Leftover Rice Recreated into Magic

I love leftovers. I love transforming one thing into something totally different annnnnd I love not spending any money to do it. These were a prime example of all these things. I had leftover risotto from the other day. I made more than usual but even with Mr. J and I eating it with dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day, there was still a good amount. I decided to make aranchini!
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Aranchini are historically Sicilian but as you can imagine other regions of Italy have similar ones that they’ll tell you are not aranchini. I learned this while dining with the mob. Mine are not authentic since I didn’t have any mozzarella for the middle.
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Even without this seemingly key ingredient, these were simply delicious. Maybe because I fried them. I never fry anything so it makes me appreciate it even more. Frying makes me anxious and it’s such a mess.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups prepared and chilled risotto
2 eggs, whisked with 1 tbs water
1 cup panko
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oil ½ deep in a pan on medium
Scoop refrigerated risotto into 1” balls
Dip each into eggwash then roll in panko until completely covered
Fry in batches turning until golden brown.
Remove and let rest on paper towel.

These were so surprisingly good! I let them get pretty fried before turning them the first time. I think that really helped them stay together since they had a solid fried base on the bottom when I scooped with a slotted spoon.
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We each ate a few as an app with dinner and I froze the rest. I think they’ll defrost pretty easily in the fridge and bake to reheat. They’ll be awesome when this weekend is over and I can celebrate a successful event (knock on wood!). I work all year for this weekend so wish me luck, dry weather, well behaved vendors, and lots of fundraising $$ coming in!

Creamy Spinach Enchiladas & Avocado Eggrolls

After thinking about other ways to use ricotta I thought, why not Mexican? I’m sure nobody who knows anything about enchiladas would ever use ricotta but I’m not pretending I know anything other than what tastes good.

The thought of biting in a huge hunk of cream cheese makes me shutter. I like ricotta because it’s light and creamy. It was beautifully green (thanks to some spinach) and light but full of flavor.
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Ingredients:

12 oz whole milk ricotta
2 cups spinach leaves
2 slices of thick cut ham
1 tbs taco seasoning
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 ½ cup enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions:

Blend ricotta and spinach in a food processor, or by hand (chopping spinach first).
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Pan fry the ham and taco seasoning just until golden and warmed through.
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Stuff each tortilla with the ricotta mixture and top with ham.
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Roll them up and put them into a baking dish.
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Top with enchilada sauce and bake 20 minutes at 375.
Finish with shredded cheese and bake 3 minutes to melt.
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I liked this seemingly strange combo. I actually had the ham around so that’s why I added it but I really liked it in here! You could easily use shredded chicken, sauteed peppers & onions, or corn and black beans…or whatever. These were cheesey inside and out and had some textural contrasts too.

Then I decided to recreate a recipe I had from a restaurant. Jose MacIntryre’s has these crispy avocado eggrolls that are addicting…especially during $1 appetizers ;)

Ingredients:

Egg roll wrappers
2 avocados
2 tbs salsa

Directions:

Cut avocados and mix with salsa
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Put 2-3 tbs of the avocado mixture into the center of the wrappers. Tuck 2 opposite corners towards the center, and then roll the corner closest to you to the center and roll it away from you (like rolling up a burrito).
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Fry for a few minutes on each side.
Remove and let cool on paper towel.
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These were pretty good. Not as good as the restaurant, but I liked it. Mr. J wasn’t a big fan so I had his for lunch the next day. That’s when I remembered they’re served with some creamy dipping sauce.

I mixed some ranch dressing, bbq sauce, and taco seasoning. Ohh my goodness. That’s the ticket! Don’t knock it will you try it!

Birthday Party Theme: Apps & Zerts

This year may have been my best birthday theme ever. My life in event planning is Parks & Rec…to a tee. It is perfectly accurate in case you were wondering. I’m reasonably sure most of the jurisdictions I work with have assistants who are bribed not to let calls go through. They’ve referenced the piles of paper they have to get through and regularly do me a favor, by doing their jobs. Work hasn’t made me bitter, but I see the disparity in customer service all the time. I have a special place in my heart for park folks around the country who take their jobs as seriously as Leslie Knope.

