Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm back and with recipes!

Yes, I've been MIA for a while, but I'm back! I've been super busy trying to survive 2 classes in my first summer semester. The good news is that only 2 finals are left for this semester! Then only 3 classes, yes 3, stand between me and graduation! I can't wait!!!

This weekend was awesome! Friday we went to our neighborhood Happy Hour, which was a great time as usual. Then on Saturday I had the girls over for a Pampered Chef party (#98). I made Buffalo Chicken Dip, Apple Crisp Cheese Ball from Tastefully Simple, and Fruit Tarts. These are all super easy and delicious. Maria, the Pampered Chef consultant, made 3 delicious dishes: mango salsa, artichoke cups and 3 cheese pizza. I'll post those recipes when I get them.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
3 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce, such as Franks Red Hot
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

Fruit Tarts
Sugar Cookie Dough
Lemon Curd
Raspberry Jam
Various fruit (I use strawberries and blueberries)

Cook the sugar cookies as usual. Top with a then layer of lemon curd. Then spread a thin layer of raspberry jam. Top with fruit. Serve immediately. These can't be made ahead of time because the cookies get soggy.

Sunday we went to a going away party for one of our neighbors. It was mexican themed and the food was amazing! I made this yummy (and healthy) Mexican rice from one of my favorite cooking blogs.

Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans
1 cup of white rice (I use brown rice and you don't know the difference)
2 cups of water
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped finely

Bring the water to boil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add the rice, cover with lid and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another 5 minutes.

While the rice steams, set a fine sieve in a large measuring cup and drain the tomatoes. Add enough water to the tomato juice to equal 1 cup. Chop the tomatoes very finely.

Heat the olive oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the black beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato juice mixture and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb much of the liquid, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cilantro and cooked rice then cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is warm, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately. Also stays nice in a crockpot on low.

A great weekend all in all, probably because not quite enough studying was being done!

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