Ghoulish Goodies…


Every year we get together with my family for a Halloween movie night. We eat fun snacks and watch our favorite Halloween movies (things like Hocus Pocus and Disney’s Icabod Crane…good stuff!). This year I wanted to bring something really yummy to snack on, so when I saw this recipe for “Goblin Grub” on Our Best Bites, I immediately printed it off and bought all the stuff to make it. Turns out, this was one awesome snack! Everybody loved it and it got gobbled up pretty quickly! The recipe makes a TON, so if you aren’t expecting a small army of guests, I’d suggest making only half. You could do like Our Best Bites did, and make cute little gift baggies for everyone, or you could just serve it in a big bowl and let everyone go wild. Either way, this is some fantastic Halloween party food!

Goblin Grub (Chewy Chex Cereal Mix)
-Our Best Bites

6 1/2 c. Rice Chex
4 1/2 c. Golden Grahams
1 c. sliced almonds (I used peanuts)
2 c. coconut
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) real butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. light Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a VERY LARGE bowl, combine cereal, almonds, and coconut. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. While the mixture is still hot, pour over the cereal mixture. and stir well so the candy mixture coats the cereal.

If you have leftovers, it stores nicely in a ziploc bag.



Adventures in Pizza!

We really like making pizza at home – it seems to taste so much better when you can put exactly what you want on it, exactly how you want it. Normally we like fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, lots of cheese (duh!), and sometimes black olives and green olives. Mmmm… But recently I saw this pizza on a fellow foodie’s blog-Taste of Home Cooking– and although it’s not something I’d normally make, it looked totally and completely delicious (in an odd, intriguing sort of way..).


(Please forgive my dark pictures – it’s getting to be that time of year where my pictures start to suck thanks to lack of sunlight…).

Buffalo Chicken Pizza – I know, it sounds really weird and maybe a little bit gross, but trust me…it’s gooood. I totally loved the combination of flavors – the spicy, tangy buffalo chicken with the sharpness of the blue cheese and a little hint of onion flavor from the scallions. I was so glad we gave this pizza a chance; it was really tasty and perfect Friday night/movie watching food! Do yourself a favor and at least give it a try…you’ll probably be really pleasantly surprised!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
-seen on Taste of Home Cooking

Pizza dough
1lb chicken breasts, cut into small cubes*
1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 scallions, chopped on a bias
Blue cheese crumbles
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the Frank’s and butter in a small saucepan. Add the chicken and heat over medium until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough and place on a pizza pan or sheet pan. Top with a little mozzarella cheese. Add the blue cheese, spread into a thin layer. Scatter a few scallions on top. Using a slotted spoon add the chicken, being careful not to put on too much of the Frank’s (it will get soggy/greasy). Add just a few dashes of the Frank’s here and there on the pizza, then top with more mozzarella cheese and the remaining scallions.
Bake the pizza for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

*I chose to boil my chicken first, shred it, then toss it with the melted butter/Frank’s mixture.



The Famous “Crack Dip”

I had heard of this dip about a thousand times – originally called Buffalo Chicken Dip, it’s been nicknamed “crack dip” because its supposedly quite addicting. I thought, “hmm, anything with that title must be good!”, and then I read the ingredient list – canned chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, ranch dressing….? BLECH! I’m sorry but that does NOT sound like something I would want to put in my mouth. So I never made it. I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere, right? It wasn’t until I was perusing some of my favorite food blogs looking for Super Bowl recipes that I found this recipe, once again. The guys over at The Bitten Word were raving about this dip – and that got me curious, I mean, if those guys like it then surely I could give it a try. So I did, and I took it to the Super Bowl party. As it turns out, this dip really is like crack…I could sit there and eat it all day! Hubby and I are both big blue cheese fans, so of course we loved it – but here’s a little warning for those of you who are picky eaters (ahem, my sister) – if you don’t like buffalo sauce and/or blue cheese, this dip isn’t for you.  And even if you don’t like those things, still give it a try – you might be pleasantly surprised. Everybody at the party loved it! So without further ado – CRACK DIP!!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (AKA: Crack Dip)

8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup buffalo sauce or buffalo style barbecue sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (shredded mozzarella cheese can be substituted)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a deep baking dish, mix cream cheese, salad dressing, buffalo sauce, and cheese. Stir until combined. Stir in chicken.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the dish is heated through.  Serve with crackers, pita chips, sliced bread or vegetables.

NOTE:  Depending on your tastes and the ingredients on hand, you can use 1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese salad dressing rather than 1/4 cup of each.  Similarly, you can mix blue cheese and mozzarella, or use portions of each.

*I used sliced baguettes and celery for dipping…mmm, MMMM!

