Tex Mex Veggie Chili

Tex Mex Veggie Chili ~ spicy, hearty, carnivore approved. Loaded with robust Tex-Mex flavors and packed with beans and vegetables.

Dinner | January 4, 2018 | By

Tex Mex Veggie Chili ~ spicy, hearty, loaded with robust Tex-Mex flavors, packed with beans and vegetables and carnivore approved.

Many of us are kicking off 2018 with resolutions to exercise more, spend less, eat a bit better ~ or some combination. I got a Fitbit for Christmas that’s become an appendage of  my wrist so you can probably guess where my New Year’s resolution falls: at least 10,000 steps each day. I had no idea how sedentary I’d become but ‘friendly reminders’ to move keep me on track.

Since I’m moving more, I’m also *trying* to eat a little healthier while still enjoying comfort food, especially now that we’re in the middle of a death grip of cold, so if a cold salad is what you’re looking for today, feel free to click out.

Coming up I’ll still be sharing lots of new simple comfort any-night meals as well as a delicious Beef Ragu that’ll be the Sunday dinner of your dreams. It’s all about balance.

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Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip

Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip ~ sour cream, French onion, plus everything else we love in a dip ~ spicy ranch flavor, cheddar cheese and bacon! 5 minute prep.

Appetizers & Beverages | December 28, 2017 | By

Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip ~ sour cream-French onion based + everything else we love in a dip ~ spicy ranch flavor, cheddar cheese and bacon!

Christmas is over which means in another week or so the ornaments will come down off the tree and carefully packed away along with the other decorations. Except one. For some reason, there’s always one decoration I don’t notice (despite that it’s glittery or red or a snowman) and forget to pack. 

It’s usually something you’d spot in a New York minute, but because I’m in a hurry to pack stuff away, that item is always missed and instead of joining the other Christmas decorations it’ll be shoved to the back of the linen closet until next year. It’s not a proud moment that I share my lack of organization, but facts are fact. 

I have every intention of eating a little healthier in 2018 (really I do!) with more veggies, lightened up meals that don’t include a generous pour of heavy cream, but in the meantime, I’m sharing my all-time favorite chip dip ~ the Best Loaded Spicy Ranch Dip, a guaranteed crowd pleaser every time.

It’s a great year around dip, not just for special occasions, is addictively delicious and way better than anything you’ll find pre-made in stores. It whips up in 5 minutes ~ the amount of time I *may* have spent looking for my glasses. . . while they were in my propped on top of my head and it transports easily, too.

Let the dip chill for an hour or so and the best gets even better. . .

. . . except your breath. That doesn’t get better, but I had to get it out of the way. Let’s get real, I can’t sugarcoat onion and the resulting onion breath, but as long as everyone’s dipping, it negates the onion thing you’ll all have going on. I swear.

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Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus, quickly sautéed makes a delicious side dish or appetizer.

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus, pan sautéed crisping the prosciutto and cooking the asparagus to tender perfection.

It may be mistletoe, egg nog, holiday cookies and ugly Christmas sweaters for now but New Year’s Eve will be here before we know it.

Last year I had a bright idea that we should go out for dinner, so we ditched our comfy pants and fuzzy slippers and embarked on our favorite neighborhood restaurant only to find our waitress frazzled, the place packed and the food not at all the quality we had come to expect there. 

This year we’ll ring in the new year with a delicious home cooked meal including Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus ~ thin sliced prosciutto wrapped around fresh asparagus spears pan sautéed crisping the prosciutto and cooking the asparagus until tender and of course good company too because isn’t that what the best celebrations are about?

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Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese and broiled on top.

Appetizers & Beverages | December 16, 2017 | By

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese, broiled until golden and served with warm toasted bread.  

Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer ~ burst tomatoes, garlic and capers nestled around tangy goat cheese and broiled until golden. Serve with toasted bread.

Back in the winter of 2015 I posted a recipe for one of my favorite combinations, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese slathered thick on a lightly toasted baguette slices. Like women and good wine that recipe has improved with age and is now this Tomato Caper Goat Cheese Appetizer.  If you made it before, you’ll notice a couple of subtle changes to the process that in my opinion make the dish even tastier. 

It’s meant to be an appetizer but a nice glass of red or chilled Rosé, depending on the season along with some warm, crusty bread and for me, it’s dinner.

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Mushroom Brie Bisque

Mushroom Brie Bisque ~ rich, decadent with a creamy texture and delicious rustic mushroom flavor. Simple to make with flavors you'll never find in a can.

Soup | December 13, 2017 | By

Mushroom Brie Bisque ~ rich, decadent creamy texture and delicious rustic mushroom taste. Simple to make with flavors you’ll never find in a can.

Mushroom Brie Bisque ~ rich, decadent with a creamy texture and delicious rustic mushroom flavor. Simple to make with flavors you'll never find in a can.

My husband worked for a company that had an upscale, elegant holiday party every year in downtown Detroit ~ dinner, dancing and extravagant, edge-of-your-seat giveaways like Caribbean cruises and trips to Vegas. For the record, we never won a trip and at one point I told him he couldn’t retire until we did. I was kidding. Sort of.

I thought after he retired I’d never taste the holiday party’s Mushroom Bisque again. It was served as an appetizer in shot glasses and so creamy and decadently delicious. If you waited too long to grab one, they were gone.