Mr. J took all the photos so I could enjoy myself. It was wonderful and delicious. My friends are really talented. Somehow I thought there’d be a more manageable quantity of food compared to last year’s birthday food theme, but (K)nope, there was more!
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Without further ado, here they are!

Here’s the app winner: Not Swanson’s Zucchini Goat cheese Rolls (the winner won Ron Swanson paper dolls)
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This is the zert winner: S’more Cups (this winner got Leslie Knope paper dolls)
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These had LOTS of votes so it won a runner up award aka, a sketch of Tom Haverford
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This runner up got a sketch of Ben Wyatt since the flavors were so complex
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This runner up got the Chris Trager health award

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This runner up got a sketch of Donna since I thought Donna would find this Benz-worthy
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There was so much food! This one was mine!
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this was mine too!

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apps_zerts_brownies_590_390 Are you hungry now?

Making Crab Rangoons at Home

Even non-fish eaters like crab rangoons and all the guest bloggers I’ve had recently got me inspired to use some wontons.

These were a fun app to make at home, and I liked that I had more control of them…which meant that there was wayyy more crab in them than in those of take-out Chinese restaurants.

Ingredients:

8 oz crabmeat (or imitation crab)
4 oz cream cheese
2 tbs mayo
3 green onions, chopped
splash soy sauce
spash of sesame oil
wonton wrappers

Directions:

Mix crab, cream cheese, mayo, green onions, and sauces together and let sit for 10 minutes.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Stuff each wonton by putting about ½ tsp of filling into the center of the wonton and bringing the corners to meet in the middle. This forms a purse shape. Or put the filling in the center and bring 1 set of opposite corners to meet, forming a triangle.
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Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 minutes.

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My triangles oozed a bit, but were much crispier. The purses were really cute and ensured evenly filled bites, but didn’t bake up as crispy. That triangular ooze of crisped crab was amazing. Not that I’d ever taste for the sake of presentation.
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Mr. J LOVES sweet and sour sauce so I bought probably the world’s largest jar at the grocery store (think 40 oz for $2.99). It isn’t quite like take-out Chinese sweet and sour, but I like it better. Want to know the first ingredient? Of course you do!

It is apricots!
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Wow. I never would have guessed. This actually has distinguishable chunks.  I lucked out with the real crab on sale. I bet imitation isn’t bad since that’s probably what the restaurants are using anyway.

Crab Rangoon Cost:

8 oz crabmeat: $6.75 (it was on sale and wasn’t imitation crabmeat)
4 oz cream cheese: $0.75
2 oz mayo: $0.30
green onions: free! (I did this, but note it really only worked once, after that the color was a lot lighter and the flavor was pretty weak)
wontons: $1.25
total: $9.05 for about 24 crab rangoons or about $0.37 per piece.

This beats my local take-out option which sells about 8 for $8.75, though, they do bring it to my door so that has to count for something.

 

Love Mini Foods & Mini Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My office has THE BEST potluck themes. We recently did a theme for foods you can make in a muffin tin. There were no other restrictions and it might have been one of our best. We figured we love mini-food and thought it’d be a good theme for Valentine’s Day. I’m super delayed but happy to share these guys finally. My favorite techie has updated my whole computer so I was computer hopping and had files all over.

This theme would be really fun for a party or potluck because everything is really self-serve-able and because it is pretty self-contained, not everything needed silverware!
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Mini cheesecakes! 
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Mini spinach & cheese bites
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Mini strawberry shortbreads
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Mini Mac & Cheese
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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Lemon Poppyseed Ebelskiver
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Mint Frosted Brownies
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Mini Lasagna Cups
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
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Mini Spinach & Artichoke Dip Cups (these were mine, the recipe is below)
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Everything was so good!
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Spinach & Artichoke Dip Cups

Ingredients:

1 cup spinach, chopped
1 cup artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup Alfredo Sauce
1/2 package cream cheese
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
wonton wrappers

Directions:

Assemble dip ingredients
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Mix ingredients
If serving as dip, spray and transfer to a baking dish making a thin (aka dip-able) layer.
If serving as cups, spray a muffin tin and layer dip on top of wonton wrappers.
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I think the alfredo made the mix really dip-able and not too thick. I freeze leftover spinach whenever I know I won’t get to all of it. I also threw in some frozen kale and I thought it was great. I put some basil in too. It gave a freshness and light taste.

