Porcupine Meatballs

Me: “Whitaker, we need to look for 3 porcupines for dinner tonight!” 

W: (His Face) “Wait, What?”

Me: “We are having Porcupine Meatballs for dinner.  I need to find 3 porcupines on our walk to use for dinner.”

W: (His Face, Again!) “Mom, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

Ok, you don’t use real PORCUPINES but these fun meatballs studded with rice will remind you of little porcupine quills.  Our weather in Atlanta has been a bit rainy and gloomy.  These little meatballs add a little fun to dinner.  

At dinner, it gave us a great time discussing the creativity of God.  I mean look at a porcupine.  How cool!

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

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Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

3/4 c. uncooked long grain white rice

1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 T finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish 

2 t Worcestershire sauce, divided 

1/2 t garlic powder 

⅛ t cayenne pepper 

Kosher salt 

2 T extra-virgin olive oil 

1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed 

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, milk, onion, parsley, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape beef mixture into 1 ½” meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook until golden, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs to a plate.

In a 9”-x13” baking dish, whisk together pureed tomatoes and remaining teaspoon Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper. Add meatballs to the baking dish and cover with foil. 

Bake until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes more. *Be sure to cook rice until tender or your family will experience a porcupine situation in their mouths.*

Sprinkle with more parsley and parmesan before serving.

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Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus

My Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus is a versatile dip that you could have any time of year, but tastes especially great as the season of pumpkin spice everything is upon us.  At our house, we enjoy throwing in popcorn, pretzels and pita chips along with the usual veggies.

Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus

1- 16 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons agave
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Place all the ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds) into a food processor and blend until smooth. If your hummus is a little thick, add more olive oil.

Place your hummus in a serving bowl.  Garnish with a light sprinkle of chipotle chile pepper and pumpkin seeds. Serve with popcorn, pretzels, pita chips, veggies, etc.

Strawberry & Blueberry Bruschetta

We are getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July.  Desserts that include strawberries and blueberries naturally give you a patriotic feeling.  This little recipe was inspired by my friend, Erin at The Speckled Palate.  Jump over to her blog to be completely inspired plus she makes meal planning fun!

This little dessert will leave your family and friends wanting more!  Prep is simple and can be done ahead of time.  Feel free to play with the ingredients and make it your own.  Have a happy and safe 4th of July! -Amanda

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2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 pre-made Pound Cake loaf (I purchased a Vanilla Pound Cake at Whole Foods)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

8oz of Cream Cheese,  allow to sit at room temp for 15 to 20 minutes

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Wash & Dry your strawberries and blueberries.  Slice your strawberries.  Toss  strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Slice your pound cake into 1inch (or less) thickness. I made sure to make 12 slices to have enough for dessert.   Brush the pound cake slices with melted butter.  On a preheated grill or grilling pan, toast both sides of your pound cake.  Let the pieces set long enough to get grill lines.  Once all slices are toasted, set aside and allow to cool.  

With a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Once all combined, place in refrigerator until ready to create dessert.

When you are ready to serve dessert, place your pound cake slices on a serving platter or individual plates.  Smear the cream cheese mixture on to your cake slices.  Make sure there is enough cream cheese mixture to allow the fruit to stick to your cake slices.  Then top that with a tablespoon of strawberries and their juice. Add blueberries by giving them a little push to stay on the cake slices.  Serve immediately, or let stand in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie

A couple weeks ago, I hosted a Noonday Party. It was a fun evening of trying on jewelry, catching up with friends, and noshing on some goodies I had prepared. One appetizer I introduced to the group is my Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie. Let’s just say that there were no crumbs left on the plate.

The way the cranberry pecan topping plays with the brie truly makes happiness. I served the brie with a sliced baguette and crackers. And now this little number will be added to other upcoming festivities this season.

Super easy, great presentation, and a crowd pleasure for sure.

Keep Singing and Dancing during the Holidays,
Amanda

What you Need:

For Brie
1 (8-ounce) wheel brie cheese, rind trimmed
2 T brown sugar, packed

For Cranberry Pecan Drizzle

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 T honey
2 T maple syrup
1 T unsalted butter
1/4 t ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place brie on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Place into oven and bake until softened. This should take about 12-15 minutes. Remove brie from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Occasionally stir, until foamy. Then stir in pecans and cranberries.

Serve brie warm topped with pecan mixture. I like to serve with crackers or a baguette.

The Most Addictive Dip, EVER

Playoffs, Football, Tailgating and Food!  This is the time of year that you are invited to football watching parties even if you don’t like football.  But there is usually yummy food. Only good comes from that.

This year when you need to bring an appetizer that will say, “I came to play!” this is your dip.  It is seriously the most addictive dip I have ever eaten.  So there is BACON, we all know that means VICTORY.  Then all the other goodness is in there too.  One friend, while trying to talk through moaning over the yumminess, said “It is like all the best toppings of a baked potato.”  Yes, wipe your face, it is!

No matter what team you are cheering for, everyone will be calling you the winner for this dip!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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The Most Addictive Dip, EVER

5 green onions, chopped
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 t Tony’s Chachere Creole seasoning
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
½ cup sliced almonds

Take all the above ingredients and mix them together.  Once all ingredients are well blended together, stick in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.  Serve with crackers.

Lesley’s Deviled Eggs

This past week I spent time with my family.  We all love to gather around the table for yummy meals and then debrief in the kitchen.  My sister, Lesley, has taken over the responsibility of making deviled eggs.  This trade was taught by my mom and Lesley has mastered her skill.  In the south we know that deviled eggs are not just for Easter.  They are the perfect addition to any brunch, party, or special occasion.  I’m excited to share Lesley’s recipe as only she could write it!

Lesley’s Deviled Eggs

1 dozen eggs, boiled
3 T yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayo
paprika

Peel egg shells from all eggs. Cut eggs long ways and empty yolk into a small bowl.  In a food processor blend yolks, mustard, and mayo until creamy.  You may alter the taste by adding more mustard or mayo.

After you are done blending, you want to get all that yummy goodness into the center of your egg.

A couple of options: first one, my favorite, is using the accent decorator from pampered chef. Put the yummy goodness that you have blended into the decorator and it will squirt it mess free into your egg.

The second option is putting the yummy goodness into a ziploc bag, and cutting one corner off at the bottom and then squirting it into the egg.

Both will limit the time and mess of your creation.

After finishing the eggs, it’s a great idea to sprinkle with paprika for some color and a little taste.

The Mighty Big

It’s just a few short hours until kick-off.  I’m throwing a “Hail Mary” for anyone that needs a last minute idea.  The Mighty Big always scores, well BIG with my family.  Invented in my teenage years, it has been served at many family celebrations.  We are all geared up for the big game.  Hoping my Pop-Pop’s team, The Giants, score big!  We know he has the best seats in the stadium! -AF

The Legendary "Mighty Big"

The Mighty Big

2- (11 oz) Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf

1/2 cup Italian Dressing

Your favorite sandwich toppings

Open both loaf containers.  On a baking stone or sheet, form a circle.  Bake using directions on containers, 350 degrees usually about 26 minutes.  Let bread cool.  Slice horizontally.  Take Italian dressing and massage into bottom layer of bread.Using your favorite sandwich toppings, create your Mighty Big.  We add ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes.  Then slice your Mighty Big into handheld sandwiches.  Makes about 8 sandwiches.

Create a Mighty Big circle