Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

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I don't think there's any other combination on this beautiful earth that I enjoy more than salty and sweet. Add peanut butter to the mix and it's a done deal. 

After saying that, I must warn you. These are highly addictive. If you're still going strong on your New Year's resolution and staying away from foods that are bad for you, you can still have one or two of these to curb your craving and not feel too guilty. But after you have one you will have two. Then two will turn to five. And then you'll be blaming me. But it's okay...I'll go ahead and take the blame. These are so worth it!!

Printable Recipe


  • 80 pretzel snaps
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark or a combination)

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. 

Beat peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy and smooth.  Roll into 1/2-inch balls and place in the center of each pretzel bite. Top with another pretzel bite. Once all pretzel bites are formed, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a double boiler. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Place chocolate in a stainless steel or glass bowl that can fit snug on the saucepan. Put the bowl of chocolate on top of the saucepan with boiling water. Once you see the chocolate starting to melt, begin to stir. Lightly stir until the chocolate is melted all the way. Continue to stir periodically so it does not get clumpy.

Remove pretzels from freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate. Be sure to mix the chocolate after every few dips so it doesn't get clumpy.  Place each chocolate covered pretzel onto the lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: SK Original

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tomato, Olive & Basil Crostini

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This crostini is a quick and easy appetizer that I often bring to family functions. They're always a huge hit and have been requested multiple times. I love the combination of crusty bread and hot, melted cheese with the freshness of the tomato, olives and basil. Delish!

You can do most of it ahead of time, too, so there's really no fuss the day of! I usually make the topping a day before or the morning of, and I toast the bread a few hours before as well. They even keep for a few days after! I made it for a get-together on Sunday and then re-created them on Thursday when I have my "girls nights" and it was still just as good. Enjoy and have a great weekend!


  • 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans black olives, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • Italian bread
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic (I used the jarred stuff)

In medium sized bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, 1/2 cup olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, slice the Italian bread. Combine a few tablespoons of olive oil and a heaping teaspoon of garlic (and some of the juice) in a small bowl (if using fresh garlic, you can skip the mincing and just rub a clove of garlic on each piece before brushing on the oil). Use a pastry brush to coat the top of each slice of bread with the olive oil mixture. Toast the bread until slightly brown on both sides. Remove and cool.

When ready to serve, turn the broiler on high. Place a slice of Mozzarella cheese on the top of each bread slice, and broil until melted. Top with the tomato mixture and serve.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Chili

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Chili is one of those dishes where you really can't go wrong. I've tried a few different recipes and I put this one together based on what I found out I liked the most. Plus, it's all done in my slow cooker so I can put it all in before I leave for work and come home to a delicious smelling house! But don't fret...even if you don't have a slow cooker you can simmer it on your stove top in a regular saucepan. Whew! 

(But don't leave that one on while you're at work. That could be bad news.)

I used dark red Kidney beans in mine, but you can definitely use light red or a different bean altogether. You can even leave them out if you really want to. Top this with cheddar cheese or have a little cornbread on the side. Or my favorite, some corn chip scoops. Although this is a typical winter meal, I love to make it during a summer bbq. Chili dog anyone? There are so many options. What's your favorite chili dish?

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 (29 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Optional garnishes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Corn bread
  • Corn chips
Brown meat in skillet until cooked through. Once cooked, drain and add to slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients. Stir until combined.

Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours. 

Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and corn bread or corn chips. Enjoy!!

Source: SK Original

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken Piccata

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I have a confession. I'm not good at making decisions. I'm actually very, very bad at it.

But, to my surprise, I actually went out of my comfort zone last week and decided all on my own to make Chicken Piccata. I'm getting a little bit of anxiety right now just thinking about it....

Anyways...I'm so glad I decided to make this! The chicken was extremely tender and the sauce was delicious. I guess I better watch out because I might have to start making more decisions about dinner in the future. Eek! But I guess that's okay if they all turn out as amazing as this!

