Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl 2015 Party Food Roundup for a Crowd or a Few

This year Super Bowl XLIX ,  2015 will be held in Arizona.  The reigning Super Bowl Champs, the Seattle Seahawks will defend their title against the New England  Patriots  Here is a recipe round up of party food. With much of the country battling the elements, here are  a few spicy, and not so spicy foods to warm up your party.

Party Ham Rolls are Ham and Cheese Sandwiches on slider buns or party size rolls , with a poppy seed-butter-mustard mixture spread on the inside of the buns, individually wrapped in foil, and baked in the oven

Shrimp Creole is a one pot meal with a wonderful sauce with tomatoes, the "Trinity", onions, green peppers, and celery,spices, and chicken or shrimp, served on a bed of rice.

 Crock Pot BBQ Beer Pulled Chicken  is chicken breasts cooked in BBQ sauce and beer, until tender, served on buns with the works.

Scott's Turkey Five Bean Chili is a chili full of fiber and flavor, low sodium and low fat. May be served with chopped onion, shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, or whatever you like on your chili, it's your call and your chili.

 Scott's Honey Baked  Lime Wings with a Kick are sweet, tart wings with a kick of heat and a brush of BBQ Sauce.  What Football party would be complete without wings?

Caramelized Onion Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes is a new take on an old standby French Onion Dip, only healthier, and with a few additions, and tastes better, in my family's opinion. Serve with a variety of crackers and vegetables for dippers.

 Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts or Pineapple are healthy, sweet, salty, crunchy bites of Turkey Bacon dipped in BBQ sauce. So easy and so delicious!

What party would be complete without dessert?  Here are some mouth watering desserts for your party.

 For the Adults, Kahlua Cinnamon Brownies are rich, and fudgy brownies with chocolate and coffee and a light Kahlua glaze.

For the kids, Fight Back Brownies,  Five Ingredient Brownies with Hershey's Syrup and a frosting that can be put on warm brownies.  Make, Bake, and Frost in 25 minutes. these have been my go to Brownies for many years, and so rich and fudgy!

Cookies are always welcome at any party, and these are no exception, Double Chocolate Toffee Chip Cookies with Oatmeal.  These Cookies are so good with lots of chocolate, and chewy  with the oatmeal.

Kahlua Brownie Bites, made with DIY Kahlua or store bought, have the right amount of chcolate and coffee flavor.  The mini size is just perfect for your party.

 Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars are always the hit of the party with their shortbread crust and Jam filling topped with dark chocolate chips and covered with a crumb topping.  This is another family favorite.  If you a family member that doesn't like chocolate, the chips can always be omitted.

No Bake Nutella Cookies are little bites of Nutella, cocoa, oatmeal. and coconut, so chocolaty, and chewy with coconut and oatmeal.  They can be made before you can say "Nutella", or almost.

And now you are  ready for some football!!! or cute commercials?  Will your team win? 

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's   Weekend Potluck #155

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lemony Shrimp with Arugula and Gluten Free Pasta

Happy 2015! New Year, New You?  Here in the Higgins' house we are turning over a new dietary leaf and trying to ditch the wheat, and cut back on the sugar.  No, we won't be going Paleo, but we are starting with baby steps and boy this isn't easy, especially when I like to bake a lot. That is a whole other story.  I have found that it is much easier to cook not using any wheat products and cut back on sugar, but you have to read every label.  than to bake not using wheat or sugar,   Hopefully, Scott will be able to get off of his cholesterol and blood pressure meds. Wish us Luck!  I will still be making treats for my neighbors, though, and get them out of my house ASAP, after they are made.

Now you do see noodles in this pasta dish, and they are gluten free brown rice noodles. Like I say, baby steps.  Scott loves pasta, so now we have to work on weaning him off of them. In the mean time, this is a wonderful combination of shrimp, lemon oil, garlic, GF pasta, and Arugula.  Yes, Arugula in pasta is so good and amps up the nutrition. We had gotten three types of olive oil, and two aged Balsamic vinegars for Christmas from other Foodie family members.  What else do Foodies get for Christmas, but more food ingredients, to make more wonderful food.  We made the Lemony Shrimp with Arugula and Gluten Free pasta to showcase the lemon oil. If you don't have any lemon oil, you can make your own.

This dish is so flavorful, and comes together quickly.  If you are not a lemon lover, really, you can omit the lemon juice in the olive oil. Add the Arugula, because it adds the spicy touch.  It's nickname is rocket, and it lives up to it's name.  Enjoy!

Lemony Shrimp with Arugula and Gluten Free Pasta

3/4 lbs. 41-50 count Raw shrimp, deveined
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c chicken broth
1/3 c white wine
1/2 c olive oil, divided
2 c packed Arugula
8 oz. Gluten Free Pasta, cooked, and drained. 
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter or Smart Balance

Lemon Oil:
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lemon, zested

Combine above  ingredients in a small bowl, and reserve. 

