisters.

Fire Roasted Salsas: Two Variations

Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)

For this salsa, I peeled the tomatoes and peppers after grilling them, resulting in a brilliant fire-red colored salsa.

  • 4 whole hot chili peppers (use more or less depending on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your salsa. Mine were super-hot and a brilliant red color!)
  • 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
  • 1 onion, cut in fourths (skin on!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and put the chili peppers, tomatoes, and onion directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
  2. Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill and let the vegies cool off until they are cool enough to touch. Pull the skins off the tomato and peppers and onion and discard the skins.
  3. Put the peeled vegies into a blender or food processor and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. If you want a smoother salsa, puree in the blender/food processor to your liking. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)

Adobo Fuego Salsa (Adobo Fire Salsa)

When I made this salsa, I didn’t peel the peppers after roasting. The charred bits of skin add a bit of extra smoky flavor to the salsa.

  • 2 large garden tomatoes
  • 2 – 7 jalapeno peppers (adjust the number of peppers for how hot you want your salsa … if you want a very mild salsa, use bell pepper in place of the jalapeno)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • A few sprigs of cilantro (just the leaves, not the stems)

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and put the jalapenos, onion and tomato directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
  2. Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill. Do NOT peel the peppers, but do pull the peel off the tomato and onion.
  3. Put the tomato, jalapeno, and onion into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Copioso Fuego Salsa (Hearty Fire Salsa)

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, and Scrumptious Sunday.


Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …

I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.

I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!

I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.

  • 1 medium fresh garden tomato
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
  • 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • A couple sprigs of tarragon
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons capers

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
  2. Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
  3. Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
  4. Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

When Sonali at The Foodie Physician posted this Pesto Rosso, I was immediately taken with it. Suddenly I wanted nothing but to make her lovely red pesto. With all the fresh garden tomatoes in my kitchen at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to go buy sundried tomatoes to make this, so I decided to try oven-drying some of them. It worked! I got some really lovely oven-dried tomatoes out of it. I didn’t pack them in oil, though. I just stuck them in a bag and put them in the fridge. They softened up a bit in the fridge, but much to my joy, they had the same lovely sundried tomato taste. So I used them in the pesto rosso and it turned out just as wonderful as I had imagined.

If you want to try oven-drying your tomatoes, here is the post from Love the secret ingredient on how to “sun” dry your tomatoes in the oven. She says it takes 5-6 hours, but it took my tomatoes about 9 hours to dry. I think it really depends on your oven.

Here are some suggestions from Sonali at The Foodie Physician on how to use this marvelous tomato-based pesto:

  • Mix with a little pasta water and toss with hot pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan. Instant dinner!
  • Spread it on hot or cold sandwiches- anything from turkey sandwiches to grilled cheese
  • Top grilled chicken breasts, fish or other meats with it
  • Mix it with a little ricotta or goat cheese and use it as a stuffing for chicken breasts or pork chops (or lasagna!)
  • Add flavor to vegetarian or egg dishes- try stirring a spoonful into sautéed vegetables or a frittata
  • Mix it with Greek yogurt to make a healthy dip for vegetables or chips
  • Spread it on garlic bread for an extra hit of flavor
  • Use it onto homemade pizza dough as an alternative to tomato sauce
  • Spread it on toasted country bread and top it off with some arugula and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano for a healthy snack (actually, it’s great on bread all by itself!)

I think it would also be marvelous to stir a spoonful or two into an Italian soup, or use a spoonful as a beautiful & tasty garnish on top of a thick, creamy soup.

Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

Adapted only very slightly from The Foodie Physician. Makes about 1 1/3 cups pesto or 8 servings.
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Several fresh basil leaves
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 ounces small tomatoes (cherry or grape would work well … I had some tiny romas from mom’s garden that seemed perfect)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese (Sonali recommends Parmigiano Reggiano, but I had Asiago on hand …)

Directions:

  1. Place the almonds, sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs in a handi chopper or food processor. Pulse several times until everything is finely chopped.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and olive oil and process until the tomatoes are finely chopped. (Sonali says to add the olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is on … my handi chopper doesn’t allow for that.)
  3. Add the cheese and pulse just a couple times to mix it in fully.

Pesto Rosso

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayLifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck and All my Bloggy Friends.


Fairy Tale Purple Pesto

Purple Pesto

My mother grows both green and purple basil every year. This year she gave me a purple basil plant. Mine grew to about 6 inches tall, enough to snip off a couple leaves or sprigs here and there to season a dish. Her basil plant grew to the size of a bush.

If you don’t trim basil plants, they will go to seed and die, having finished their purpose in life. If you trim them, they grow bigger. I went out to trim Mom’s basil plants for her and came in with quite enough basil to make pesto. So I put it in a bag, stuck it in my cooler, brought it home and decided to make purple pesto.

