Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Kisses

I made cookies today! Isn’t that crazy? I don’t really like to bake.  Ok… maybe sometimes.

Well, ok, fine if you count pizza dough as baking then I guess I do a good bit.

But, seriously, I don’t love to bake sweets, but this time I did because it benefits Susan G. Koman Cook for the Cure. The wonderful ladies at BeBetsy asked me to participate, and sent me the beautiful plate that I will now be passing on to Sunny from And Love It Too!

My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and my mother had to have a breast biopsy in the past (which turned out to be a benign cyst). There is not a single woman – including me – that doesn’t need to be consistently doing self breast exams and getting regular GYN check ups. For a good self exam lesson click here.

Who says I’m not informative?

Anyway, these are crazy good cookies. The same day I got the plate in the mail, I stumbled across a bag of Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses at Publix and they inspired me. Who thought of that? I thought the whole candy cane kiss idea was really thinking outside the box.

Keep in mind I’m not a big pumpkin fan overall, but these are good. I’m really proud of how they turned out…and they don’t have jalapenos in them!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Kisses

Inspired by Mrs. Field’s Pumpkin Harvest Cookies, makes about 24 cookies

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 package Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, about 24, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda in a mixing bowl; set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for about 30 seconds, then add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time until thoroughly incorporated.

Drop by rounded tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until set. Immediately top each cookie with a kiss.

Transfer to a rack to cool.

Kisses!

Dixie Chik

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Shredded Chicken Sliders with Fried Green Tomatoes and Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

Want a chicken recipe that combines the best of both Southern food worlds?

I have one for you. It’s chicken sliders topped with fried green tomatoes and a sweet/smokey homemade barbecue sauce on buttered yeast rolls.

They are evil….because they might just be a poster child for gluttony.
Damnit. I have no time to be gluttonous. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’3′]I got the idea of using fried green tomatoes from my brother-in-law – who’s an executive chef in northern Alabama. It gives these sliders a whole new element of taste and texture that I just love.

I had to add more hot sauce to mine, by the way.
Because that’s how I roll.
Oh, that reminds me.

Roll tide roll!

xoxo

~Dixie Chik~

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Artichoke Guacamole

Do you love artichokes? And guacamole? Then, obviously, you’ll love this pretty little combo.

I have this thing about artichokes; I love to buy them both fresh and canned, because I could eat an entire one by myself and call it lunch. My family…not so much.

Every now and then, my husband will be ok with them depending on how I use them. You could really get away with pureeing them and making a sauce and not disclosing what’s in it. For pasta!

What a good idea.

I guess I could have called this Artimole…..or Guacachoke. Nah. Those names don’t really scream out deliciousness.  They sound more like names that bullied kids acquire in middle school.

Bless their hearts.

I guess I’ll stick to a more literal name for my guacamole that has artichokes in it.

Artichoke Guacamole

1 ripe avocado

1/2 can artichoke hearts, drained

2 fresh jalapenos, diced (remove seeds and ribs if you don’t like the heat – but I *heart* it)

1/4 yellow onion, diced

1/4 tomato, diced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp cilantro

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp sea salt, more if you need it

Rinse off the avocado and slice it vertically all the way around. Carefully peel the two halves apart. Take a big knife and stab the pit in the middle. Be careful, for God’s sake!

Throw that away.

Now, scoop out all the insides and keep your pretty little avocado shells for presentation if you want to.

Get out your food processor and throw everything in. Pulse several times, scraping the sides down every now and then, until you get the consistency you want. I like mine kinda chunky, but too much.

Taste, and add more salt if you need it.

Know what I discovered? If you have a ripe avocado and you know you won’t be using it that day (or even the day after in my case), you can stick it in the fridge and it halts the ripening process. That is such a fabulous thing, because I have a bad habit of throwing one or two in my grocery cart with such good intentions and then all of a sudden their little asses are black and squishy and I start Googling “when is it time to throw out avocados“.

I hate it when that happens. It makes me use bad language.

And I never do that.

TGIF!

xoxo

~Dixie Chik~

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Symphony Brownies with Salted Caramel Sauce

Have you ever had those brownies made with Ghirardelli brownie mix and the big fat Symphony bar in the middle? Those are pretty fantastic, decadent and easy. This is my spin on those. My first batch turned out too dry, so I made adjustments and I think this concoction works.

And I used a salted caramel recipe from Brown Eyed Baker – can’t go wrong with that girl and her mad baking skills.

Ok, I have to tell you a story.

Y’all know I have to do this – my posts can’t be clinical and to the point. I have to make sure you get to know a little more of every part of my crazy ass life. Why else would you read?

Recipes?

Ok…you can flatter a girl if you want to.

So, when I was in the 8th grade I had this older boy that had a crush on me – and he had a car. It was a Camaro – no idea what year if you’re wondering. For whatever reason, my mother agreed to let him take me to school one time and after that he wouldn’t stop pursuing me. He knew my favorite candy bar was the Hershey Symphony bar, and he freaking brought me one everyday for several weeks. Sweet. But kinda creepy in my 13 year old mind.

Not only that, he stalked me via phone. Now, keep in mind this was pre-Caller ID days people (yes it was 1989). I was either ignoring the hell out of the phone ringing – if I was home by myself – or constantly screaming “I’m not here!!!”.

