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Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

I’m a big fan of caramelized onions, a big fan of chicken, a big fan of quesadillas, and a really big fan of recipes you can modify to suit the tastes of you and your family. So this is a winner for me!

Ingredients

1 large onion
1-2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
water
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or you can poach your own)
1 cup or more shredded cheese (any variety)
8 flour tortillas (medium size, about 10″ in diameter)

Picture Directions
(for a printable version of this recipe, click here)

Finely chop the onions

In a large frypan, melt butter and add onions. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each, more or less to taste).

Cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add a teaspoon or two of water to the pan and stir to incorporate the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan.

Continue cooking for about 20-30 minutes total, adding water every once in awhile, until onions are very soft and well-browned.

Chop the chicken finely

Add the chicken to the onions and heat through.

Place four tortillas on baking sheets. Divide chicken/onion mixture between the tortillas.

Add about 1/4 cup shredded cheese to each

…then top with another tortilla. Bake in a 350 oven until tortillas are warmed through and cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

  • There are almost too many variations to mention. Add some bell peppers (chopped) to the pan while frying the onions. Or, for an extra kick, try some jalapenos! Have some leftover broccoli? Chop it up and add it to the frypan. Or, try some minced garlic! Maybe add some tomato slices between the chicken and the cheese. Really you could add anything you’d like.
  • Serve with salsa, or sour cream, or both. Or, as is.
  • These reheat well in the microwave. They also freeze very well.
  • A printable version of this recipe can be found here
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With the 4th of July approaching, you might be invited to a picnic or two. And you might be asked to bring something. Instead of stopping by the grocery store for a pre-made cheese tray, wow your guests with something homemade. And, more importantly, simple!

The very simplest of simple:

A touch more effort but you can do it!

The extra work is worth it (and they’re still simple, just a bit more chopping and slicing!):

Enjoy your picnic!

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Another crowd pleaser, great for snacking! Especially if you’re a fan of garlic! A printable version of this recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

1 large bag/box of thick chunky pretzels, broken into pieces
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)

Directions

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place broken pretzels into a large baking dish, set aside. In a small pot on the stove over medium heat, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring while butter melts. Remove from heat and pour over broken pretzels. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir to coat pretzels, then bake 15 minutes longer. It’s best to prepare these an hour or two before you plan to serve them, as they will be too hot to eat directly from the oven. Enjoy!

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This is a super-easy snack mix which will feed a large group. Like for a Super Bowl party! A printable version of this recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Bugles (14 oz. or so)
Mini Pretzels (12 oz. or so)
Cheddar flavored fish-shaped crackers (1 package)
Cashews (10 oz. or so)
1 package ranch dressing mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl a few hours before serving (gives the flavors time to blend). Voila!

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This goes a long way and is quite filling. It’s best when it’s first cooked though I enjoy it reheated too, it’s just not as crisp.

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
salt, pepper, garlic powder (or even better, some minced garlic!)
1/2 pound (8 oz.) Velveeta, cubed
1 tube refrigerated pizza crust (like Pillsbury)

Directions

Brown ground beef with onion in large skillet. Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic while cooking. Drain and return to pan. Add Velveeta and continue cooking until cheese is fully melted. Meanwhile, unroll pizza crust onto a greased cookie sheet. Spread cheeseburger mixture over pizza crust in a thin layer, stopping about an inch from each edge. Roll up from the long end, making a long thin roll. Center on sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until browned.

Notes

  • I use ground sirloin for any recipe calling for ground beef. More meat for your money and a good reduction in fat.
  • I used the 2% milk variety of Velveeta. For a twist, you might try the jalapeno flavor!

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This has a few more ingredients and is a little more work than my usual recipes but it’s worth it!

Ingredients

8 oz. (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded swiss cheese
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded monterey jack cheese
2 tablespoons finely diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (use only 1/2 teaspoon if you are using dried dill from the spice rack)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
dash hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
2 to 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions

Combine all ingredients one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Use enough mustard and mayonnaise to form a ball that will hold its shape. Mold into ball in plastic wrap and chill for several hours. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers and/or pretzels.

Notes

  • The one thing I don’t like about this recipe is that you don’t use “all” of anything. You use a little bit of all three pepper colors then you’re left with the rest. I fix that by doing one of two things: 1.) I double or triple the recipe and give some away or 2.) I buy one red pepper, use 6 tablespoons of it, and skip the yellow and green. The colors are for just that … color, so the red looks nice even if you skip the others.
  • Be sure to give it enough time to chill. The flavors have time to blend and it tastes much better if you make it well ahead of time. Overnight or even two days is even better!
  • Cajun seasoning isn’t a whole lot more than salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. Maybe a touch of cayenne. Improvise if you don’t have any on hand!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t like dill, use less or none. If you’re a fan of spicy things, use a little more hot sauce.

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Easy Meatballs

It really doesn’t get any easier than this. And they’re delicious!

Ingredients

24 frozen Italian meatballs (be sure they’re the fully-cooked variety), thawed
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup sweet-and-sour sauce

Directions

Place the meatballs in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. In a separate small microwave-safe bowl, combine the two sauces. Cover and heat on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, cover and microwave for another minute or two, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

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