Warning: this is not the most photogenic dish I’ve ever made, but it was really too tasty not to share. You can’t miss with caramelized onions. Add fontina and I’m yours. I made this dip for the Superbowl and served it with some bread. My only thought was that half would probably have been plenty for two of us. Mr. J and I barely made a dent! It was pretty decadent but so perfect for a chilly winter night. Leftovers might be pretty good in a rockstar grilled cheese!
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pkg french onion dip
1/2 cup chicken/beef/vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
ground black pepper
In a heavy pan over low heat, caramelize the onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Stir regularly and be patient. Cook for about 30 minutes until they get soft, light brown, and sweet.
Bring to medium heat and add in the onion soup mix, broth, and wine. Stir well.
Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
Add in cream cheese, sour cream, and stir until it is all melted and incorporated. Then add cheddar cheese just until melted and then put it all into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Shred gruyere onto the top and sprinkle thyme & pepper over the top.
Bake for 15-minutes, or until melted.
Serve with bread. Enjoy!
This was so good, and addicting. It was sort of a meal in itself with the bread. Mr. J made wings so we only made it so far with our sports-snacks.
Don’t be sad that Christmas is over. I have the perfect use for your leftover holiday ham. This is ideal if you’re in weird limbo of brunch/lunch/dinner over the next few days.
I love the holidays but now I can’t even comprehend that there’s only 3 weeks until my little one turns one. Crazy. I need to catch my breath over here. How do I have a one year old? Sometimes when I go into his room I picture my burrito-wrapped-babe and there he is standing up lifting his arms to get picked up. Anywho, I can’t wait for his birthday. CAKE!
These ham spirals go together quickly and feature salty ham, buttery puff pastry, and mustard. It is definitely a perk of this that you only need a small amount of ham and a small amount of cheese…whatever is leftover from your apps and your ham!
Ingredients: (3-4 meal servings, ~6 appetizer servings)
1 sheet puff pastry
2-3 slices of ham, chopped into cubes
1 cup shredded swiss/cheddar
1/4 cup grain mustard
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tbs butter
1-2 tsp poppy seeds
Defrost the puff pastry sheet at room temperature (40 min) or in the refrigerator (4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the puff pastry and top with cheese and ham- being sure to get the filling all the way to the edge.
Roll the puff pastry and pinch the end to close the roll. Then slice into 1-inch pieces.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and lay the pinwheels face up. Leave some room for them to puff up and expand.
In a small pan, over medium-low heat, heat mustard, cream cheese, butter, and a splash of water (about 2 tbs or more if needed).
Pour the sauce over the pinwheels and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Then bake for 30-40 minutes, until toasty and puffed up.
Serve & enjoy!
These were dinner one night but the ham has me thinking they’d work well for brunch too. You could put each one into a muffin tin for individual servings.
I made some lobster cakes as a play on a crab cake. They were so good and though I plopped mine onto a salad, they would be great as an appetizer too!
1 cup lobster meat, chopped
2 tbs mayo
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
4 chive sprigs minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Mix together the lobster meat, mayo, mustard, and garlic gently to not pulverize the lobster.
Add in the chives and green onion stirring gently.
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat.
Form the mixture into 2-3 patties and roll them in the mixed breadcrumbs.
To check the oil temperature, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil and see if they sizzle immediately. If they do, then add the patties in to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Try to let them really crisp on the bottom before flipping so you only have to flip it once.
Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
Serve on their own or on top of salad! Enjoy!
This is the best lazy-man’s lobster. It gets crunchy on the outside but is all lobster on the inside. There really isn’t much filler in these bad boys. I ended up adding a 2nd to my plate. I couldn’t resist!
Can you believe I fried them? I never fry things! They’d be good in the oven, if it isn’t too hot to have your oven on.
I served it with honey mustard dressing that is just so easy and worth making yourself:
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard
tiniest dab of butter (tiny as in 1/2 teaspoon – this makes all the difference)
shake it up and enjoy!
Make your own honey mustard dressing. It is perfect to make a tiny bit for one or two servings or double/triple/quadruple this and have enough for a while.
My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.
Prosciutto wrapped melon
African blue basil
Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
Woah! A real recipe! I know, I know, contain yourself. I’m back at it…sort of.
