Creamy Blanco Queso

The countdown is on to the Super Bowl. I wanted to share another yummy appetizer to share at your party. Change it up a little with Blanco Queso. Yummy and you can spice it up with jalapeños. Serve it up with a side of salsa or guacamole.   Everyone loves to munch during the game!  If you still have friends keeping to their New Year’s goals, consider serving up Cauliflower Poppers or Zucchini Fries. Enjoy creating your Super Bowl menu! -Amanda

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Creamy Blanco Queso

8 oz block regular cream cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 T salted butter 1 (4oz can) green chiles
1 T jalapeños, minced fine (optional)
4-6 T milk
3 Tablespoons water

In a crockpot combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, butter, green chiles and jalapeños. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture until well combined and then add a Tablespoon of milk and water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. (this is all up to you on consistency!) Cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and combined.
Keep cheese dip in the crockpot on the warm setting until ready to serve. Check on it and occasionally stir throughout the serving. Serve with tortilla chips or warm tortilla.

Patriotic Shortcakes

So, I have been busy!  I know it has been a few weeks since I have added any recipes.  At the beginning of the month, we had a great visit with my parents.  I was able sing and dance around the kitchen for fun family meals.  Although my broadway moves are polished and poised, I did receive a few raised eyebrows from my father.  Nevertheless, I wanted to make a special treat on July 4th.  Chris loves REAL strawberry shortcake (not that spongy junk) so I decided to kick it up Uncle Sam style.  Fireworks!  Plus there were leftover shortcakes for a repeat the following evening.  It is easy to say that I believe it has become a family favorite.  Enjoy!- Amanda

Patriotic Shortcakes

1 (16-oz.) container fresh strawberries, rinsed & quartered

1 pint container fresh blueberries, rinsed

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/4 t almond extract

1 cup whipping cream

2 T sugar

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 t baking powder

3/4 cup cold butter, cut up

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1 t vanilla extract

Combine strawberries and blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and almond extract. Cover berry mixture, and let stand 2 hours.   Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 2 T sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Cover and chill up to 2 hours.


Combine flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl; cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until blended; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop dough by lightly greased 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. 

Split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon about 1/2 cup berry mixture onto each shortcake bottom; top each with a rounded spoonful of chilled whipped cream, and cover with tops. Serve with remaining whipped cream.  Using 1/3 cupfuls you will make around 12 shortcakes

Zucchini Tots

As Chris prepared some mean hamburgers, I whipped up some zucchini tots.  These bite-sized tots are the perfect guilt-free alternative that complete our hamburger night.  Just a little prep work and pop those tots in the oven.  Nothing to it!- Amanda

Zucchini Tots

1 cup zucchini, grated- like a cheese grater- The whole zucchini!

1 large egg

1/4 onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1 T parmesan, grated

1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/8 cup Panko

Salt and Pepper

Take grated zucchini and by using paper towels squeeze out the excess water.  This will make sure your tots are not soggy.  No one likes a soggy tot! In a bowl combine all ingredients: egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, Panko,  zucchini, salt and pepper.

Prepare mini muffin pan by spraying with non-stick spray. Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  Makes about 12 tots.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

After a long, hot summer day, my family wants something cool and refreshing for dinner.    I believe in the summer you need to enjoy beautiful, seasonal fruits.  We will be eating lots of fruit salads (more to come).  This yummy salad is easy and leaves everyone feeling full but not heavy.  Serve as a side dish or add grilled chicken for the main entree.  Gotta love strawberries!- Amanda  

 Strawberry Spinach Salad

1 T poppy seeds

1 1/2 t minced onion

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 t Worcestershire

1/4 t paprika

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 bag (10 oz) spinach

1 pint (or more) strawberries, sliced thin

In blender, combine sugar, poppy seeds, onion, Worcestershire, paprika, oil, and vinegar.  Blend well.  If seems thick, add a few drops of water.

Remove stems of spinach (or not).  Arrange on plates, top with strawberries.  Drizzle the dressing over strawberries and serve.

To give a good punch of protein, add some grilled chicken.

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is another one of those items that everyone has opinion to add.  At the end of the day, you have chicken usually mayo and then all the other ingredients that you love in your chicken salad.  This is my plain “jean” chicken salad.  We have several favorites but this is an easy go to.  I’ll share our others soon.  This was a special request from Chris for Father’s Day lunch.  We love our plain “jean” chicken salad on flaky croissants.  Happy Summer!- Amanda

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked, finely shredded

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/8 t pepper, freshly ground

1/3 cup Hellmann’s light mayo

2 T bell pepper, finely chopped

2 t prepared mustard

In a mixing bowl combine chicken, celery, green onions, lemon juice, and pepper.  Stir in mayo, bell pepper, and mustard.  Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Serve your chicken salad on crackers or our family favorite, croissants.  This makes about enough chicken salad for 4 croissant sandwiches.  Plus it makes great leftovers.