In my box of goodies from the garden, I also had some of these pretty purple Fairy tale eggplant, and since it IS purple, I thought that would be lovely in the pesto. As I was blending up the pesto, it was a bit too thick, so I was looking for a liquid to thin it so that I didn’t have to add too much oil (I want my pesto to be lower in fat too!) and wouldn’t ruin the color. It just so happens I had a bottle of red wine sitting there, so I added a bit of wine too.

I’m freezing my purple pesto for safe keeping. I have plans in my mind to make purple pizzas and purple pasta, purple pesto salad dressings and purple pesto potatoes.

Have I mentioned that my favorite color is purple?

Fairy tale Purple Pesto

Purple Pesto

  • 6 cups of purple basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pinons (pine nuts)
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small fairy tale eggplant, roasted (or 1/2 cup of a larger eggplant)
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine

Slice the eggplant lengthwise, set it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven (or toaster oven) at 350 for about 10 minutes or until it’s tender. Cut it up into chunks and measure it. You should have about 1/2 cup of eggplant.

In a blender or food processor, blend up all the ingredients until you have a fine puree. Whatever you are not going to use immediately, freeze in small containers or ice cube trays.

Use this purple pesto just like you would any other pesto: mix with some pasta water and toss with pasta, spread it on pizza or sandwiches or little toasts.

Fairy Tale Purple Pesto

This recipe was shared at Talent Show Tuesday and Cast Party Wednesday.


Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

My yoga friend brought me a little bag of tamatillos from her garden, but they weren’t that intense tart green like you think of when you see tamatillos–several of them had turned a light yellow color. She mentioned to me that she had cooked hers down and they were really sweet. That made me think of this tomato jam that Melissa over at ChinDeep had posted. In just an instant, I knew what I was going to do with the tamatillos.

I thought about making tamatillo jam, but I only had a few tamatillos and I have a huge box full of tomatoes from my Mom’s garden … so the tomatoes and tamatillos partied together in this spicy sweet jam. It’s a unique condiment … sort of almost like ketchup, but sweeter and spicier. Melissa suggests lots of wonderful ways to use it:

“Slather some on a toasted garlic bagel with cream cheese, dip your french fries in it, spread it on a thick slice of sourdough bread and top with gooey soft boiled eggs, place a little dish of it next to a cheese and cracker tray, use it as a sandwich topping with ham or turkey and fried onions, use it as a glaze for fish, chicken or pork. Top rosemary scones with a bit of chevre, tomato jam and crumbled bacon for a standing ovation.”

The only way I’ve tried this jam so far is on crackers with some cream cheese. That was wonderful. I have so many more things yet to try …

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

This is a cross between two of Melissa’s recipes: tomato jam and spicy summer garden jam. I did cut the amount of sugar considerably because the tamatillos really were quite sweet, and the tomatoes were too.

  • 7 tomatillos (about 0.425 lb), outer shell and the stem core removed, then chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1.7 lb after they are peeled and cored), then chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped fine (use more or less depending on how spicy hot you want your jam)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on how sweet your tomatoes and tamatillos are … )
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Chop the tomatoes and tamatillos and put them in a saucepan.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until the jam is thickened to your liking. I cooked it for about an hour and by then it was plenty thick.
  3. I pureed about 1/3 of the jam in the blender, then stirred it back into the jam. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Melissa tells me it will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Crock Pot Garden Marinara Sauce

Garden Marinara Sauce in the Crockpot

I am guest posting over at Stacy Makes Cents! Stacy contacted me back in June to ask if I would do a guest post for her in August … something made in the crockpot. The only things she asked were:

  • Not a recipe already on the site
  • Submitted a week in advance of your date
  • Only use whole food ingredients

I thought that’s no sweat! I can totally handle that … Well, time went by and the date she had given me as a deadline came and went and I hadn’t sent her anything. You know how life gets so busy … this guest post completely slipped my mind! So I totally failed on the “submitted a week in advance” part, but I did make a new recipe with whole foods!

So head on over to Stacy’s blog for the recipe.

Garden Marinara Sauce made in the Slow Cooker

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Manic Monday.


Baba Ghanoush: a smoky, wonderful dip

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy wonderful garlic eggplant dip

If you have never had Baba Ghanoush, you should try it. It’s a creamy, garlicky, silky smooth dip somewhat akin to hummus in flavor, but lighter and smoky tasting and oh so wonderful. It’s made of eggplant, but if someone didn’t tell you it was made of eggplant, you would never guess.

I used the smaller, thinner long skinny Japanese eggplant for this Baba Ghanoush. If you use the larger, globe-style eggplant, you will want to adjust the other ingredients because you’ll end up with more pulp. After grilling your eggplant, measure the pulp and multiply the rest of the ingredients by the number of cups of eggplant you have.

