Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts


Skinny Poolside Dip aka COLLEGE GAMEDAY Dip!

If you're a UTE fan, you're in heaven right about now. Winning our Pac 12 season opener for the first time EVER and hosting ESPN's COLLEGE GAME DAY  here in our own backyard for the first time since 2010 calls for a celebration!  This Skinny Poolside Dip is tasty, fresh, simple and perfect for the game tomorrow.

You know how the word "skinny" always catches a woman's eye!?!  And the words:  skinny, pool and dip all together in one recipe name? That was all it took to grab my attention. When I saw this recipe for Skinny Poolside Dip on Pinterest,  I immediately thought of all the times I had packed my pool bag with Red Vines, Cheetos and Diet Coke.

One look at this recipe and I knew it was a keeper. I must admit, I have a gift.  It's a small gift, insignificant to most, but very helpful if you're a food blogger. I can usually look at a recipe and tell you if it's going to be worth trying. This dip? One look and I knew it would be good.  I made a couple of modifications (I know, you're shocked) to make it my own and more appealing to our family.

I'm not sure why this dip is called Skinny Dip? The first recipe I looked at was made with Neufchatel otherwise known as low fat cream cheese. Ok, makes sense. That would qualify as Skinny Dip (kind of). But the recipes using regular cream cheese? Well, the word "Skinny" should probably not be attached to that recipe ;)

I loved the ease of this recipe. Start to finish, this recipe takes about 10 minutes, if you are grilling corn. Otherwise,  if using frozen corn, it's close to 5 minutes total.
It's absolutely delicious and a dip that most will love.
Oh, I almost forgot.. GO UTES!!!

Poolside Skinny Dip
modified from Buns In My Oven

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (regular, low fat or Neufachatel)
2 red bell peppers, cored and diced
3 large ears fresh corn, cooked or 2 cups frozen corn
1 cup sweet onion or red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing or
pepper to taste

In a large bowl, fold cream cheese, red peppers, corn, onion,  jalapeno, and ranch dressing mix together. Season with ground pepper.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or cut up vegetables.

-The dip will set up and be difficult to scoop right out of the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes prior to serving.
-If fresh corm is not available, use one can of corn or 2 cps frozen corn, do not thaw before using.
-If grilling corn, husk corn. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Butter the corn if desired, not necessary). Wrap tightly in a piece of foil. Place on grill and cook over med high heat for about 10 minutes.

If you're looking for more appetizers,  here are a few of our  favorites...

Cowboy Salsa Everyone loves this salsa!

Buffalo Wing Dip The ultimate guy dip...

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus nice if you're trying to eat healthy!


Fresh Peach and Coconut Cream Cake

Our Labor Day weekend started with a stop at one of my favorite breakfast spots, Left Fork Grill in SLC, a drive to our cabin for football watching, hiking, fishing, a little archery practice, swinging on the swings and of course a bit of cooking before returning home on Monday.

When at the cabin, I try to simplify and make things that we can enjoy with little time in the kitchen. I baked up this Fresh Peach and Coconut Cream Cake to celebrate the end of summer and highlight one of my favorite fruits.  This recipe is a one bowl, mix, pour and bake dessert. Really simple, fresh and delicious. If you've got  peaches sitting on your counter, this is one dessert you have to try.
Happy Baking!

Fresh Peach and Coconut Cream Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla or 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups peaches, peeled and chopped (about 2 small peaches)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut sweetened, flaked (optional)

additional peaches for topping cake (3-4 more)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, peaches and lemon juice, beat until the peaches are broken up into small pieces, about 1-2 minutes on high. Add the buttermilk, flour, baking soda and salt. Continue beating for an additional two minutes, fold in coconut.
Generously grease a 9x13 pan or two 9 inch round cake pans or pie plates. Bake on middle rack of oven, about 30-35 minutes for 9 x 13, about 20-25 minutes for round cake pans or pie plates.
Remove and let cool.
Whip cream until stiff, add powdered sugar, whip until blended well.
Peel, pit and slice additional peaches. Slice cake and top with peach slices, top with whipped cream.
Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar or coconut.

