posted by on Chocolate, Featured, Giveaways, Sweets

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It’s summertime! It’s hot; time for lazy days by the pool, grilling out and – of course – ice cream. Ready to win some cool summer kitchen play things??

Of course you are.

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I’ve teamed up with a group of fantastic bloggers to offer one reader the opportunity to win this bundle, which includes (1) Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, (1) set of colorful ice cream bowls with spoons and (1) copy of David Lebovitz’s book “The Perfect Scoop“.

Leave us a message below and tell us what ice cream you would make if you won, and follow the widget below for more chances to win.

This giveaway is sponsored by-

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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posted by on Appetizers, Beef, Bread, Featured, Pasta, Pizza, Sides, Vegetables

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Ugh.

Today was my Monday. I work tomorrow.

And the next.

Anyway, now that I have that off my chest, here’s a fun little recipe to add to your regular dinner rotation. I’m pretty proud of these. It’s a big pretzel-y salty pillow of cheesy spaghetti. It’s big, fat salty pretzel balls filled with spaghetti in meat sauce and mozzarella.

I mean, what could be better than that?

IMGP0631 copyMake the pretzel dough in advance, but keep in mind that it keeps in the fridge for several days for you to use when you need it. Also I made these changes to her recipe:

- I used half all purpose flour and half bread flour and only used 4 cups instead of 4 1/2.

- I was out of granulated sugar so I used two tsp. of powdered. Crazy, I know. But it worked.

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Spaghetti with meat sauce is something everybody makes on a regular basis. We all make our sauces differently and everyone has their own unique version, but it’s definitely a dinner staple. I’ve learned SO much by making my sauce over the years. Sometimes it’s a major hit, and sometimes I ruin the shit out of it by getting too crazy with my experiments. It’s all part of it, right?

There’s a few things I’ve learned just by trial and error that I don’t veer far from. (In case you’re interested).

1) I don’t use the very leanest cut of meat, but I definitely don’t use the fat ass meat, either. I do think you need a little fat for flavor. If you end up using cheap ground beef, make sure you DRAIN IT! Trust me, if it’s the fatty meat, it will continue to ooze a little more fat. I typically use 80/20, but 70/30 works, with some draining.

2) I usually add about 1/4 cup of full bodied red wine – like Cabernet or Shiraz. Shiraz is my favorite to use. It adds a depth to the flavor that I just can’t explain other than it tastes so damn good. Trust me.

3) I also add a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar. Again, I can’t explain what it does other than it adds a little kick that you won’t get from anything else. Add this when your sauce has been simmering for a while and you’re about ready to serve it.

4) Don’t over salt! Taste, taste, and keep tasting. The longer your sauce cooks, the more your flavors will come together. You don’t want to ruin a whole batch of sauce by getting batshit crazy with the salt shaker. It’s just not worth it. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Now, I know this definitely looks like a big fat mess. But it’s a delicious mess.

IMGP0653 copyHere’s the printable-

Spaghetti Pretzel Bombs

Ingredients

  • This pretzel dough recipe from My Life as a Mrs.
  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine (like Shiraz)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups whole milk Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Sea salt
  • Parsley, dried or fresh

Instructions

  • Make pretzel dough; refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Make spaghetti according to package instructions, make sure to drain it.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic; stir until fragrant and add onion powder and ground beef.
  • Stir, breaking up until browned.
  • Add crushed tomatoes through wine; stir until combined.
  • Bring to a boil, and cover, but give it a good stir every few minutes.
  • After about 20 minutes add vinegar and cheese, and continue to stir. Add drained pasta and combine thoroughly.
  • Take a handful of pretzel dough and stretch it out (you may need some flour if it's sticky), add about 1/2 cup of spaghetti and a handful of Mozzarella.
  • Carefully wrap the pretzel dough around the spaghetti and cheese to make a ball.
  • Continue with the rest of the ingredients, placing them on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Bring two cups of water to a boil in a dutch oven or large pan; remove from heat and add baking soda.
  • Put the water/baking soda back on the heat and bring to a slow boil (medium-high heat).
  • Add about 3 pretzel bombs to the boiling water and simmer 30 seconds each side.
  • Place back on foil lined baking sheet and brush with eggwash, sprinkle with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes; until golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with parsley
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posted by on Appetizers, Featured, Main, Mexican, Seafood, Sides, Vegetables

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So, McCormick has a very cool website that allows you to FlavorPrint yourself. It’s brilliant. You basically make a login, answer questions based on your flavor preferences, cooking style, etc. and…

*BAM*

Recipes just for you.

What a fantastic idea.

FP_logos_TM

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Although creating recipes is a hobby for me, there are times that I need a hand figuring out what I’ll be making for dinner; I’m tired and I need something to make the decision for me so I can get food on the table. Usually it’s the days I work, or times that I’m just not in the mood to come up with something new to add to our dinner rotation.

After making a profile, it gives you recommendations based on your preferences.
capreseeggrollsIt gave me so many great options. I decided to make Shrimp and Queso Fresco Empanadas with Charred Tomatillo Sauce. They were excellent. My daughter is very picky, and will not eat any meat or seafood, so I customized hers by omitting the shrimp. She loves all kinds of cheeses, so they went over really well with her.

dinner copyAren’t they cute?
IMGP9076These would be great for a picnic, using the tomatillo sauce as a dip.
IMGP9001 copyFor the recipe, go here.

p.s. I made a double batch of the shrimp filling (you never know what you could do with it!). I used it as a filling for wonton skins, baked them on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes and dipped them in the tomatillo sauce. My husband absolutely LOVED these.

