Snack

The Best Home Made Salsa

IMG_0441This is a recipe for the best home made salsa! I found the basic recipe on google and just changed a few things up to my liking. Not only is this the best tasting home made salsa, it is also the easiest to make and yields a big batch! So it is perfect for entertaining or bringing to an event. I made a batch for a cook out a few weeks ago and for a party recently, both times it was a big hit! Nearly all of it was gone. Keep in mind you will need 2 bags of tortilla chips for this much salsa. I like to get the scoop tortilla chips because they are so fun to dunk and fill up! Once you try this delicious home made salsa, you will never go back to store bought salsa again!

The Best Home Made Salsa {Yields about 12 Cups Salsa}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 oz) Can peeled tomatoes
  • 2 (oz) can Rotel Brand Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Mild)
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Small Onion (or 1/2 of a big onion)
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime (1 whole lime, if a smaller lime)
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin

IMG_0438Directions: 

1) Do all the prep work first. Open the can of tomatoes and tomatoes with green chilies. Wash and finely cut the cilantro leaves. Chop and desead the jalapeño pepper. Chop the onion. Finely mince garlic clove.

2) In 2 parts blend or purée everything in a food processor. Puree the can of tomatoes, can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies, cilantro, garlic, onion, and jalapeño pepper. You can do this in a food processor or blender. I used a blender, and pulsed each batch 7 times for a quick second but feel free to make yours a chunkier consistancy if you’d like.

3) Pour puréed mixture into a big bowl (with a lid). Add the lime juice, salt, sugar, and cumin spice. Mix and refrigerate for at least a few hours for best taste!

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Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

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Empanada (Fried Tortilla With Meat Filling)

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Some call these empanada’s, some call these chebureki, either way these fried tortillas with a meat filling inside are a great appetizer and snack. Could also be eaten for dinner. I made a batch of these for a Super Bowl party this year and they were a big hit! These are convenient to bring to a get together/party, because they can be cooked in advance and you just pop them in the oven to preheat them. I do have another recipe for tortillas with meat filling on the blog, but this is a lighter recipe with mostly ground chicken for the meat filling and an easier version. These are best served hot, and reheat very well in the oven!

Empanada’s (Fried tortillas with meat filling) {Yields 18}

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 LB Ground Chicken
  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion (pureed in food processor)
  • 1 pack of Raw, Uncooked, Tortilla’s (Can be bought in refrigerator section in Costco, Walmart, a few other grocery stores) Should be about 18 tortillas
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Garlic Salt, 1/8 tsp Pepper, 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash (Or any salt free seasoning of your choice)

unnamed-321123Directions:

1) Put ground chicken and ground beef in a big bowl. Puree 1 Onion in the food processor (or shred it using a shredder) and add to the bowl of ground meat. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.

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2) Set up an empanada making station. I set up a big sheet of foil on the counter with the tortillas, the bowl of meat filling, and a small cup with water and a brush (to stick the tortillas together).

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3) Lay each tortilla out and fill with meat mixture, one by one. I add about 2 TBS of meat filling to each tortilla. Brush the outside of the tortilla with water using the brush. Stick both sides of the tortilla together and seal tight by pressing on ends with a fork. This also makes a nice rigid design. Set the done emanada’s aside. Set a pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, on Medium heat (I did 5.5) and let the oil heat up.

 

4) Once oil heats up and starts fizzing a bit, add 2 empanada’s at a time to the pan. Fry on each side until golden (about 3 Minutes per side). Have a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to put the fried empanada’s on so the extra oil would drain off. Add a paper towel layer between each 2 empanada’s.

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Serve hot. To reheat place in the oven for 10 minutes on 350 Degrees until hot and crispy!

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Mini Baked Appetizer Sandwiches

dscn4126These mini baked appetizer sandwiches are loaded with cheese, and ham. These are quick and easy to make and one of the yummiest appetizers ever! I got the recipe from my friend Irina, when we were over their house for dinner and she made these. I couldn’t get enough! Of course I had to get the recipe to share with you guys! I wanted to post this recipe right on time before the Holidays, as we all need great appetizer recipes for entertaining. Enjoy!

Mini Baked Appetizer Sandwiches (Yields enough for a big party) :

Ingredients:

  • 1 long French Baguette
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Block Mozzarella Cheese (Grated)
  • Green Onion
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Virginia Baked Ham ( .50 LB, cut into one thick slice)

dscn4101 dscn4106Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Cut the tomato into little dice. Cut the Ham into little cubes. Shred the block of Mozzarella cheese. Finely chop 4 green onions (mostly green part). Using a butter knife, smear a little bit of Mayonnaise onto each piece of baguette bread.

2) Put everything on the baguette slices in this order; Ham, tomatoes, green onions, then squirt 2 small drops of ketchup on the baguette slices and cover with cheese on top.

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3) Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden to your desire! Best when served hot.

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Bacon and Chive Cheese Ball

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Appetizer season is here, and this is definitely a great one! I got this recipe from my friend Boo Fields, this cheese ball is her creation and her idea the only things I did different was add real bacon bits and dry dill and adapt the exact amounts of every ingredient to come up with this awesome cheese ball dip.  Boo made this recipe for a Christmas party and I could not get enough of it, everyone loved it and it was the star of the party! I recreated this cheese ball dip last night for a movie night with our friends and brought it over their house, we really enjoyed it and it was a great snack for a movie night. I paired this cheese ball dip with flip sides pretzel crackers, let me tell you about this snack… It completes me. It is literally half side pretzel and half side cracker, baked into one and it sounds weird, even looks interesting, but it tastes AMAZING!!! This “pracker” as I call them, totally brings out the flavors of this cheese ball and goes so perfectly with it. I just recently discovered them and wanted to share them with the world, you must try them yourself, you just have to! After all crackers, pretzels, pita chips, potato chips and everything else is so yesterday. If you really want to impress your taste buds, this snack will do it! Okay, enough said, just take a look at these ingredients and you will understand. 😉

Bacon and Chive Cheese Ball {Serves 4-6}

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Cream Cheese (8oz) *Softened about an hour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1 heaping teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch (Spice) Bacon and Chive flavored *Pictured Below
  • 1 teaspoon Real Bacon Bits (+ 1 teaspoon to top/decorate the cheese ball)
  • 1-2 pressed Garlic Cloves, depending on your love of garlic (I like 1 clove)
  • Crackers or Snack or your choice. I used Town House Pretzel Crackers *Pictured Below*
  • Optional: Almonds or walnuts (I did NOT use any nuts)

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Directions:

1) Cut the cream cheese into about 1 inch squares (I cut 4 vertical lines from top to bottom, and 1 horizontal line, to make perfect cubes) and put it into a large bowl.

2) Add the dill, McCormick bacon and chive spice, bacon bits, and pressed garlic to the bowl with the cream cheese and press down with a fork, making the cream cheese soft then mix very well with a spoon.

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3) Put a piece of aluminum foil on the counter top. Using a spoon put the cream cheese mixture on the foil and using your hands, form the cream cheese mixture into a ball. You just kind of roll it with your hands, molding it until it becomes a perfect round cheese ball.

4) Carefully pick it up using your hands, and neatly place it into a little bowl that you want to serve it in. Then sprinkle 1 more teaspoon of the bacon bits all around on top of the cheese ball. This makes the cheese ball look extra pretty and gives it even more flavor.

5) Cover the cheese ball with foil and refrigerate until it is ready to serve, otherwise it will get too soft. *Optional: If you wish you can also cut almonds or walnuts into little tiny pieces and top the cheese ball with nuts instead or along with the bacon bits. I did not do that because I like to keep it simple and was not sure if the friends we were visiting had any nut allergies but my friend Boo used nuts to top her cheese ball at the Christmas party and it tasted great, if you are a nut lover definitely try it.*

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Pizza Bagels

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I LOVE SATURDAY MORNINGS! Now those of you that know us, I know what your thinking… “Shouldn’t I love every single morning since both my husband and I work from home?” Lol. Now I do LOVE Sundays, Those are actually my favorite days of the week because we spend all day doing something fun and get to go to Church and hear the word of God. But Sunday mornings are just too busy so there is not much time to make breakfast. So to answer your question, Yes we do have breakfast every single day. But there is something very special about Saturday’s, and each Saturday I try to make an extra special breakfast/brunch (Since we sleep in lol).  Breakfast is the hardest meal to plan for. You want something really fast, easy, and of course delicious! I got the idea for these Pizza Bagels, from the famous frozen food item “Bagel Bites”. My 2 year old Son loves those “Bagel Bites”,  just as much as kids love all the other junk food lol. So on this weeks trip to Costco, my son saw them and asked for some. I was just about to buy them when I decided 1) That pack is way to big for our family! 2) I was concerned with what their made out of and the fact that it had HFCS and other ingredients that I wasn’t very fond of. 3) I don’t really like how they taste and also I think they have way too many calories for just 4 of them (which is 1 Serving). So I had the idea of making my own, and now that it’s Saturday, I finally got around to making them Lol. My husband and son absolutely LOVED them!!! They gobbled them all down to the crumbs! They tasted  AMAZING!!! So much better then the “Bagel Bites” from the store. They were also very fast to make, under 30 Mins with the prep and cook time. And they cost about the same (if not less) then the frozen ones from the store. My husband said (and I quote) that it is now “His favorite breakfast!” so yeah, that says a lot about how good these are! My husband even put some Garlic Sauce that we had left over from Domino’s, on his bagel and that added a nice kick to it, well if you are a buttery garlic sauce fan. I like that I know exactly what I am serving to my family. These could also be a great appetizer for a dinner party or special event, however I would use mini Bagels if I were making it as an appetizer. Enjoy! 🙂

Pizza Bagels { Serves 3}

Ingredients:

  • 3 Plain Bagel Halves
  • 3 Tablespoons Pizza Sauce (I used Trader Joes Pizza Sauce)
  • 15 Small pieces of Pepperoni (5 for each Bagel)
  • 3 Pieces of thinly Sliced Ham
  • 4 Teaspoons Bacon Bits
  • About 3/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese (Mozzarella tastes best)
  • *Optional* Mexican Blend Cheese, to sprinkle on top for extra color

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Directions:

1) Cut the thin slices of ham. I cut mine into thin horizontal strips and then down diagonally, making little thin cubes.

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2) Set a baking tray with Aluminum foil. Put the (Split in halves) Bagels on the tray. Put 1 Tablespoon of pizza sauce on each bagel half and spread it around evenly with a butter knife.

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3) Put 5 pepperoni pieces on each bagel, and cover the hole of the bagel. Then put a little bit of the ham, not all of it, on each bagel half.

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4) Put some cheese on the bagel. Then put the rest of the toppings evenly on top on the bagel. Right after the cheese, I did the rest of the ham first, then the bacon bits on the top.

5) Stick the bagels into the oven on 350 degrees. Bake them for 10 minutes. Then take them out and sprinkle a tiny bit more cheese on top, stick them back in the oven for about 3 more minutes or until the cheese is melted. This is the delicious final result:

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( And of course a close up! ;D )

Note: These are the toppings that I had on hand that particular morning. But you can get creative with it and use whatever toppings you like or have. I am sure these would taste good with a variety of different toppings, Or just cheese!

Guacamole (With baked Pita bread)

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This Guacamole is a perfect appetizer or snack. Everyone loves it and it is so easy and fast to make! You can not buy this delicious Guacamole in the stores, that’s because absolutely none will beat the taste of this home made Guacamole. Plus, it doesn’t have any bad chemicals in it (Like the store bought ones do, to keep them fresh) and It is cheaper to make your own anyways. This recipe was inspired by my sister, Larisa, who one day brought it over our house as a snack when we were grilling by the pool. We ate every last bit of it while we were waiting for the burgers and hot dogs to be done, And even my son who was never a fan of avocados, really enjoyed it. By the way, I thought I should mention that this Guacamole goes perfectly for a cook out! We usually pair it up with baked Pita bread, although it would work with pita chips, tortilla chips, or just on top of bread too. But I highly recommend eating it with fresh, hot out of the oven Pita bread! 🙂

Guacamole {Serves 4-6}

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe Avocados (They have to be a little soft to the touch)
  • 1/2 a Lime, juiced
  • 1 Small Onion, Finely diced
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • 1 Small bunch of fresh Cilantro (About 4 Tablespoons)
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves (More or less, depending on your love of garlic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Bag of Pita bread (Optional but highly recommended!)

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Directions:

1) Peel the avocados. I did this using a peeler and my hands. Then cut the avocados in half. DO NOT throw out the bones from the middle of the avocados, You will need them for later!

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2) Cut the avocado halves into 4, and put it in a big bowl. Put the avocado bones on a separate plate.

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3)Mash the avocados using a fork or potato masher, Until it gets to your desired consistency. Some people like it chunky, some like it smooth. I like mine smooth but not too smooth.

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4) Using a citrus press, juice half of a lime and add the juice to the avocados. Mix it well.

5) Cut the tomatoes into little dice. Finely chop the onion and cilantro. Add it to the bowl.

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6) Using a garlic press, add the garlic cloves. Then add the 1 teaspoon of salt and the 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix well. Then add the 3 avocado bones to the bowl. *The secret of the avocado bones is that the bones will keep the guacamole from turning brown and keep it beautifully green. Its a trick I learned from a friend*  😉

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7) Add the 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil and mix very well. It can be served right away but for best results, refrigerate it for 1 hour.

*The Pita bread I just cut into 6 triangles and stick it in a small conventional oven on 350, for about 5 minutes. They are the perfect companion for this tasty Guacamole! and the whole bag serves 4.*

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And there goes my hubby dipping the baked Pita bread into the Guacamole because waiting  just a few minutes would be way too hard lol 😉