-I baked this at a high altitude (about 6,700 ft) and used 1 cup buttermilk and 2 1/4 cups flour. Baked at 375 for 30 minutes in a 9x13 pan.


Favorite Summer Pasta Dinner

You know those nights when you just cant bring yourself to cook, but the thought of eating drive thru makes your stomach turn?? This is my simple solution. It's called Favorite Summer Pasta (and anything you have in the fridge) Dinner.

Here's the deal. Look in your fridge or freezer. Pull out any type of vegetable. It can be broccoli, carrots, peppers, spinach, green beans, asparagus. You'll need about 2 cups. Then some protein. Chicken goes well in this dish. Or you can use just about anything you have. I'd probably pass on Spam, but almost anything else goes. Shrimp, turkey, bratwurst, leftover steak, pork, even ground meat. Or if you're not a meat lover, you can simply add more veggies. Tofu (a firm texture) folded into this would be wonderful too!

I used Harmons brand of pasta, which I highly recommend. It has a comparable quality to that of pasta made in Italy. Trust me on this, I've carried home bags full of dried pasta from Italy on past trips. Once I realized for about the same price I could purchase the imported items here, I filled my carry-on with other items.

Get yourself a pot and grow a few fresh herbs.
Joy in a pot. 
If you have access to fresh tomatoes, use them! If you don't have any fresh tomatoes, use boxed or canned. And the fresh herbs? If you don't already have an herb pot, vow to grow one next summer.
In the amount of time it takes you to run to In and Out you can make this at home!
You're going to love it.

Favorite Summer Pasta
A Bountiful Kitchen

1/2 lb Harmons pasta, any shape will do, I used Casarecce pictured above
2-14 oz or one 26.46 oz carton Pomi brand chopped tomatoes,
or about 28-30 oz chopped fresh tomatoes in their own juice
2 cloves fresh garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil
2-3 tablespoons each fresh chopped oregano, rosemary, thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cream (optional)
2 cups chopped fresh vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peppers, etc
2 cups chicken (or other meat), chopped into bite size pieces and cooked
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, additional for topping pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, drain and set aside.
Pour the chopped tomatoes in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat. Add garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper and sugar. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced a bit.
Meanwhile, chop vegetables and place on plate and microwave for about 2 minutes, covered or until the veggies are barely cooked and bright in color. Toss into sauce and add chicken as well.
Add cream and cheese and cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Toss sauce with cooked pasta. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese on top.
Serves about 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

-This recipe is easy to double. Simply double the sauce and cook the entire package of pasta. Doubled, it will serve 8.
-It is best to use fresh vegetables and fresh herbs in this recipe. Although, the Pomi brand (purchased at Harmons) chopped tomatoes work very well in place of fresh tomatoes. if using fresh tomatoes, make sure to use a variety that will yield a lot of juice. I do not recommend using fresh Roma's in this recipe, they don't typically yield enough juice.
-I found the Harmons brand pasta needed a bit more cooking than the package directions. I cooked the pasta for about 10-11 minutes total for a perfect al dente texture. Make sure to test this in your kitchen. Depending on size of pot, how much water and pasta are in the pot, how hard the water is boiling will all be factors in how quickly pasta cooks. Do not over cook!


Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Father's Day is always a grilling holiday at our house. We cook up meat and make a few salads and a yummy dessert and Dad is a happy camper (mom too)! I pinned this Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette from the Cafe Sucre Farine on my Salad and Veggies Board a few months ago. It's definitely going to be in our regular salad rotation this summer!
The Sweet White Balsamic Dressing and crunchy sweet nuts are the perfect topping for the creamy avocado and greens. I could eat this salad every single day.

Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Found on Pinterest - from Cafe Sucre Farine

for dressing:
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup vegetable oil
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

for salad:
12-16 ounces baby spinach, arugula, field greens
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems
2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup Candied Spiced Almond
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

For the salad, place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about ¼ cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with the extra dressing.

Spiced Almonds
5 cups sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* – some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don’t like “hot”, just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt

1. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.

2. Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.

3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.