This post was sponsored by McCormick, however all opinions are my own. #MyFlavorPrint

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posted by on Bread, Featured, Fruit, Main, Sandwiches, Seafood, Vegetables

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I know the name is long. I just can’t figure out how to describe it in a baby version. It’s just sooooo good and I have to let you know in the title exactly what this is.
IMGP0542Buffalo coleslaw? Yes, absolutely. Have I ever made it before? I don’t think so, but there’s a first for everything. How else to compliment mango salsa on top of blackened fish?

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As far as the buns, I’ve made pretzels before. But this particular recipe is by far the best I’ve ever made. I found it on My Life As a Mrs., but keep in mind I changed a couple of things. I’m sure hers are delicious, but sometimes I tend to tweak according to what I have on hand.

To begin with, I didn’t use quite as much flour. I probably used closer to 4 cups as oppposed to 4 1/2. I also used half all-purpose flour and half bread flour. I didn’t know how it would come out, but I’m glad I gambled. Lastly, I didn’t realize that I was out of granulated sugar and I subbed with powdered. Look, I’m not a huge baker, so I didn’t know if it would make a difference or not, so I threw caution to the wind. If you know me, you know I have absolutely no patience. I wanted to make pretzel buns.

So, damnit, I did it and it all worked.
Beautifully.

IMGP0591Mark and the kids told me – hands down – this was the best pretzel recipe I’ve made so far. Mark even cheated on his diet because he said he couldn’t resist them. God love him.

IMGP0566This sandwich is a very good combination of summer – light and fresh with the mango salsa and fish, nice and spicy with the blackening seasoning (not to mention the buffalo sauce in the slaw), but just enough heartiness with the pretzel bun.
How good would this be sitting in a beachside restaurant patio with an ice cold margarita? I just love summer.

Here’s your printable-

Blackened Tilapia with Buffalo Slaw and Mango Salsa on a Pretzel Bun

Blackened Tilapia with Buffalo Slaw and Mango Salsa on a Pretzel Bun

Ingredients

    For the Pretzel Buns
  • This pretzel dough recipe (make note of my adaptations in the post if you want to make them exactly as I did)
  • For the Slaw
  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded in a food processor or chopped
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded in a food processor or chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Salsa
  • 1 mango, washed and diced
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • For the Blackened Fish
  • 1 lb. fresh tilapia fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup blackening seasoning (more or less depending on your taste)

Instructions

  • Make pretzel rolls according to directions. Let them cool and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.
  • To make the slaw, combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.
  • To make the salsa, combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat in a medium sized skillet. Add fish fillets, sprinkle with blackening seasoning and sear 3-4 minutes each side, until they flake with a fork.
  • To serve, half each pretzel bun with a serrated knife, spoon slaw on the bottom half, add fish, then salsa and top with top half of bun.
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posted by on Appetizers, Featured, Fruit, Main, Mexican, Vegetables

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You.will.love.these.
IMGP0460They are the epitome of great fusion. Jalapeno poppers transformed into baked wontons paired with two fabulous dips.

However, I’m really struggling with how to write this recipe.

See, I want this to be easy for you but the fact that I used leftovers makes it a bit difficult. I had about a dozen bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers leftover from a dinner party a few days ago, and I just couldn’t throw them away. I have a hard time wasting food – I mean, damn, it’s so expensive.

And, for God’s sake, it’s food.

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I want to just tell you to throw a dozen leftover poppers in the oven, process the shit out of them, stuff them in wonton wrappers and bake them (and make the dipping sauces, of course), but I have to consider a couple of things. (Please don’t judge my horrible looking nails. They need attention; I know. I’ll get to them eventually.)

IMGP0479First – would it be easier to make them if the poppers were deconstructed instead of being “poppers”?

Second – do you have a dozen leftover jalapeno poppers? I have no idea of knowing. It’s probably a no.
IMGP0446So, I’m just gonna tell you what I did and give you the ingredients and instructions to make these happen – and it’s quite easy even without having poppers at your disposal.

With my 12 leftover poppers, I reheated them in the oven at 450, let them cool and put them through my food processor and filled wonton skins – kinda like dumplings – and baked them. THEN I made two different dipping sauces. The first one is a mango sauce with rice wine vinegar, and the second is an avocado ranch sauce.

I still can’t decide which one I love the most.
IMGP0414

Jalapeno Popper Wontons with Two Dipping Sauces

Jalapeno Popper Wontons with Two Dipping Sauces

Ingredients

    For the Wontons
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, halved and deseeded (unless you like major heat)
  • 1/2 block cream cheese, at room temperature (or more depending on how big your peppers are)
  • 1/2 lb bacon, halved
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • For the Mango Sauce
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • For the Avocado Ranch Sauce
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and removed from skin
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Stuff each pepper half with cream cheese and wrap with bacon.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the bacon is browning and crispy, let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce oven heat to 375.
  • Add poppers to a food processor and pulse until almost smooth.
  • To assemble the wontons, line each wrapper with water by using your finger and spoon about a tsp of jalapeno filling in the center.
  • Fold corners together to make a triangle and seal, being careful to not squeeze the filling out.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly brown.
  • Combine the mango, vinegar and lime juice in a food processor and puree.
  • Rinse out your food processor bowl and do the same with the avocado, ranch and lime.
  • Serve wontons with dipping sauces.
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