Wedding Dip

One thing both Laura and Steven wanted for their wedding was a relaxed and informal reception.

They didn’t want a cake.

They didn’t want a bridal table.

They didn’t want a big meal.

They didn’t want speeches.

All they wanted was ice cream, dancing under twinkle lights, and a sparkler send off surrounded by their family and close friends.

14642329_10210900098437789_1703383667507535485_n

And they got it!

The dancing under the twinkle lights and the sparkler send-off’s we’re pretty straight forward! (Hint – the key to a successful sparkler send-off at a wedding is to put a pyromaniac brother and brothers-in-law in charge of lighting them with propane torches just ahead of the bridal couple – then taking a series of pictures as they walk through!)

But the food had me stymied for awhile.

The ice cream and toppings were easy – but not enough. We added veggies and my homemade ranch dip, but we still needed more.

We finally settled on queso dip and chips.

Yes, I know it sounds odd – queso and weddings just don’t seem to go together. I knew we needed a step up from the typical Velveeta cheese and salsa dip – a little fancier version without the vivid yellow color.

And we found it – a simple queso dip without processed foods that was a beautiful wedding white color with small specks of the deep red tomatoes! We made it fancy by served it from a large chafing dish with the chips in a large basket beside it.

It helped make the reception relaxed, fun and more of a party!

And since so many guests have asked for the recipe – here it is!

img_0195

Wedding Dip

1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
8 ounces cream cheese, full fat
1 pound pepper jack cheese
8 ounces sour cream, full fat
3/4 cup whole milk (or half & half)

Melt together, stirring well and serve warm with tortilla chips or crackers.

We made it ahead of time in large batches on the stove, stirring and stirring, thinking it was always going to be a big stringy, gooey mess and and then there was a magical moment when it all came together into amazing dip!

Then we stored it in the fridge and reheated in crock pots.

You could probably dump all the ingredients in the crock pot and let it heat on low until melted or zap it in the microwave to melt, just remember that stirring is your friend.

It refrigerates well and can be frozen (although it does get just slightly grainy in the freezer).

Enjoy!

Buddy’s Taco Popcorn

taco popcornI think it’s safe to say that Buddy is addicted to popcorn.

He has some at least once a day – some days twice.

There are even days when he pops popcorn before the dishes from the last meal are dried. But then – he is a teen age boy and thus – a bottomless pit.

Good thing popcorn is cheap and filling.

Most days he tops his freshly popped popcorn simply with salt and butter. But at some point this last winter he started to experiment a little.

He was like a mad scientist with all kinds of spices in front of him.

Multiple batches of popcorn later he had a winning combination.

The result was this yummy snack with a Mexican kick.

And I do mean a kick!  You may wish to up your popcorn to spice mixture and maybe skip the dash of cayenne. 🙂

Taco Popcorn

1/3 cup unpopped popcorn (8 cups popped)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic
1/8 teaspoon paprika
dash cayenne
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon cheddar cheese

Pop popcorn. (Buddy always uses the brown bag in the microwave method.)

Mix the seasonings together.

Melt the butter. Add the cheese and stir till melted. Pour over the popped popcorn and sprinkle the seasoning over the top. Toss together.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fries

DSC_0004Please don’t tell my boys that sweet potatoes are a vegetable!

Why?

Because I’ve tricked them into eating them.

How?

I bake them up as fries.

Super easy. Super yummy. And -since we bake them and don’t fry them – they are super good for you.

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, are a slow burning carb, and (here’s the kicker) –  they are full of beta carotene which the experts say will help ward of the effects of aging.

Sounds good to me – bring ’em on!

Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Scrub the sweet potatoes well; then slice them into wedges. (The smaller your wedges – they faster they bake.) Place in a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl mix together the salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and black pepper.

Drizzle the olive oil and spice mix over the potatoes and toss to coat.

Place in a single layer on a greased baking dish and bake at 400 degrees till you get the desired crispness. We usually figure about 30 minutes to make a softer fry; 45 minutes or more if you want it crispier.

This should serve 2 people, unless one is really hungry.

But if you’re like me and are serving a family, or have people who eat meals at odd hours – you may appreciate a short cut.

We make the spice mix up in bulk and store it in a container in the cupboard. Then we can whip up a batch of fries without having to haul out all the spice jars.

Master Spice Mix

6 teaspoons salt
6 teaspoons cumin
6 teaspoons chili powder
6 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons black pepper

We figure about a teaspoon of spice mix per sweet potato – but if you like it spicy – add more!

Enjoy!

Pickle Wrap Dip

pickle dipI hear that the big game is Sunday.

Not that I even know which teams are playing.

Or care.

Actually – I wouldn’t even know the game was happening if it wasn’t for all the yummy “big game” foods on Pinterest.

And they all look so good!

Which leads me to a dilemma.

Is it be legal to make amazing game day foods and eat them – without actually watching the game?!

Could I sit quietly on my couch partaking of amazing Pickle Wrap Dip while rereading the Mitford series and listening to my favorite Andrew Peterson CD?

Would anyone know?

Or even care?

Perhaps it is legal to not watch the game – but it is definitely not morally right to keep the amazing Pickle Wrap Dip from you.

So I will share our favorite variation of the recipe and you can all make your own. 🙂

Amazing Pickle Wrap Dip

8 ounces of cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1 package dried beef
1/2 jar dill pickles

Cut the dried beef and the pickles into bite size pieces.

Combine the cream cheese and sour cream.. Add the pickles and dried beef.  Mix together and refrigerate for an hour for the flavors to mingle. (But honestly – we never do that – we just dig in!)

Recipe can be doubled – or tripled – if you are sharing.

Perfect with bagel chips, or crackers of any kind.

There.

Now I have no guilt on Sunday night.

No game either.

Just Pickle Wrap Dip and Mitford.

Perfect.

Spiced Nuts

spiced nutsMatt’s coming home today!

Isn’t it interesting that we say he’s “coming home” when he comes and that he’s “going home” when he leaves?

I guess that’s the blessing of a beloved child.

You will always have two homes – one where you live  – and Mom and Dad’s where you will always be welcome.

To get this beloved firstborn of ours home requires a trip to the airport in the big city. So Jan and I plan to do some Christmas shopping in route.

Since we will be without children for the first part of the trip – it definitely qualifies as a “date”. 😉 So I whipped up a batch of these yummy spicy nuts to munch on in the car.

With so many sweets around during the holidays – sometimes a little spice just hits the spot.

They are super fast to make – and disappear almost as quickly!

Spiced Nuts

1 cup raw nuts (I used almonds, but cashews, pecans, walnuts, or even peanuts would also work – just make sure they are raw!)
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss all the ingredients together and bake until lightly toasted – about 15- 20 minutes. Watch them carefully – some nuts toast faster than others!

This recipe easily doubles, or triples.

Enjoy!

For all you THMer’s – this is a solid and very satisfying S.

I’ve linked this post with Trim Healthy Tuesday on Gwen’s Nest.