It smells delicious, looks delicious and tastes delicious. Plus you can serve this as a very fancy meal for guests, but it's still easy enough that you can make it without too much hassle. It pairs great with mashed potatoes, noodles or a number of different side dishes and a glass of white wine. Enjoy this classic Italian meal!

Printable Recipe


  • 1-1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can also use veal or pork cutlets)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 medium lemons), halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced, for garnish

Pound cutlets until 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in shallow plate. In separate plate, whisk eggs and water. Put breadcrumbs in a separate plate. Dip each cutlet in flour, then egg mixture, then breadcrumbs, allowing excess to drip off in between each plate.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook breasts on each side until brown and cooked through. Keep warm in a 200 degree F oven.

Pour extra olive oil out of the skillet, leaving brown bits in the pan. Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp. butter, then add lemon juice, wine, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and reserved lemon halves (it comes out just as well if you use bottled lemon juice and omit the reserved lemon halves). Deglaze the pan by scraping brown bits from bottom and mix well. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about two minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp. butter and swirl to combine.

Discard lemon halves and spoon over cooked chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

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Yesterday was Chris' birthday, so of course I had to make him one of his favorite meals: shrimp scampi! He's a huge seafood lover, and in my opinion you can never go wrong with shrimp. Mix in a little lemon juice, wine and butter....then you've got yourself a little treat!

I made this alongside some filet mignon and it was a perfect compliment. I was even able to time everything perfectly, which always makes the process less stressful. I seared the steak on the stove then popped it in the oven, and while it was in there I had the exact amount of time I needed to cook the scampi. Don't you love when dinner just all comes together so easily? Timing everything just right can definitely be a challenge, but when you get it on target it makes the meal even better!

Learning to cook shrimp perfectly takes a little skill, but with some practice you will get the hang of it in no time! The key is to lay them all flat in the skillet in a single layer. As soon as you see a little pink coming through, flip them!! They'll only need another minute or so on the other side. If you overcook them they'll get chewy and rubbery, and that's no good. So remove them as soon as they get pink and you'll be set!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!


  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Add pasta to large pot of boiling water. Cook 6-7 minutes or until al dente.

In large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tbsp. butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, red pepper, parsley and basil; saute 3 minutes.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to skillet in an even layer and cook for 1 minute or until you see pink begin to come through. Immediately flip and cook the other side for 1 minute. Remove shrimp from skillet and keep warm.

Add lemon juice and wine to the same skillet.  As mixture comes to a boil, add 2 tbsp. butter. Return shrimp to the skillet. Drain pasta and add that to the skillet as well.  Stir to combine and serve.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Watermelon Mojito

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Yes, I realize it's February. And yes, I am pretending it's July.

Chris and I had a craving for something sweet the other day, so we went to the store in search of something to fulfill this craving. We didn't expect it, but mini watermelons were piled up in the produce section, just calling our names. They were so cute, we had to buy one! We also found pineapples, which we immediately picked up as well. Who knew grocery stores still carried watermelon and pineapple in February?!

We whipped up a quick watermelon mojito and let me tell you, they really hit the spot. You can make them non-alcoholic or add a little rum, but either way they really do take you back to those cool, breezy summer days. We plan on trying the pineapple in a similar drink as well. Hopefully it will turn out just as great!

Today is also Chris' birthday, so cheers to him!!


  • 30 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small seedless watermelon, sliced (about 2-3 cups)
  • 8 oz. light rum (optional)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1-2 limes, juiced

Mash the mint leaves using a muddler. If you do not have one (which I don't!) place the mint leaves in a dish and smash with the back of a large spoon to release the juices.

Remove and discard the rind of the watermelon and all visible seeds. Place the watermelon slices in a food processor and puree until smooth.

In a large pitcher, add the mint leaves, pureed watermelon, rum, simple syrup and the lime juice. Stir to combine.

Serve in glasses with ice and garnish with a watermelon slice and a mint leaf.

Simple Syrup Recipe

  • 2 parts sugar
  • 1 part water

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, add the sugar. Stir constantly until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Source: Mojito recipe Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunny Breakfast Cups

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How cute are these? It's breakfast in a cup. Sort of like breakfast cupcakes! I combined pancakes, eggs, bacon and cheese into one fabulous creation! They are so cool to make and taste really good! 

