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Tex-Mex Cheese Ball

This cute post The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball – Family Fresh Meals caught my eye and I pinned it on Pinterest.  Unfortunately I didn’t get around to making it until December and no longer was a pumpkin cheese ball necessary.  I am more than glad I made this Tex-Mex Cheese Ball.  It was a huge hit for my birthday and all my company enjoyed it.

I made the cheese ball the day before to save some time the next day at the party.  I even crushed my Doritos and kept them in a sealed bag to just roll and go the next day.  As I was making it we had a few extra friends visiting us and helping me with the cooking.  One of the little girls told me it was going to be “the hit of the party” it was so good.

Making half the recipe next time would probably work.  Even with my large crowd we ended up with a bunch of leftovers.  Although we ate it for snack the next few days.  We also used the leftovers to spread inside some chicken quesadillas which turned out great.

Tex-Mex Cheese Ball:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican blend)
  • 3 Tbs onions, minced
  • 3 Tbs salsa, your favorite kind
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup nacho cheese chips, crushed

In a stand mixer combine all ingredients but the chips.  Mix until creamy and combined.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and scoop the mixture into a mound in the center.

Wrap up the ball tightly and chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve roll in the crushed chips.

We served ours with tortilla chips and wheat crackers.  Celery and carrots would also be very good.


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Pita Bread Recipe

I made pita bread once long ago and had no idea what recipe I used.  I checked out one of my favorite sites and found Peppy’s Pita Bread Recipe – Allrecipes.com.  With a few alterations my pita bread was complete.  It is so simple if you have the time for the dough to raise.

We had a few girls over to play for the day and had fun rolling and stretching the dough.  It was even more fun to watch it bake and puff up in the oven through the glass oven door.  Of course everyone had to sample our creation which was almost as much fun to taste a completed project.

My plan for pita bread was to make it the day before my birthday party and serve it at the party.  We ended up eating a bit fresh.  With the rest of the bread I placed it in a sealable bag.  It sliced nicely into wedges just before the party to dip into some hummus.

Pita Bread:Pita Bread

  • 1 1/8 cup warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

Combine yeast, sugar, and water to proof until foamy.

Add in the oil to the yeast mixture.

In a bowl combine flour and salt.  Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture.

Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise in a warm place for about 3 hours or until double in size.

Once dough had doubled roll into a rope shape.

Pita Bread

Pinch off 12 pieces and place balls on a floured surface to sit and rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with the rack at the bottom.

Pita Bread

Roll each dough ball to a 5-6 inch circle with  a rolling-pin or using your hands to stretch the dough.

Bake about 4 circles at a time for about 5-6 minutes.  Until puffy and slightly brown.

Pita Bread

Remove from baking sheet to cool on a rack.

Pita Bread

The bubble will deflate but when you cut open the pita bread there should be a pocket.


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Roasted Loaded Potatoes

After craving baked potatoes and Mr.Picky refusing to eat them I created a happy medium.  I made roasted loaded potatoes as I am calling them.  Roasted potatoes are one of Mr.Picky’s favorite ways to eat potatoes so I thought why not loaded it up like a baked potato.

Bacon, cheese, and potatoes can this combination even go wrong?  Of course the potatoes were well seasoned and roasted with some fresh garlic.  I will admit I ate two servings with sour cream atop.  The kids loved them “minus the green things”, as my daughter put it.  Although loaded with fat it was a wonderful change to the general roasted potato.

Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Roasted Loaded Potato Bites:

  • 8-10 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 dry ranch seasoning package
  • 1 cup cheddar or cheese blend, grated
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • sour cream or ranch dressing to top your potatoes

In a large bowl toss together potatoes, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and ranch seasoning until well coated.

Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Spread potatoes on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, flipping at least once.

Once your potatoes are cooked to your liking, just tender or crispy.  Top with 1/2 the cheese, bacon, onions, and the other half of the cheese to hold it in.

Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes until cheese is nicely melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or ranch dressing drizzled atop.

Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa

Fruit with a bite is the perfect way to describe Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa.  Sometimes I skip the chips and eat it straight out of the bowl with a fork.  My Aunt Debbie married into the family and we warmed up quickly when she brought her famous salsa to a family get together.

Not only is this salsa super healthy, it is also flavorful and versatile.  Aunt Debbie said it is great on top of fish or chicken, she tops the chicken and fish with salsa covers and bakes.  I am going to have to make some to try this out.

