Cookie Butter Stuffed Vanilla Wafers

So this yummy, sweet tweet isn’t so much a detailed recipe as it is just a quick and easy idea using just three items that you may already have in your pantry.  Chocolate chips, vanilla wafers (not nilla wafers, the vanilla sandwich wafer cookies), and cookie butter.

All you need to do is sandwich two vanilla wafers with a generous amount of cookie butter, then dip into melted chocolate.  Place onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.  Done!!

To easily melt chocolate, place half of the chips into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute.  Then continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is soft enough to stir smooth.  Add the rest of the chips and stir until all have melted and you have a nice smooth chocolate sauce.

Cookie Butter Stuffed Vanilla Wafers

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Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita

Time for another cocktail!!  Recently there was a cocktail contest that had to incorporate some type of hot pepper.  I have never had a cocktail that had any type of hot pepper or heat in it, much less created one.  But I was definitely up for the challenge.  I came up with two recipes that I really liked.  This Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita was the one I entered in the contest.   It isn’t overly spicy…just has a little kick of heat in the back of your throat.  So don’t let the jalapeno scare you off…definitely give this one a try!

Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita

Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita

2 slices blood orange, 1/2-inch thick each
1/4 jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
2 ounces chilled pomegranate juice
1 ounce agave

Garnish: jalapeno slice, seeds removed

In a shaker, muddle the blood orange slices and jalapeno pepper. Add in the tequila, lime juice, pomegranate juice and agave. Place the lid onto the shaker and shake to combine.

Place a few ice cubes into an old-fashioned glass. Place a small strainer over the glass (see note). Strain the margarita into the glass, garnish with a jalapeno slice.

Note: This second strainer is used to ensure catching the pulp from the oranges as well as the seeds from the jalapeno while straining the margarita from the shaker.

Makes 1 cocktail.

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Chicken Enchilada Nachos with Tomatillo Salsa

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner and party planning has begun.  I always like to serve one new recipe anytime family and friends gather.  If you like to do the same, here is a new and different nacho recipe to try.  These nachos tie together the flavors of a chicken enchilada, tomatillo salsa, and a spicy chardonnay cheese sauce.  I originally created them for a nacho recipe contest sponsored by a wine company, but they have become a family favorite that we enjoy often.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!

Chicken Enchilada Nachos with Tomatillo Salsa

Chicken Enchilada Nachos with Tomatillo Salsa

2 tomatillos, paper removed, washed, then chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup minced onion, divided
1 small poblano pepper, seeds and veins removed, minced, divided
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
3/4 cup enchilada sauce
8 ounces tortilla chips
1/4 cup of your favorite chardonnay
8 ounces chipotle gouda cheese, shredded, divided
3 tablespoons sliced black pitted olives
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 teaspoon lime zest
Lime wedges

Place the tomatillos, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper into a medium bowl; mix to combine; set aside.

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of the onion and poblano for later use. Place remainder into skillet and cook until softened, approximately 4 – 5 minutes; set aside.

Place the chicken into a medium microwave-safe bowl, add in the enchilada sauce, mix to combine. Place into microwave and heat on high until heated through, approximately 1 – 2 minutes; set aside.

Place the tortilla chips onto a heat-safe serving platter; set side.

Place the chardonnay into a small saucepan, heat over medium-high heat until heated through, but not boiling. Add in 4 ounces of the cheese and stir continuously until melted. Immediately pour evenly onto the prepared tortilla chips. Top evenly with the chicken, cooked onions/peppers, reserved 2 tablespoons of the raw onions and peppers, and remaining 4 ounces cheese.

Heat the nachos in a warm oven or in the microwave, just to melt the shredded cheese. Using a slotted spoon, place the reserved tomatillo mixture onto the center of the nachos, place the olives around the edges of the nachos. Top with a dollop of sour cream, garnish with the lime zest. Serve with remaining sour cream and lime wedges on the side.

Serves 6

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World Food Championships 2016 Blogger Summit – Part 2

Day two of the blogger summit started out with an early departure for a full day “All About Seafood”! We headed off to Bayou La Batre, AL, and our first stop was at Murder Point Oyster Farm.  And yes, the first question we all had was if there had actually been a murder there…and yep…there had been.  Back in 1930 one oysterman killed another over an oyster lease.  Murder Point is now home to the Zirlott family, who raise oysters from spawning.  Oysters are a significant part of the economy of the region; from oysters on the half shell, to restoration of the population to recycling of the oyster shells.  The oysters at Murder Point are hand crafted, rich in flavor, creamy with a butter taste, and raised with love.  And to be honest, I have never met anyone as passionate about what they do as much as the Zirlotts.  When they say their oysters are raised with love, they are not kidding…it was refreshing to see their true  passion for what they do.