  1.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil and butter, until onions are clear.
  2. Add chicken broth, white wine, and shrimp, until shrimp is almost pink, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  3. Add Lemon, juice, zest, and Arugula, and cooked pasta,
  4. Remove lemon zest from reserved lemon oil.  Pour lemon oil through a strainer, discard zest and add to cooked pasta and shrimp. toss and serve immediately.
  5. Add  fresh grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cranberry Orange Muffins

We had a fairly mild December with no snow, unbelievable for Chicagoland, I know.  Now Mother Nature has unleashed the wrath of winter with snow and howling winds.  Welcome to Winter!

My neighbor had a birthday a couple of days ago.  Since I always bake something for his birthday,  he wanted muffins, so I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins. I love the cranberry orange flavors together.  I didn't have any fresh cranberries, so I had to use dried cranberries. You can't find fresh cranberries after Christmas. I usually buy several bags of fresh cranberries, and put them in the freezer for Christmas. I used the last bag to garnish Poinsettias, the drink with champagne and cranberry juice. You should try them, if you have  never had one,  Back to the muffins.

These muffins are dense, not overly sweet, and bursting with flavors of cranberry and orange.  I used orange juice, and orange zest, topped with an orange glaze drizzle. I also added Greek yogurt for extra protein.  These muffins bake up big and tall just waiting for hot cocoa, tea, or coffee. I like my muffins warmed, just sayin'. There's nothing better than warm muffins on a cold day. They make the perfect breakfast on the go, or snack.  My neighbor   loved them.  Happy Birthday Tom!  Enjoy and stay warm!

Cranberry Orange Muffins
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 oz pkg fresh cranberries, roughly chopped or 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
Cream butter and  sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the Greek yogurt and orange juice.

. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into another bowl; blend into the creamed mixture, mixing well. Do not over beat
 Fold in chopped cranberries
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake in 400 F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a pick inserted, comes out clean.  Remove muffins to rack to cool.  Glaze when cooled

Orange Glaze
 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
 1 to 2 Tbsp orange juice
 Combine powdered sugar,  and orange juice .Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins. Let set before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks, circa 1967

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chicken Vesuvio

Happy New Year 2015, which add a lot of flavor to the dish, along !  I took a little time off from my blog, because I was so far behind on all the Christmas preparations, too stressed out. but now I'm back!   Hope that you all had wonderful holidays, we did.

Come January most of you start thinking of lighter dishes to help shed those unwanted pounds gained over the holidays.  Now this recipe isn't a truly light recipe, but it is a lighter version of the classic Chicken Vesuvio recipe served at Harry Caray's iconic restaurant in Chicago. I used chicken thighs, but next time  I might add a few breast pieces. too  If you have been to this restaurant, you know that portions are huge, and enough food to feed a small family. This recipe has more realistic portions.

It is still a one pot meal started on the stove, browning the chicken and potatoes, deglazing with white wine, adding chicken broth, lots of  garlic, oregano, and thyme and finished in the oven, with the addition of artichokes, which add a lot of flavor to the dish, and sprinkled with peas and parsley. This is definitely a meal worthy of company, and the dish comes together easily. This one pot meal will warm you up in the frigid temps, and your kitchen will smell amazing. There are so many layers  of flavor,  along with the tender chicken and vegetables. this is comfort food, at it's best. You won't be disappointed, if you make this dish.  Enjoy!

Chicken Vesuvio
Serves four


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved, I used Yukon gold
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed, I used canned artichokes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
I tbsp chopped parsley (for garnish)  I added this


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches if necessary, cook the chicken in the pot until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Carefully add the potatoes to the same pot and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Arrange the potatoes around chicken. Add the artichoke hearts to the sauce in the pot. Cover and simmer over mrdium heat until the artichokes are heated through, stirring often, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the butter. Pour the sauce over chicken and potatoes, garnish with parsley,  and serve

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mini Gingerbread Bundt Cakes with Cinnamon Glaze and More

Christmas is a little over two weeks away, and I just started baking.  I am way behind to say the least. I think that because Thanksgiving was so late, Christmas has sneaked up on me this year.  Needless to say I am in the baking mode now.  I made these Mini Gingerbread Bundt Cakes for dessert with friends.  Don't they look cute on these little sleds, that I got as a gift several years ago?  If you aren't in the Christmas spirit yet, just bake some Gingerbread with all of those glorious Christmas spices like nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and of course cinnamon, will be wafting from your kitchen. And don't forget to turn on your Christmas music. These moist, little gingerbread cakes are full of spice flavor, with a hint of chocolate, and covered with a sweet Cinnamon glaze  I love my mini bundt pan because you get a bonus, double duty shall we say. If you flip the little bundt cake over, you  get a doughnut. Genius!

In this case, you have Gingerbread Cake Doughnuts, which would be perfect Christmas morning or a brunch with a steaming cup of hot cocoa. I have also made Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal cookies, and my first batch of fudge with more to come.  I am finally in the Christmas Spirit, and hope that you are, too.  Enjoy!

Mini Gingerbread Bundt Cakes with Cinnamon Glaze
Gingerbread Cakes
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted then brought to room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark molasses
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup whole milk
Cinnamon Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk (this will depended on how thick or thin you want your glaze)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Gingerbread Cakes
  1. **Butter and flour a 12-cup mini bundt pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the molasses, sugar, and butter until well combined. Add the egg, and beat until combined.
  4. Slowly beat in the milk and buttermilk. It will look like it has curdled, but don't worry, this is supposed to happen. It will fix itself when you add the dry ingredients.
  5. In a few additions, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Mix until just combined.
  6. Fill each bundt pan cup about ¾ the way full and smooth out the tops just a bit. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a baking rack and cool completely.
Cinnamon Glaze
  1. Mix powder sugar and milk together with a fork until smooth and desired thickness. Add cinnamon and mix to combine.
  2. Dip the tops of each bundt cake in the glaze and let dry on a cooling rack.
** I have a 6 cup mini bundt pan and I got 12 mini bundt cakes

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries

Thanksgiving is next week!  Have you planned your menu yet?  I have several lists already. I have to make a To Do list everyday, otherwise I forget forget half of the things that I wanted,or needed to do. Lists are the only thing that I'm anal about, and well maybe putting the ornaments on my Christmas tree, too.  Other than those, I'm not a perfectionist, far from it.  Sometimes I think I should be more of perfectionist in some areas. but change is not easy.  I did have these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries on my To do list though.

About these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries, I made them to take to a friend's birthday celebration. The  bars are not your traditional Pumpkin Bars, loaded with fat and calories.  These bars have Greek yogurt and pumpkin adjust the puree, which add a lot of flavor and moistness, and not a lot of calories. I like milder pumpkin spices, so I didn't go crazy with the spices.  You can adjust  them to your preferences.  I have made these before, but decided to add the white chocolate chips in addition to the dried cranberries to make them more festive.  I skipped the cream cheese frosting and opted for a lighter Vanilla Drizzle. I couldn't stop nibbling on these cuties.  I didn't miss the extra fat and calories at all.

Add a batch of these bars to your To Do list  for another pumpkin dessert for your Thanksgiving dessert table.  Your family and friends will love them, and Shhhh!  don't tell them that they are lighter.

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries
 Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients :
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1  cups canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup low fat or non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans( I didn’t add)
1 cup. dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions :
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using butter or nonstick cooking spray, grease a 15x10x1 baking pan, or a 9x13 baking pan (note: you will add approximately 5 to 10 minutes to your baking time using a 9x13 pan). I used a 15x10x1 pan.
3. Using an upright mixer or a hand mixer beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, beating until the mixture becomes fluffy, approximately 1 minute.
4. Add the eggs, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger beating until combined, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add the  flour, beating until combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in white chocolate and dried cranberries
7. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased baking pan and back for about 25 minutes (for the 15x10x1 pan), or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack. Drizzle vanilla glaze, when cool.

Vanilla Drizzle

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temp
2-3 tbsp mllk  I used Almond Milk

Combine powdered sugar and butter.  Beat until combined.  Add in milk, more or less, until desired consistency.  Drizzle over cooled bars..

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #145

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Brownies

There are so many pumpkin recipes that I want to make, and so little time.  Turkey Day is fast approaching, and I have many cans of pumpkin in the pantry calling my name.  Do I want to make Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin cookies, Pumpkin bars, Pumpkin brownies, or Pumpkin Nutella muffins?  I  decided to make these Pumpkin Brownies   because we were having company over the weekend.  I had made these brownies several years ago, and sort of forgotten about them. Time to update the pictures and make these amazing brownies again, but I will be making those Pumpkin Nutella  muffins this coming  week.

The Pumpkin Brownies  have a rich,  moist chocolate brownie base swirled with  pumpkin and warm pumpkin spices. I cut back little bit on the nutmeg, and cloves, because I didn't want the spices to overpower the chocolate. I still added the cinnamon, which is the warm, homey, spice to me. These brownies are over the top amazing, especially with Vanilla Ice Cream, pure comfort food. I  added melted chocolate chips on top for are another layer of flavor.  They are addicting, even better warm. I couldn't stop eating them. One bite is chocolate, the next bite is pumpkin, and the next bite is a combination of the chocolate and pumpkin, so good. If you are looking for another dessert for your Thankgiving dessert table, definitely add these pumpkin brownies. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Brownies Adapted from Anecdotes and Apples
3/4 cup of flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks of butter (melted)
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup walnuts (chopped) (I didn't use)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves  (I used 1/4 tsp.)
½ teaspoon nutmeg (used 1/4 tsp.)

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl mix together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs (one at a time). Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half evenly into 2 separate bowls.
3. In one of the bowls blend in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter stir in pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
4. Spread ½ of the chocolate batter mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour ½ of the pumpkin batter mixture over that. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer. Drag a kitchen knife or spatula through the layers in a swirling motion creating a marble appearance.  
5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #144

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