Scallion & Dill Pickle Dip

Recently I’ve seen a ton of ‘dill pickle dips’ floating around online. I LOVE dill pickles but felt they could be improved on a bit-some used dried dill or just cream cheese so I came up with my own.  The scallions add another layer of flavor and the fresh dill really ties everything together.

I served it with some delicious super crunchy kettle chips for a St. Patrick’s Day app.

It can be made ahead of time and put into the fridge for hours until you’re ready to serve it.

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Scallion & Dill Pickle Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 ozs. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature (not fat free neufchatel cheese)
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped dill pickles (please get the freshest, best quality pickles that you can)
  • 2-3 tbsp dill pickle juice (to taste and texture)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp low fat sour cream
  • 2 scallions, green and white, chopped into 1/4-1/8 sized pieces

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mash the cream cheese to make sure it’s fully softened.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (2 tbsp of the juice to start with, add the additional after mixing if desired) except the scallion and mix well to combine.
  3. Gently fold in the scallions until incorporated.
  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours before serving.
  5. Serve with crispy potato chips.

 

Lucky O’Cupcakes

It’s time again for the What’s Baking monthly goodies!! This month’s theme was chosen by Colleen of the redheadbaker blog and she chose (so aptly) Bailey’s. Not a problem. I love the stuff. It’s also so convenient since I had planned on having a St. Patrick’s Day get together at my house the Saturday before the lucky little day so a dessert made with Bailey’s would be perfect.

So I thought. And thought. And thought. And thought about how I could incorporate it into something yummy but a bit different. I determined that I didn’t want to do a Guinness cupcake (no offense to Guinness-you’re my favorite beer) but everyone does that. So I thought ‘what do I like with my Bailey’s’? Coffee! And chocolate! PERFECT! So there was the cake flavor. But then the frosting. Bailey’s is pretty heavy stuff so I decided on a buttercream but I made it nice and light by also incorporating heavy cream.  Yummy. Then I thought back to many Christmas celebrations at my In-laws and remembered that my Husband’s Grandmother used to make Buttery Nipple shots-Bailey’s and Butterscotch Schnapps. There was the bit of goodness that would tie this all together. Throw on a bit of edible green glitter and it’s perfect.

Not only was this a super tasty, multi-tastyness treat-it was delicate. The cake is light and airy, the frosting is more along the whipped cream line than thick buttercream.  The butterscotch drizzle ties it all together. The best part for me-they’re not overly sweet-they’re just right.  They are a joy to eat. You feel just lucky to have one in your hand.

And voila! A masterpiece is born (it took me 6 tries to get that butterscotch to swirl). This is an original recipe.

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Lucky O’Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 yolk from a large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/4 tsp coffee extract

For the Bailey’s Frosting:

  • 3 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp Bailey’s
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract

For the Butterscotch drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3-6 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and set aside
  • 1-3 tsp flaky fleur de sel sea salt

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners (about 30). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of  your stand mixer add the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using the whisk attachment give it a minute or 2 on low speed to mix everything thoroughly.
  3. Now add the eggs, yolk, milk, cream, vanilla, coffee and coffed extract and attach the paddle mixer. Beat on low speed to mix and give it a few minutes until everthing is mixed together, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.  The batter will be quite liquidy (but really yummy!!)
  4. Fill the prepared tins about 2/3 of the way full (my ice cream scooper is perfect for this).
  5. Bake about 19-24 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of one comes out clean.
  6. Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then stack them up on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely (the only way to know for sure is to eat one you know 🙂

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For the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer just add everthing. Using the whisk attachment start it off slow so that you dont have a powdered sugar explosion. When it’s combined turn that mixer up to high and let it go for about 10 mintues.
  2. Set the frosting aside for later when you’re ready to decorate.  You can also refrigerate it but when you’re ready to use it you will leave it out for a few hours to come to room temp.