Guest Blog: Veggie Rangoons

Today I bring you a guest blog post from a college student in Austin. Joseph Ver is not only learning lessons in the classroom, but he’s learning his way around the kitchen. Without further ado, here he is:

I can give you a long list of my grievances in having to live in dorm conditions, from loud running and screaming in the middle of the night to my heightened mysophobia, but I feel the winner of the worst reason to live in a dorm is the lack of kitchen. I remember dorm shopping with my mother. I was excited to buy skillets and cutting boards, which is possibly a strange thing for a college bound guy to be excited about. Imagine the tears I shed when I found out that the kitchen was on the fourth floor. Nevertheless, I did try to cook tofu curry on the first week of school. It was a disaster to say the least, and successfully kept me away from that kitchen for the rest of the year.

Fast forward to today, a few semesters later, and I am now living in an on-campus apartment. Sure, I still have to hear my loud peers in the parking lot during thirsty Thursdays, but at least I now have a kitchen to myself (and a roommate). Maybe I should have prefaced this post by saying that I have little to no culinary experience. My training has consisted of helping my Filipino mother cook dinner, experimenting with eggs, watching cooking shows on PBS and the Food Network, and drawing inspiration from religiously watching Top Chef. To say the least, I’m a scrappy cook. I’ll find and follow recipes and add my own little twists.

Starting from the beginning of this school year, I’ve tried my hand at mashed potatoes, chicken teriyaki tacos, mapo doufu, French toast with my very own egg bread, and chicken tikka masala among many other dishes. You can probably tell that I cook a lot of Asian inspired dishes. I think my proudest moment actually stemmed from having to salvage vegetables. Now, I’m stereotypical poor college student on a strict budget. Throwing away food does not make me happy in the least bit.

Having bought a bunch of vegetables the week before, I remembered that I had to eat my spare broccoli and asparagus ASAP before it truly went bad. I wanted something more exciting than steamed vegetables, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but merely something I wasn’t in the mood for at the time. I had bought wonton wrappers and a block of cream cheese when I realized that I could make crab rangoon. Having learned how to make this simple Chinese-American restaurant staple a few years ago at an Asian Festival back in San Antonio, I decided to do my own vegetarian rendition of it with a twist. (Keep in mind that this was me throwing things from the fridge together, so ingredients are approximate and rather spontaneous)

Broccoli and Cheese Rangoons

Ingredients:

-A pack of wonton wrappers (Found in an oriental store, but your local supermarket may have them)
-A block (16 oz.) of cream cheese
-A head of broccoli, chopped up into very small pieces
-Three sprigs of finely sliced green onion
-Cooking oil for deep frying
-Salt and pepper to taste
Optional:
-Finely chopped asparagus
-Finely sliced sundried tomatoes
-Finely chopped up of any vegetable that you think would fit in a small pocket of fried goodness

Directions:

This recipe is very simple. Just soften some cream cheese in room temperature, place it in a bowl and mix in all of your veggies nicely.
Now, there are many ways you can wrap the wonton wrapper. The best way is to put around a tablespoon of filling into your wanton wrapper, and fold it diagonally into a little triangle. Seal the wrapper with water.
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I don’t have a deep fryer, so instead I just put a considerable amount of cooking oil into my wok and fried it that way.
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Be afraid of getting hit by crackling oil- it really hurts!

It’s really easy to tell when they’re finished. It’s not like you have to worry about having the filling uncooked and getting sick since it’s merely cream cheese. Go ahead and place them on a plate with a paper towel to cool and enjoy! (One looks like a tiny egg roll, hehe)
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Once again, this is a really simple recipe and thing to make and my main point for making it was to salvage vegetables that were going to end up in the trash in a few days. Are there any other recipes that you make on the fly because you want to save certain ingredients? Let me know!

Joseph Ver is an SEO intern at SpareFoot.com. He attends Saint Edward’s University in Austin, TX and, aside from cooking, loves watching reality shows (Top Chef, Project Runway, Survivor) and befriending various people on the bus. He also blogs when he actually remembers that he has one right here.

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email emily@thethreebiterule for more details!

