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Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip for Dinner Club

(I forgot to get the picture of it completed before it was devoured!)
We had dinner club last night at our neighbors across the street.  The theme was pot luck, with just the main course recipe provided.  Each couple was assigned a course and told to bring their favorite recipe.  Ours was the appetizer and we made our Blue Cheese and Artichoke Dip and served it was Kettle Chips.   This is inspired from a appetizer we got a few years back at a place called Tin Pan Galley in Sacketts Harbor.  Homemade Kettle Chips with a warm Blue Cheese dip.  
Several other restaurants now make this and when we see it on the menu we have to order it.  A few years ago I had to make an appetizer for our family Christmas dinner and I made this.  Topped it off with kettle chips and sat it down in front of my mom who just loved it.  If she liked it I knew it was a hit! As you can see from my picture, it was well received at our dinner. 

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip with Kettle Chips

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Light Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled  Blue Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
4 green onions, sliced

Kettle Chips

Preheat oven 350°F. Place all ingredients in food processor container; cover. Process just until blended, but not completely smooth.

Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Kettle Chips

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One Pot Cheesy Taco Casserole

Here is another quick one pot meal for weeknights that is pretty tasty.  Hubby found this browsing on Pinterest from Mother Thyme and we decided to give it a try over the holiday break.  What I love about one pot meals is that you have your major dinner components in one dish and if you add a side salad, the meal is complete.    
 
The family was pleased and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal.  I guess this is a keeper.  
INGREDIENTS
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce packet taco seasoning (or about 3½ tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
2 cups water
1 cup jarred mild salsa
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1½ cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
Optional toppings – chopped tomatoes, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease.
 
Stir taco seasoning into ground beef then stir in water, salsa and pasta noodles.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
 
Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
 
Serve with optional toppings if desired.

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A classic revisited plus a new blogger to follow

*UPDATED*  posted wrong link last week.

We were revisiting old recipes last week and found a favorite of ours from a few years back.  This was a Rachel Ray recipe for chicken breast stuffed with blue cheese, spinach, arugula and then wrapped in bacon.  While my hubby was making this our daughter was posting this to her Instagram and blog.  She is a Nutrition major studying to be a Registered Dietitian and has created a great little following for her tips and recipes.  If you are on Instagram following @theroardtobeingandrd.

Here is what Dinner looked like before heading to the table.  If someone doesn’t like blue cheese, you can substitute cheddar or brie.  Experiment, because true cooking is taking a recipe and making it your own.

 Ingredients

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Black pepper
4 to 5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
A handful arugula leaves from bulk bins, chopped
A handful baby spinach leaves from bulk bins, chopped
4 slices bacon

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a small sharp knife cut into the thick end of the chicken and make an incision reaching 2/3 the way down the breast. Loosen up the incision with your fingers to make a hole. Season the chicken with pepper. Combine the cheese with arugula and baby spinach and stuff the breasts. Spiral-wrap the breasts with the bacon tightly to cover the meat evenly. Place chicken on a nonstick baking sheet and roast 20 to 22 minutes until bacon is crispy and chicken is firm.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/bacon-wrapped-blue-cheese-stuffed-chicken-green-beans-and-smashed-potatoes-with-green-onions-recipe.html?oc=linkback

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Comfort Food to the Max! Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

This is extreme comfort food.  So creamy and so tangy with the blue cheese mixed with the sharp cheddar cheese.    My family is big aficionados of blue cheese.  They will eat it on burgers, with steak, salads and just slices of the stuff. They are also big fans of mac and cheese, so this one is a big hit.
 We made this on a night our son had a sleep over and one of his friends said he liked blue cheese, so he had a helping along with the pizza we had made for the sleepover.  I wonder if he went home and told his mom he had Mac and cheese and she thought it was just the regular old stuff? Nothing is ever the old regular stuff around here!
 
 

Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 pound spiral tube-shaped pasta
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream 
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
bread crumbs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (do not allow to brown).
Gradually whisk in milk and cream. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly, whisking occasionally, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add grated cheddar cheese and 1 cup crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Add cooked pasta to sauce; stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup blue cheese. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake until sauce begins to bubble, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

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Dinner Club Time….

 
 
I have been a bit busy lately and haven’t posted much. As I was looking through my recent pictures I found a bunch from our last dinner club.  We changed things up a bit for this one.  Nobody got the recipes before hand.  All they got was a list of groceries to bring.  And to make things even more surprising, the ingredients were switched up a bit.  We wanted to make it a bit of a guessing game.  So one couple got a list of some of the ingredients for apple crisp but had to bring a jalapeno for the green beans made on the grill. 
 