For the Butterscotch:

  1. Using a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan het up the butter until it’s melted using medium (towards the low side) heat. Add the sugar, cream and 1 tsp of salt and whisk it about gently until it’s well blended.  Leave it alone for a bit, whisking here and there, until it comes to a very soft boil. Let it boil that way for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove it from the heat, add the 3 tps vanilla, vanilla beans and vanilla pod and stir it to combine. Put the pan over very very low heat (really just enough to keep it warm) and allow the vanilla to seep into the mix-about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove it from the heat, remove the pod and discard. Taste for satlyness and vanillayness and add more if necessary. Salt and vanilla vary so it’s hard to give exact amounts to use. Just judge until you like it.
  4. Pour into bottles to keep in the fridge for a few weeks and until you’re ready to drizzle.  It needs to be cooled completely to put on the cupcakes or it will melt the frosting.

When you’re ready for the cupcakes either pipe on the frosting or put it on with a spatula or knife or whatever, drizzle with some of the butterscotch, sprinkle with edible green glitter if you have it and enjoy!!

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Note:  you can omit the butterscotch but it makes them so much better with it.

Brown Sugar Roasted Acorn Squash

Sometimes it’s the most simple of recipes that have the tastiest results. Sometimes things from nature need very little to go from tasty to super delicous and yummy. This is one of those times.  3 ingredients.  One tasty healthy dish.

Since you roast this with the inside up it forms a bit of a bowl. The butter and brown sugar melt together and make a little sauce in there. YUM!! See? Poking the holes into the squash allows the sauce to really seep in.

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Brown Sugar Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, halved the long way from stem to tip, seeds removed
  • 1.5 tsp light salted butter, softened
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place both halves inside up into a baking dish (the dish should hold them snugly so they dont tip over. If the dish is too big roll up some foil into a log, attach the ends to make a circle and snuggle the squash into it in the pan.
  3. Rub a touch of the butter along the top rim of the squash then rub the rest into the inside.
  4. Sprikle a touch of the sugar onto the rim than the rest inside.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, poke holes all over the interior of the squash (gently-don’t go through the outside skin) and then back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then scrape out the squash, cut and serve.

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Strawberry Treat

Strawberries are delicious this year!  I love to have them in the evening for a snack but get bored of just sliced plain ones. I came across this recipe and it sounded so so so good!! And it’s delicious. The combination of sour cream and brown sugar may sound strange but it’s addictive and perfect with the berries. It stays well in a container in the fridge too.

Note: you don’t have to eat all of the strawberries at once for this.  Wash only the ones you plan to eat immediately. Once you wash a strawberry it goes bad fast.

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Strawberry Treat

Ingredients:

  • 16 ozs fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and cut into 1/4s
  • 4oz fat free sour cream
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Pile some strawberries in a pretty dish.
  2. Combine the sour cream and brown sugar and drizzle over the berries.

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Chicken Chili-slow cooker

It seems like this winter just goes on and on and on and on. In the usually average temperature of 40 island I live upon it has been freezing-single digits, tens, teens etc.. and we’ve been introduced to the ‘arctic vortex’ which sounds like some kind of ice cream treat they’d make at Carvel. Sadly it’s not ice cream.  So I’ve had the makings of a lot of soups, chilis, stews around all winter and it was time to clear some of them out of the cabinets to make room for (hopefully soon!!!) spring-time stuff! This chili is great for cleaning out the pantry. Adjust to what you have on hand. It’s delicious!!!

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Chicken Chili-slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 24ozs boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2 large)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (7oz)
  • 1 15oz can sweet corn kernels
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (or you could use one of the packets)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • Toppings-avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro etc…

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker insert. Add everything else, stir to cover chicken and combine.
  2. Cook on low for 8.5 hours. Shred chicken with forks, check seasoning and add salt and or pepper if needed. Allow to cook for another 30 minutes on low.
  3. Top with anything you’d like.  Eat!!