Black Bean Queso

So I know its a new year and all, but I gotta say, I think New Years resolutions are a load of crap. I think they just set people up for failure. I believe in everything in moderation, and some days housework counts as exercise. Life is hard enough without restricting the good things!

Some days, you need a salad. Others, you need cheesy dip and chips. Have your green smoothie today if you must, and save this recipe for Super Bowl. Trust me, you will be so glad you did.

This dip comes together in a flash, and can be made as spicy as you like depending on the amount of cayenne and red pepper flakes you add. It re-heats beautifully, and makes enough to feed a crowd. More dip in my life- that is a resolution I can get behind!

Recipe adapted from Peas and Crayons

Black Bean Queso

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomatillo salsa verde
  • 1 15 oz can refried black beans
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes for topping (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley for topping
  • tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine beans, salsa, softened cream cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper, in a seasoned cast iron skillet *and mix thoroughly.
  • Once the beans are hot and the cream cheese has fully melted, slowly add half of the freshly grated pepper jack cheese, stirring constantly to incorporate.
  • Top with remaining cheese, parsley and red pepper flakes, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly!
  • *Can also use 8x10 baking dish, heating ingredients in the microwave
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    New Year’s Eve Recipe Round-Up

    Post updated 12/27/2016 to include even more New Year’s recipe goodness!

    new years collageHow was your Christmas? What did you get? WHAT DID YOU GET ME?? I hope you had lots of family time and ate until you couldn’t breath. On that note, lets talk New Year’s Eve eats! Here is a round up of some of my favorite easy to eat munchies. I think food always tastes better with a bite in one hand and a adult beverage in the other, don’t you? Happy New Year my lovelies, thanks for sticking it out with me while I stumble through this blog thing. I love you all bunches!!

    Italian Nachos

    Stuffed Pizza Bites

    Bacon, Bleu Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart  

    Cookie Sticks

    053

    Gorgonzola Waffle Fries

    064

    Hot Crab Dip

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    Taco Chex Mix

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    Almond Snack Mix

     165

    The Crispiest Oven Baked Wings – Two Ways!

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    Stuffed Mini Peppers

    135

    Autumn Chex Mix

    206

    Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms

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    Philly Cheese Steak French Bread Pizza

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    Bacon Ranch Cheesy Bread

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    I have been doing a cleanse/detox, and its amazing how much better I feel. I usually eat pretty well, but I still feel better when every now and then I rid my body of some of those toxins that are part of our world now.

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    That being said, some days a girl just needs some comfort. No comfort was ever found in a salad or green smoothie, and that’s where cheesy carbs come into play. Its all about balance I say! I served this bread with homemade tomato soup and didn’t feel the least bit bad about eating it.

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    Cheesy bacon covered carbs are where it’s at! I used a loaf of Homemade French Bread, but store bought is perfect for this recipe. This bread makes a perfect side dish, is delicious paired with a salad, and is a great snack for football watching.

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    Recipe adapted from: Mom On Time Out

    Bacon Ranch Cheesy Bread

    Ingredients

    • 1 loaf of French bread
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
    • 1 tbsp ranch dressing mix
    • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and jack)
    • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 2 tbsp sliced green onion

    Instructions

  • Preheat the broiler, and line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise.
  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, butter, ranch, shredded cheese, bacon and green onion.
  • Spread the cheese mixture on each half of the bread. Place under the broiler until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before cutting into pieces and serving.
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    Crab Dip

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    It has been mentioned to me that I don’t have as many savory or main dish recipes on my blog as I do sweets. I don’t disagree with that statement, but this is my blog, and everything on this site are recipes that I love and, well, I think this also proves that I am definitely a sweets kinda girl!

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    That being said, I know that a girl can’t live on dessert alone. That’s why there is dip! I can easily make a meal out of dips, whether they be with chips, bread or crackers.

    This crab dip is one that I have been making for years, but never took the time to sit and write the recipe. Most of the time I don’t measure when I cook, only when I bake.  I was craving the dip the other day and I knew it was time that I write that recipe down and share it with you all!

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    Imitation crab, cream cheese, lots of shredded cheddar and green onions come together to create a dip that is perfect with crackers and extremely hard to back away from! I love it with butter crackers, but a girlfriend pointed out that it would make a fantastic crab melt. I better make another batch and give that a try!

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    Crab Dip

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz softened cream cheese (low fat is fine)
    • 2 sliced green onion
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    • 12 ounces imitation crab meat, chopped
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons prepared ranch dressing

    Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. I prefer to use my stand mixer, I like how it incorporates all the ingredients and breaks down the crab.
  • Allow to chill for an hour. Dip gets better as time goes on and the flavors blend. Serve with crackers.
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    Cinco De Mayo 2016!!

    Happy Cinco De Mayo! I hope there are lots of margaritas at your table today, these taquitos, and one of these yummy stuffed pepper recipes to accompany your chips and salsa!

    cincodemayo

    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2015/02/06/pimento-cheese-bacon-wrapped-jalapeno-poppers/

    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2014/09/13/stuffed-mini-peppers/

    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2015/04/27/shredded-beef-taquitos/

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    Stuffed Pizza Bites

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    Feeding kids is funny. One day, they want six square meals plus snack, the next they think ketchup is a fitting main dish. It seems likes it’s always hit and miss if they are going to eat the meal that you prepare them.

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    The one food I can always count on my kids cleaning their plates is pizza. And really, who could blame them? Pizza rocks! Sometimes I like a little bit of variety though, and that’s why these stuffed pizza bites are so fun.

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    I used my favorite fast and easy pizza dough recipe to start. It is a never fail recipe that comes together in just  minutes. However, store-bought dough will work in a pinch.

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    I chose to go simple here with pepperoni, but any of your favorite pizza toppings would work. Sausage, Canadian bacon,  pineapple, maybe even a Philly cheese steak or buffalo chicken filling? Oh yea, I am giving myself more ideas as I speak!

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    Stuffed Pizza Bites

    Ingredients

    • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    • 4-6 ounces mozzerella cheese, diced
    • sliced pepperoni, or other desired pizza toppings
    • pizza sauce

    Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the water and yeast, stirring until the yeast is dissolved.
  • Add in the flour, honey, salt and oil, stirring to combine. On a well floured surface, knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. Form into a ball and cover. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes before shaping into pizza bites.
  • Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, remove the pan from the heat and add the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Brush a bundt or tube pan with some of the garlic butter and set aside.
  • Divide the pizza dough in half and continue to half each piece until you have balls about 1.5 inch in size. Flatten a dough ball into a round. Place a slice of pepperoni and a piece of the mozzarella in the center of the dough. Wrap the dough around the filling, pinching the ends together to seal the ball. Roll the ball in the garlic butter and place it in the bundt pan. Repeat for all of the balls of dough, distributing the balls evenly in the pan. Cover the pan and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F about 10 minutes before the rise is done. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top begins to lightly brown.. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Invert the bread onto a plate. Serve with heated pizza sauce for dipping.
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    Italian Nachos

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    When I was in college I waitressed at a italian restaurant. Twenty pounds and one student loan later, I still craved the italian nachos they served. Over the years I have toyed with the recipe and came up with this creation.

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    To call these nachos is a stretch, as the “chips” are actually fried wontons and the “queso” is actually alfredo sauce. They are topped with loads of yummy toppings. Grilled chicken, bruschetta, olives and pepperoncini peppers. I am happy to say I am no longer paying on that student loan and the 20 pounds have come and gone, but these nachos are here to stay!!

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    Italian Nachos

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 package wonton skins
    • canola oil
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • chopped fresh basil
    • sliced pepperoncini peppers
    • Alfredo sauce*
    • sliced black olives
    • finely diced red onion
    • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • shredded mozzarella cheese

    Instructions

  • Dice the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat until cooked through.
  • Heat a thin layer of canola oil over medium heat in a fry pan. Cut the wonton skins in half and cook in the oil until lightly browned and crisp. It will take less then a minute for this to happen, so don't walk away. Try not to over cook, as the wontons will cook up more in the oven.
  • Spread fried wrappers in a single layer onto a large parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle half of the cheese over top. Drizzle with the Alfredo sauce, then top evenly with chicken and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Place under the broiler (at 450° F.) for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Stay by the oven and watch so they don't burn!
  • Top with tomato, basil, olives and pepperoncini peppers.
  • * I made alfredo sauce for these, but jarred or referigerated could be used as well
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    Carne Asada Nachos

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    For Valentine’s Day this year my sweet babies got be a beautiful bouquet of red, white and purple carnations and lots of big pink and red balloons. Now, as sweet as this gesture was, I knew that there was a ulterior motive behind the balloons. Just the week before was M’s birthday, and they had more fun playing with the balloons then anything else. So naturally, when it came time to pick a gift for mommy, balloons were at the top of the list.

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    Being the mean mom that I am, I made them wait a week to play with the balloons. They were my balloons, I wanted to enjoy them. But alas, they started to droop and it was time to cut them loose and let them meet their demise from the two balloon crazy kiddos.

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    Where am I going with this story? Well I will tell you. When a balloon floating at eye level floats in front of your face in the middle of the night in a sleep glazed stumble to the bathroom, one of two things will happen. Either you will suddenly acquire ninja skills like Jean-Claude Van Damme has never known, or you will have a massive heart attack and be scared to stay home alone for a week. I leave it up to you to guess which way (or both ways) I handled the situation.

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    Since I was feeling a little sensitive about my balloon attack I decided to eat my feelings with these nachos. They’re loaded with lots of tequila marinated steak, crunchy corn, radishes, red onion, jalapeno and gooey cheese. Top them off with sour cream and guacamole if you like, and they make for the ultimate snack. Keep these in mind for Cinco De Mayo- you can bet I will be making them! Its one of the best holidays, it’s a night devoted to Mexican food and margaritas. YUM!!

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    Carne Asada Nachos

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lbs. flank steak
    • 1/4 cup tequila
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 chopped red onion
    • 1 bunch cilantro stems
      Nachos:
    • tortilla chips
    • shredded cheddar cheese
    • sliced pickled jalapenos
    • fresh corn kernels
    • thinly sliced radishes
    • chopped onions
    • cilantro leaves
    • sour cream
    • crumbled queso fresco
    • guacamole

    Instructions

  • Place flank steak in a large re-sealable bag. Place all marinade ingredients into bag, seal and shake up the mixture so the steak is well coated. Place the steak on a plate, in the refrigerator. Allow steak to marinate for 8 to 10 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Once marinated, remove steak from bag and pat dry on both sides. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the surface and sear steak on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook steak for an additional 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare (add an additional 2 minutes for medium doneness). Remove steak from heat and onto a cutting board, loosely covered with foil.
  • Allow steak to rest for 8 to 10 minutes before chopping into thin, bite sized pieces. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Spread a layer of tortilla chips onto a baking sheet in one even layer. Top chips with shredded cheese. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese has melted, but hasn't begun to bubble. Remove from oven and top evenly with remaining ingredients. Serve.
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    Mix It Up: Spices From Around the World Infographic
    "Mix It Up" on Health Perch

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    Homemade Potato Chips with Herby Greek Yogurt Dip

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    My kids are at such a fun, precious age right now. They are learning and changing everyday, and I would give anything to slow time down. B is learning new words every day and M is learning so much now that she is in preschool. They still love to cuddle and think its fun to help with chores and want kisses goodnight.

    BUT.

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    With all that sweetness comes a little think called sibling rivalry. By the end of the day I want nothing more than silence. I can’t hear another tattle about who hit who, who took what toy from who or didn’t or didn’t do that. Its mentally exhausting. Its a good thing I love them so stinking much!!

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    These potato chips are so much more tasty then opening a bag from the store. I cut my potatoes by hand when I made these, but have since purchased a mandolin slicer. I would totally recommend one, they are cheap, have lots of uses and don’t take up much storage space. The yogurt dip goes nicely with the crunch of the chips, and I can almost lie to myself and its healthy since its made with Greek yogurt. Its called “girl math.” I am eating a healthy dip, therefore I can eat more chips!!

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    • Homemade Potato Chips with Herby Greek Yogurt Dip

      Ingredients

      • 4 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
      • seasoned salt
      • canola or vegetable oil
        Herby Greek Yogurt Dip
      • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
      • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
      • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
      • dash of black pepper

      Instructions

    • Add the sliced potatoes to a bowl and cover them with warm water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
    • While you wait for the potatoes, mix together all dip ingredients and place in fridge to let the flavors marry.
    • Remove the potatoes and place them on a towel, covering them with another towel on top, pressing to absorb as much of the liquid you can. Heat a large pot of vegetable oil or deep fryer over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees F on a thermometer.
    • Once the temperature is reached, add the potatoes in batches and fry until lightly golden and crisp, stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with the spider or large slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Immediately sprinkle with desired amount of seasoned salt. Serve with dip.
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