Poor kid. He probably meant well.

I never rode with him after that – and I ignored him.  He was sweet and probably was a humble kid, but he freaked me the hell out. Looking back it’s not as creepy as I probably made it out to be; but I’m glad I had more of that kind of instinct than run-off-and-act-a-fool instinct.

Right?

Now, back to the brownies.

In my opinion, I might have used a teensy bit more salt in the caramel sauce; but keep in mind I’m not a sweets girl. I wanted a big salt punch when I tasted the caramel. You taste it, but if you take into consideration the fact that after I taste anything sweet I immediately have to throw a Cheez-It or green olive in my mouth lets you know that I’m not exactly the person to turn to for dessert tasting advice.

So why do I post about brownies when I’m such a savory, spicy, jalapeno-loving girl?

You see….

Because every now and then I get this big urge to bake. I just want to get the flour and sugar and butter and eggs out – and throw down with my Ice colored KitchenAid. Not that she doesn’t get used extremely often, because she does. That girl has some miles on her – I have been amazed with how useful she is. She does everything from making bread dough, to shredding chicken, to whipping heavy cream.

Symphony Brownies with Salted Caramel

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp cocoa

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (plus more for pan)

2 oz unsweetened chocolate

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp vanilla

1 6.8 oz Hershey’s Symphony bar, broken into squares

Salted caramel sauce  by Brown Eyed Baker

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease either a 9×9 baking pan or bar pan with butter (I used a bar pan – much easier). Add flour, salt and cocoa to your stand mixer and combine on stir mode until incorporated.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the  sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Pour into pan and slightly press candy bar squares on top of batter. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Dodging the candy bar while doing the test, of course.

Rest these sweet things on parchment paper for about 5 minutes, then drizzle with the caramel sauce.

Is today Monday?

Yep.

Happy Monday.

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Blue Cheese Salmon Meatballs with Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce

How did I come up with blue cheese salmon meatballs, you may be asking?

I don’t have a real answer for you. I have these cravings….sometimes they involve salmon. Sometimes they involve blue cheese.

Obviously, sometimes they involve both.

A few weeks ago I had a craving for a Mimosa while in Dallas with Genet of Raised On A Roux for a food conference. It was made with orange juice, champagne (obviously) and a certain liquor that I cannot remember – and it was fantastic.

I want to make them at home.

{Like my cutsie Alabama shirt? Roll Tide.}

This was our brunch before flying home that Sunday. Genet ditched her bloody mary’s for the mimosas after she tasted mine.

Isn’t she such a stunning little blonde?

Oh, and brunch did include food BTW –

So of course after a few Mimosas you pretty much want to inhale the above.

And we did.

Oh, oh, and I have to share this with y’all – we went to Fearings for dinner our first night. The menu was phenomenal. I opened it and I promise you….it was like the red carpet had been rolled out for us. Don’t believe me? Ask Genet.

However, look below –  I immediately had to have it. I was instantly in love.

Pure….unadulterated food love. And yes, I did take a pic with my phone because it was warranted in this situation.

Jalapeno grits? Smoky chili aioli? Did they prepare this menu knowing I was going to be there?? Do they know the Dixie Chik Cooks?

Seriously?

Of course not, but I’m not sure how to get across to y’all that this was the best food I have ever put in my mouth. 

Ever. 

Genet also had own moments during this meal. Not being a regular wine drinker, she decides she’s in the mood for a Chardonnay, explains to the waiter exactly what she wants it to taste like – and *voila* he brings her the most decadent, delicious Chard I’ve ever had. I mean, this dinner was so spectacular that me and Genet cancelled the next night’s dinner reservations.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking…Why not go back the second night? First of all – *sssshhhh* our dinner bill was, well, you could consider it an obscenity. And secondly…

You can’t recreate perfection twice, kids. Just can’t.

So, I have been asked several times “why” I want to spend my time writing about food. I can’t really explain that, but it really has more to do with the food than it does the writing. It has everything to do with the food, actually. I am so NOT a writer. I never set out to do this – it really just happened. It’s not something I’m very comfortable with – the only way I can explain it is that the food drives me to write.

The taste of food alone gives me descriptive words and adjectives – and sometimes naughty little words that sometimes I just feel I need to use to get my point across – because I feel so passionate about what I’ve made/tasted. Can you blame a girl?

Ok, I’ll hush now…

Here are the meatballs – Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Salmon Meatballs

1 14 oz can salmon

1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)

2 egg whites

1 tbsp coarse ground mustard (deli style)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Dipping Sauce

1 cup mayo

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (in a plastic bottle in the Asian isle – or you could just use hot sauce)

Stir together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Keep in mind the longer this refrigerates, the better.

Begin by mixing all meatball ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Make meatball mixture into about 14-16 meatballs and bake for 15-17 minutes – turning halfway in between.

You could also fry them in a frying pan on medium-high in a little oil for a few minutes, flipping after about 3-4 minutes.

Serve with dipping sauce.

These taste amazing – I can see these on a hoagie roll with arugula, mayo and fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of hot sauce.

Make them!

Love

~Dixie Chik~

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