They look like they take a while to make, but they are really simple and pretty quick! Kids would love them. Company would be very impressed. You'll gobble them up. Try this one out this weekend. You'll be glad you did. Especially if you're a breakfast lover like myself. They're also different than the usual breakfast line-up, and I love finding new things to have in the morning.

Give them a try and let me know what you think! 

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup Buttermilk Bisquick pancake mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 6 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 6-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix together 1 cup pancake mix and 3/4 cup water.  Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan. Scoop the batter onto the pan, three pancakes at a time, and cook until light brown on both sides. Set aside. Add other 1/2 tbsp. butter and cook the remaining three pancakes. 

Meanwhile, cook bacon slices in a small skillet until just brown. They will continue cooking in the oven, so no need to cook all the way through. Plus, you will need them to be flexible to mold into the muffin tins.

In greased muffin tins, press each pancake carefully into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Line the inside of each pancake cup with a slice of bacon. Place a small amount of cheese in the bottom of the cup. Crack a whole egg on top of the cheese and within the bacon circle.

Cook for 15-20 minutes or until egg is cooked through. Let sit for a couple minutes and remove from muffin cups. Enjoy!


Source: SK Original

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mussels Marinara

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Hello there, lovebirds! And Happy Valentine's Day to you all!! I have a special meal to share with you today. It's really easy, delicious and a perfect "romantic" dinner!

So I'll first have to admit that up until a few years ago I was not a huge fan or mussels. Or scallops. Or clams. There was something about them that kind of creeped me out. I couldn't tell you why, but they definitely were not on my "Top 10 Favorite Foods" list. Not even top 100.

I don't know what it was, but I tried them again recently and actually enjoyed them! I know I read somewhere that your taste buds change ever 7 years or so, and I definitely believe that. They're really delicious since they take on the flavor of whatever you cook them in and they're so easy to cook, too! They would be perfect for a nice, quiet, romantic meal on a day like today!

Chris had told me previously that one of his favorite meals growing up was when his mom made mussels with marinara. I had some leftover marinara sauce in my freezer, so I decided to try to recreate this. Now, I'm sure it's not as good as his mom's, but I still thought it was pretty darn good! Especially served with some nice, crispy bread. Yum!

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. mussels 
  • 1 lb. linguini, cooked (optional)

Heat marinara sauce in large skillet. Add red pepper flakes and cook until hot.

Meanwhile, rinse mussels off in cold water until clean.  Drain water and add mussels to marinara mixture. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

Uncover and discard unopened mussels.  Mix with linguini and serve.

Source: SK Original

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beef, Sausage and Cheese Manicotti

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My mom was out of town the other weekend, so I decided to be a good daughter/sister/girlfriend and make my dad, younger brother and boyfriend some dinner. Then I was stuck. What would three grown men want? Surely not something I would make myself for dinner. This would take some serious thought.

I flipped through my recipe binder for about a half hour before it hit me. Beef. Sausage. Cheese. Pasta. If this isn't a true "man's man" meal, then I don't know what is!

I started simmering some marinara sauce and got to work. It takes quite a bit of time (especially if you are making your own sauce), but the end result is worth the wait. I actually thought it was pretty fun stuffing the pasta with the filling, too (yes, I find joy from little things such as stuffing manicotti shells). In the end I got great reviews from the men, which makes this an A+ in my book!

If you're looking to make your significant other something special for dinner this upcoming Valentine's Day, I would highly recommend this dish. And they will thank you (hopefully with something sparkly) as well!

Mix together the cheese mixture and the cooked meat mixture.

Let the manicotti shells cool on a baking sheet before filling. They should still be somewhat firm (this is crucial for when you are stuffing them with the filling).

Place mixture in a zip lock bag. It helps to turn down the sides of the bag.

Squeeze out the air and close bag. Snip a generous size portion of the corner.

