Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cucumber Dill Toasties

Classy enough for an event, ready to party.
Cucumber Dill Toasties are great bite size appetizers for a fancy brunch or dinner, but they are also good as causal bites like the Superbowl. Every time I have served them, I leave with an empty plate. Something about cheese spread and bite sized yummies that everyone loves. If you are afraid of the cucumber dill because you are a pickle hater, no worries. I dislike pickles, but still love these. Other than the similar ingredients there is no pickle taste or smell.  

Cucumber Dill Toasties
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 seedless cucumber, sliced thin
fresh dill, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, Italian mix & sour cream. Add a pinch of dill. Stir until everything is completely combined.

Spread a thin layer of the mixture onto baguette. Top with cucumber. Sprinkle with dill. Repeat with remaining ingredients, until lots of little cucumber dill toasties are made.

Adapted from All Recipes

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Plan: Take 3

I have been thinking about this Monday Meal Plan since last week. Finally, a new meal for the new year. Great timing with it being the start of the Chinese New Year! Guess it would have been a good week for a lot of Chinese meals. Instead, I added a perfect new Meatless Monday meal. If you are still on a healthy new start to the year, it needs to make its way into your meal plan as well. 
I am excited for this week for dinner. I am glad to get in the kitchen and make some meals, knowing that I will go out to eat later on in the week.

Meatless Monday: Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
Tuesday: Steak and potatoes with some other veggie
Wednesday: Chicken with wild rice soup
Thursday: Chicken enchiladas
Friday: Chicken Broccoli and Biscuits 
Saturday: Friends Over: Probably make your own panini night (even if we had them last week)

I know it is the year of the Dragon! But at least it starts with d.. 
Sunday: Out!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

A switch to the cousin.
My favorite soup of all time is broccoli cheddar. I especially like the really fattening versions from the bakery/cafes. When I made a stop in at Old Grist Mill Bread Company for some lunch, they had a cheddar cauliflower soup. It was a delightful switch from my favorite. I wanted to recreate it a cheddar cauliflower soup at home in order to enjoy it on the snowy days that were in the forecast.
I used a recipe that was a bit healthier than my normal cream based soups. I even used leeks for the first time. Leeks were in my Arizona CSA often, but I never took them. Why? I was intimated. They were much simpler than I thought. A few cuts, lots of water to rinse and simply chopped and ready for the soup. It is a great Meatless Monday meal for the winter.

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
4 cups chopped cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, and carrots. Cook, stirring often until leeks are very soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, chicken broth, bay leaves, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft.

As the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is soft, remove the bay leaves and stir in the milk-flour mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the soup has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese and lemon juice.

Additions from Eating Well

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Salt Water Taffy Rice Krispie Treats

 Local candy for a homemade treat.
Recently, my husband and I took a tour of Sweet's factory. It was such a fun experience. We got to sample and see so many tasty treats being made. All the candy action made me want to create something from their creations. Luckily, I remembered a segment on a local news show I saw where they made Rice Krispie treats using salt water taffy. I thought I would give it a try with some of the taffy from the factory store. Originally, I was going to use chocolate taffy for a hot chocolate with marshmallows taste, but that wouldn't have been much different than cocoa krispies. So I went with some key lime taffy to have a little fruity citrus flavor.

Salt Water Taffy Rice Krispie Treats
5 Tablespoons butter
5 1/2 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
3 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
12-15 pieces of Sweet's salt water taffy

Line a baking sheet with a silpmat or parchment paper. Slightly warm taffy with hands, or if older taffy place in microwave for 10 seconds. Roll into long strips and cut into about ten small pieces per taffy.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until they are almost smooth/melted. Remove from heat and fold in cereal. Also fold in the pieces of taffy, until cereal is evenly coated.
Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. To prevent sticking, stray hands with non-stick spray. Press down lightly to compress to the desired thickness. Allow to cool until set.
Store air tight. 

Slight change from KSL

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Plan take 2

Monday Meal Plan is here again. I have been struggling for meals, because I really want to eat at home each night. If I have a plan, I do much better at cooking. If there isn't a plan written down then out the window goes any sort of healthy eating. This week for dinner has an easy crock pot meal, a meal my husband will cook, and a planned out to eat, because it makes you feel less guilty when it happens.

Meatless Monday: Veggie Noodle Soup
Tuesday: Carne Asada with guacamole and a side of corn
Wednesday: Chicken Souvlaki (repeat)
Thursday: Crock Pot Chili
Friday: Chicken Tenders with a side of Mac and cheese and some oranges
Saturday: Panini sandwiches with all the toppings
Sunday: Out to eat before another week

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, Same Meal Plan

It might be a new year but I am still stuck with the same old this week for dinner. I am working on adding a new recipe in each week, but this Monday Meal Plan, I just need to have enough meals to eat at home each night. Small steps to getting to a new week of all new meals in this new year.

Meatless Monday: Black bean quesadillas with guacamole
Tuesday: Sausage and tortellini soup
Wednesday: Monterrey chicken with rice and broccoli
Thursday: Pulled pork sandwiches with veggie side 
Friday: Chicken fajitas with beans
Saturday: Broccoli beef with rice and egg rolls
Sunday: Zucchini baked ziti

Here is what I was doing last Monday. So this is my first meal plan of the year!