Friday, December 30, 2011

Feta dip

Another super de duper dip that was probably the biggest hit of the year this Christmas. I have no amounts, I just added, tasted, added more of whatever, and tasted.  So. Flipping. Good.  I never really use greek seasoning but that's about to change...

The ease of this dish means Im going to serve it on New Years Eve too so we have munchies after our early dinner.  And if the crowd is half as pleased as the Christmas crowd...there won't be leftovers!

olive oil
feta cheese
greek seasoning
green onion
roma tomatoes
dippy bread

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hot caprese dip

It's so great to have a recipe like this when you're in the kitchen for a full day making food for three Christmases...literally chop 3 ingredients up, mix them together, and put in the fridge until you're ready to bake.  Oh, and if you didn't know...anything with the word "caprese" in it gets put on the short list to make as soon as possible...I think I found this recipe on Tuesday and made it on Friday. One of my fave summer appetizers is the caprese skewers I made for the 4th of July this year...and this dip held it's own against those!

10 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped into cubes
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and juiced
3 T freshly chopped basil

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, then switch to broil for 2 minutes so the cheese is bubbly and golden brown when you serve. The only suggestion I have is to make sure you get most of the juice and seeds out of the tomato before adding it into the mix to prevent standing liquid after baking....not that the juice is bad tasting, I ate the crap out of it.  But it just doesn't look the best for serving...

I baked a baguette and sliced it up to serve as the dipper.

There were a bit of leftovers, which I killed last night.  Had to get rid of it before the end of the year when the real wedding dieting starts....and there's no way I was throwing this out, mmmmmmm all that basil-y goodness is one of my favorite flavas out there!  You had me at caprese.....

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love story :)

So, in case you've noticed my slacking in the posting department the last 3 weeks or so, I wanted to give you an explanation. A lot of you already know, as most of my readers are friends or family in life as well as in the blogosphere....but for those of you that are in the dark, my main man proposed to me during my family's Thanksgiving this year!!  Even now when I say it or look down at my finger, it gets me all giddy! :)

My birthday is the 22nd of November and always falls close to Thanksgiving, if not on the actual Turkey Day. This year it fell on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving....kinda lame. I went to work like any other day (but did get lunch and a beautiful Fall flower arrangement from my honey unlike most work days), and came home to a beautiful new Dyson vaccuum cleaner parked in the house.  We've needed a new vaccuum, and you can't beat a I wasn't too terribly disappointed thinking that this was my birthday present, although I did have a voice in the back of my head going "Really? A vaccuum?  For my BIRTHDAY??"  We proceeded to head to Vintage, which is a wine shop where they have tastings and we had a gift card to use from my friend Bea.  The place we had chosen for dinner (because I had a free dinner coupon for my birthday!) allows you to bring your own wine in without a corking fee so we got a nice bottle to enjoy with our dinner before heading to Bravo.  We had a great dinner, during which he explained to me that he didn't really get me a vaccuum for my birthday (whew!) but his gift had not arrived yet and would be here by Friday. 

Friday came and went but I was sooooo busy preparing food for 30 guests on Saturday for my family's Thanksgiving, that I never thought much of it. Amanda and Michelle stopped by that afternoon after I had everything picked up, and we visited over some wine and had a nice time looking at Amanda's honeymoon photos.  Little did I know that Little Miss Sneaky (Michelle) had been at the jeweler with Justin that morning because he asked her to come with him to help choose the ring. She's a very good little secret keeper because she didn't act odd at all, and my Aunt Chris showed up soon after so the girls left and I got to gabbing with her.  Mom and Dad came that evening and we all hung out in the garage Justin and Tony had fixed up with the pool table, foosball table, tv, tables, radio, etc...its very cozy in there and was nice to have an area outside where we can all hang out.

That next day was busy, busy from the start! We had two turkeys on (one smoked and one fried) plus a ham as well as a million and half side dishes so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  No time to sit and think about Justin forgetting to give me a birthday present that was supposed to arrive the day before. After the preparation, the meal, and the clean up was all taken care of, a few people left (Grandma and Grandpa snuck out of there, sadly) and the rest of us retired to the cozy garage to watch football, play pool, have some toddies, and chit chat. After a bit, Aunt Vicki and Uncle Mike got their gear ready to leave.  Justin said, "Oh, I forgot to give you your birthday present" and ran into the house and back before Vic and Mike could leave. He put the box in my lap, and the only thing I really remember is that it got very warm in there all of a sudden. Why is he doing this in front of everyone? Why is this shaped like jewelry? Why is everyone staring at me?

