One last Superbowl snack before Sunday...pizza bites! When I saw this come up on one of my favorite blogs years ago, I had to make it that same week. And we're still eating them. Pizza bites are incredible...for lunch, a snack, or dinner. I make mine a little bigger than the original recipe indicates and place 3-4 pieces of pepperoni in each roll with a big hunk of mozzarella. The original recipe calls for 20-24 balls, and I can only try to get 12 out of mine.Pizza dough isn't hard to make, and it rises pretty quick. This is my favorite and I actually make it all by hand now. I find it's much easier than using my big mixer. But feel free to grab some from the store or your local pizza place. I highly recommend you make these as soon as possible! Pizza BitesPrint this recipeFor the dough:
6 ounces (about 1 cup) semolina flour
16 ounces (about 3 1/4 cups) bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
14 ounces (1 3/4 cups) warm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oilFor the bites: About 40 pieces of pepperoni3 pieces of string cheese
Italian seasoningGrated Parmesan cheese
Combine the yeast, sugar, garlic, and water in a bowl and allow yeast to dissolve. Add flours and stir with a large spoon. Let the dough rest for a few minutes to give the yeast time to work. Add the oil and salt and stir. Place the dough on a floured counter and knead by hand until it's soft and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let it rise about an hour or until it’s doubled in size. I like to cover my rising bread with shower caps that my friends pick up at hotels. They're easy to slip on and they're reusable.
Split into two pieces and shape or place in freezer bags to freeze and use late (you only need one ball of dough for this recipe).Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Divide one ball of dough into 12 pieces. Stretch the piece into a circle about
the size of your palm. Place the pepperoni and cheese in the middle of the circle and stretch the dough around it and pinch to close. Place the balls seam side down in a greased 9-inch pie plate. Brush olive oil on top of the balls and sprinkle the Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Serve warm. Source: Annie's Eats
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Are you ready for the most addicting dip ever? Seriously, ever. I could eat an entire bowl of this stuff. I first had this dip when my aunt and cousin
served it, and it's possible that I consumed nearly the entire bowl. But I've learned my lesson and now I only make it when I know there will be people to help me eat it. Lots of people. The beauty of this? Only four ingredients. If you're going for super easy and tear free, use a bag of frozen diced onions. I've done this, and it's just as good as a freshly diced onion. When cream cheese and Parmesan cheese are main ingredients, it's really hard to go wrong. Gooey cheese + tangy onion = amazing appetizer. I've made this with both Miracle Whip and regular mayo, and they both work great. Low fat cream cheese is a great substitution also. The recipe below is actually a half batch because I find that's more than enough, but if you're feeding a lot of people, feel free to double the recipe below. Happy snacking! Onion DipPrint this recipe1/2 white onion, diced1 1/2 bricks of cream cheese (12 ounces)1/4 cup mayo1 cup shredded Parmesan cheesePreheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients. Spray a quart cooking dish with cooking spray and spread the dip in it.
Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serve with chips.Recipe from my cousin Caitlyn
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Is it just me or do you have to get a soft pretzel every time you walk into a mall? Every time. I have always loved soft pretzels, and I remember going to Broncos games when I was little and getting fresh soft pretzels every. single. game. About 10 years ago when they moved into a new stadium, the fresh pretzels were gone and they substituted it with the frozen Pretzel Time ones. So sad...but I still get one now and then. In fact, I got one at the playoff game a few weeks ago and then I dropped half of it. Fail. Especially because they're $3 a pop. These pretzels, however, are awesome, and they're pretty easy. True pretzel recipes involve a boiling stage. This one does not, but I still think they taste just as good. Instead of boiling them, you mix hot water and baking soda together and then dunk the shaped pretzel in that before you put it on the baking sheet. It's not exactly the same effect but you still get that crispy crust and chewy inside. Pretty delicious in my opinion. This is an Auntie Anne copycat recipe, so you know it's gotta be good. Plus, you should have all of the ingredients on hand unlike others I've seen and tried.I don't make pretzels from scratch very often because they're really best on the day they're baked. After that the salt gets soft and liquidy and they lose something. I highly recommend you make them the day you want them and then eat all of them. Every single one. You could make the dough the day before and let it rise in your fridge covered the night before and then shape, dunk, and bake the day of. That would be my recommendation if you don't want to do everything in one day.
