The Crab and the Artichoke

This is one of my go-to appetizer dips because it’s easy to make and is a crowd favorite! Sometimes I sub chopped spinach for either the artichokes or the crab depending on who I’m feeding. You can make this dip your own by adding whatever you like once you’ve made the “base” in Step 1. No matter which direction you choose to take, try the original version first because I think you’ll agree, it belongs in everyone’s recipe book! Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 8oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1, 14oz can of artichokes in water, drained and quartered
  • 8oz lump crab meat, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Panko style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, blend together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheeses, garlic and pepper using a rubber spatula.
  2. Fold in the quartered artichokes and the crab meat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add bread crumbs. Toast until slightly golden over low-medium heat. Remove from heat, add the Old Bay and mix.
  4. Transfer crab and artichoke mixture to an oven safe dish. Top with seasoned breadcrumbs and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 – 10 more minutes until crumbs brown and dip bubbles.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes; dip with be red hot! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite crackers!

Family Style Chicken Pot Pie

Somewhere on this blog, there already exists a recipe for individual chicken pot pies! The following recipe will be very similar in many ways, however what makes this twist unique is that it presents as one large pie that you serve family style! It’s complete with all the trimmings you’d find on your holiday dinner table including tender roasted chicken, buttery peas and carrots, creamy corn and mushroom dressing; all baked inside a flaky crust! What’s best is that it calls for pre-made pie crust and rotisserie chicken which makes your life easier for sure and can be adapted to include any leftover (or holiday favorite) veggies you have on hand!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced/chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp Trader Joe’s Umami seasoning or similar spice blend
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn (I used fire roasted)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, picked

Directions:

  1. Remove pie crust from the fridge and let come to room temp. Meanwhile pick the white and dark meat from your rotisserie chicken and set it aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook (stirring occasionally) until onions are no longer opaque and mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add the flour and Umami seasoning and stir with a fork until a thick paste forms. Slowly add and in the chicken stock and milk and whisk until incorporated. Mix in the salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Allow mixture to begin to boil, then reduce heat and let sauce simmer until it thickens, stirring often.IMG_9812
  4. Once mixture is thickened, add in the frozen veggies. Let cook for a few minutes until they defrost and then add the chicken. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed and then remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.IMG_9805
  5. While mixture cools, prepare your pie crust and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay one crust on the bottom of a large (preferably glass/ceramic) pie dish and gently press dough into the sides and over the top edge.
  6. Take cooled mixture and pour it into your pie dish and spread evenly. Top with the remaining pie crust and use a fork to crimp the edges all the way around. Use the fork to poke a few holes into the center of the crust to allow some heat/steam to escape while it cooks. This will prevent the crust from cracking.
  7. Place pie on a large cookie sheet and into the oven. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until crust is golden, edges begin to brown and sauce oozes from the vent holes!IMG_9815
  8. Let sit 10 – 15 minutes prior to serving. Present your masterpiece to your family/guests before cutting with a sharp knife. Use a pie spatula to transfer slices to your plates.IMG_9819

Double Dark Chocolate Muffins with Raspberry and Coconut

In case you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with Kodiak Cakes products, especially their flapjack mixes! I use them more for making muffins than I do for pancakes or waffles! What I love about these products is that they are made with whole grains and fortified with added protein. For example, these muffins pack approximately 8-10 grams of protein each*, making them a great grab and go in the morning or the perfect afternoon pick me up! My favorite thing though is their versatility; the mixes serve as a great blank canvas to which you can add and create your own unique muffins. Last week I added pepitas, white chocolate chips and Himalayan sea salt to mimic a cookie I recently fell in love with. This week I added freeze dried raspberries, coconut and dark chocolate chips to mimic a decadent dessert I’ve been dreaming about. Either way, these muffins are healthier than their cookie and cake inspirations while allowing you to indulge and satisfying your cravings. Enjoy and keep me posted if you get crafty in your kitchen with Kodiak!!

Ingredients: Makes 12

  • 2 cups Kodiak Brand Dark Chocolate Flapjack Mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • coconut flake for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the first 7 ingredients; baking mix through chia seeds.
  3. Fold in the mix-ins including the chocolate chips, raspberries and shredded coconut.
  4. Line a 12 muffin tin with papers and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Fill each well 3/4 full and top with a few flakes of coconut.
  6. Bake 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

 

Loaded Broccoli Mac-n-Cheese

As I was prepping this dish I came to the realization that I have never posted a mac-n-cheese recipe!? That kinda blew my mind considering what a cheese-head I am, coupled with my love of pasta! Anyhow, my recipe for mac-n-cheese is a derivative of Alton Brown’s original recipe. I discovered it years ago and use his rue as a base for many of my sauces, most notably the cheese sauce in my mac-n-cheese. This version of the classic incorporates goat cheese for added creaminess, broccoli for veggie power (and a pop of green) and bacon… just because everything tastes better with a little bit o’bacon on top! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: feeds 6

  • 12 oz of your favorite pasta (I used orecchiette)
  • florets from 3 medium broccoli crowns
  • 5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 6 oz shredded cheddar jack, plus extra
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 4 slices precooked bacon, diced

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli florets in an inch of water in a covered, microwave safe dish for 5 – 6 minutes or until they are tender yet bitey.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce; in a large shallow pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mustard and flour to the pan and whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Slowly add the milk and then half and half while continually whisking. Whisk until there are no longer any lumps.
  4. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally as sauce begins to thicken. Add the goat cheese and then the cheddar jack and mix. Season to desired taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Using the empty pasta pot, combine the cooked pasta and steamed broccoli. Gently fold in the cheese sauce.
  6. Transfer mixture to a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. In a small saucepan melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter over medium – low heat and add the breadcrumbs. Stir to coat the breadcrumbs and allow them to cook long enough to start to brown.
  8. Top the casserole with a sprinkle of cheddar jack cheese, the toasted breadcrumbs and the crumbled bacon. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for an additional 3 minutes.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

‘Tis the season for Jambalaya with it being Lent and all! Searched far and wide for a slow cooker version to make my life easier and found a great one by Robin Miller. I tweaked it a bit to meet my tastes and needs and voila! Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken tenders, cubed
  • 1 lb large frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb andouille sausage, chunked
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted, preferred)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large bunch Lacinto kale, shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp canjun seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the chicken, shrimp, sausage, tomatoes, onion, pepper, kale, celery, stock and spices in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on High for 3 1/2 – 4 hours (stirring occasionally) until meat is tender and kale is wilted.
  4. Discard bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  5. Ladle jambalaya over cooked rice.

Comments:

I added kale just because I wanted my jambalaya to be more green, lol! Keep in mind, this weekend is St.Patrick’s Day!! I also nixed the hot sauce that the original recipe called for, but of course you can add it in if you want your jambalaya to have a kick. Lastly, I don’t mind shrimp tails in my soup but some people do, so you can swap out the frozen shrimp for precooked (tails removed) and add them in 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. You could also repurpose left over shrimp cocktail in the same manner.

 

You are My Everything, Muffins

Y’all know by now I don’t bake from scratch (we can discuss why not, another day…) and today was no exception! While running on my treadmill this morning, I was conjuring up what I wanted to eat for breakfast afterwards, and for some reason muffins came to mind?! For these Everything Muffins I used my go-to baking mix by Kodiak Cakes; Cinnamon Oat Flapjack and Waffle mix. I love Kodiak Cakes brand because of the added protein and whole grain ingredients. I used the muffin recipe from on the box and to it added a bunch of yummy treats to meet my cravings. I think you’ll agree, there’s a little bit of “everything” going on here! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups Cinnamon Oat baking mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful of shredded carrot
  • unsweetened coconut flake as topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-muffin tin with papers or grease generously with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix the first six ingredients together, baking mix – bananas.
  3. Fold in the rest of the ingredients except the coconut.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 wells. Top each with a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flake.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If coconut topping starts to get too toasty, drape a piece of tinfoil over the top.
  6. Let cool before removing/serving and enjoy!

Comments:

These are best kept in the refrigerator! They can be microwaved for 20-30 seconds to take the chill off or popped in the toaster before serving.

IMG_9251

You are my everything, muffins!

 

Zesty Lemon Chia Pudding

Whether this is a breakfast indulgence or a sweet treat after a savory supper… these overnight chia pudding jars are guaranteed to wow the lemon-lover in your life!

Ingredients: Makes enough to fill 4, 8 oz mason jars

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
  • 5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • zest and juice from one large lemon
  • chopped nuts (walnuts or sliced almonds work well)
  • unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the nuts and coconut.
  2. Divide mixture evenly among your mason jars. Seal and let sit overnight in the fridge.
  3. Top with a sprinkling of chopped nuts and coconut flakes before serving. Enjoy!!IMG_9101

Comments:

This is lemon lovers dream come true! My husband describes it as tasting like guiltless Lemon Meringue Pie! You can adjust the intensity of the lemon flavor by increasing or decreasing the amount of zest/juice you add. Take note, the pudding isn’t super sweet; you could also increase sweetness if desired by adding more syrup. Lastly, you could prepare/serve this in any kind of dish if you don’t have access to jars; stemless wine glasses would work or even a simple bowl. Enjoy!!

*Adapted from wholefoodbellies.com