Aunt Debbie's Cantaloupe Salsa

Cantaloupe Salsa:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe seeded, peeled and diced into small bits
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 2 -3 sweet bell peppers seeded and finely chopped any color—I like the red ones best
  • 2 large bunches of fresh cilantro—use just the tops and mince finely
  • Juice of 4 limes, you can add some zest if you need more lime flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger—you can use pre-minced if you don’t have fresh
  • 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers,finely chopped
  • Optional—1-2 cloves of minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, best if the flavors are able to develop for an hour or two in the fridge.

This is a really forgiving recipe. Aunt Debbie has stretched the recipe for another meal by adding chopped apples, mango, peaches, or even tomatoes and sweet corn.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sticks

I came across  Ham and Cheese Pretzel bites Recipe | Key Ingredient, and wanted to try these.  I used the recipe and was lazy so I made a much simpler stick version.  The soft pretzel dough is definitely one I would make again.  The filling was not that filling and needs to be improved or removed.  The butter was way too much even after reducing, so I am taking it down even more.

All and all the family said they would eat them again. This is a recipe that needs some attention.  The technique and dough are perfect, but you will have to watch for updates on fillings because I have some ideas.  I am passing the recipe as I made it but I would increase the filling by double or change the filling all together.  The butter has been reduced to what I would use next time.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sticks:Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sticks

Dough:

  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs plus 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, I used cheddar and swiss

Water:

  • 6 cups water
  • 4 tsp baking soda

Topping:

  • 1-2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tsp or to taste coarse sea salt

 

In a large bowl mix together with a wood or plastic spoon yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water.  Allow to sit about 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Mix together in a measuring cup milk and 2 Tbs brown sugar.  Add to yeast mixture along with 2 1/2 cup flour to start.

Stir with a spoon until dough comes together, then turn out on a floured surface.  Knead dough until it becomes a smooth ball, adding a bit of flour as needed.  Place in a greased bowl and allow to double covered for about 2 hours.

Turn dough out and cut dough into 4 even pieces.  Roll each piece to about a 12 x 4″ rectangle.

With the long side facing you place equal parts cheese and ham on each rectangle along the long edge.  Roll tightly like a cinnamon roll.

Cut each roll into 4 pieces, you should end up with 16 little sticks total.  Pinch the ends of each little roll, this way no filling can escape.

Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, placing all rolls on the parchment paper.Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sticks

Meanwhile in a pot or deep skillet boil water and baking soda.  Dropping in a few sticks at a time in the water, boil for about 1 minute each.  The dough will puff and become almost airy looking.  Make sure you turn your sticks as they are boiling so all sides are cooked evenly.

Transfer each boiled pretzel stick back to the sheet pan and continue boiling until all pretzel sticks are finished.

Bake pretzel sticks at 400 degrees about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt while warm.Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sticks

Garlic Cheesy Bread

As bad as it is for you sometimes you just need to eat some garlic bread.  Mr.Picky said this batch turned out the best, I actually was writing it down to share.  Usually I wing it like most of my cooking.

I applaud all you recipe writers out there, this is the hardest part of blogging for me.  I love you share great recipes I have tried, but often will skip important steps because it just become second nature to me.  Feel free to give a shout if there is ever an issue with a recipe.

Garlic Cheesy Bread

Garlic Cheesy Bread:

  • 1 fresh loaf of french bread, store-bought or make your own
  • 3 Tbs butter, softened
  • 3 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 handfuls of cheese ( usually cheddar, Monterey jack, Colby or a mixture)
  • 2 Tbs parmesan, grated
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic seasoning (Johnny’s is my favorite)

Garlic Cheesy BreadIn a bowl combine everything but the bread.  Slice bread lengthwise, and spread evenly with mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, or until bubbly and starting to brown.

Hot Corn Dip

Hot Corn Dip

I made this dip for Fourth of July and served it with tortilla chips.  It had wonderful flavor, and was easily made the night before and put into the oven before the party.  In no time the dip was gone, and I was asked for copies of the recipe.  Closet Cooking shared the recipe, and inspired me to try something new.

Hot Corn Dip:

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2 cup corn kernels or (2 ears of corn removed from cob)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 handful of Monterey jack, grated
  • 1 handful of cheddar cheese, grated

Hot Corn DipMelt 1 Tbs of butter in a saute pan, add corn and saute until corn starts to become golden brown.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Using the same pan, melt the other Tbs of butter and add peppers, garlic, and yellow onion.  Saute until vegetables become tender, add in green onions and saute 2 minutes more.  Add to the bowl of corn.

Mix in mayo, salt, pepper, cayenne, and half of the cheese.  Place in an 8×8 pan or a 9 inch pie plate.  Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and sides bubbly.

Hot Corn Dip

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