Friday, March 30, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Makes 25-30.

Source: YumSugar

16-oz. package of bacon (regular thickness-not thick cut), cut into thirds
8-oz. package of pitted dates

Preheat the oven to 350°. Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.

Wrap a piece of bacon around a date. Make sure the bacon seam is placed facing downwards on the cookie sheet. Press firmly on the bacon wrapped date, so it is less likely to unravel. Repeat until all of the dates are wrapped in bacon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Serve with toothpicks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

Delish!  And so fun and colorful.
Source: Smashed Peas and Carrots blog

1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. butter flavored shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
2 c. M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream the butter, shortening, both sugars and vanilla together with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Slowly add in each egg one at a time and mix together.
Then mix in the baking soda, salt and flour.
Add in the M&Ms and mix by hand until incorporated well.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Monday, March 26, 2012

All-In-One Taco Dinner

All-In-One Taco Dinner

Serves 4-6.

Here's a tasty, easy-to-prep, make-ahead-friendly, freezer-friendly meal that you AND your kids will love.  And, it's pretty healthy, so that's a plus too.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 (15-oz.) can black beans
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1-1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)
Sour cream
Taco sauce
crushed tortilla chips (or 12 crunchy taco shells, crushed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook ground turkey in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Drain if needed, and then add taco seasoning, along with any water as directed on seasoning packet.

Stir in black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, and shredded cheddar.  Pour into a baking dish and top with crushed tortilla chips.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until dish is piping hot and tortilla chips begin to brown slightly.

To serve, top with sour cream and taco sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crescent Breakfast Casserole

Crescent Breakfast Casserole

Serves 6-8.

How's THAT picture for a breakfast fail in the appearance department?  So here's what happened:  In an attempt to make the dish a little more healthy, I substituted some Egg Beaters for some of the eggs.  I wis
Slightly adapted from: Bakin and Eggs blog

8 oz. can of crescent rolls (I used reduced fat)
8-10 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled OR your choice of breakfast meat (ham, sausage, etc.)
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (jack, cheddar, colby – whatever you have on hand)
2-3 tbsp milk
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a 9 x 9 or 11 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Line the prepared baking dish with unrolled crescent roll dough, letting it come up the sides a bit. Press together seams.

Layer the crumbled bacon and cheese over the crescent dough. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over bacon and cheese.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into squares and serve.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Turkey Empanadas

Turkey Empanadas

Serves 4.

Yeah, yeah.  Go ahead.  Make fun of me for that ugly slit in the middle of my empanada. Well maybe if the recipe had instructed me to let the turkey mixture cool before trying to assemble the empanada on the pie crust, it wouldn't have happened.  But instead, the hot mixture "burned" right through, faster than I could assemble.  It still tasted great... the wow factor, though, was definitely lost. 
Source: Real Simple

3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound ground turkey
onion, chopped
clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup pitted olives
kosher salt and black pepper
refrigerated rolled piecrusts, halved

Heat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, onion, garlic, and cumin and cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins and olives; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. ***Let mixture cool!

Top the 4 piecrust halves with the turkey mixture; fold in half and seal the edges. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Makes about 3 cups.

Don't you love it when you make a recipe like this with a dish in mind to put it in, and then, upon completion, you find that it's a perfect fit?  It's the little things in life that excite me. 
And this dip should excite you.  It's a classic favorite.
Source: Closet Cooking

1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach (thawed, drained and coarsely chopped)
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts (drained and coarsely chopped)
4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (grated)
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (grated)
1/4 cup mozzarella (grated)

Mix everything and pour it into a baking dish.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20-40 minutes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Road to Lost Innocence

The Road to Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

At the time I am writing this, there are 37 reviews on Amazon, and all of them gave a 5/5 star review.  Wow!  Personally, while I found the first half to be gripping -- painfully gripping -- I started to feel a little bored during the second half.  And I feel bashful admitting that, because the second half chronicles all of her wonderful acheivements, and the movement she is making toward a greater good.  Overall, though, it opened my eyes to what women are subjected to abroad.

Amazon book description:

Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia. Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking—rape, torture, deprivation—until she managed to escape with the help of a French aid worker. Emboldened by her newfound freedom, education, and security, Somaly blossomed but remained haunted by the girls in the brothels she left behind.

Written in exquisite, spare, unflinching prose, The Road of Lost Innocence recounts the experiences of her early life and tells the story of her awakening as an activist and her harrowing and brave fight against the powerful and corrupt forces that steal the lives of these girls. She has orchestrated raids on brothels and rescued sex workers, some as young as five and six; she has built shelters, started schools, and founded an organization that has so far saved more than four thousand women and children in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Her memoir will leave you awestruck by her tenacity and courage and will renew your faith in the power of an individual to bring about change.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Serves 4.
Easy and quick for any busy weeknight.
Source: Real Simple

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound ground turkey
onion, chopped
clove garlic, chopped
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and black pepper
hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, onion, and garlic and cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Mix the tomato sauce, sugar, barbecue sauce, and Worcestershire into the turkey mixture; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve the turkey mixture on the buns.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Makes 4-5 flatbreads.

I love making these for parties.  They are super easy, can be assembled ahead of time, and always get eaten.

5 Naan flatbreads
1 small package goat cheese, crumbled
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
Balsamic glaze

Top flatbreads evenly with crumbled goat cheese and roasted red peppers.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and cut into slices to serve.

For a dinner entree option, add chicken: