Recipes

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Bacon wrapped dates are perfect for entertaining and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. They look fancy, but come together easily.

Ingredients

36 large, pitted dates
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp whole, roasted almonds (aprox 30 almonds)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 lbs sliced bacon (not thick sliced)
36 toothpicks

Using kitchen shears or a small paring knife, cut each date lengthwise on one side. As you do this, check for any remaining pits or hard pieces on the end of the dates. Remove any excess pits and/or hard pieces. Set dates aside.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, and garlic powder. Finely chop almonds. Add to cream cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Open package of bacon. Cut all of the bacon slices in half. Set aside.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place wire rack on top of parchment paper and spray rack with cooking spray.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

To assemble:

Open date slightly at the cut and place aprox ½ teaspoon of cream cheese mixture inside. Press seam together to seal slightly. (Dates should be full but not overflowing.)

Place stuffed date onto the end of a piece of bacon, roll up lengthwise and secure bacon with a toothpick.

Place date onto prepared wrack. Repeat with the rest of the dates.

Bake dates for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy your bacon wrapped dates!

Cocktail Pairing

Salty, creamy, bacon wrapped dates pair well with a tart cocktail. Try a Bee’s Knees.

Bacon wrapped dates

Recipe: Pumpkin Spiced Milk

Pumpkin Spiced Milk is a fall twist on my popular Spiced Milk recipe. Full of fall goodness, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and nutmeg sweeten the milk to create your new favorite coffee creamer.

Ingredients

2 cups milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
kitchen string*
cheesecloth**

Make the Spice Pouch:

Place 2 – 4”x4” squares of fine mesh cheesecloth together (or 1 coffee filter) and set on the counter.

Place cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in the middle of the cheesecloth. Stir gently to combine the spices.

Gather all sides of the cheesecloth together, forming a little pouch.

Wrap a few inches of kitchen string around the cheesecloth, staying just at the top of where the spices are.

Tie string tightly and double knot so the spices can’t escape.

Set your spice pouch aside. 

Pile of spices on 2 layers of cheese cloth.
The completed spice pouch.

Make the milk:

Place milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until syrup has dissolved and milk is hot but not bubbling or boiling. 

Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Remove milk from heat and add spice pouch to the hot milk mixture.

Gently push it down into the milk until the spices inside the pouch have been submerged.

(The top of the cheesecloth/coffee filter will stick up from the milk. That’s ok, just make sure those spices are below the surface.) 

Add the spice pouch to the pumpkin milk.
Spice pouch infusing the milk.

Let steep for 1-2 hours while the milk cools. 

Remove spice pouch from cooled milk. Gently squeeze to remove liquid from the cheesecloth/coffee filter and spices. Dispose of spice pouch. Store milk in the refrigerator. 


Notes:

*If you don’t have kitchen string on hand, use some white thread or unflavored dental floss to tie the spice pouch together. 

**A coffee filter can be substituted for the cheesecloth, just make sure it doesn’t rip when bundling.


Pumpkin Spiced Milk pouring into a cup of coffee

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Easy Apple Recipes

Some people love pumpkin recipes in the fall, but for me it’s all about APPLE recipes! Whether in a cocktail, as the star of the show, or in a side dish, apples are a delicious way to elevate your favorite recipes. These easy apple recipes will having you celebrating this juicy fall fruit.

Recipe: Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

A fall take on my popular baked oatmeal recipe. In this pumpkin baked oatmeal, the spices have been increased, pumpkin has been added, and almond butter replaces the peanut butter so the pumpkin flavor can shine.

Makes 14-16 muffins

3 cups old fashioned oats
⅓ cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup pumpkin puree  
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup mini chocolate chips or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together with maple syrup, oil, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla until combined.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well.

Stir in almond butter and chocolate chips. Mix well, making sure peanut butter is incorporated into the batter.

Line a muffin pan with baking cups or thoroughly spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the oatmeal mixture among muffins cups, filling each cup to the top. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy your pumpkin baked oatmeal!

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Recipe: Avocado Corn Salsa

Fresh sweet corn and creamy avocado combine for a fun twist on the standard salsa recipe. This Avocado Corn Salsa is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free.

Ingredients

3 ears of corn (or 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed)
½ cup red or sweet onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 avocado, chopped 
1 large tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 large cloves roasted garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp salt

Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. Place the corn kernels in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the corn and microwave on high for five minutes.

Drain corn in a colander. Rinse under cold water. 

In a large bowl, combine corn, chopped tomato, diced onion, diced cilantro, lime juice, and salt. 

Mash roasted garlic cloves and add to the corn mixture. 

Fold in diced avocado. 

Chill until ready to serve. 

Note: Do not make more than a couple hours ahead of serving. 

Avocado Corn Salsa

Recipe: Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken in the slow cooker is the perfect way to make a rotisserie-style chicken without having to heat up the house or watch the oven. Slow Cooker Roast Chicken is also a great way to make a large amount of cooked chicken for use in other recipes. 

Ingredients

5-7 pound whole chicken
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Take 4 large sheets of tin foil and crumble each on in a ball. 

Place the tin foil balls in the bottom of your slow cooker. 

Remove anything packed inside the cavity of the chicken and rinse it out with cold water. 

Place the chicken – breast side up – in the slow cooker on top of the balls of foil. 

Rub chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Raw chicken in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. 

Turn off the slow cooker.

Remove the lid and let chicken rest in the slow cooker for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

If using the chicken in other recipes, after removing for the slow cooker, allow the chicken to cool completely before handling. 


Note: Slow cooker roast chicken will NOT get you crispy chicken skin. For crispy skin, move the chicken from the slow cooker to a metal 9×13 pan and place under the broiler until the chicken skin is the desired crispness. 

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

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Recipe: 4 Ingredient Pecan Turtles

Whether for yourself or to give as a gift, classic pecan turtle candies are a delicious treat that comes together quickly and is super easy to make.

Makes 12 turtles. 

12 caramels 
48 pecan halves 
1 cup chocolate chips
½ tsp coconut oil* 

Heat oven to 225 degrees. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Unwrap caramels and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. 

Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until caramels are softened and starting to melt. 

Remove caramels from the oven. While they’re still hot, carefully press 4 pecan halves into each caramel.

Caramel and pecans placed together

Set aside to cool. 

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil (if using). 

Microwave chocolate for 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds. 

Stir chocolate chips until smooth. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of melted chocolate over each caramel/pecan cluster. 

Set aside and allow chocolate to set/solidify. This will take 2-3 hours, depending on the heat and humidity in your house. 

Pecan Turtles

Notes on Pecan Turtles: 

  • *The coconut oil is optional, but will make the chocolate come out nice and shiny. If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, just leave it out.
  • Make sure your caramels are fresh. Don’t use caramels that have been hanging out in your pantry for 6+ months. 
  • You can use any combination of chocolate chips in this recipe. Using all semi-sweet chocolate chips will create a dark chocolate turtle. A combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips is also nice for these pecan turtles. 
  • I love giving homemade goodies, like these pecan turtles as gifts. Packaging them in small, inexpensive treat boxes make they feel extra special.
Pecan Turtles

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Recipe: Three Cheese Artichoke Dip

This creamy, garlicky three cheese artichoke dip is a delicious alternative to the usual appetizers and sure to be a hit at your next party.

Ingredients

1 – 14 oz can artichoke hearts 
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Rinse, drain, and finely chop the artichoke hearts. 

Place the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl. Stir in the sour cream and chopped artichoke hearts. 

Add 1 cup mozzarella cheese along with the Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to the cream cheese mixture. 

Mix well to combine. 

Spoon mixture into a greased pie plate. 

Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden brown and edges of drip are bubbling. 

Serve warm with crackers, crostini, or raw veggies. 

Enjoy your three cheese artichoke dip!

Notes:

  • Low fat cream cheese and low fat sour cream work well in this recipe.
  • This dip is best served hot or warm.

Pin for Later

Three Cheese Artichoke Dip

Cocktail Pairing

This salty, creamy artichoke dip goes well with a tart, crisp Blackberry Vanilla Martini (below).

Blackberry Vanilla Martini

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – 3 Ways

Cook up one batch of meat to set yourself up for three great meals! This slow cooker pulled pork will have you putting BBQ pork sandwiches, pork tacos, and pork gnocchi all on the menu.

Ingredients 

4 pounds country style pork ribs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Ball up 4 large pieces of tin foil and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. 

Combine garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Massage spice rub into pork ribs.

Set pork ribs on the foil balls inside the slow cooker. 

Raw pork in the slow cooker

Cook on low for 6-7 hours. 

Remove ribs from the slow cooker and place on a large cutting board. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove any bones or cartilage from ribs. 

Pork ribs immediately after cooking

Using a knife, cut up the ribs into pieces. The meat will break apart as you chop. Continue to chop until the pork is in small, shredded pieces.

Chopped, cooked pork

Use your slow cooker pulled pork immediately, or place it in zip top freezer bags and freeze for later use.

3 Ways to Use Pulled Pork

Pork Gnocchi

Pan fry frozen gnocchi in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until browned. Add roasted tomato sauce*, 1 cup of (thawed) frozen peas, and 1 cup cooked meat. Cook for 5-10 minutes until everything is heated through. If sauce thickens too much for your liking, stir in water – 1 Tbsp at a time – until desired consistency is reached. 

*1 jar of store-bought vodka sauce works great here, too. 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Gnocchi

BBQ Pork Sandwiches 

Combine 2-3 cups of cooked meat with your favorite BBQ sauce. Heat and serve on buns with cheddar cheese, cole slaw or plain! 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Tacos 

Combine 1 ½ – 2 cups of cooked meat with 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and 2-3 Tbsp water in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until meat is heated through and spices are mixed in. Serve with warm tortillas and your favorite taco toppings. 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

Recipe: Spinach Dip Pasta

What if there was a way to have spinach dip for dinner? There is! With a light, creamy sauce and fresh spinach, this spinach dip pasta recipe is a main dish take on our family’s favorite appetizer.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup Swiss or gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tsp lemon juice
6 oz bag fresh, baby spinach (about 3 cups)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 oz dried pasta*

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside. 

Melt butter in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to brown. Whisk in milk.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add cheese and lemon juice, stirring to incorporate.

Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the cheese has melted.

Stir in the spinach, working in a couple batches if necessary, until all of it has wilted into the sauce.

Fold in tomatoes and cooked pasta.

Adjust salt and/or pepper to taste.

Enjoy your spinach dip pasta! 

*Half of a one pound box.

Spinach Dip Pasta
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