Appetizer · Bread · Mentoring

Homemade Pita Bread

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If you’ve read my blog for more than a week, you know I love bread!  I love eating it, making it and I enjoy trying to bake lots of different kinds!

When I was planning a dinner this summer that included Greek Chicken, I thought about trying to make my own Pita Bread. I know you can buy it, but the last time I did, I could NOT get the pocket to separate so it could be stuffed with fillings!  Also, they’re usually dry and tasteless!  So I set out looking for a recipe that sounded perfect and doable!

Well, friends, that search led me to the best tasting Pita Bread I’ve ever put in my mouth! Honestly, every time I eat one I feel like I’m eating a pastry! The little bit of honey added gives it just the perfect taste of sweetness! Continue reading “Homemade Pita Bread”

Appetizer · Fast dessert · pumpkin

Pumpkin Monday – Easy Pumpkin Dip

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For the last feature of Pumpkin Monday, we’ll close out with the EASIEST three-ingredient Pumpkin Dip.  This is so fast to whip up!  You can refrigerate it to let it firm up, but we also found it delicious immediately!

I came upon this recipe on Pinterest where there were LOTS of variations, and then I added my own touch to it by having to improvise.  The recipe calls for Cool Whip, which would work great.  I had fresh whipping cream on hand…and that’s never a bad thing!  I whipped up the cream with about 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar and it was perfect!  This would be a great appetizer before Thanksgiving, or even as one of the desserts!  It would be so easy to keep these three ingredients on hand so you could pull a fast treat together in a snap!

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Here’s the simple recipe:

Pumpkin Dip

1 -15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 -8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed – (Or use 1 pint Whipping cream sweetened with 2-4 Tbl.  Powdered sugar)
1 package 1.5 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but adds great flavor!)

Directions: Cream together all ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with Vanilla Wafers, Cookies, or Graham Crackers.

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I love entertaining in the fall because you can really keep things simple.  Why not host dinner and serve a great salad, an award-winning (but easy) soup, purchased rolls and this Pumpkin Dip and coffee for dessert?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Appetizer · hospitality · summertime

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My dream of being a gardener is happening slowly, but at the steady pace of a novice.  I really have not much of an idea what I’m doing.  My husband is becoming quite the green thumb, too, as he helps plant, water and harvest our little raised beds. We have three now, and I was so excited to receive my newest edition of Southern Living this weekend and find an article about raised bed gardening! I really want to expand each year.  There’s just something so special about growing herbs, flowers and vegetables that you get the pleasure of using in your home and cooking!

One plant that was producing quite well last week was our Banana pepper plant.  I like them pickled, but I wondered how I could use them fresh.  Wellllll, I found a special appetizer that was A.Maz.Ing!

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These sweet peppers got filled with a little cream cheese mixture that had sweet red pepper, red onion, Cheddar Cheese, diced cherry tomatoes and a little salt and pepper.  I kept it mild.  There are some recipes that call for hot peppers, but we aren’t crazy about those spicy varieties.  So for our tastes, we kept it on the sweet and savory side, and it was wonderful!  I forgot to mention that the pepper gets wrapped in a little blanket of bacon before it’s popped under the broiler for a few minutes!  If you need a killer appetizer for a summer party, this is it!  Here’s the recipe and a little tip as to how I put mine together.

Cheese-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Banana Peppers

  • 6 large banana peppers
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes for sweetness!
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ small sweet red bell pepper, diced
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 thick cut bacon slices, cut in half – I found that 1/2 slice of bacon was plenty for each pepper,but if you want to go crazy with the bacon, use a slice for each pepper.
Directions:
  1. Cut tops off banana peppers. Remove seeds.
  2. Combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, tomato, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Fill a small plastic bag with the cheese mixture.  Cut a hole, about 1/2 inch in one corner.  Squeeze the cheese mixture into the peppers. (See picture below)
  4. Wrap with bacon slice. Secure with a toothpick. Place on a rack with broiler pan. Broil for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and oozing.

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If you have access to banana peppers, you need to try these appetizers.  They’re so good you might want to make them the main course!

Who else is gardening this summer?  What are you growing?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Appetizer · dessert · entertaining · hospitality

(L)Oven Monday – Entertain with Appetizers

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Last week I had a group of women over for a night of fellowship and I wanted to serve refreshments that were tasty, but not too heavy.  So I dug into my recipes (some I’ve share here on the blog) and pulled out three appetizer dips!  I had a couple that were sweet and one that was savory.  Appetizers are fun because you can make a little meal with them.  The ladies enjoyed them and it was fun to watch them go back for more.  Here are the ones I chose for our party.

Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

S’mores Dip

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This Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip is great as an appetizer or served with a meal of Mexican foods!  It’s super good and really fast to put together!  You can make this ahead and pop it into the oven or microwave to warm up.

Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip
Ingredients
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained – I always use Bush’s Beans
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup mild picante sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Preparation

Place beans in a bowl; partially mash until chunky. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, tomato, picante sauce, cumin, and chili powder; cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring well. Serve warm or at room temperature with fat-free corn or flour tortilla chips.

*If you want to make this extra decadent, put softened cream cheese in the bottom of the dish and spread to cover, then pour the bean dip over top of it.  Yum!

 

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Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

If you want to do this ahead of time, mix up your fruit, but wait to add the sweet things into it right before your party.

Ingredients:

  • Variety of fruits, diced – Strawberries, blueberries, fresh pineapple, etc.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (I used strawberry)
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas (or use Stacy’s cinnamon chips or cinnamon graham crackers)
  • melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray
Cinnamon sugar:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. This is best made the same day and not too far ahead of time so your apples don’t start browning and the fruit gives off so too much juice and it gets runny.. This salsa can also be serve with cinnamon graham Crackers. Best when made and eaten the same day.

For the Cinnamon Chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter).
  3. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

 

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This dip is heavenly!  It literally takes less than ten minutes to make and have ready to serve!  It’s always a winner!!  And if you don’t leave the party with marshmallow or chocolate somewhere on your face, you did NOT have a good time!  Ha!!  I think it’s impossible to eat this dip and not wear it!!

S’mores Dip

Instructions:

  1.  In a cast iron skillet place two cups of chocolate chips.  Place in 400 degree oven for a couple of minutes, until chocolate begins to melt.  Smooth out chocolate with spatula.
  2. Cover completely with marshmallows.  Place back in oven and watch carefully until marshmallows turn a light golden brown.
  3. Serve dip immediately with Graham cracker squares.

All these dips are simple and so good!  A party like this would be great this summer!  You could even do your S’more dip on the fire pit!  I hope you’ll try these soon!

What is your favorite food to serve or to enjoy at a girl’s gathering?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Appetizer · Uncategorized

Party Ryes – A Family Tradition

A Couple weeks ago I shared with you that we had Party Ryes for our Christmas Eve dinner.  If they weren’t on the menu, we would have had a riot, I believe!  They are a tradition in our house, and the reason is because they are just YUMMY!  A few ingredients mixed together and spread on a piece of Pumpernickel bread and then toasted in the oven, and you have a fantastic appetizer or addition to your soup!  Here’s the simple recipe from Taste of Home:

Cheese Rye Appetizers Recipe

Party Ryes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (4-1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives – ( Personal preference, We leave this out)
  • 8 Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 30 slices snack rye bread – (We use Pumpernickel bread)

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 450°. In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Spread a rounded tablespoonful over each slice of bread. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to serve these!  Any time you need a scrumptious appetizer is the perfect time to whip this recipe up!

Enjoy!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Appetizer · entertaining

Cheesy Artichoke Appetizer

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I failed to get a picture before I put this out for my guests.  I stepped out to snap a photo and this is all that was left!!!  That’s a good sign!  You need to make this!

Rarely ever do we order an appetizer when we go out to eat, but if there IS something we’ve ordered on those rare occasions, it is a Spinach Artichoke Dip. Served with warm tortillas, it’s easy to make a meal out of it!

When you find a recipe that tastes every bit as good as your restaurant favorite, and is super simple to assemble, you know you’ve hit on something dangerously wonderful. It’s dangerous because you know you shouldn’t eat it too often, but it’s wonderful because you have the chance to make it anyway!!
I served this last weekend at my Fall Party and it was a huge hit. If you’re going to be entertaining this fall, you really should add this to your menu.
I love having an appetizer for my guests when they arrive so they have something they can nibble on while I put the finishing touches on the meal. It just seems to make gathering together warmer and more inviting if there’s a hot, bubbly dip ready to greet everyone! The ingredients are few and simple! You can serve this with tortilla chips, crackers, or toasted bread.

Artichoke Dip

2 Cups grated Parmesan cheese

2 Cups Mozzarella cheese

1 Cup mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped

¼ Cup green onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients, except onion. Mix thoroughly. Place in an 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with green onion. Serve warm.

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This is good stuff, folks! It even warms up great if you happen to have any left over (good luck with that one!).

With love from my country kitchen,

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