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy, smoky wonderful dip

Baba Ghanoush

  • 3 Japanese eggplant (yielding about 1 cup of pulp after roasting)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hot chili pepper (optional … baba ghanoush doesn’t usually have hot pepper in it, but I roasted these beautiful hot peppers last night and thought it would be a good addition … and it IS! I love the kick it adds to the dip!)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. To get the smoky flavor, you need to grill the eggplant, so start up your grill and if it’s one of those gas grills, throw some rosemary or apple wood chips or something like that on the coals to make a good smoke. Poke your eggplant all over with a fork and set it on the hot grill and roast it for quite a while … until the skin is charred and dark on all sides and the eggplant has gone totally limp and cooked down. Let it set for a few minutes to cool down enough to touch it, then pull off the peel, saving the soft wonderful roasted interior. It might not be the prettiest thing to look at at this point, but don’t worry. It will taste wonderful!
  2. If you are lucky enough to have a hot chili pepper around, roast that on the hot grill too till the skin is black and charred and bubbly on both sides (this won’t take long! only a few minutes on each side), then pull the peel off of the pepper. It should slip right off.
  3. In a food processor or handi chopper, add the roasted peeled eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, the peeled chili pepper and the parsley and blend until the dip is totally smooth and silky. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature (or a little warmer) with little toasts or crackers or vegies for dipping. Baba Ghanoush also makes a great sandwich spread and goes very well in a wrap too.

Baba Ghanoush: a creamy, smoky wonderful dip

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Friday, and Totally Tasty Tuesday.


Zummus {A zucchini-lima twist on hummus}

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

It’s funny how a recipe evolves sometimes. The other night I was talking to my yoga instructor/artist/foodie friend and she was telling me how she had made Baba Ganoush (a middle eastern eggplant dip) with zucchini, and she had done the zucchini on the grill so it had this wonderful smoky flavor and I was thinking to myself “I gotta try that” … especially because I have several lovely zucchini left that my sister brought me and I love Baba Ganoush ALMOST as much as I love hummus.

Then the next day, I got onto facebook and two of my foodie friends (Katrin from Running with the Deviled Eggs and Terra from Cafe Terra) had both done a hummus with lima beans. Lima beans? Seriously? Wow. They both looked totally yummy … but the really funny part about this was Katrin was challenging me and another of our friends to do this too.

Now I have never in my life cooked with lima beans, but I thought, what the heck, I’ll take your challenge. I stopped and got lima beans on my way home from yoga. As I went into the kitchen to begin making it, the idea struck me to combine these two ideas and make some sort of baba ga-hummus thing … see then I could have the best of both worlds all in one! … but with zucchini and lima beans in lieu of the eggplant and chickpeas.

I was trying to think of a good name for this crazy creation, mixing baba ganoush, hummus, lima beans, zucchini … I settled on “zummus” … mostly because I have a thing for the letter Z and hey, we are totally on a zucchini kick here lately. By the way, it’s every bit as good (or better) than any hummus or baba ganoush you’ve ever tasted. You would never guess it’s made with zucchini and lima beans. It’s got that yummy hummus texture and the garlicky tahini taste with a hint of smokiness. I totally love this stuff.

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

Zummus

This makes a small amount.  If you’re making it for a crowd, double or triple the recipe. You’re gonna need it … trust me.

  • About 1 cup of zucchini pulp
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • 2 – 5 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you want it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of 3/4 of a lime

Directions:

  1. Cut a large zucchini lengthwise and using a grapefruit spoon or other such instrument that’s good for digging into summer squash, hollow out some of the pulp inside. It’s quite alright if it’s seedy because this is all going to get roasted and blended into a puree. Chop the pulp into chunks. (Save the zucchini shells for stuffing …)
  2. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray, set the zucchini pieces on it in a single layer, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the zucchini is completely tender. The zucchini cooks down as it roasts, so you should end up with about 1/2 cup of zucchini after you’re done roasting.
  3. Now, measure out your lima beans and put them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of water, cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring about halfway through, or until all the beans are nice and tender. (If you’re making a bigger batch, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time to get all the beans to cook.)
  4. Put the roasted zucchini and the lima beans (complete with cooking water!) in a food processor or handi chopper and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until everything becomes a lovely paste. Add water to get it to the consistency you desire. I like it a little thick, so it’s spreadable.
  5. Serve with toasted pita wedges or flatbread or vegies. It also makes a great spread for sandwiches, wraps and little toasts.

Zummus: A Zucchini Lima Bean Twist on Hummus

Check out the other lima bean hummus recipes:

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious SundayManic MondayThursday’s TreasuresFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Share It Saturdays.


Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Why does the idea of smashing a chickpea sound so appealing?