For the Superbowl I was wanting to make something that would be do-able with Baby T dictating my schedule. I thought of potato skins and thought they’d be good since they’re sort of football shaped, and I could do most of the prep earlier and just pop them in the oven when it was game-time. I added one not-so-secret ingredient to kick them up a touch and it was great!
Mr. J loooves his sports snacks and I’m really only into the Superbowl for the snacks (and commercials – my fav was the Budweiser Clydesdales and the puppy…I was in tears). We had a spread of these, veggies with ranch, guac & queso with tortilla chips. Perfection!
6 potatoes, baked
4 tbs butter
1 tbs French Onion Soup Mix
6 strips of bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
Half then hollow out the potatoes leaving some potato around the skin.
Melt the butter. Mix the butter and soup mix together.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Cook the bacon until crisp and drain the excess grease. Chop into small pieces.
Brush the butter/seasoning mix over the potato halves on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese and top with bacon.
Bake at 375-degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potato crisps.
I baked the potatoes earlier in the day. I always forget how long they take to bake. I could have gotten them started in the micro to speed it up. I saved the innards thinking it’d become mashed potatoes for a side dish or lunch. Being home everyday and feeding myself lunch has been interesting…these potato skin leftovers became lunch a few times!
I liked the additional seasoning and think it’d be easy enough to use a spice rub or any seasoning mix you have around. I didn’t salt/pepper them since the seasoning had plenty of salt. Next time I’d be sure to brush it on more evenly…some had more flavor than others. I know pre-packed soup mix isn’t the healthiest but I’m considering making (and blogging) something with a newborn to be a win. #winning
Happy almost Halloween! I don’t have a spooky-themed dinner, but this would be easy to whip up before taking little ones trick or treating, or would be quick to throw together between handing out Reeces. I get about 3 trick or treaters but I make sure to have good candy or the ones I get will never come back! And, just like hosting a party, you should serve what you’re happy to have leftover for yourself.
I tell ya. The apples are never ending. These past few weeks I’ve been trying to add them anywhere that made sense. Here they got to provide the crunch and were perfect with the melty cheese. This dinner is quick and easy. It would be great as a panini too.
Ingredients: (for 2 quesadillas)
3 slices of bacon
4 flour tortillas
1 large apple, sliced
6 oz manchego cheese
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and chop.
Heat a griddle or large pan to medium and spray with non-stick spray.
Lay the tortilla and top with sliced cheese.
Add sliced apple, and chopped bacon.
Top with the 2nd tortillas, lightly spray with non-stick spray and flip once. (this helps it to brown evenly)
Serve with some honey mustard for dipping!
The cheese was more of a splurge but for this very few ingredient dinner, it was worth it. Mixing manchego with cheddar might have enabled these to be cheesier.
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – Manchego + cheddar/brie/gouda/cheese of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – apple + pear/roasted sweet potato/other fruit or veggie of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon + proscuitto/ham/turkey/other protein of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon = vegetarian option
I was inspired to make dinner out of potatoes after seeing lots of potato skin-football food and after making candied sweet potatoes for tacos. A few years ago mashed potato bars were all the rage at weddings costing a fortune for such basic ingredients. I figured with a few toppings it could easily be dinner.
Baked potatoes are so much faster than I really thought they’d take. I spread out a few toppings and it was such a fun dinner. This would be great for guests. Everyone getting to customize their own keeps everyone happy.
frozen creamed spinach
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 strips bacon, chopped
Microwave potatoes for 4 minutes then bake potatoes for 20 minutes at 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Heat the creamed spinach until warmed through.
Rub the potatoes in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Lay out the toppings and enjoy!
The potatoes were filling but not super heavy. The creamed spinach was a perfect sauce and took no effort.
Let’s start Monday off gently. This is not going to overwhelm your brain. We had houseguests early last week and I wanted to throw some dinners together on Sunday so we could leisurely visit and not put anyone to work. My thought for these Chicken Parmesan Cups were that it seemed like less work than serving Chicken Parmesan and anything in serving size portions is fun. I was going for a crowd pleaser and something I was pretty familiar with making.