Three Bean Fiesta

The name ‘Bean Salad’ completely deceiving. My mum gave this recipe to me after raving about it. Then Mr. J was the one raving…he said it was the best side dish ever. This bean salad can be a side or served with tortilla chips as a dip. I got it prepped one morning so it would marinate all day and we had it for dinner.

I got the largest lime I’ve ever seen straight from Florida (thanks Aunt S & Uncle B)! I really wanted to put that to good use so I used it to marinate chicken with honey for a Mexican twist before Mr. J grilled the chicken.
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We are making up for lost time when the grill sat in the garage for 2 years before moving so there’s year-round grilling happening here. Also, my mum made me some taco seasoning for Christmas. I was super excited since I use it all the time and have only ever found it in packets so this jar was a big deal to me.

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The taco seasoning when on some brown rice and poof, we had a fiesta (served in fiestaware of course)!
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Ingredients:

½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 can black eyed peas
1 can Mexican corn
½ cup red onion
1 red or green pepper, chopped

Directions:

Heat oil, vinegar, and sugar until gently boiling.
Pour liquid mix over beans, peas, corn, onion, and peppers.
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Let stand overnight (or 9 hours while at work).
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Serve with tortilla chip scoops as a dip or as a side.
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I subsititued white for red onion, since I had it on hand. I didn’t have any peppers so I chopped some tomatoes just before serving. I also didn’t have any black eyed peas so I just went with the other 2 beans. Three cans of beans would be a ton anyway.
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I liked the sweet/tart balance. We ate it a few times but I can see it keeping better if the onion & tomato/pepper was added just before serving.

It was a super easy side and was a pretty healthy one! I’m sure this will have a regular rotation in our house. I’d throw it on salad or tacos or the leftovers drained into soup or chili.  Ohh how fun would a chili bar be at a party?! The wheels are churning here for housewarming parties!

Guest Post: Buffalo Bites

Today I have a fantastic guest blog post for you! This post comes Dana of Nosh. We went to college together and I’ve been loving her blog (like this pineapple salsa recipe! and this edamame salad recipe! and this stuffed peppers recipe!) I’m super psyched to try this one myself! I cannot believe I don’t have any buffalo chicken recipes on the three bite rule!

Here’s Dana:
I’m trying (key word) to lose a few lb’s before my July wedding, and in doing so, I’m naturally craving the worst foods on the planet.  This recipe is surprisingly low-fat (5 wonton wrappers is only 100 calories, and the chicken is boiled in plain ‘ol water and then baked, so no extra fat there…plus wait til you see the coleslaw!) but still tastes like an indulgence.  The wontons would make a great app (oh hey, Superbowl) and the coleslaw is a healthy side made with my favorite Greek yogurt (you can’t even tell it’s good for you!).  Hope you enjoy these and much as I do…and thanks again to Emily for the opportunity to cross over to another awesome blog!

BUFFALO CHICKEN WONTONS

(this recipe makes a TON of wontons.  You can either cut down the amount of chicken you use or if you don’t want to make all of the wontons, you can make as many as you want, freeze the remaining wonton wrappers, and have a buffalo chicken sandwich for lunch the next day with the remaining chicken!  Probably awesome on a salad, too.)

Ingredients:

1 package Nasoya wonton wrappers
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bottle Frank’s Red Hot (I used Buffalo flavor but i’m sure the Original is just as tasty)
1/4 c. Light Ranch dressing
1 egg white OR water


Directions:

Boil chicken in water (or chicken broth) for 15 or so minutes until cooked through.  Remove from water and set in a bowl.
Once cool, shred with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Here’s the shredded chicken with the buffalo sauce…this was perfect on a sandwich the next day (said my fiance) and scooped up with celery stalks (said me).
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Mix Red Hot and Ranch dressing in a bowl and pour over pulled chicken, mixing to coat.
Arrange wonton wrappers on a sprayed cooking sheet.  Place about 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken into the center of each wrapper. Using the egg wash or water, lightly brush two sides of the wrapper and bring up into a triangle to meet the other half of the wonton, pinching to secure.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy, flipping once.
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I sprayed the pan with olive oil cooking spray, so there was no need for a brush of oil or anything prior to baking.
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Pre-baked
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you want a cheesier, creamier, not as healthy wonton, try adding a bit of cream cheese to the chicken mixture.
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Gorgeous color on the wontons!