From there, I don't have much memory of what happened...I know only what the photos that my Aunt Vicki took show, so I'll let them tell the story for your right now...don't mind my horrible outfit, my ugly crying faces, and my house shoes, I wasnt aware I was going to be taking pictures that I would want to look at over and over every day from then on out....

How flipping lucky am I not only to have the most amazing FIANCE (that's so fun to say, by the way) but to have an awesome aunt with an awesome camera to capture one of the most exciting moments in my life!?  I can't wait to get started on my scrapbook :)

I'm not much of a jewelry person usually, but I am absolutely in love with this ring and what it means to me.  We have set a date (October 20,2012), booked a venue (Prairie Moon Winery in Ames, IA), booked a caterer, photographer, officiant, picked the colors as well as the wedding party, and even won a free wedding dress in a facebook now you see why there's been breaks in my blogging, I've been a busy blogger!! 

I will try to stay on track with the blog but I know there will be days when it will center on wedding planning rather than what I ate that week.  P.S. I can spill here since all you foodies will be excited about this part.....we are serving pork loin with au jus, poppyseed chicken, and (Justin's pick of course) lasagna as the main courses.....YUMMY!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reuben dip

I've been wanting to make this for a while, it's been at the top of my new appetizer file but I have sooooo many picky friends who would rather lose an eye than try sour kraut, that I needed a good venue where people would enjoy it as much as I would to try it.  The Jamison family  Christmas was just the spot...I brought the ever so popular macaroni corn casserole (which didn't disappoint, I must say) and thought I would try something new as here it is!!

I would put money on the fact that Justin will ask me to make this again, he just loved the stuff. We have so many leftovers so usually Sam (our dog) will get in on some of the action but Justin wasn't letting Sam get the remnants of this crockpot.  I also didn't really think I liked Rye bread, but the marble Rye I got was very tasty with this dip....just like a reuben!! I baked the bread so it was warm and cut it up into dipper sized pieces, the rest is history...

1 cup sauerkraut, drained
1 (8 oz) fat free cream cheese
1 (6oz) shredded Swiss cheese
6 oz diced corned beef
2 T Thousand Island dressing

Throw it in the crockpot on high for an hour to an hour and a half and you're set!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Crack potatoes

This is why I love Pinterest...these potatoes. So many great ideas, easy recipes that I shouldve thought of, and drool worthy photos that give you a hankering to go to the store immediately and just cook your life away. I'm a potato girl so these were a no-brainer....super de duper easy and great for a crowd.  These were one of Justin's favorites for Thanksgiving so they will be on the do again list for sure...

2 (16oz) containers sour cream (I used one light and one fat free)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (2%)
2 (3oz) bags real bacon bits
2 packages Ranch Dip mix
1 large (28 - 30oz) bag frozen hash brown potatoes - shredded kind

Combine first 4 ingredients, mix in hash browns. Spread into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes. I mean really??  That's it?  These are absolutely devine.  That's the only thing you need to know about this dish.

**Per the comments from readers, most people enjoyed this better with only one package of ranch dip mix, two packs was too salty for most people, although we enjoyed it the way it was. Do whatever floats your boat :)

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandma's oreo ice cream freeze

My grandma's ice cream dessert is better than your grandma's ice cream dessert!!  I don't remember a year when this wasn't available at the holiday family of course I requested she make it for our first time hosting Thanksgiving at our place. Justin had never had it, but he understood immediately why I spoke so highly of it after he tried it. He actually was hoping Grandma had forgotten the container in the freezer and went looking for it later that weekend!  I've never actually made this before, but now that I've conned the recipe out of her, there is no question that this will become one of my signature dishes...passed down from my Grandma Theda :)

1 Pound Oreo Cookies
2 sticks margarine
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
2 squares chocolate (2 Hershey bars should work)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large container cool whip
chocolate chips

Crush cookies; mix with one stick margarine, press into bottom of cold cut keeper ; freeze. Soften 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream enough to spread over crumb mixture; freeze. Make a sauce with 2 squares chocolate,1/4 cup sugar, the other stick of margarine. Bring to a boil, don’t overcook, cool. When ice cream is frozen spread chocolate sauce over it ; refreeze. Spread large cool whip over top; sprinkle with nuts or small chocolate chips. Cover and freeze.

