Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bacon and Jalapeño Popper Dip

Bacon and Jalapeño Popper Dip
Serves: 18

My jalapeno poppers are kind of legendary, I've made them for years now, not just for parties, but sometimes for dinner, they are that good! This year for thanksgiving I was looking to recreate some of my old recipes, and I've seen a few of these floating around with the onset of football season, so I decided to give a jalapeno popper dip a try.

First things first, my dip varies from others out there, because it absolutely had to contain bacon, that is the best part of my jalapeno poppers. Next, all the recipes that I saw out there used a very small amount of fresh raw jalapenos for the dip, YUCK! Everyone knows that the sweet and smoky deliciousness of a jalapeno comes from roasting it, like in my jalapeno popper recipe, so I knew I had to keep that element.

If you were looking to make this grain-free or primal, you could omit the cracker topping or use a gluten free cracker substitute, but being that it is thanksgiving, I've decided to omit grains where it made sense for the recipe, and that way the recipes that use grains are a special treat for Thanksgiving that doesn't sacrifice flavor and texture. 


1 pkg. (8 oz.)  Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup  Mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
8-10 jalapeño peppers, roasted whole in oven until soft, then chopped

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
12 Ritz Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)


Roast your jalapeno peppers ahead of time over an open flame, or in the oven until the skins have blistered and softened. Remove skins and chop jalapenos. If you want to tame the heat, remove the seeds inside. 

Beat cream cheese and mayo in medium bowl until well blended. Stir in cheese and peppers.


Once cooked and well combined stir in the bacon bits.

You can either place into a small crock pot to warm through and serve out of, or place into a small casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Makes 18 Servings (2 Tbls Per Serving)

Nutritional Info: Calories 180; Carbs 13g; Protein 3g; Fat 13g; Fiber 0g

Blue Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Blue Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves: 4


20 whole Large Mushroom caps
8 ounces, Cream Cheese, Softened
4 ounces, Blue Cheese, Crumbled
Salt And Pepper
6 dashes Hot Sauce
6 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Clean tops of mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove stems.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, blue cheese, salt, pepper and cooked bacon bits together.

Divide cheese mixture evenly into mushroom cavities.

Bake mushrooms in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes  or until bacon is crispy, and the filling has melted. Top with grated parmesan and serve warm.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken Skewers

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken Skewers
Yields 2 servings. 

Tom Kha Gai Soup

Tom Kha Gai with leftover turkey breast
Serves: 4

1 quart homemade chicken stock (recipe)
1 14oz can of coconut milk
2 cups chicken meat, pulled (I used leftover turkey breast meat)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon minced ginger 
1 teaspoon hot chili oil (or a pinch of cayenne powder or red chile flakes)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3 chopped green onions
4oz sliced mushrooms
Handful of chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime, plus slices for serving


Take olive oil and heat with chile and curry powder for a few minutes to permeate the oil. Add in minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant.

Add chicken stock, bring to a simmer.

Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer, then add mushrooms and half the green onion and fish sauce.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add in chicken or turkey meat.

When ready to serve add lime juice and cilantro and top with remaining green onion.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yaki Udon with Teriyaki Salmon

Yaki Udon with Teriyaki Salmon

2 bundles organic udon noodles
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 salmon fillets - 4oz each
1 julienne zucchini
4 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup broccoli slaw mix
4 scallions chopped

Salmon marinade / sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Marinade salmon fillets in sauce for 30 minutes.

Place a small amount of oil in a wok or skillet and cook salmon fillets for 2-3 minutes on first side, and 1 minute on the second side, getting good color on both sides. Remove.

Add garlic, 2 of the chopped scallions, ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Then add your mushrooms and cook till softened, add zucchini and cook for a few more minutes, and then your broccoli slaw.
In the meantime, add your udon noodles to boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Take about half of your marinade, add some water, and add to the wok to deglaze.

Add in your noodles and toss to coat.

Turn off heat and stir in baby spinach.