Lay the stuffed manicotti shells in the prepared dish. Top with sauce, cheese and butter....cook and serve!

Finished product!


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. pork sausage, removed from casing
  • Salt and pepper
  • 14 manicotti shells (1 8-oz. package)
  • 1 (15 oz.) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and onion. Cook until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic, ground beef and sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool.

Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1-1/2 to 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan and parsley in a large bowl.  Add the salt and pepper to taste and mix.

Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13x9 inch glass baking dish.  Spoon 1-1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture using a zip lock bag with a generous sized snip in the corner.

Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining 1-1/2 cups of Mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot the entire dish with the butter pieces. 

Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 35-40 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marinara Sauce

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I come from a large, Italian family, so it's no surprise that growing up we would have Sunday dinners that consisted of some sort of pasta, my mom's marinara sauce, meatballs, sausage and the works. Since my younger brother and I had after school activities almost every night during the week and my older brothers were busy studying or maintaining a social life, it was very important for my parents that we all get together on Sundays and enjoy dinner together. I know when I start a family this is a tradition I plan on keeping!

My mom's marinara sauce is out of this world. I think the fact that she lets it simmer all day and allows the flavors to marry really works miracles. One of our favorite things to do as kids was to cut off a piece of Italian bread and dunk it into the sauce while it was cooking (I'm not going to lie...I may or may not still do it to this day). There's just something about it that makes it very addictive!

Last year my mother so kindly showed me how to make this sauce. Chris could probably live off of this stuff if he could, so knowing that I learned the great family marinara sauce recipe was pretty much a holiday for him. I try to make it pretty often so as not to lose the special touch and I think it gets better every time. I also usually double the batch and freeze the leftovers so that when I want to make pasta, manicotti, lasagna, etc. during the week, I can just take it out of the freezer and be on my happy way!

I've posted the recipe below, but I'll admit it is pretty much a taste as you go sort of thing. Not all tomatoes are canned the same, some may be more bitter or more sweet than others, and in that case you could adjust how much sugar you add. You also may want more or less garlic, depending on your palate. The key is to let it simmer almost the whole day to allow the flavors to blend. It may be time consuming, but you will thank me later! Buon appetito!!

Printable Recipe


  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 5 Johnsonville Italian sausages (optional if you want a meat sauce)
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste + 1 can water
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Romano cheese rind or handful Parmesan cheese (optional)

Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in the bottom of large saucepan. Poke holes on both sides of the sausage. Add to the pan and let brown. You can omit the sausage if you want, but they add a lot of flavor to the sauce and are highly recommended.

Once the sausage is brown on all sides, move them to the sides of the pan and add the garlic in the middle of the sausages. Cook until just begin to turn brown. Mix back with sausage. Add tomato paste plus one can of water from sauce can. Let cook about 3 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Clean out each can with a small amount of water to get all the remaining tomatoes and add to saucepan (do not fill the cans all the way with water--they should only be filled about 1/4 of the way, just enough to rinse out tomatoes).

Add the rest of the seasonings.  Cover and let cook on medium heat.  Once the sauce starts boiling, cover and simmer on low heat.  Stir every 30 minutes until done, usually at least 5 hours (or if using sausage, until it is fully cooked through--they should be soft when pierced with a fork). Taste and add ingredients accordingly.  If one ingredient is overpowering, you can add another can of tomato sauce to even it out. If too garlicy, add some more Parmesan cheese.

If adding meatballs to make a meat sauce, cook them all the way through and add to the sauce 1-2 hours before the sauce is done cooking. Once done, remove bay leaves and cheese rind (if used). Mix with your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blueberry Nut Crunch Cake

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Okay, I get it. This cake isn't going to win any beauty pageants, but don't let it fool you. I promise you on my favorite pair of Ugg boots (and you know I can't survive the winter without my Ugg boots) that this cake is amazing. Somehow the ingredients all mix together in the baking process to create a crunchy, tasty treat! I don't know how it does it, but it does it. I promise you will be making this for all your get-togethers! I made it a few weekends ago for a housewarming party and it was a huge hit!
It's really interesting how it's made since you just layer ingredient after ingredient and no mixing is required. You'd think it would be dry since the cake mix is just layered by itself. But that's where the magic comes to play. When you "poke" the cake halfway through its cooking time, all the juice from the crushed pineapple comes rushing through and the blueberries pop to spread their juices. It really is magic! 
And what do you know. Abracadabra! The entire cake was gone in one sitting!