This picture does not do the layers of this dessert justice...oreos are my fave so maybe that has something to do with my love for this dish.  You really can't get much better than this.  Thanks for sharing, Grandma!! Love you :)

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twice baked potato casserole

I abso-fricking-lutely LOVED these potatoes.  Then again, I love all potatoes.  Let's just put it this way...these were better than your average tater. Justin wasn't as big a fan as Curt was but they seemed to be a hit at Thanksgiving either way! This made a perfect amount for a large group, AND worked great to make and put in the fridge to bake for all know how much I love to do the cooking ahead of time so I can have a clean kitchen for guests and just throw things in the oven when I'm ready for them.


•5 lb russet potatoes
•10 slices bacon
•8 oz cream cheese (I used fat free)
•0.5 c unsalted butter, melted
•1 c sour cream (I used fat free)
•2.5 c cheddar cheese, grated (I used 2%)
•1 T pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

3. Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

4. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

I just threw some salt and pepper on that jazz and went face first into's very rich and kinda heavy...but dang it's good stuff! I didn't get a finished photo...just like all holidays I'm rushing around like a madwoman and then forget when it's time to serve. So you will have to imagine it...and try not to drool when you do.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mom's pasta salad

This is a tuscan pasta salad but it's Mama K's favorite thing to bring to pot luck events now, and I know why. She made this for our big Thanksgiving but with so many choices for food, nothing really got finished.  She left the leftovers here, and I ate them. When I say I ate them, I mean to tell you that I ate all of them...I ate the. whole. bowl. This stuff is right up my alley with pepper and garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar...mmmmmm!  This is now up my sleeve as a go-to...will be great for summer parties where a cold pasta salad is needed. I always go with the same pasta salad in the summer, and it's great, but it's always nice to have a little variety...

Here's what you need:

3 cups bowtie pasta
4 oz hard salami, sliced into thin strips
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cracked black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups torn romaine
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Cook the pasta according to packag directions and then drain. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl except for the romaine and parmesan. Stick in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours....should look like this:

After the flavors all meld together beautifully, mix in the romaine and toss evenly and sprinkle with parmesan to serve.  You can add more of the vinegar and olive oil if you like it a little less dry (we did)...

I did not get a photo of this dish fully prepared. I really wish I did because it was gorgeous...but I had a bit too much going on with food coming out and 30 people in the house...I'll get better at this whole process someday, I promise :)  Meanwhile...try this and enjoy it, you'll thank me later!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Maggie's macaroni corn casserole

This is in the running for Justin's favorite holiday side...right up there with the crack potatoes (which will be posted soon).  I think he forgot about it this year until he saw it, and then filled up so much of his plate with it that he missed out on the 20+ other dishes we had for my side's big Turkey day dinner.  I really only make this for holidays, and if you notice the amount of butter it calls for, you will understand why. This would make a yumtastic year 'round side dish but it's nice to have some of those great dishes that you associate just with the you that warm fuzzy feeling of holidays past when you eat it, you know?!

I got this recipe from my friend Maggie, who got a metric crap-ton (yeah that's a unit of measurement) of recipes at one of her bridal showers a few years ago. Maggie is extremely picky...I'm talking she plugged her nose to eat a piece of salmon I wanted her to try a couple years an adult!  So the fact that she made this for us girls one night is a testament in and of itself that you need to make this for your next holiday gathering.

Besides being hella fab on the taste buds, this is super easy and has very little ingredients compared to some of my other holiday recipes that have such a process to complete (i.e. Kratoska dumplings, which I will enlighten you with very soon).

2 cans golden corn, undrained
2 cans creamed corn
2 cups macaroni, uncooked
1 small white onion, diced
1 cup butter (it calls for 2 but I can't bring myself to do it)
8 oz (half a log) of Velveeta, cubed (I use 2% to cut a little fat)

Combine the corn, macaroni, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave and add to the corn mixture. Melt the Velveeta slowly in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent burning. When it is smooth, add it to the other ingredients and mix evenly. Put the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and cover with tin foil.  You can either make this ahead and store it in the fridge until you're ready (works well when having a large group over, believe me) or throw in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour. The golden goodness you see below is your result...if you're not huge on onions, use a half so you get the flava flav but are not overwhelmed.  Two of the girls who are onion haters love this dish so I would give it a shot even if you are normally not a fan of the onion variety.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon roll cake

This has no business on a skinny kid food blog...and in all truthfullness it has no business being near my mouth. But this was so good, it wouldve been worth it to start a new blog, just to post fat kid food to. I'm not big on cinnamon rolls at all, I don't crave sweets, but this was TO DIE FOR. I'm not exagerrating, it was the talk of the table at Thanksgiving, and we have my mom's cousin Craig to thank for it (does that make us 2nd cousins or something in the once removed category?) if you only decide to ever make one thing off this blog in your life, you should choose this...just saying.