If you need to reheat though, do it in the oven or a toaster oven. Please don't eat day two pretzels at room temperature or microwaved. It's truly not the same. One more thing about pretzels. You want the rope to be long...at least 2 feet. The longer it is, the less likely it is to bake into itself and make more of a pretzel mound than an actual pretzel with the spaces. They taste good either way, but if you're looking for that mall pretzel, make sure your dough is at least 2 feet long. Oh....I highly recommend you serve them with queso!
Because everything is always better with queso. Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
Makes 8 pretzelsPrint this recipe1 1/2 cup warm water1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup bread flour3 cups all purpose flour1 1/8 teaspoon saltFor the bath: 2 cups hot water2 tablespoons baking sodaTopping: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (optional)2-4 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
Coarse pretzel saltIn the bowl of your mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar and let sit for five minutes or until foamy. Add in the flours and mix with the paddle on low speed until everything is incorporated. Let sit for five minutes, add the salt,
and mix. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low until the dough is smooth and tacky. Place in a clean greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour or until doubled. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper sprayed generously with cooking spray or silicone baking mats. Prepare the baking soda water bath by mixing the two in a large container. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll/stretch each piece into a rope that is 1/2 inch thick or less and at least 24 inches long. Shape into a pretzel shape by creating a U with the rope, bringing the ends down into an X (that meet up with the bottom of the U, and then crossing the ends so they twist in the middle of the pretzel. Lightly press anywhere the dough touches itself. Dip into the bath and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Let rise for about 15 minutes, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Alternately, bake without the egg wash and salt, dunk in butter after they're baked and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature the same day they're baked (don't put in a bag). To store any leftover pretzels (highly discouraged), you can keep them in a bag and then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes until crispy on the outside. Recipe from Copycat Recipes Cookbook
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What's in a name? Really these should be called pesto tomato mozzarella puff pastry bites, but that seemed just a bit too long. Pesto caprese puffs? Awesome appetizer? I dunno, but I do know they're pretty lovely. It's really hard to go wrong with puff pastry and pesto in my humble opinion. By the way, I love that spell check is freaking out over caprese but not dunno. Really? Ok spell check. Whatevs. Oops...there you go again.
I served these at my husband's 30th birthday party last summer, and I think they're great for a party because they don't have to be served hot. Sadly, the day of football playoff parties is over here in Denver. Ask me how fun it was standing through double overtime in single degree temperatures (with a windchill of negative 6) to have my team lose. My toes still are screaming at me. Anyway....if you're lucky enough to be attending or throwing a playoff party, I highly recommend these guys. They'll make you happy, even if your team is losing. Or loses in the last second. And for that big game in a couple of weeks that could have been ours, well I think I'll whip up a batch of these to console me.
Pesto Puffs RecipePrint this recipe
One sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup pesto
1 tomato, sliced
Mozzarella slices cut into 1-inch squares
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Unfold the puff pastry on your counter and spread the pesto on top (you may need more or less depending on your love for pesto). Cut into 3-inch squares and place 1-inch apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Cut the tomato slices into quarters and place a quarter on each square. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned. If you want warm, melty cheese, place the cheese on top of the tomatoes immediately. If you want to serve the puffs at room temperature, plate the puffs and then add the cheese after they've cooled. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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Did you guys make New Years resolutions? I admit that I didn't this year. With everything up in the air, I couldn't add another thing to my already overwhelmed life. Last year, my resolution was to try a new recipe or two every week. I did really well for a few months, then I started my blog, then I forgot about it. That's what happens, right? We eventually just forget about those pesky resolutions? By the way, how come every time I type resolutions I want to type resolutations? That's definitely not a word. Maybe my resolution can be typing better. Maybe.
When I was in high school, I was at church youth group, and we went around a circle and said our resolutions. I was slouched over like I normally sat and was listening to other people. When it was my turn, I said that mine was having better posture. Then I realized that my posture was completely terrible and I should probably get a better goal for the year. Something that I wouldn't break in 2.5 seconds.
So I know many resolutions are centered on eating better/losing weight. While this crostini isn't going to throw you off your new diet, it's probably not extremely healthy. It's very tasty though, and I love it for a light lunch or appetizers at one of the bowl games. We need to girl those college football games up a little bit. I love how pretty it is, and I downed about 5 of these today because they are good. First, who doesn't love bread? Then you top it with some apricot jam, a slice of brie, and pomegranate seeds. Creamy, sweet, and tangy are all flavors we want right now. Right? Oh and I know that this isn't technically a crostini because the bread isn't toasted, but we can pretend, right? I really liked it with a crusty baguette and didn't feel the need to toast it, too. Apricot Brie CrostiniPrint this recipe
This is more of a method than a recipe, so make how much you want.