Chicken Parmesan Cups
Yield: 12 muffin cups, ~5 people
Time: prep ~20 min, cook ~20 minutes
1 sheet of puff pastry
sprinkle of flour
5 chicken tenders
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and defrost puff pastry to room temperature.
Cook the chicken until fully cooked through.
When cool enough to handle, chop up the chicken and set aside.
Spray a muffin tin or 12 ramekins with nonstick spray.
Lightly flour a surface to roll out the puff pastry. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 12 squares, about 3×3 inches each.
Lay the puff pastry into the muffin tin.
Divide the chicken into each cup, spoon sauce over, and top with cheeses. (I had some extra puff pastry so I put another mini 1″ square on top)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until puff pastry puffs up and get golden brown.
I loved these. They made serving way easier. I tossed a salad together an poof, dinner was ready. These would be super simple to serve to a crowd since they almost could be eaten by hand.
chicken parmesan cups + baked eggplant = dynamic duo of parm
chicken parmesan cups – tomato sauce – cheese + pot pie fillings (corn, carrots, celery, gravy, etc) = chicken pot pie cups
chicken parmesan cups + ricotta = chicken “lasagna” cups
I love appetizers for dinner. I make pizza all the time but I was thinking of something different and decided on putting the best favors into eggroll wrappers. They’re kind of pizza kind of lasagna, kind of just Italian flavored. I don’t know what box to put them in!
1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from the casing
1 cup ricotta
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella
Pan fry the sausage, crumbling it and cooking it all the way through and sprinkling with dried oregano. Then drain on paper towel.
Lay the eggroll wrappers out and on a diagonal, to opposite corners, top with mozzarella, ricotta, sausage, and sauce.
Fold the opposite corners in and fold the bottom across the filling. Then roll toward the top corner. Be sure none of the filling escapes out the edges.
Pan fry in shallow oil or spray with nonstick spray and bake. (I baked at 375-degrees flipping on all sides).
Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with more sauce for dipping.
These freeze well too, then pop in the oven when you need lunch, dinner, or a hefty appetizer. I should have more of these things prepped & hanging out in the freezer. I really loved having some as a what-to-have-for-lunch on a weekend day. I’m currently working on going through the freezer so I can clear room for ready made stuff, though this babe is just past halfway so I have a little time for January freezer prep.
pizza rolls – sausage + chopped pepperoni = pepperoni pizza rolls
pizza rolls + green peppers + onions + mushrooms = loaded pizza rolls
pizza rolls – sausage + veggies = vegetarian pizza rolls
I love grilling season, and extending grilling season into the other seasons. I do sometimes think that I need to vary it up. This was a good way to do that without turning the oven on. I popped these guys into the toaster oven!
2 sheets of puff pastry dough (or crescent roll dough)
1 1/2 cups (1 package) of frozen creamed spinach, defrosted and heated through
1 – 1 1/2 cups ham, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Pan fry the ham until warmed through and crisp.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into four equal squares.
Spoon some spinach into the center from two opposite corners.
Add some ham, then tuck the two opposite corners over one another.
Fill four puff pastry squares with spinach & ham, fill other four with ham and shredded cheese.
Bake 8-10 minutes until pastry is crisp and lightly tanned. (Bake less if you plan on baking them another time to use later or freeze.)
These were so good and so quick. Definitely a good alternative to everyday dinner. I served them with some salad.
They were great as breakfast too. I froze a few we didn’t get to immediately and they just needed a quick defrost before toasting. I’d like them as apps if they were a bit smaller. I would pop them in muffin tins to form their own cups. I had the spinach, ham, and puff pastry in the freezer. These are a great way to use some leftovers.
sliced meatballs + marinara + shredded mozzarella + puff pastry = meatball turnovers
turkey deli meat + crumbled bacon + ranch + cheddar + puff pastry = turkey bacon ranch turnovers
creamed spinach + artichoke hearts + roasted red peppers + provolone = spinach & artichoke turnovers
tapanade + feta + diced tomatoes + chopped peppers + puff pastry = Mediterranean turnovers
raspberry jam + brie + puff pastry = cheese plate turnovers
prosciutto + brie + sliced green apples/pears = Italian appetizer turnovers