Top with salmon and enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Great Grandmas Borscht (beet soup)

Great Grandmas Borscht (beet and tomato soup)

When I bring up the topic of beets to most people I almost immediately see a weird unpleasant look on their faces, and they are reminded of the pickled beets sitting at the salad bar no one eats.

Beets, by there very nature, are sweet, creamy and rich, and I've never quite understood the pickled beet, I mean I get it from an evolutionary standpoint because of the health benefits of fermentation and picking, but a sweeter application of the beet will almost always yield more pleased eaters than not.

I was raised eating this creamy warm soup since infancy, it has always been a Christmas Eve tradition at my Polish/Russian great grandmothers house, along with scratch made bagels, periogi, a homemade liquor from clove and honey and lots of shrimp. We would pack 40 people into her small wash park home, with the table extending the length of her house, and sing Christmas carols before opening presents. Santa Claus was even known to make a special appearance from time to time. These memories are so special to me that I will cherish and try to hold onto to their detail for as long as possible.

Anyways, back to the soup, it is simple and perfect for fall and winter, especially if you've harvested your own beets, which I have done in previous years. 

The soup is usually served with a mushroom filled tortellini (there is an actual Russian pasta name for this little guy but I don't know it, we usually buy fresh mushroom tortellini or make our own from scratch) for some reason they were referred to as "pig ears" while growing up, probably some attempt to freak us children out, but nevertheless soups with stuffed pastas are always amazing, but not always necessary, so for the sake of health I usually only eat the pasta variety at Christmas Eve.

The soup freezes really well and can be enjoyed any time of the year, some people will eat beet soup cold and some people will top the soup with sour cream, whatever variation you prefer, do it! Beets are just too delicious and too healthy not to include in your menu!


5 cans julienne beets
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (your favorite variety or homemade, I look for an organic gluten free variety)
2 cans tomato soup
2 can v8 juice
Pickle juice to taste (several tablespoons to add tang)

This is a one pot soup, bring all ingredients to a boil and when it is smooth, add in your pickle juice, to taste, it should have a slight tang, and then it is ready to enjoy.

If adding pasta add 15 minutes before serving so they stay whole.

I added 2 poached eggs into my soup for dinner and it was amazingly creamy and delish! 

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are pretty much the sole reason I buy and carve pumpkins each year, I have one of those tierd stepped porches so I load up on pumpkins for both sides of each step, resulting in lots of pumpkin seeds each year.

First, I place a large bowl of warm water with about a tablespoon of salt in it, next to my pumpkins. As I clean my pumpkins I place the seeds in that bowl. When finished I agitate the pumpkins seeds with my hands, cleaning any pulp odd of the seeds. I then dump my seeds into a colander, and rinse. 
I've also soaked my seeds overnight, my mother did it, so I do it, not exactly sure why, but I think soaking your seeds in salted water results in a crispier seed after baking, I've also never burned a seed, so that may also be an effect. 
I just fill my cleaned bowl up with warm water, another tablespoon or so of salt and let the seeds sit on the counter overnight. 
The next morning I drain the seeds and lay them out flat on cookie sheets to dry out.

Once they have air dried it is time to think about seasonings. I literally have about 6 cups of seeds each year, so I make a plain salted one and then I usually pick a flavor to try out with some of the seeds.

I've done garlic powder, chili powder, and chipotle powders in the past, but this year I'm going in a new direction. Pumpkin pie spice! 

First, regular salted seeds: 

Toss seeds in olive oil and sprinkle with a course sea salt. Place on baking sheets in even layers and bake at 250 degrees to 30-45 minutes until lightly browned. Stir at least once during cooking so both sides brown.

Pumpkin pie spiced seeds:

For a sweet application I used butter instead of olive oil. Toss seeds in melted butter, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar) and 2 table spoons pumpkin pie spice. 

Again, bake at 250 for 30-40 minutes being careful not to develop too much color since this recipe has sweetners with it. 

Once they are finished I keep them in mason jars and let them cool completely. They are packed with  nutrients and they are a fantastic snack to enjoy!