Slice the baguette into pieces. Spread about one tablespoon of jam on each piece. Slice the brie log into thin slices and place on top of the jam. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top and serve. You could make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, too.
Inspired by 5280 magazine
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I've been getting the magazine Taste of Home
for a couple of years now, and I think they have some great recipes. I was struck by a recipe in last month's issue, but I was more excited by the idea of it than the actual recipe: green bean casserole stuffed mushrooms. Their recipe had pureed stuffing, and I really didn't think it looked too appetizing. It kind of looked like baby food stuffed into a mushroom. I didn't even read how they made it because I wanted to create my own and make it "prettier."
Now I'm not going to lie and say this is something that you can quickly whip up. There are a few parts to it: you have to roast the mushrooms, boil the green beans, fry the onions, and make the sauce. But you can multitask a lot with this recipe. While the oven is preheating, you can make the onion topping. While the mushrooms are roasting, you can make the sauce. I tried a few different variations of this before I came up with this recipe, so I know that you can't put the sauce into the mushrooms and then roast them. It becomes a hot mess. It's best to roast the mushrooms separately and then stuff em and serve em.
I do, of course, have a way you can enjoy this appetizer with much less work. If you're making green bean casserole
, save out a few of the green beans and chop them into 1/4 inch pieces. Pull out some of the sauce (minus the mushrooms), mix the green beans into it and spoon it into the roasted mushroom caps. You can even top it with the canned onions if you don't feel like frying the shallots or you could fry the shallots earlier in the day so they're ready when you need them. Whatever way that you do this, I think people will be pleasantly surprised by this appetizer. It's a different spin on the typical green bean casserole. Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
Makes 8-10 mushroomsPrint this recipe
8-10 large mushrooms, rinsed and stems removedFor the filling
10-12 green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 small clove of garlic, minced1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the onion topping:
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Dash of salt and pepper
Dash of cayenne powder
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a small sheet pan with cooking spray.
While your oven is preheating, make the onion topping. Place the sliced shallot in the milk and let sit for 10 minutes. Place the vegetable oil in a small skillet and heat on medium until smoking. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Remove the shallot slices from the milk and dredge them through the flour mixture. When the oil is hot, carefully place the floured shallot slices into the oil and let cook for about two minutes or until they are golden brown, turning the slices so they don't burn. Remove to a paper towel and let sit while you make everything else.
When you oven has preheated, place the mushrooms cap side down on the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Drain the liquid in the caps.
While the mushrooms are cooking, make the filling. Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and boil. Place in the green beans and cook for 5-6 minutes until bright green and crisp. Drain the green beans and plunge into a bowl filled with ice cold water to stop the cooking. Then cut the green beans into 1/4 inch pieces.
In the same saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour and garlic. Stir and let brown for one minute. Add in the chicken broth slowly while whisking and let cook for one minute. Then whisk in the cream. Let cook for about 2 minutes while stirring until the sauce has thickened. If it's too thick, you can add more broth. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and add more if needed to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped green beans.
Place a spoonful of the green bean topping into each mushroom cap and top with some of the fried shallots. Serve immediately.
A She Makes and Bakes original
Queso is my kryptonite. I will go off a diet so fast if queso is put in front of me. And I'm not super picky about my queso, either. Velveeta and rotel? Sure. I can eat the crap out of that stuff. But I wanted to be a good food blogger and create my own. I tried another homemade queso recipe about a year ago, but I wasn't overly thrilled with it. While it was good, it was missing something. So I decided to experiment with it. Thankfully it only took one try so my hips didn't get too big! This makes a good size batch, but if you're having it at a party, I'd double or triple it. It reheats nicely thanks to the no roux part, and it freezes well. That's how I kept myself from devouring it. I hid it in the depths of my freezer. Next week, I'll show you an amazing meal to make with this stuff: quesochangas!Homemade Queso Recipe
Print this recipe
*Note: Please do not use individually wrapped American cheese slices. Go to the deli and ask for a chunk of American cheese. If it's a chunk, you can grate it. If it's already sliced, you can tear it into pieces so it will melt faster. If you like spicier food, leave some of the seeds in the jalapeno.