Recipe source: The Bitten Word, originally from Frank’s Red Hot


Grandmother’s Enchiladas…

These stacked enchiladas come from my great-grandmother; but not Baba, the one who’s recipes I post so often – my other great-grandmother (my Daddy’s grandmother). I probably owe a lot of my culinary curiosity to Grandmother. There were three things I always wanted to do when I visited Grandmother- 1. put on one of her long, comfy nightgowns, 2. root around in her jewelry boxes, and 3. get in her kitchen and make a giant mess. She would let me put practically anything I wanted in her frying pan and “cook” my own little recipes (under her supervision, of course…I probably would’ve burned the house down had I been left alone. I was that kid) – one time in particular I remember making an epspecially large mess with a tub of marshmallow fluff. There was nothing I enjoyed more than having free reign in a grown-up’s kitchen. Good times….

Anyway, on to the enchiladas. When I was first married, my mother gave me a stack of hand-written recipes (all of her favorites) in my stocking at Christmas. A lot of the recipes have little stories written along with them, explaining where they came from or how they got to be so loved. Here is the story my mom wrote on the back of the recipe card for these enchiladas:

“Grandmother would call us and say, ‘I’m making enchiladas” – usually sometime after Christmas when Mexican food tastes so good after all the rich Christmas food, or the first really cold day in Winter. She never had to ask twice; we couldn’t get there fast enough!”

The best thing about these enchiladas (besides the taste, obviously) is how easy they are. They’re made with simple stuff you probably already have in your pantry. I like to use ground turkey and turkey chili to make them a little healthier. They’re just perfect when the weather is really cold and you need a quick, comforting dinner. They also make a great Super Bowl meal – a couple of years ago we had our friends over to watch the game and I served these along with hubby’s homemade salsa, guacamole and margaritas. That was one successful Super Bowl party.

Grandmother’s Stacked Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 – 2 tablespoons minced onion (I use onion flakes or onion powder)
1 teaspoon salt (you can also add a little cayenne pepper if you like extra heat….I do)
2 tablespoons flour
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can chili (we like the kind with no beans…these ain’t no “Yankee enchiladas”!) 😉
1 can tomato soup
corn tortillas (I use flour)
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Brown meat in skillet and drain fat; stir in onion, salt and flour. Add enchilada sauce, chili, tomato soup and one can full of water and stir over medium heat until combined. Cook for 2 or 3 more minutes then turn the heat off. On oven-safe plates, layer one tortilla, then the meat mixture, then another tortilla and more meat mixture, then top with cheese and place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese is melted. * If you don’t have oven-safe plates, I’ve found just popping it in the microwave will work just fine too. Some good toppings are sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro…whatever you want! Enjoy!


Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll-ups

A few weeks ago, we had our good friends Michael and Andrea (who happens to be a fantastic photographer) over for snacks and a Harry Potter fest. I had no idea what I was going to serve, but I knew I didn’t want it to be too fussy or involved – it was supposed to be just junky snack food, after all! So I decided to flip through one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks that is specifically for having company and found this recipe. Cream cheese, chicken, cilantro, rotel tomatoes….how can you go wrong with that cast of characters?! Sure enough, this was some seriously good dip – in fact, these little roll-ups didn’t even make it out of the kitchen! Once hubby and Mikey got a taste, they pretty much devoured them in no time. So, needless to say, I didn’t wait long before making it again – this time for my mom, who was visiting for a couple of days (the ultimate test, mind you).  Thankfully, she loved it too! In fact, she didn’t wait long before making it herself! This is good dip, people.

The recipe is for dipping, but they also suggest spreading the dip on torillas, rolling them up and slicing them to make roll-ups, which is what I chose to do – perfect for parties!

Festive Chicken Enchilada Dip
– Gooseberry Patch “Come On Over”

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used garlic powder)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped or shredded
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped (I used onion powder)
10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel tomatoes)

Mix cheeses together until well blended; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serves 6-8.


Turkey Meatball Subs

For some reason, I’ve never been a big fan of meatball subs. They’ve just never really appealed to me. That all changed when I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Sweet, Savory, Southern and I saw a recipe for turkey meatball subs. The picture looked so good, I decided I had to try this recipe. Good thing I did, too – YUM, these were excellent!! Hubby loved them and I was pleasantly surprised, myself! And I loved that it uses groung turkey – I really prefer to use turkey in place of groud beef. These were juicy and flavorful – I’ve made them twice now and they sure don’t disappoint!

Turkey Meatball Subs

from Sweet, Savory, Southern

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

*1 jar marinara sauce
*sub rolls
*provolone or mozzarella cheese-2 slices per sub

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Heat a skillet over medium heat with about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Form the turkey mixture into balls and place in the skillet. Turn the meatballs every couple minutes to brown on all sides. Add marinara sauce to the pan, cover and let simmer over low heat about 15 minutes to ensure the meatballs are completely cooked. Place 4 meatballs on each sub roll that has been sliced lengthwise and spoon the marinara sauce over the meatballs. Top with cheese (I used shredded mozzarella this time, but provolone is delicious as well) and place under the broiler for a couple minutes to toast the bread and melt the cheese.