I think it’s for the same reason that hitting something hard at TaeKwonDo feels good. It’s all those little things in life that just make you angry that you will never mention to the person that is bugging you because you’re just too nice to say it or you don’t want to make waves. It’s often better left unsaid … so much better to walk away, not say anything, or let that person find their own truth, their own karma. But still there are these little bits of anger that build up inside of you and you need to let it out somehow.

For me, yoga helps, but it’s not enough. I need to really smash something, something that isn’t going to care if I hurt it. Ah, and even better if I get to eat it in the end!

Come here, little chickpeas! I will smash you into a sandwich … oh and you too, little avocado!

… but seriously, though, this is quite a delicious sandwich. And if you can relieve a few frustrations in the process, that’s even better.

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod. Makes 2 – 3 sandwiches.

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here – or use regular ranch and add a couple finely chopped sundried tomatoes to the mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion, chopped fine
  • Cilantro (a few sprigs if you can gather it … mine is so pathetic all I can get is a few leaves … sigh. )
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • juice of a wedge of lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • lettuce leaves, onion, tomato, whatever you like to put on a sandwich

Directions:

  1. In a  bowl, using a fork or potato masher, smash the chickpeas and avocado together. Let out your frustrations … really, it’s ok.
  2. Add in the cilantro, onion, and squeeze the lime over top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toast your bread, spread both sides with the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture, then put your favorite sandwich toppings inside.
  4. Enjoy every bite!
You can use the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture as a dip, too. ;)

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysHearth & Soul Bloghop, Foodie FridaysSummer Salad Sundays, Weekend Potluck and Manic Monday.


Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

{a guest post for The Black Peppercorn}

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

My friend Steve over at the Black Peppercorn is off on vacation, so I’m helping tend his blog while he’s away!

Steve is a great blogger who has some great recipes and beautiful photography. I’m proud to count him as one of my foodie friends.

So pop over to the Black Peppercorn for the recipe!

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip Recipe

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, and Weekend Potluck.


Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Of all the things I made for my first blog-iversary party, I think these meatballs were the biggest hit. My friends were asking me if the recipe is up on the blog. Now it is!

I was really excited that my daughter tried them … she said they were good, but a little too spicy for her taste. (My girl does NOT like spicy food at all.) She was wishing her friend who loves Asian food had been able to make it to the party because she thought she would have LOVED them.

These little meatballs really aren’t very spicy, in my opinion, but if you or your party guests are sensitive to “heat”, you could use less of the hot chili sauce and more hoison in the meatball sauce. I was worried the meatballs wouldn’t be salty enough because there is no salt in the balls, but slow-cooking them in the sauce made them just perfect. I have to thank SouthernCookingLight for the awesome recipe. I had intended to make feta-stuffed greek meatballs (which would have been awesome too), but when I saw these beauties with all that yummy ginger in there, I just HAD to make them.

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Adapted from SouthernCookingLight

For the meatballs:

  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or venison (I used venison)
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the garlic, water chestnuts and onion into fine bits. Mix with the remaining ingredients till well blended. Form 1” balls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes, until done.

For the sauce:

  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce (you can use bottled hoisin or make your own … recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tblsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup Thai Chili Sauce

Combine ingredients for sauce and pour over the meatballs in a crock pot, then cook at low heat for 6 hours. (Or you could heat up the sauce and meatballs in a saucepan on medium heat till heated, about 20 minutes.)

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Hoisin Sauce

Recipe from CDKitchen

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter or black bean paste
1 tablespoon honey or molasses or brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
20 drops chinese hot sauce, habenero or jalepeno
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl till well blended. At first it might not seem like the peanut butter is going to mix with the rest of the liquids, but keep whisking, it will.

That’s it! Store in a covered container in the fridge. It keeps pretty much indefinitely and is a great sauce to have on hand.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny BloghopScrumptious SundayEveryday Mom’s Meals, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

I joined a new cooking challenge group called Eating the Alphabet. Each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, or bean/legume from a different set of letters. This month’s letters are K & L. Kale or Lemon was the first thing that popped into my mind. I asked my son and he gave me all sorts of K’s and L’s, and it’s funny I can’t even recall what they were now, but it was great fun thinking of them.

In the end, I went with Lemon because, well, lemon is so lovely and I needed a good dip for my Blog-iversary party last night. I think artichokes and lemons go splendidly together, and after making and sampling this creamy dip, well, I had a hard time saving it for the party.  I had to hide it from myself in the back of the fridge and wait till the day of the party for the photo shoot. The lemon flavor really shines through and compliments the artichoke really well.

I lightened up the recipe by using light cream cheese, light mayo, and nonfat greek yogurt and adjusting the proportions–I also added a bunch of sweet onions and some herbs for extra flavor. I don’t think you’ll miss the extra calories.

