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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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Everyday Snacking

Like most people we love to snack.  Being a stay at mom has its downfalls, the kids are always eating so you usually are also.  I try to prepare lots of vegetables and healthy snacks at the beginning of the week.  Having everything cut up and placed in a clear container in the fridge makes things very easy to grab and go.

I love to place a platter of healthy food on the table if we are home the whole day.  It may look like a ton but before the day is over the plate will be clear.  We just ate a whole plate of fruits and vegetables without even knowing it.  If we are headed out for the day to run errands I try to pack containers in a cooler to snack on.  I am sure I am not the only one who gets hungry when aways from home.  When hunger hits it helps to have a healthy snack before starvation hits and you become desperate enough to stop for some junk.

The platter below is just a sample of what we had on hand.  Pick vegetables that your family loves or maybe a few new ones to try.  Sliced apples or oranges are great.  If we have some hummus, award-winning cottage cheese dip, or even a smear of peanut butter it makes it even more fun.  Just watch how long the cottage cheese dip is out, ours doesn’t last long enough to spoil.  I never thought kids or I would like hard-boiled eggs on their own, salt and pepper does wonders.

Some ideas for your platter:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, wedged
  • Jicama
  • Celery or Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet Peppers or Green Peppers
  • Apples or Oranges
  • Cubes of Cheese
  • Radish or Turnip

 

Corn and Zucchini Fritters

Corn and Zucchini FrittersSummer time is fritter time as far as I am concerned.  Both corn and zucchini are ripening by the minute.  You have to use them before you lose them to fall.

I had fritters on my dinner menu for the week but paired with BBQ shrimp.  Well that flew out the window the other night when I tried to make gnocchi and the ricotta cheese was spoiled.  Since I already cracked the eggs and grated the zucchini we had fritters instead.  Turns out it is a new favorite of my children, my daughter especially loved them.  Even Mr.Picky is a big fan of corn and zucchini fritters.

As a child I remember getting so excited when I saw my mom making fritter sauce.  Corn was a favorite vegetable growing up and she made plain corn fritters which were eaten with in minutes.  The flavors are a memory and comfort of growing up to me.  I prefer to cook mine in a well seasoned cast iron pan like my mom did.  Don’t worry a non stick skillet will work.  I try to add as little butter as I can to the pan, just enough to help with sticking.

The fritter sauce is similar to thousand island (which I don’t care for) but much better.  Maybe it is because it is homemade.  The sauce completes these guys and they just don’t taste the same without it.  No one would want to eat a dry pancake, although the fritters are moister than pancakes.  Give it a try while you have zucchini out your ears.

Corn and Zucchini Fritters:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup corn (about 2 ears)
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add in milk and egg until smooth.

Fold in corn and zucchini until combined.Corn and Zucchini Fritters

Prepare a skillet over medium temperature, prepare fritters similar to pancakes.  A touch of butter in the pan and a 1/4 cup scoop of batter.  Cook about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

corn and zucchini fritters

Serve with fritter sauce to experience the whole flavor scale.

Fritter Sauce:Fritter Sauce

  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 3 Tbs ketchup
  • 2 Tbs sweet relish
  • dash of tabasco
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 Tbs onion, grated directly over bowl

Mix all together until combined.  Use to top your fritters!

Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip

Picture is from Naturally Ella because it is a lot prettier than mine!

Chips and dip are my greatest weakness.  With Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip | Naturally Ella my guilt melted away as I ate this healthier version of a bean dip.   No it’s hummus, well guess what?  Hummus is made with beans and it tastes nearly as good as a cheesy fatty bean dip.

I made baked hummus and spinach dip served with tortilla chips for a luncheon with some ladies, we were all impressed.  I have made this multiple times.  This recipe will hold a place in my recipe box for a long time.

Mr. Picky dug right in and I found us reheating the leftovers for a late night snack.  You don’t taste the spinach and minus the cheese why it’s pretty healthy.  I really liked to dip sweet mini peppers into it.

Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip:

  • 2 cups hummus (store-bought or best hummus recipe)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, I use a mexican blend

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pulse spinach in a food processor a few times to shred, don’t over process.

Combine hummus,spinach, and 1/2 cup cheese until combined.  Place in a baking dish a pie plate works well if you don’t have a small baking dish.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese evenly.  Bake 20-25 minutes until hummus is hot and cheese is melted.

Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I fell in love with this Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Not only is it half the calories than normal but I think it tastes twice as good.  I got this recipe out of a Cooking Light cookbook a few years ago.  Be warned this dip feeds a crowd, so either make half or prepare eat this all week-long.  Or just sit and eat the whole thing, I know I could.

Lite Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 (8 oz.) blocks of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 (10 oz.) package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients, mix until well combined.

Spoon into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Sprinkle with the cheese mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Serve warm with tortilla chips or crackers.Lite Artichoke and Spinach Dip

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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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