I don't know how you can get away with calling this breakfast but Im going to list it there just because it has the phrase "cinnamon roll" in it...


3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cynthia's boursin mushrooms

These things don't belong on a skinny kid blog at all...but it's the holidays so what the hey! The problem is that they are so simple to make that I don't even consider it a recipe.  Three...yeah I said three....ingredients and you're ready to go! The most important ingredient is pictured below:

There should be heavenly angel music playing in the background whenever you come across boursin cheese.  So rich and creamy...ugh, I wish the stuff was calorie-less.  Cynthia is a boursin mushroom goddess, she can tell you where the best ones are in town (as well as cheese sticks) wherever you are at the moment. I think she just decided to make them one time at home and this is what came of the attempt: absolute bliss.  If boursin cheese weren't so pricey I would make these every week.  I can give you a solemn promise that if you make these for a party, there will never EVER be one left over, and your guests will always ask you how you did it.   Pinky swear!

All you need is:

one of the large containers of fresh white mushrooms
one container of garlic and herb boursin cheese
fat free I cant believe its not butter spray

Clean your mushrooms and pull/wiggle the stems out of the caps.  Put a spoonfull of cheese into each mushroom cap and place onto a baking sheet.  Spray the whole bunch with spray butter to make sure they don't dry out and throw them in the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. 

I always double this and have been known to triple it on occasion...if I don't I sometimes dont even get one before they're gone! They're absolutely delectable when they're warm out of the oven but they taste pretty pleasant when they're cold too...

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

BLT pasta salad

I think I'm finally back in the swing of things cooking wise. I was so burnt out from all the holiday food we had been eating out quite a bit since Thanksgiving. I'm proud to tell you we had a great home cooked meal last night, one of my faves!  I made Spicy spinach stuffed chicken and roasted brussel sprouts for dinner and it sure did hit the spot :)  But on with my Thanksgiving menu recipes...with the BLT pasta salad!

I have to be honest with you and tell you that I didn't even get to try this. I made it for our first hosting Thanksgiving and we had over 30 people in the house, with enough food to feed 3 times that! I literally couldn't get everything on my plate, let alone into my stomach! It looked really good though, and I would probably make it again as everyone who tried it said they enjoyed it.


12 ounce corkscrew shaped pasta
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon (could use turkey but I'm trying to get rid of Wilbur in our deep freeze)
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayo (I used the light olive oil mayo)
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives
5 cups chopped romaine hearts


Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.

Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature. I didn't get a photo of this, but let's get real...the photo on pinterest from A Bird and a Bean is way better this is why my mouth was watering for this salad!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot corn dip

I don't know if you know this about me but I'm a dip freak. Veggies and dip, chips and dip, I dip my pizza in ranch, I dip anything and everything I can legally dip.  One of my top 5 fave dips has corn in it (see HERE) so it really piqued my interest to see a hot dip with corn.  Sold. 

2 Tbsp. butter
3 1/2 c. corn kernels (I just used 2 cans golden corn)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 c. finely chopped red bell peppers
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I didn't seed mine)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. mayonnaise (olive oil mayo)
4 ounces monterey jack or cheddar, shredded- I used pepperjack
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Tortilla chips, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1 Tbsp. of the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels turn deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until the onions are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the beans (if using them) green onions, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.Transfer to the bowl with the corn. Add the mayo, cayenne pepper, half of the monterey jack and half of the cheddar and mix well. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish (or something equivilant) and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

I served this at Justin's mom's for Thanksgiving and reheated the leftovers to serve at my side's Turkey Day at our house.  I loved the stuff but I think some people were unaware that it was a dip and just ate it with a fork like a salad...I suppose that means it's pretty good if you can eat a dip without even having any chippies?  Ready for the mouthwatering photo? Ok, I owe you one since I've been gone for so long....will post about the reason for that soon :)  Here ya go....

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