Eating the Alphabet: Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Adapted from WebMD. WebMD says to bake it and serve it hot, but it was so hot last night, I decided to just serve it cold. It’s delicious either way.

  • 1 – 14.75 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • About 2 Tablespoons of the marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons gourmet prepared mustard (I used green peppercorn garlic, but dijon would be good too)
  • 1 teaspoon wortcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup (very loose) finely shredded Dubliner cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Asiago)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine
  • The zest & juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic and sautee just briefly, then add a couple tablespoons of the marinade and cook until the juice from the marinade has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Mix the hot onions with the cream cheese until well blended. (The heat soften the cream cheese and make it easier to mix.)
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. At this point you can cover and store it in the fridge till serving time. It
  4. If you want to serve it hot, put it in a square baking dish or pie pan and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly. If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, this dip is great cold, too. (Admittedly, though, it IS better warm!)
  5. Serve with pita chips … or slice up a baguette into thin slices and toast them.
Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip
Eating the Alphabet Challenge

This post was created for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge.

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This recipe was also shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny Bloghop, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious Sunday and Manic Monday.


#Tomatolove: Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Sundried Tomato Ranch Salad Dressing

After making Melissa’s Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette, I still had a few sundried tomatoes left and I thought perhaps I should try throwing them in some ranch dressing too? Yep, it works. Tastes mighty fine. The sundried tomatoes do make it thicker, so if you want a drizzle for your salad, you’ll need to thin it out a bit.

Sundried Tomato Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing (or Dip)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 2/3 to 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2-3 big fresh cloves of garlic
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 green onions (tops only)

Whir all the ingredients in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add more buttermilk as needed to get the dressing to the desired consistency. Mine was pretty thick, but I was using it for a pasta salad so that was just perfect.

Use for pasta or potato salad, on green salads or as a dip with vegies. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing (or Dip)

This is a post for #tomatolove.

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This recipe was also shared at Summer Salad SundayScrumptious Sundays, Weekend PotluckManic MondayTip Junkie, Cast Party Wednesday and EveryDay Mom’s Meals


Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

Calling this a shrimp dip is a little misleading because it’s got SO much more than shrimp in it … there’s bacon, and asparagus, and grilled corn cut off the cob, sweet onion, Havarti, Gorgonzola and cream cheese, greek yogurt, some seasonings of course… and then, to give it a little summer heat, some Sriracha sauce. It’s like a taste of summer in every bite.

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip with Bacon, Asparagus, Corn & Sriracha

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip

  • 1/3 cup roasted asparagus, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup cooked corn (I cut the kernels off a cob we had cooked on the grill, but thawed frozen corn would be fine too)
  • 1/3 cup cooked, chopped shrimp (tails removed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t happen to have any, you can make your own with this recipe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooked, chopped lower-fat bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or more (add more or less according to how spicy you want the dip)

Directions:

  1. Heat a frying pan up over medium heat till it’s hot, spray with cooking spray, and sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and soft. If the mixture gets dry or starts to “burn”, add a splash of wine, then cook until the liquid from the wine has disappeared.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the onion/garlic with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all thoroughly mixed. I started with the cream cheese because the heat from the onions will melt the cheese and make it easier to blend with the rest of the ingredients, then added the other things one by one.
  3. When I started cooking, I really meant this as a hot dip, but I ended up eating it cold because it’s SO hot outside … but really more because I was soo hungry by the time I finished it that I didn’t want to wait for it to bake. So hey, if you want, you could put this in an oven-safe baking dish and bake it up till it’s all hot and bubbly … or serve it cold with toasted pita chips, crackers, baked bagel chips or tortilla chips. Or vegies. Vegies always make good dippers.
  4. Garnish with a shrimp and some snipped green onion or chives.
(By the way, thank you Patti and Tara and all my Boho tribe friends for helping me name this one!)

Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip with Bacon, Asparagus, Corn & Sriracha

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious Sundays, KM’s Seafood Bloghop and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

It was also featured at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s Seafood Frenzy Friday.


No-cook Strawberry Chia Jam {a Berrylicious Post}

No-Cook Strawberry Chia Jam

I found this recipe on the blog Eating Bird Food and I was so intrigued by it. Could you really make jam without cooking, with no pectin and no sugar? Yes, you can! The chia seeds work so well as a thickener and they don’t need to be cooked at all; they just start thickening as soon as you add the liquid. And if you’re intimidated by making jam or canning it, you can skip all of that with this super simple jam!

If you’re not familiar with chia seeds, here’s a little background I found on Eating Bird Food:

“Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.” – Quoted from Dr.Weil

Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid (the good kind of fat), protein, antioxidants, fiber, potassium and magnesium. 1 Tablespoon of dry seeds have about 60 calories, 5 g of Fat, 6 g of Carbohydrate, 6 g of Fiber, and 3 g of Protein. They do add a little crunch to the things you put them in, but with strawberry jam, you normally expect a little crunch from the berry seeds, so the crunch from the chia seeds isn’t even noticeable. (Not that it’s a bad thing anyway, I really love the tiny crunch of chia seeds in everything I’ve tried them in so far!)