  • 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped fine (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Pour pineapple with juice in the bottom of the pan. Spread blueberries over pineapple. Pour 3/4 cup sugar over blueberries.  Finally, sprinkle dry cake mix over top of sugar.

Melt butter or margarine and pour over cake. Pour remaining 1/4 cup sugar over butter. Top with chopped nuts.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cut through with a spoon in several places to allow juices to flow through. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Source: Recipes for Cakes

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Wrap-Up!

Pin It Hey guys! Hope you all have some fun and exciting plans for the game on Sunday. Just in case you need a few last minute recipe ideas, I've put together a list of some of my recent posts that will get your guests drooling! Enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!!


BBQ Chicken Pizza 

Macaroni and Cheese

Pigs in a Blanket

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Thursday, February 3, 2011


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Hummus is one of those things that I think people either love or hate. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I've always loved hummus, because that would be a lie. Growing up I wasn't a huge fan of the color or texture, and knowing that it consisted mainly of garbanzo beans was a huge turn-off, too. Mashed beans? No, thank you!

It wasn't until high school that I tried hummus for the 100th time and realized how great it can be! I had been trying the lemon flavor (and if you've read my Lemon Bar post, you'd know that I wasn't a huge fan of lemons growing up) and I didn't realize there were other varieties out there! It's so refreshing on pita bread or veggie chips and is a perfect, easy snack. There are about 50 different flavor combinations available as well, whether it be original, roasted garlic, super spicy, caramelized onions (me! me!), roasted red pepper, veggie...the combinations are endless! You can even substitute the garlic in the recipe below for whatever type you prefer! 

Oh, and if you've never heard of tahini, don't worry. I hadn't heard of it either. It sort of resembles peanut butter (in fact that's what it's found next to in the grocery store) and is basically a sesame paste. It adds depth to the consistency of the hummus and it's a really great flavor.

This is also a healthy alternative for those of you who want to stick to your New Year's resolution and avoid all those greasy, fried foods this Super Bowl Sunday! Give this one a try and let me know what other flavor combinations you come up with!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. tahini
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Drain garbanzo beans and set aside liquid from can. Combine all other ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend. Slowly add in 1/4 cup liquid from garbanzo beans, until reaches your desired consistency. Blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer to bowl. Make a small well in the middle of the the hummus and fill with olive oil so it does not dry out. Refrigerate for two hours or until cold.

Source: Adapted from

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pigs in a Blanket

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Pigs in a Blanket are bite-size, delicious, inexpensive, and most kids--and even adults--love them. Growing up these were always made using crescent rolls, but I thought I'd challenge myself and make some homemade dough. Although these are a different texture than what you are probably used to, they are still great! Adding cheese to the dough adds an unexpected flavor so you don't even need ketchup or mustard! And coming from a die-hard ketchup lover, that is a pretty bold statement.

Pigs in a Blanket are a perfect appetizer for a roomful of football fans. Since the Super Bowl is coming up this weekend, I thought I'd share this recipe with those of you who are hosting or attending parties. They are sure to be a party favorite! 

They even sort of resemble little footballs, don't they? Perfect!

Printable Recipe

Makes 36-42

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 8 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 dozen mini hot dogs  (or 4 regular size hot dogs cut to the same size)

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.  Add butter and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender or large fork until well combined. Stir in the sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese until well blended. Divide the dough into two parts, shape into balls, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, silicone mat, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Roll out one portion of the dough on a floured surface to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch squares. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Lay a mini hot dog across a square of dough diagonally and bring two corners over and seal well by pinching, forming a blanket over the hot dog. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and hot dogs. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until browned. 


Source: Adapted from