Last weekend during our annual girls’ weekend up north I saw Mushroom Brie Bisque on the menu and decided to try it. I literally scraped the bowl with my spoon to get the last bits. It was that good and I couldn’t wait to recreate it at home.

Mushroom Brie Bisque does contain heavy cream but it’s that time of the year, right? Indulge and worry about it tomorrow. Or next year. I’ve been eating Snowball Cookies right from the freezer so attention family ~ by Christmas Eve, there probably won’t be many any left.

Anyway, this Mushroom Brie Bisque is simple and spot on ~ rich, indulgent with a silky, creamy texture and delicious rustic mushroom flavor. Kick the can. You’ll never find taste like this there. And go ahead, indulge. I don’t judge. ‘Tis the season.

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Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin ~ tender, juicy, over the top flavor ~ stove to table in just 20 minutes. Ideal for weeknights; elevated for entertaining.

Dinner | December 8, 2017 | By

Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin ~ tender, juicy, flavorful pork goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes for a delicious, easy, any night meal.

I love a good fake-out meal; ones that look and taste like you’ve spent hours on them, but can be whipped up quickly. This juicy, tender Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin is the ticket we need for this time of year when we’re all short on time because it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes, less time than it takes to have a pizza delivered, but tastes better. Way, way better.

That’s why it seemed like the perfect time to update the photos and reshare this recipe. I’m not kidding one bit if you make it once, you’ll have it on repeat the whole year.

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Blackened Shrimp Pasta

Blackened Shrimp Pasta ~ Cajun shrimp and linguine in a zesty, flavorful tomato sauce. A simple, weeknight meal that's also ideal for entertaining.

Dinner | December 6, 2017 | By

Blackened Shrimp Pasta ~ Cajun seasoned shrimp and linguine in a zesty, flavorful tomato sauce. A simple, weeknight meal elevated for entertaining too.

Between shopping, baking, wrapping, holiday parties and the actual holiday gatherings are meals we need to eat and prepare for our families and some out of town guests that *may* be staying a tad too long. That’s where Blackened Shrimp Pasta comes in. 

Most times, but especially this crazy, chaotic fun time of year, there are certain food items I keep in my pantry ~ cans of diced tomatoes and dry pasta are a couple of them. There are so many things you can make with them and when you’re hungry, tired and short on time you can work actual magic with them. A good dry Cajun spice doesn’t hurt the cause either.

In the freezer, I like to keep shrimp and from there, well ~ you can probably guess where I’m going with this.

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Snowball Christmas Cookies

Christmas Snowball Cookies ~ nutty, buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread, dusted with confectioners sugar outside. Skill level: Easy

Dessert | November 30, 2017 | By

Snowball Christmas Cookies, sometimes known as Russian Tea Cakes, Butterball Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies. Buttery, nutty, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread lightly dusted with confectioners sugar.  A holiday must!

As you know, I don’t do a lot of baking, but the holiday season brings out the best baker we can be in all of us. Snowball Christmas Cookies are my holiday favorite. No other cookie comes close to their nutty, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavor and the dusting of confectioners sugar seals the deal.

I love them with a mug of hot tea and literally eat one after the next with little self control. They blend quickly with just a few ingredients and the skill level to make these cookies is easy ~ just how I like it.

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Yukon Gold Sweet Potato Au Gratin

Yukon Gold Sweet Potato Au Gratin ~ thinly sliced sweet & Yukon gold potatoes topped with gruyere cheese + fresh thyme in a delicious creamy, silky sauce.

Side Dish | November 22, 2017 | By

Yukon Gold Sweet Potato Au Gratin ~ thinly sliced sweet and Yukon gold potatoes topped with shredded gruyere cheese and fresh thyme all baked until bubbly and golden in a deliciously creamy, silky sauce.

Maybe you’ve made classic Au Gratin Potatoes ~ one of my favorite potato-cheesy comfort dishes and while I still love them, the combination of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes with a rich, creamy sauce just takes potatoes to a whole new level. 

Yukon Gold Sweet Potato Au Gratin makes a simple, yet elevated holiday side, but I can’t help but ask myself why are all these fabulous side dishes saved for the holidays? Let’s make it today!

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Ultimate Appetizer Board

Appetizers & Beverages | November 20, 2017 | By

This Ultimate Appetizer Board shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #InspireWithCheese

Ultimate Appetizer Board ~ something for all ~ simple, customizable, no cooking. Elevated with creative touches + tips for easy, no-stress entertaining.

Are you in holiday mode yet? We’ve had a pretty warm fall here in the Midwest, so I’m not completely there yet. Yesterday I tagged a few holiday movies on Netflix, now I just need a little snow, a few more gift catalogs crammed in my mailbox and the first holiday song on the radio. In the meantime, I’m stocking the frig with some basics to create the Ultimate Appetizer Board. The holidays don’t make me frazzled anymore because I’ve learned some tips I’m sharing today that make entertaining stress-free and fun ~ even for the host.  

Ultimate Appetizer Board ~ something for all ~ simple, customizable, no cooking. Elevated with creative touches + tips for easy, no-stress entertaining.

The Ultimate Appetizer Board couldn’t be easier to assemble, is easily elevated with just a few creative touches and has something for everyone including the carnivores: Kaukauna® cheese balls, sliced cheese, seasonal fruits, smoked meats, crunchy crackers and breadsticks, but hey ~ I’m not giving away all my secrets here ~ read below!

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