No cooking, no canning Strawberry Chia Jam

No-cook Strawberry Chia Jam

  • 1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Honey, to taste (or other sweetener, like stevia … I used 3 teaspoons honey)

Directions:

  1. If you are using frozen strawberries, let them thaw. Mash the strawberries with a fork or blend them. If you are using fresh berries like I did, unless they’ve gotten very ripe and mushy, you will probably have to blend them because they don’t mash very well.
  2. Mix in the chia seeds, vanilla, water and honey (or other sweetener). Use the honey or sweetener to suit your own taste. I found just 3 teaspoons of honey gave it just a light sweetness and it let the fresh strawberry taste shine through, but it definitely isn’t as sweet as your typical jam.
  3. Cover the jam and put it in the fridge for at least 30-60 minutes to thicken.

That’s it! Your jam is ready to use once it has thickened up. Keep it in the fridge in a covered container and use it just like you would any other jam.

I created this post for Berrylicious. Look at these other lovely berrylicious posts!

Berrylicious Recipes

  1. Joan, Chocolate Chocolate and More – Lemon Blueberry Pound cake
  2. Charity, Foodlets – Strawberry – Banana Popsicles
  3. Jamie, Green Beans & Grapefruit – Mixed Berry & Cookie Butter Clafouti
  4. Hani, Haniela’s – Red Currant Meringue Cake
  5. Katrina, In Katrina’s Kitchen – Frozen Blueberry Basil Lemonade Pies
  6. Sue, Munchkin Munchies – English Matrimonials
  7. Bia, Rich and Sweet – Blueberry Blackberry Orange Streusel Scones
  8. Sam, Sams Kitchen – Eton Mess Mini Cheesecakes
  9. Sherron, Simply Gourmet Photography – Mulberry Syrup
  10. Ann, Sumptuous Spoonfuls –  Strawberry Chia Jam
  11. Karen, Trilogy Edibles – Meringue Nest with a Bumbleberry Compote

This recipe was also shared at I’m Lovin’ It and Weekend Potluck.


Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

I love pesto. Love love love love it! And Asparagus! Oh I can’t wait for spring every year so I can have asparagus … so last week I ran across this intriguing idea for Kale, Apsaragus & Chickpea pesto from Munchin with Munchkin and I just couldn’t put it down. Asparagus in pesto? and beans? … what a concept …

My pesto isn’t really very much like hers. I mean, I really couldn’t abandon my beloved basil. Or the parmesan … oh please, no, I must have my cheese! And while I love olive oil, I thought if you added asparagus and white beans, well, that would eliminate the need for having so much oil in the pesto. You could reduce the oil and still have a wonderful flavor that would stick to your pasta.

And what do you know? It worked! Beautifully. So get this: in one fell swoop, I upped the nutrition, protein, fiber, AND the flavor and lowered the fat and calories in the pesto. It’s such a wonderful thing! It’s sort of like a cross between pesto and hummus. Not only does it go well on pasta, it’s a great dip, a fantastic spread for a sandwich or wrap … or, um, well anything you could think of that you might do with pesto OR hummus.

Now how about them beans?

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

  • 1 cup raw asparagus, chopped (I used the stem ends of the asparagus, saving the “pretty top parts” for later …)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, drained (save the juice though!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pinons
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a handi chopper or food processor and blend till smooth. If you need a little more liquid to get everything to blend nicely, add a bit of the liquid from the beans.

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

This recipe was shared at Mealtime MondayTuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

I picked a big bunch of rhubarb when I went to visit my mom on Mother’s Day. She has these two huge rhubarb plants that always yield way more than you could ever eat. You can eat rhubarb to your heart’s content and still have more. The funny thing is even as much as I took, it didn’t even begin to thin out the plants.

Anyway, I decided yesterday I was going to cook my rhubarb … I chopped it ALL up and put it in a BIG bowl, looked on the Internet for some ideas, and then I started playing … the first thing I made was Royal Rhubarb Crisp, my very favorite thing that Mom used to make for us when we were kids. Then I made this sauce with intent to turn it into a rhubarb slushie, but my experiments went a different direction. This is a really versatile sauce … You can eat it like applesauce or use it in baking or make a glaze for a cake with it …  you can even put it in salad dressing! It’s not very sweet, though, so if you want it sweeter, add some sugar or honey or agave or whatever sweetness you use in your kitchen. I may try making a cocktail with it too … we’ll see if there’s any left for that!

