Sunday, October 14, 2012

Warm Cajun Shrimp Dip

Yet another great snack or appetizer for game day or get-together!

Warm Cajun Shrimp Dip

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 C mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning, or to taste
1 C chopped cooked peeled shrimp
1/2 C shredded pepper Jack cheese (do I even need to say anything here??  MORE is better)
1 (1-pound) round loaf hearty wheat. white or sourdough bread
1 Tbsp. sliced green onion
Garnish:  lemon wedge, cooked shrimp
Assorted crackers, breadsticks or even veggies---dip what YOU like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, worcestershire sauce and Creole seasoning; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.  Stir in shrimp and shredded cheese.

Using a serrated knife, cut a 1/2-inch thick slice from top of bread loaf.  Carefully hollow out inside of loaf, leaving about a 3/4 inch shell.  Reserve bread pieces for another use.

Spoon shrimp mixture into bread shell; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil; bake 15 minutes longer, or until thoroughly heate.  Sprinkle with green onion.  Garnish with lemon wedge and cooked shrimp, if desired.  Serve with assorted crackers, breadsticks and veggies, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Cheddar Bites

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Cheddar Bites

2 baking potatoes, each cut lengthwise into 4 wedges (about 3/4 lb.)
3/4 tsp. garlic sale
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
1/2 C finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
1/2 C sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat the rack of a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Place rack on broiler pan.  Cut each potato wedge crosswise into 3 pieces.  Sprinkle potato pieces with garlic salt and pepper.  Wrap each potato piece with a piece of bacon, and place, seam side down, on prepared broiler rack. 
Bake for 20 minutes.  Gently turn, and bake for 15 minutes, or until tender.  Place hot potato bites on a serving plate; sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand for 10 minutes to mel cheese.  Sprinkle with green onion and serve with sour cream. 

Makes 2 dozen bites

Snack Mix

Makes about 20 servings ~ Perfect for parties, football games or even package this up and give as small gifts for the holidays! Mix this up to suit YOUR taste---cheerios or Life cereal instead of the corn & rice cereal....substitute cheese flavored popcorn for the cheese balls, etc.  Make it your own!

Snack Mix

8 Tbsp. butter
4 C crispy corn-and-rice cereal
4 C crispy wheat cereal squares
4 C pretzel sticks
4 C cheese crackers
4 C smoked almonds (my fav)
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
3/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chile pepper
6 C cheese puff balls

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In the bottom of a large roasting pan, melt butter.
Add corn-and-rice cereal, wheat cereal, pretzels, crackers and almonds to roasting pans.  Stir gently to coat with butter.
In a small bowll, combine garlic salt, cumin, paprika and chipotle chile pepper.  Sprinkle cereal mixture with garlic-salt mixture, stirring until cereal mixture is evenly coated.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Immediately spread cereal mixture onto parchment paper to cool.  Add cheese puff balls to ceral mixture, tossing gently to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Carmelized Onion Focaccia

Who doesn't love Focaccia!?!?  There are many different versions out there, I'm sure...but here's a simple one to start with.  If you can't find Tuscan Herbs, substitute your favorites---a classic is rosemary in this bread.  When it's done, eat it as an appetizer OR do as I do and substitute for boring bread when making a sandwich----takes it to a whole new level!

Carmelized Onion Focaccia

1/4 C. canola oil, divided
2 C chopped onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
5 Tbsp. water, divided
1 Tsp. yellow cornmeal
1 (16 oz.) pkg. hot roll mix *I recommend Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
1 1/4 C hot water (120 to 130 degrees)
2 tsp. dried Tuscan seasoning *McCormick makes a Tuscan Seasoning Blend

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium high heat.  Add onion; cook for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and slowly stir in 2 Tbsp. water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and tender, about 15 minutees.  (Stir in remaining 3 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, occasionally, to prevent onions from sticking to the pan, if necessary.)  Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal.  In a large bowl, combine contents of hot roll mix and yeast packet included in the mix, hot water, 2 Tbsp. oil, and Tuscan seasoning.  Stir until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.  With greased or floured hands, shape dough into a ball.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough for 5 minutes, or until smooth.  Cover dough with a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.

Using hands, pat dough into a 12-inch circle on prepared pan (a pizza pan would work FAB for this)
Loosely cover; let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees) free from drafts, for 20 minutes, or until puffy.  Uncover dough; brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.  Sprinkle with caramelized onions.  Gently press surface of dough with fingertips at intervals to create indentations. 

Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings