Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido

Dana and I love Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant!  If you have one near you I recommend that you try it ASAP.  Last year during their Hatch Chili Festival they had a limited time special menu that included Queso Fundido. What is Queso Fundido you ask?  Well it is freaking glorious!  Basically it is a Chorizo and cheese dip that you serve on warm flour tortillas.  It is quite possibly the best cheese dish that I have ever had!  The ooey gooey cheese and chorizo on a warm tortilla is straight up gold.  My mouth is watering as I write this up!  You have to try it.

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Big Game Appetizers

Big Game Appetizers

The Big Game is this Sunday, and I want to make sure that you are all prepared for your party.  The Big Game is a great time to get together and party.  In order to keep your party lively, appetizers and finger foods are the best way to go for game day food.  That way you can keep it light.  You don’t want your guests falling asleep during half time. Besides a nice selection of Ice Cold Beer, you should consider serving some of my favorite Appetizers. These recipes are tested and guaranteed to keep your guests happy and full.

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Pepperoni Pinwheels – The Ultimate Appetizer

Pepperoni Pinwheels – The Ultimate Appetizer

Pepperoni Pinwheels are the ultimate appetizer.  They contain all of the ingredients from everyone’s favorite meal, Pizza!  They are easily shared and can be dipped in your favorite pizza/marinara sauce.  Pepperoni Pinwheels are like mini pepperoni pizza sans pizza sauce.  Therefore you can eat them in your favorite white shirt without too much worry.  This is quite possibly one of the best appetizers that I have ever made.

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Labor Day Menu 2014

Labor Day Menu 2014

Here is my Labor Day Menu.  All grilled, all the time.  It is the end of the summer and you and your family should spend the entire day outside.  For that reason, my whole menu is cooked outdoors.  It starts with some delicious shrimp and ends with a grilled nectarine.  Also, included is a nice grilled lemonade cocktail that will keep you socially lubricated all day.  Enjoy!

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Hatch Green Chile Queso

Hatch Green Chile Queso

Dana and I are huge fans of Green Chiles.  We eat them whenever we can, but Hatch chiles are hard to come by in Virginia.  A couple of weeks ago the fine people over at http://www.hatch-green-chile.com/ provided us with 5lbs of medium Hatch green chiles.  These are top notch chiles, fire roasted, seeded and then flash frozen.  They then deliver them right to your door in a cooler filled with dry ice.  Pretty much the only way to get Hatch chiles on the east coast.  We used a bunch to make some Green Chile Enchiladas and figured it would be great to use some in queso.

Hatch Green Chile Queso

Hatch Green Chile Queso

The first thing that you need is to get 3-4 chiles roasted, peeled and seeded. If you are lucky, the Hatch Chile Store already did this for you.  If not you will need to roast, peel and seed the chiles yourself.  I have directions in my Green Chile burger post.

Hatch Green Chiles

To start heat olive oil and onions in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions till they are translucent.  Roughly 5 minutes.

Cook the Onions

Then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute.

Add the Peppers

Add the 1/3 cup milk and roasted chiles.  Cook for 3 minutes or until the milk is warmed. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin into the pan.

Melt the cheeseThen slowly add the 8 oz of White American Cheese and 4 oz of Monterrey Jack cheese.  Stirring as you add the cheese.

Mmm melted

Stir until melted.

Queso

Simmer for 5 minutes or until smooth and delicious!

Serve with your favorite chips.

Hatch Green Chile Queso
Author: 
Recipe type: Queso
Cuisine: Tex/Mex
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A perfect blend of green chiles and cheese melted into a delicious dip!
Ingredients
  • 4 hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded (or equivalent peppers)
  • 8 oz White American Cheese, cubed
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese, cubed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp if you like it hot, some like it hot)
Instructions
  1. To start heat olive oil and onions in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the onions till they are translucent. Roughly 5 minutes.
  2. Then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
  3. Add the ⅓ cup milk and roasted chiles. Cook for 3 minutes or until the milk is warmed.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin into the pan.
  5. Then slowly add the 8 oz of White American Cheese and 4 oz of Monterrey Jack cheese. Stirring as you add the cheese.
  6. Stir until melted.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes or until smooth and delicious!
  8. Serve with your favorite chips.

 

The Chiles

We received medium spiced chiles from http://www.hatch-green-chile.com/ and they were not too spicy.  However, it is noted that I have a high tolerance for spice.  Next time I will opt for the hot chiles.

It is noted that we received the Hatch Green Chiles from http://www.hatch-green-chile.com/ for free, but did not get paid or compensated in any other way for this review.  I am not an affiliate and I do not receive any compensation for any sales resulting from this review.

Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi – Hacked!

Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi – Hacked!

Growing up, my family loved to hit up Red Lobster.  Red Lobster is famous for cheddar biscuits, shrimp scampi and bringing seafood to the Midwest. Who wouldn’t love it.  My favorite thing on the menu was the shrimp scampi.  Not a traditional scampi, but a scampi inspired dish that was pure shrimp and no noodles.  The other day my Father asked me if I could recreate it. I accepted the challenge and here it is.

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Bill’s Bruschetta

Bill’s Bruschetta

Bill's Bruschetta

My Father-In-Law Bill has a great garden and has been harvesting tomatoes for the past couple of weeks.  He utilized the fresh tomatoes to make a great homemade bruschetta. It is a delicious recipe with extremely fresh ingredients. It is a must try.  So here is Bill’s first guest post.  Take it away Bill.

Bruschetta

It’s that time of the year- the tomatoes are starting to ripen and it’s time to make one of my favorite appetizers- bruschetta! Made with the freshest ingredients from the garden, it’s simple, quick and simply delicious.

The ingredients

Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the cores and the seeds, then dice and place into a bowl. Finely dice the onion slice and place in the bowl ( the red onion will give a much stronger onion flavor so only use it if you really like onion) along with the minced garlic.

Dice up the ingredients

 

Pour 2 teaspoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil over the ingredients along with 1/4 teaspoonful of salt and pepper, mix everything well and chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour.

Slice the bread

While the ingredients are chilling, prepare the bread by slicing the baguette on the diagonal, making the slices amount 1/4 inch thick.

Toast up the bread

Brush each side of the bread with extra virgin olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic. Place in the toaster oven and toast for about 4 to 5 minutes until the slices become firm and very light golden brown.

Top off the bread and enjoy

Plate the slices and put about 2 teaspoonfuls of the tomato mixture on top and finish off with the basil.

Serve with a nice glass of Cabernet (The Little Penguin really complimented the bruschetta nicely).

Bill's Bruschetta
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 10-12 small plum tomatoes (any kind will do- about 1 pound)
  • 1 slice of yellow or vidala onion ¼ inch thick ( or red onion if you want more zip) finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 French or Italian baguette
  • 2 teaspoonfuls extra virgin olive oil
  • Basil finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the cores and the seeds, then dice and place into a bowl.
  2. Finely dice the onion slice and place in the bowl ( the red onion will give a much stronger onion flavor so only use it if you really like onion) along with the minced garlic.
  3. Pour 2 teaspoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil over the ingredients along with ¼ teaspoonful of salt and pepper, mix everything well and chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
  4. While the ingredients are chilling, prepare the bread by slicing the baguette on the diagonal, making the slices amount ¼ inch thick.
  5. Brush each side of the bread with extra virgin olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic.
  6. Place in the toaster oven and toast for about 4 to 5 minutes until the slices become firm and very light golden brown.
  7. Plate the slices and put about 2 teaspoonfuls of the tomato mixture on top and finish off with the basil.
  8. Serve with a nice glass of Cabernet (The Little Penguin really complimented the bruschetta nicely).
  9. This dish makes a great appetizer before your summer afternoon barbecue or when you just want a little something to go with that glass of wine. Enjoy!

This dish makes a great appetizer before your summer afternoon barbecue or when you just want a little something to go with that glass of wine. Enjoy!

Grilled stuffed Jalapenos

Grilled stuffed Jalapenos

The other day I picked up a Jalapeno rack and was extremely excited to try it out.  In my excited state, I totally forgot that that February is not the best time to find jalapenos.  However, after a long search I found some fresh jalapenos.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos on a Jalapeno Rack

There are a ton of companies that make jalapeno racks.  I choose the cheapest rack that included a corer and free shipping.  That rack was the King Kooker 36 hole jalapeno rack.

To Start you need some ripe jalapenos.  Jalapenos are a tad bit hard to come by, in the middle of February in Virginia, but I found some.

Jalapenos

Wash and core your jalapenos.  I picked up this jalapeno rack not only because it was the cheapest, but because it included a corer.  The corer was totally worth the money all on its own.  It cleanly sliced through the innards of the jalapeno like a hot knife through butter.

The corer

You can also use a paring knife, but I recommend getting a corer.  Once the insides are scooped out, rinse them out with water.

Cored

Next stuff the insides with a combination of hot link sausage and cream cheese.  I purchased a single link of sausage from the butcher, sliced off the casing and then stuffed the jalapenos.  I stuffed the jalapenos about half-way up with the sausage and then topped them off with the cream cheese.

Stuffed with sausage and cream cheese

I also made some that were cheese only.  I stuffed them with alternating layers of cream cheese and cheddar cheese.

Stuffed with Cheddar and Cream Cheese

Once all of the peppers were stuffed I topped them with a sprinkle of seasoned salt.  I like Lawry’s but you can find a ton of different ones at the store.

Place each of the jalapenos into one of the holes in the rack and place on a medium temperature preheated grill (roughly 350 degrees).

Jalapenos in the rack

Cook for about 20 minutes and check.  You may have to rotate the tray if you have hot spots on the grill.

Partially Cooked

Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until the jalapenos are darkened and soft.

Fully Cooked

Remove and serve.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

These were out of this world.  I had trouble finding Dana after I was done cooking.  Therefore, she only received one of these precious gems.  Needless to say, I was in the dog house for eating all but one of them.

Grilled stuffed Jalapenos
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Cored and stuffed jalapenos filled with cooling cream cheese. The perfect combination.
Ingredients
  • 12 Jalapenos
  • 1 8oz package Cream Cheese
  • 4 oz Hot Sausage
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
Instructions
  1. Wash and core the jalapenos.
  2. Fill each jalapeno half way up with sausage.
  3. Then top off each jalapeno with the cream cheese.
  4. Dust each stuffed pepper with seasoned salt.
  5. Preheat a grill to medium heat (350 degrees).
  6. Place the jalapenos on a jalapeno rack directly over the heat and grill for 30-35 minutes or until the jalapenos are softened.
  7. Eat and serve.
Notes
If you wish you can stuff with ground beef, taco meat, mild sausage or even switch out the sausage for cheddar cheese.

 

Mental note, next time share.

 

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Ever since I was a kid, the holidays meant it was time for hors d’ouerves / appetizers.  Since everyone is coming and going, my Mom would always have a table full of them.  For this reason, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas.  I stumbled upon a single picture that excited my taste buds.  It was a picture of a round of sourdough bread that was sliced to resemble a porcupine and then covered with bacon and cheese.  To my surprise, the bread was also drenched in ranch flavored butter.  So I made it for Dana and it was a hit.  I can see why it is nicknamed “Crack Bread”.

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Veggie Dip

Veggie Dip

Every holiday, special occasion or just get together my Mom makes veggie dip. It is delicious and easy to make. The only thing that I always forget is that you have to make it at least 24 hours before you want to use it. That way all of the ingredients have a chance to mingle and absorb some of liquid. As long as you remember this one little rule, this is the best veggie dip around.

Veggie Dip – (From Mom)

  • 2/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Hellman’s Dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Accent
  • 2 Drops Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon Beau Monde, made by spice island

Measure the mayonnaise and sour cream and add to the bowl.

Measure the mayo and sour cream

Add the spices.

Add the spices

Mix until everything is incorporated.

Mix well

Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.

Veggie Dip

Serve with your favorite vegetables.

Veggie Dip

I am partial to carrots.

This is a quick and easy dip that is perfect for all occasions.

Green Bean Fries

Green Bean Fries

A couple of weeks ago I was emailed by a reader to try Green Bean Fries, like the ones at T.G.I. Friday’s. So, I went to the source and tried them. They were good, but mine might have been sitting around for a while as they were a little mushy. So I got home, plugged in the deep fryer and started to experiment.  The first two tries were alright but not amazing. Then I figured it out and created some of the tastiest Green Bean Fries around. In my opinion they were even better than the ones at Friday’s.

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Tomato Tartlets

I was invited to a little party yesterday and I wanted to bring an appetizer. I was unsure what to make so I started to look through my cooking magazines. Luckily the December copy of food and wine was delivered. In there they had quick and easy hors d’oeuvres. They had these quick and easy tomato tartlets that made 60 portions. Score.

Tomato Tartlet
Tomato Tartlet

The tartlets are bite-size and simple to make.

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