Rhubarb from Mom's Garden

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

  • 3 cups rhubarb
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 thin slices fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Pull out the ginger slices. Puree the sauce in a blender (or just use it as is). I blended mine up till smooth.


Chile con Queso y Frijoles

That’s “Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans” for those of us who don’t speak Spanish (and by the way, I don’t speak Spanish … I know a few words … cerveza, queso, chile, frijoles, “Donde es el banos?” and “No habla Espanol” … but that is it!)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

I have been craving some good spicy queso all day today … well, queso or bean dip, I wasn’t quite sure which … so I made both! I just put them together in one.

I used to make Chile con Queso with Velveeta or a can of cheddar cheese soup, but I’ve become increasingly more distrustful of the extra preservatives and things they put in pre-packaged foods, so I decided to make one without that pre-made cheesey stuff. Really, it wasn’t much more difficult, and it turned out just as (if not more) delicious than any Queso I’ve made before. It’s a creamy, cheesy spicy dip that would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo or any fiesta … or for a night alone without the kids (which is me tonight … ah! a little solitude is good for the soul sometimes …)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted, chopped Hatch green chile (I used extra hot, but use mild if you don’t like things too spicy)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin salt (or just add salt to taste)

Directions:

  1. In a sautee pan or cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat till hot. Add the onion and garlic and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and soft. (If you like a little “crunch” of onion in your dip like me, reserved half of the onion and add it in later.)
  2. Add the flour and stir to coat all the onion and garlic pieces and soak up all the oil.
  3. Pour in the milk and whisk to dissolve the flour into the milk. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly or until you have a thick white sauce.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the shredded cheeses. Stir the cheese into the mixture till it’s all melted, then add the green chile, salsa, beans, and Red Robin seasoning.
  5. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

Guess who got her fingernails painted purple at the teenage slumber party last night?

This recipe was shared at Cinco de Mayo FiestaWeekend Potluck, Sweet & Simple SundaysEveryday Mom’s MealsTrick or Treat TuesdaysKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing (Low Sodium Option)

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

I found some lovely ripe avocados at the store today and it just occurred to me that avocado would be delicious in a Ranch Salad Dressing. Maybe I live in a hole, but why haven’t I ever seen that before?

Before today, that is. Because here it is! Tada! Super quick, super healthy, super delicious, and if you have someone who is watching their sodium, then just leave out the salt! It’s still fantabulous.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

To reduce sodium: If you leave out the salt altogether, this salad dressing has 75 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons; with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this dressing has 149 mg sodium. I did a quick check and store-brand ranch dressings have sodium content ranging from 200 to 500 mg in 2 Tablespoons of dressing.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing (8 servings/2 Tablespoons per serving)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. 1% milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • About 1/2 a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Several chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 green onions (tops only)
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado (you could probably even add more avocado if you want …)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (Leave out the salt altogether if you want less sodium … I made sure to taste it before I added salt, and it was delicious.)
  • 1/3 c. nonfat greek yogurt

Whir all the ingredients except the yogurt in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Stir in the yogurt. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky and Full Plate Thursdays.


Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya Pizza

Post #5 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …

Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza

#1 was salad. #2 was dip. #3 was bread. and #4 was chocolate. #5 is PIZZA! on the grill. Because grilling is fun. And pizza on the grill is double fun.

I made my daughter a plain cheese one and she ate the WHOLE thing. Holey moley girl! I think she’s going through a growth spurt again because I could only eat about half of mine. She eats like crazy when she’s growing.

Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza

First I got the dough started in the bread machine. I used my beer pizza dough, the same one I used in the thai chicken pizza. Recipe for the crust is here.

Then I got to work on the sauce.

Homemade Pizza / Pasta Sauce, Two Ways

  • 2 small onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
  • 1 quart of canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped roasted eggplant (I know what you’re thinking: Eggplant? Trust me … it thickens the sauce and gives it a nice buttery taste. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 for about 5 – 10 minutes or until it’s soft. Use the tender little ones if you can find them. If you have a big one, peel it first before you roast it. I had some that I froze last summer so I used that.)
For the Italian version:
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper & fresh herbs to taste (I didn’t use anything but the Italian seasoning and my daughter said it was delicious just like that!)
For the Cajun version:
  • 2 – 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (to your taste)
  • Fresh basil & oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Peel the onion and garlic, chop the onion into large hunks and put in a food processor or handi chopper with the garlic to chop it finely. (Or chop it the old fashioned way, with a knife.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sautee for about 5 – 10 minutes until the onion is very soft and starting to sweeten/caramelize. Add the wine and cook until the liquid from the wine has mostly evaporated.

Add the tomatoes and eggplant and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked down and the sauce is getting to be about the consistency of a tomato sauce. You don’t have to stand over it stirring the whole time, but you do want to make sure you stir it fairly often.