Murder Point Oysters

Our second stop was at Graham Shrimp Company.  Another family owned business with four generations on the water, they are a full-line seafood distributor of shrimp, oyster and crab products.  They bring fresh seafood, direct from the boats, shucking house and local shops to Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.  I have never seen so many shrimp at one time before, with sizes running from small to some that looked like small lobster tails!

Graham Shrimp Company

Stop number three was at Olympic Shellfish.  One family and more than 20 years experience supplying crabs throughout the United States.  Crabs are brought in fresh daily, sorted and separated, then distributed across the U.S. 52 weeks a year.  These crabs looks so good…I wanted to just grab a basket to go!

Olympic Shellfish

Next up…lunch!  And boy, what a lunch.  We were treated to a shrimp boil, but oh, so much more.  Just look at all this seafood, plus there were salads, and gumbo, and oysters, and desserts…everything homemade!  The lunch was hosted by Graham Shrimp and the members of Organized Seafood, as well as Murder Point Oysters was there shucking their fresh oysters.  Everything was absolutely delicious and let me tell you, the people in Bayou La Batre are some of the friendliest and nicest people you will ever meet.

Lunch is served!

After lunch we started the trip back to Gulf Shores, with our final stop at Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s,  There we were treated to more fresh seafood as well as an introduction to Fish Trax.  Fish Trax is a leading-edge electronic fishery information platform that revolutionizes the way fisheries information is collected, analyzed, and shared.  The goal is to build a community of trust among all of the links of the seafood value chain, from fisherman to dealer to retailer to consumer.  Basically, as a consumer you scan the Fish Trax QR Code, input the trace code from the restaurant or market where you purchased your fish, and you can read all about the captain, vessel and location where the fish was caught.  How cool is that!  We were able to try it out with the seafood we were served.  It was interesting to actually see who and where your dinner was caught and knowing it was really caught locally.  (Also, Fish Trax is a non-profit organization.  All net proceeds go to research supporting sustainable fisheries.)

Fish Trax

During day three of the summit World Food Championships kicked-off with their news conference.  Then we participated in the Food Champ Judging Class and E.A.T. Certification.  Afterwards, those that were not competing at WFC went on to judge the dessert competition….those of us that were going to compete in one of the categories headed out to watch the excitement of the competition.  As I am sure you can tell, the blogger summit was awesome…and I can not wait for the next one!

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Pistachio Cheesecake Topped Brownie Bites

I have been in the kitchen experimenting with Simply Sesame creamy spreads for their Simply Sesame Blogger Recipe Challenge.  It was a tough choice on which recipe I wanted to enter, but decided on Pistachio Cheesecake Topped Brownie Bites.  It is a super easy and quick recipe, starting with your favorite boxed brownie mix, then crowned with a creamy and delicious pistachio cheesecake topping using Simply Sesame Pistachio Morsels and hint of Cardamom.

Simply Sesame

Simply Sesame products are 100% natural, gluten free, peanut free, non GMO, vegan and contain no trans-fat nor cholesterol.

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Pistachio Cheesecake Topped Brownie Bites

Pistachio Cheesecake Topped Brownie Bites

1 box of your favorite brownie mix (for an 8″ x 8″ pan), plus the ingredients to prepare according to package directions
1/2 cup Simply Sesame Pistachio Morsels and hint of Cardamom
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Coarsely chopped pistachios for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24-count mini muffin pan with mini paper liners; set aside.

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Fill the mini muffin cups 3/4 full with the brownie batter. Place into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Remove paper-lined brownie bites to cooling rack and cool completely.

While brownie bites bake, prepare the cheesecake topping. In a medium bowl, cream together the Simply Sesame and cream cheese; add in the powdered sugar and mix until fully combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until brownie bites have cooled.

To assemble: Place a decorative piping tip into a piping bag. Add in the chilled cheesecake topping and pipe topping onto the brownie bites. Garnish with the chopped pistachios.

Makes 24

Note: If you don’t have mini paper liners, simply spray the mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Either way works – just a different presentation!

Pistachio Cheesecake Topped Brownie Bites

 

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