1 tablespoon butter
Half of a white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped and seeds removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large Roma tomato, chopped
About 10 ounces yellow American cheese, shredded*
1 cup Monterey jack, shredded
1/2-3/4 cup milk
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onion, jalapeno, and garlic until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
Add in one quarter of the American cheese and 1/4 cup milk. Stir until the cheese has melted. Add in half of the Monterey jack and stir until melted. Keep adding the cheese and milk until incorporated and melted. Use as much milk as desired for consistency. If you want your queso thick, you'll need about 1/2 cup of milk. If you like it thinner, you'll want about 3/4 cup of milk. Add in the chopped tomato and salt to taste. Serve immediately, and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Source: A She Makes and Bakes creation
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In the last year, I have come to absolutely love all things caprese. Even though I'm not a big fan of raw tomatoes, when you pair them with fresh basil, I could eat them all day long. When I saw this recipe in the Easy Summer Food cookbook, I wanted to try it asap. You score tomatoes, stuff mozzarella in them, and then bake them until they're warm and soft and the cheese is melted. Then you top it off with basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I love these. Baking the tomatoes tones down the fresh tomato flavor just a touch, and of course you can't go wrong with the caprese combination. I truly believe that fresh basil makes almost anything taste better. I highly recommend you make these before your basil plant dies and tomato season is over. Your mouth will thank you. Baked Caprese Recipe
Print this recipe
Note: This recipe makes 10 tomatoes, but you can easily make it using as many tomatoes as you want. I made it with four tomatoes and scaled everything way day. It's not so much of a measuring recipe as it is a guide.
10 ripe tomatoes (I used vine-ripened tomatoes)
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 10 pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Bunch of fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray a baking tray with cooking spray.
In each tomato, cut a deep X about halfway through the tomato. Push a piece of mozzarella into each X. Place the tomatoes on the tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften and open. Remove from the oven, drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top and serve.
Source: Easy Summer Food Cookbook
I absolutely love salsa, but I have a hard time finding a good brand at the grocery store. I'm not really a fan of beans or peaches or corn or other "strange" ingredients in my salsa. I want some straight up basic but good salsa. The only store brand I've found that's great was at Harris Teeter. If you live near a Harris Teeter, check out their salsa in jars. Pretty dang good...in fact, we brought some home to Colorado with us. Just not enough of it.
Anyway, since I can't find a good salsa, I usually make my own. It's super simple, hardly takes any time, and you can make as much or as little as you need. I make a lot because even as just two people, we go through a lot of it. This is year-round salsa that uses canned tomatoes. My tomatoes still are green, so I haven't had the chance to make this with ours yet this year. It's very easy to substitute fresh tomatoes in the summer. Just know that instead of your salsa being red, it'll be pink. I usually don't measure the ingredients for this--I just add and taste and adjust. So go that route if you're comfortable with it or use my measurements below. Everyday Salsa Recipe
Yields approximately 3 cupsPrint this recipe
Note: If you want to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, peel approximately 4-6 large tomatoes or up to 10 Roma tomatoes. Cut them into chunks and add them to your food processor or blender. Also, I briefly cook my onion to get rid of the raw onion taste. If you don't have the time or the taste buds, just chop your onion into chunks and throw it into the food processor/blender. 1/2 small white onion
1 tablespoon butter
28 ounce can of diced peeled tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/4-1/2 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt, to taste
Dice the onion. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, cooked onion, and lime juice to the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Pulse until smooth. If you like chunky salsa, don't process it as long.
Taste the salsa with a chip and add salt as needed. Store in the refrigerator.
A She Makes and Bakes recipe.
One of my favorite snack foods is chips and dip. Last summer we vacationed with my husband's family in the Outer Banks. Love. His family lives in Ohio, so they all drove and we flew. When we all arrived at our rental house, my mother in-law plugged in a crock pot full of this buffalo chicken dip. It was about 9 pm, but I chowed down on this dip. After a long day of flying and driving, it pairs nicely with a glass of shiraz...or four.
I've made it a few times since then, and I just love it. In fact, I had it for dinner one night. There's chicken....it's perfectly acceptable. I've served it at a few parties, and it's a big hit. I think most people really like chips and dip. I highly recommend you serve it with Fritos or another thick tortilla chip. The flavors meld better and you're not going to break a chip in the dip. Party foul! If you're feeling fancy, sprinkle a little blue cheese on top. Be prepared to share because people are going to dig in!
For the chicken, you can use a rotisserie chicken or cook one large chicken breast (I boiled mine). By the way, if you have a stand mixer, plop the cooked chicken breast in the bowl, put the paddle attachment on, and mix on low. Your mixer will shred the chicken!!Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe
Print this recipe
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Stir all the ingredients together. Pour them in a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted. You also can pour the mixture into a small Crockpot and cook on low until hot and cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately with Fritos or another thick tortilla chip.
Recipe from my mother in-law.