 
We went with this concept to make it very easy for all parties.  Our part was setting the table, picking up the filet’s we were preparing and making the Easy Risotto. 
 
 

 
After the table was set I set up the work stations for the couples.  Some of the basic ingredients we provided and we gave them the recipe and the prep tools they needed.

 
Set up for Apple Crisp which I have blogged before.

 
Set up for the appetizer recipe shown below.

 
Set up for Jill’s grilled green beans.
 
The main course was blue cheese stuffed tenderloins, an old favorite recipe of mine from my favorite restaurant in the Virgin Islands, The Lime Inn.  We also made Ina’s Easy Risotto, a great side that is made ahead without all of the stirring that is normally involved with Risotto.
 
So the recipe I wanted to feature was the appetizer I had my neighbors, Giada and Mike, from across the street make.  It is one of my favorite recipes to make that is very easy and very tasty.  None of the recipes we choose were new to use, but were new to our guest besides the tenderloins.
 
This recipe calls for simple ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to make.  The honey makes this dish.
 
 
 

Crostini with Gorgonzola and Honey

From Giada De Laurentis

 
Ingredients
36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread, about 1 loaf
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces Gorgonzola, sliced
3 tablespoons honey
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
 
Arrange the sliced baguette on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
 
Arrange the cheese on the toasts and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
Drizzle the toasts with honey. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately.
 

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Chef and Dietitian in training! Sloppy Buffalo Joes

It was a rare night when our kids made it home before us.  The dinner menu had been planned,

meaning the hubby picked up the ingredients while he was working that day.  Something very simple, yet full of flavor.  Something quite easy to make during the week.  It is from Rachael Ray and a twist on an old classic.
When we do get home at night after working the last thing we really want to do is jump right into making dinner.  You know you want to get it over with, but you also want to just rest for a few minutes, change your clothes, have a cup of coffee and not do anything.  Well, when you 16 year old daughter is home and loves to cook, take advantage of it.  Say “Here’s the recipe, can you put this together for dinner?”  Surprise!  She jumped at the chance. 

Our “little girl” is a junior in high school and is interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian.  We have already visited 4 colleges and another one coming up this weekend.  It is wonderful to hear that she has focused on a career choice, she knows what she wants to do already.  Now the down side of this might be that she will start analyzing my meals and tell me what is good for me and what might not be in my best interest.  (Note the mixed vegetables as the side to this dish.  Not one of my favorites.  Lima Beans, yuck!)But hopefully she will leave me with some sinful choices to indulge in. 

Sloppy Buffalo Joes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank’s Red Hot)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
8 good quality burger rolls, split and toasted
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions

Heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and break it up with wooden spoon, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, onions and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cook 7 to 8 minutes more. In a bowl combine the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and stock. Pour into the pan and stir to combine.

Simmer a few minutes more. Pile sloppy Buffalo filling onto buns and top with blue cheese.

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Updated Comfort Food

Macaroni & Cheese – America’s Favorite Comfort Food
When I think comfort food, I am thinking Meatloaf, Pot Roast or Macaroni and Cheese!  I have a number of recipes that I fall back on when I have a hankering for one of these delights.  There is the basic meat loaf or my turkey meatloaf wrapped in Pancetta.  There is the basic Pot Roast I make with Progresso Soup or the Paula Deen Crock Pot recipe that is pretty darn good.  For Macaroni and Cheese we have a number of really good recipes, from the very basic to this one… 

Macaroni and Blue Cheese with Chives (From Epicurious)

Ingredients:

1 lb uncooked spiral tube-shaped pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese, divided (Maytag or Danish)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 dash cayenne, to taste (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook the pasta according to package directions until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain and set aside (about 8 minutes).
While the pasta is cooking, in a large heavy saucepan over medium low heat, melt the olive oil and butter together; add the flour and, stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute (don’t let it brown), then gradually whisk in the milk and cream.  Simmer mixture until it slightly thickens, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to low, then gradually stir in the grated cheddar and 1 cup of the blue cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper, and cayenne (if using). Stir in the cooked pasta, making sure it’s well-coated with the sauce. Pour mixture into the buttered baking dish, sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
 
Sprinkle with the minced chives and serve.