Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Game Day is coming up and I'm getting my Super Bowl game plan down! One definite appetizer on the plan are these Baked Jalapeno Poppers. Jalapeno Poppers are favorite of ours that we like to order when we are out at a pub. But they are always fried (and oh, so delicious) but I really was looking for a way to make them so they have nice crispy coating and not fried.

The peppers are sliced, cleaned, roasted, filled with cheese, dredged in Panko bread crumbs, and baked. These totally met all my expectations of a tender, cheesey, crispy jalapeno popper.

12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
Roast peppers for 10 minutes
Mix cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese together
Spread 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into each pepper half

Dip each cheese filled pepper into egg 
Dredge each pepper into panko bread crumbs

Place peppers on a prepared baking sheet and bake


  • 12 fresh jalapenos
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • panko bread crumbs
  • Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cut jalapeno peppers in half, lengthwise, remove seeds and membranes (to protect your hands, you may want to wear gloves when handling the peppers).
  3. Place cut jalapeno peppers onto baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes or until peppers just start sizzle and get lightly browned. Remove peppers from the oven. Let cool. (You may omit this precook step. But I like to precook/roast them a bit to make sure the peppers are nice and tender.)
  4. In the meantime, in a medium bowl combine cream cheese and sharp cheddar cheese.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeno half, and set aside. 
  6. One at a time, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko crumbs, pressing to coat. Set cheese side up, back onto the baking sheet.
  7. Lightly spray with the cooking spray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and they start to get golden brown. It's ok of the cheese starts to overflow. 
  8. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

These can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few hours. Or freeze. (If you freeze, increase the cooking time).


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten's recipe. It's awesome! However, I did find I like a few less less onions, a bit less garlic, and a touch of sugar. So I changed the tomato soup recipe a bit to my liking. The grilled cheese croutons - oh my - they are perfect! So follow her recipe exactly.

Tomato Soup Recipe:


  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used Wegmans  Organic Chicken Broth)
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes (I used 1/2 Wegmans Crushed Tomatoes and 1/2 Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes with Basil)
  • 1 tsp. sugar (you can omit, or add more or less)
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 2 teaspoons salt (you may want more or less), 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar. At this point I used my hand Immersion blender to emulsify and blend until smooth. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Grilled Cheese Croutons


  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (or melted)
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Heat a panini grill or medium size pan. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter (or spread softened butter on slices).Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.

Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.

 Country White Bread, Butter, and Gruyere Cheese...
 Grill the sandwiches...
 Place on a cutting board and let cool a minute. Cut into 1-inch cubes..
I skewered the croutons for serving. This way your guests can place their own croutons on the soup or just munch on the little cubes of gooey yumminess!

Stay Warm! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Raisin Clusters

If you can use a Crockpot (and you don't mind the wait), you can make these easy melt in your mouth Chocolate Peanut Raisin Clusters. There's nothing better than peanut, raisins and chocolate all in one bite! But be careful, your friends and family will fight you for the last one!

I have made these several times using this recipe. However, I wanted to use up the chocolate chips I had leftover from the holidays and really wanted to add raisins. This is the recipe that I came up with:

In a crockpot, add 1 (12 oz.) bag of white chocolate chips, 1 1/2 bags (18 oz.) mini semi-sweet chocolate chops, 4 oz of Baker's chocolate, and 1 tsp of shortening, such as Crisco (do not use butter, margarine, or oil).

Set the slow cooker / Crockpot on low. Cook on low for 3 hours

After 3 hours you will see the chocolate chips and bake's chocolate has melted.

 Stir and mix well 

 Add raisins and stir to mix well. Let stand 10 minutes

 Drop by heaping tablespoons onto parchment paper

 Let cool and serve! Yum!


12 ounces white chocolate chips
18 ounces mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 bags of mini chips)
4 ounces sweet German chocolate
1 teaspoon Crisco shortening
16 ounces lightly salted dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins (I would use more next time but this is what I had on hand)


Place all ingredients in crockpot except the raisins). Cook on low for 3 hours (* Don't touch just leave it be - it's ok). After 3 hours, turn pot off, mix, add raisins, stir to mix well. Let sit for 20 minutes. Cover a large surface with waxed or parchment paper. Stir mixture completely. Drop by teaspoons full onto paper. Let harden and store in airtight containers.

Notes:  Crockpots cook at different heat levels so you may want to check after 2 hours.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Curried Vegetable Hand Pies

The big game day is just around the corner so I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes that I think would be great to bring to any party, especially the Super Bowl. Or just to eat any time! First up are these delicious Curried Vegetable Hand Pies. These are great vegetarian appetizer or side dish to an Indian meal (I made these to go with my Butter Chicken). Yum!

You can serve these hot or cold. I like them best at room temperature. 

  • 2 carrots, dice
  • 2 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced *
  • 2 sheets prepared dough for an 8-9 inch pie
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • 1 tbsp prepared curry paste or 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 2 tbsp Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 in fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Boil the carrots and potatoes in a pan of salted water for about 15 minutes until soft. Drain well.
  3. Put the carrots and potatoes in a bowl, and gently mix together with curry paste, yogurt. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Stir through gently until well mixed.
  4. Roll out each of pastry on a floured work surface, then use a 4 inch circle cookie cutter (or the edge of a drinking glass) as a template to cut out circles from each sheet. (you can cut approximately 7 circles from each pastry sheet)
  5. Divide the vegetable mixture among the pastry circles, spooning it into the center of each one (a heaping teaspoon full works well). Fold over the pastry to make a half-moon shape, and pinch the edges together to seal.
  6. Using a sharp knife, make 2 slashes in the top of each pie, then brush all over the remaining egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes until gold brown. Serve hot or cold.
* For a more solid potato (one that stays more firm), use a waxy potato.