Greek Coleslaw

(this recipe is adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe found here.  Of course I didn’t measure anything TOO accurately, and I left out the caraway seeds.)

Ingredients:

1 package Dole shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. mayonnaise (I used Hellmans Olive Oil mayo)1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and add to coleslaw mix.
Stir to coat.  Season with salt & pepper.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let “sauce” absorb into coleslaw.

oh heeeey, awesomely healthy wontons and sweet scrumptious coleslaw…don’t mind if I do…
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Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email emily@thethreebiterule for more details!

Coconutty Shrimp

I spent the better part of one evening going back and forth to the fridge to see if anything for dinner had magically appeared. I was just trying to find something for myself and had no ideas.

Then I finally switched things up and checked out the freezer. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp. Too early for Christmas quotes? No? Great!

I recalled adding coconut shrimp to my list. Baked Coconut Shrimp it was and there’s no time like the present!
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Ingredients:

6 jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
3 tbs cornstarch
1 eggwhite, wisked
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Dredge the shrimp in cornstarch
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Then into the egg white (whisking it makes it more dip-able since egg white stays goopy and stuck to itself.)cocoshrimp_egg_590_390

And finally into the coconut & panko (plain coconut will burn without some breadcrumbs in there)
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Lay on baking sheet. Does mine look small? I put these guys into my toaster oven and set it to bake!
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Bake for 8 minutes, flip, then bake for another 8 minutes.
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Voila!

I wanted something sweet and spicy to dip them in so I again checked the fridge. I did notice a crate of clementines I’ve been eating up the ying yang to keep up with them. Perfect!

I peeled a clementine and added it to a pot. I put in some apple cider, apple jelly, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. I brought it to a boil and mashed it up a bit then turned the temperature down until the shrimp were ready.
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These were so good and super easy. I figured I could whip them up anytime so I only made enough for myself to eat right then. They’d be great to prep in advance and just bake for guests. I hate frying things because of the mess, the grease, and the timing so baking them was much better. It also makes these a lot lighter.

My sauce needs some perfecting. I think I was on the right track but probably needed to refine the quantities.
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I’ll definitely make these again. My Mum would love them!

Bacon Bread

Hi, my name is Emily. I am Pintrest obsessed. “Hi Emily!”

Do you pin? It’s addicting. Pinterest is a virtual pin board.  I just love the creativity being shared on it!  It seems like such an efficient way to keep track of foods I want to make/attempt my twist on. I love introducing people to it, though I’ll warn you…if you’re on Pinterst and don’t pin then you’re a mooch! Go ahead, follow me.
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I saw a pin from somebody’s blog that became widely popular. Cheesy bacon ranch bread. Duh, why wouldn’t that be popular?? It seems to have originated on a fun blog called Plain Chicken. Also, today is Monday and I’m worried you might not have had enough bacon in your life over the weekend. Oh, I forgot. Today is a holiday for some lucky people to continue their weekend life…not me though.

Mine wasn’t exactly to-die-for, but I think I’d attempt again. Without further ado, I give you Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls (from Plain Chicken)

Ingredients

1 round loaf sourdough bread
8-12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz bacon (I used 3 slices, chopped)
½ cup butter (I used ⅓ cup but should have used more)
1 tbs ranch dressing mix

Directions

Cut bread in 1 inch slices going almost all the way through, in both directions
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Sprinkle cheese and bacon between the cuts
Mix ranch powder and butter together and drizzle all over the top
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Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes

I think more of everything would have made mine better. Mine didn’t open up like Plain Chicken’s. Hers is beautifully separated just waiting to be pulled apart.

I think more is more in this case, and I think it would be easier with another set of hands to separate while filling & drizzling. Maybe if there was just so much cheese & bacon then it would automatically separate the bread pulls.
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I see the potential. That blogger also made a brunch one with cinnamon & sugar which sounds good. This is a dish to eat with close friends or family. I can’t imagine a shy group getting in there and pulling it apart with you! I made this at my parents house so I prepped everything and assembled there. Can’t you tell the beautifully bright photos after I sliced in my windowless dungeon of a kitchen?