Homemade tomato eggplant pizza / pasta sauce

Put the sauce into a blender and blend till smooth. It will turn out this lovely orangey red color.

Homemade tomato eggplant pizza / pasta sauce

Now you have a choice. You can make one or both of the sauces. I divided mine up in half so I could make my daughter her Italian cheese pizza and me my spicy Cajun one.

So for the Italian sauce, I added Italian seasoning and asked my girl to taste it. She said it was perfect just like that (and I agreed).

For the cajun version, I added cajun seasoning, some fresh basil and oregano, some smoked paprika, and then just to kick it up a little more, some cayenne and a bit of salt.

Now it’s time to assemble the ‘za!

Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza

  • Pizza crust, pre-made or fresh (I used my beer pizza crust and made this on the grill … see this grilled thai pizza post for the crust recipe and grilling instructions)
  • Tiny shrimps … I thawed some frozen ones
  • Andouille sausage, sliced thin
  • Bell pepper, chopped (or sliced)
  • Red onion, sliced or chopped
  • Jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional … if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a pepper-head … I like things VERY spicy)
  • Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • Italian blend of shredded cheese
  • Oregano leaves, for garnish … I think some chopped green onions would go well on top too.

Slather the crust with the cajun sauce, then sprinkle with the toppings and top with cheese. Cook the pizza in the oven or the grill till the cheese is melted and bubbly, then top with fresh oregano leaves and … it’s time to EAT!

Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Pizza

I’m thinking some of this Cajun Lemonade from La Belle Cuisine would be fabulous with this spicy pizza …

This recipe was shared at Successful SaturdayTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Midweek Fiesta.


Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

I went looking for an easy Thai Peanut Sauce recipe last night because I’m enthralled with Thai food and I wanted to make Thai Chicken Pizza, but I can never find all the ingredients that authentic Thai recipes seem to require. I couldn’t believe my luck! If you can find fish sauce and Thai-style curry paste, you can make this.

I didn’t follow her recipe very well though, I’m afraid. I just read her recipe, then made it up as I went. The sauce turned out so good, I was using my finger to wipe up every last drop from the bowl. And then I was dreaming of other things I could make with it last night. You do that too, right? Dream about food? Please tell me I’m not completely insane …

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Adapted from She Simmers

  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. can of light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red or green Thai-style curry paste (I had some green open, so I used green, but red would probably be better …)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or Sriracha (optional … I just wanted my sauce to have a little extra zing)

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, whisk all the ingredients together. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking on the bottom of the pan.

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Use it as a dipping sauce for shrimp or other little bites, or as a funky pizza sauce for a thai-style pizza … or drizzle it over a sandwich or salad. I’m planning to do all of those things … I probably should have made a bigger batch.

This recipe was shared at Real Housewives Recipe RoundupSouth Asian BlogHop, and Katherine Martinelli’s Coconut Bloghop.

Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen tried this recipe … go see her version too.


Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango & Kumquat Salsa

Pomegranate, Kiwi, Kumquat, & Mango Salsa

I love salsa. The heat of it. The variety. The fun ways you can use it. You can put so many things in a salsa.  I had some tomatoes that were begging me to make them into salsa, but I wanted to do something a little different this time …

I’ve heard of mango salsa, but I’ve never seen or tried kiwi in a salsa. Or pomegranate seeds. I threw those in just for fun … I don’t know that the pomegranate seeds added a lot to the flavor or even the look because the background of the salsa is already red … but they are so pretty. Like little jewels. Why not have jewels in your salsa?

So I put the kiwis and the pomegranate in and still it needed something. There were three mangoes sitting there in my fruit bowl, so I decided to toss one of them in the salsa too. And then I thought: this needs something … so I added some of the flavors of a jerk seasoning. There! That is it. That is exactly what my funky fruity salsa needed. Honestly I think I might add some more jalapeno now because I am craving something so hot it almost hurts but really, this version is quite awesome just like it is. Add more jalapeno if you want it to hurt. Use less if you like a milder salsa.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango, and Kumquat Salsa

  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes (or 1 15-oz. can)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (adjust this amount to more or less, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 kumquats (my kumquats were about 2 inches long, but I have seen some that are MUCH smaller … if you have smaller kumquats, use more!) … one goes into the blender, chop the other one into little chunks.
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1 mango, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, 1 of the kumquats and the salt and other spices.
  2. You can pour the salsa into a bowl or just stir in the rest of the ingredients right in the blender. Don’t blend it up, though, because it will ruin those beautiful hunks of fruit!

I tried the salsa with baked vegie and corn tortilla chips, but it would also be lovely with nachos, burritos, or over fish or chicken or pork or … well, salsa is just such a fun thing to have around. Especially a funky salsa like this.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTasty Tuesdays,  Talent Show TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and Full Plate Thursday.


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