4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool.


Vintage White Cheddar Dip

I took a trip with my girls to Oregon for a few days in August. We ate our way through Portland, then headed to the coast. Here's a little look into our five- food packed, beach loving days in the great state of Oregon! At  the end, I'll show you how to I made this really simple cheese dip filled with cheeses, corn, red pepper and jalapeno and the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar I brought home from our Tillamook Cheese Factory tour...

First stop, berry picking by the side of the road.

Multnomah Falls. Right outside the city. Worth the 30 minute drive.  

A trip to Portland isn't complete without breakfast at THE Original, Original Pancake House.
Sit at the community table, chat with locals, highly recommended. 

Cannon Beach, OR. Haystack Rock. Serious beauty. 

More serious beauty, love these two. 

Time to get serious.

Hydrangeas the size of your HEAD.

Walks on the beach. 

Once at the coast, we headed to Tillamook to tour the factory. We were met by Leeanne,  our lovely tour guide. She led us through the factory, explaining every detail about the cheese making process. Leeanne is an expert on everything Tillamook!

Guess how many pounds of cheese are stored at the Tillamook facility at any given time? 
Did you guess 50 Million lbs?  You're right! 

Watching all of that cheese being made will make you HUNGRY. 
It's hard work touring the factory. 

Enter our friend, Leeanne with CHEESE SAMPLES! 
The next half hour was spent receiving an education on several types of cheeses,
 made under the same roof. 

We tried Squeaky cheese (usually yellow, but this was a special vintage batch). 
The second was a Medium Cheddar. More trivia- It takes 20 lbs of milk to make one 2 lb baby loaf of Medium Cheddar Cheese. Leeanne guided us through about 12 different types of cheese including: Smoked Extra Sharp, Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, Swiss and Squeaky. My favorite was the Vintage Extra Sharp  White Cheddar. 

After our cheese tasting, we had lunch. We tried the grilled cheese, of course. And the house made tomato soup. Who can eat grilled cheese without tomato soup? I ordered the Tillamook Mac and Cheese. Creamy, smooth, melty. So good. Made with five cheeses. If you tour the factory in the morning hours, they serve breakfast too. Lots of omelets with CHEESE on the menu.

After lunch, we ventured over to the ice cream counter, where we tried a variety of Tillamook ice cream. This is the 5 scoop sampler bowl. Because we just couldn't decide. So yummy.

Tillamook tour = happy kids.

Stop by next time you're in Tillamook, OR. 
The  self guided tour is free and the ice cream and lunch are reasonably priced. 
And who doesn't want a pic in the baby loaf with their girls?

All of that eating can make you tired. It was a good afternoon for a nap on the beach...

After the nap, a walk through downtown Cannon Beach. Brooke and Corrine making convo with a furry friend. 

More Bananagrams. This time at a restaurant, while waiting for what? More food, of course.
Corriney is determined to win this round. 

The Inn at Cannon Beach was so quaint. Bunnies roaming the property. 

Highly recommend this place. 

We loved out time at the coast. No matter the time of year, the Oregon coast has to be one of the most unspoiled and beautiful beach areas in the world.
After our tour at the factory, Leeanne gave us a round of my favorite, the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. The flavor is pungent and the round is a little crumbly when cut. I wanted to create a recipe that featured the flavor of the cheese, and I think my Vintage White Cheddar Dip does just that!
This dip is perfect for spreading on crackers or dipping a tortilla or corn chip. It would even be perfect with celery sticks. I added some fresh corn and red peppers to break up the rich creamy texture of the dish.  We served it at a gathering and it was gone in minutes. It's perfect for anything from a holiday party to a tailgating event. Thanks Tillamook!

Me and my cheese.

Vintage White Cheddar Dip
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup sour cream, regular or low fat
16 oz cream cheese regular or low fat (not no-fat) at room temperature
1 cup Tillamook Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen, not thawed*
1/2 -1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded if you do not like spicy foods)
1 red pepper, seeded, chopped and divided (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, (leaving some of the cilantro and red pepper to sprinkle on top after baking).
Spoon into a  lightly greased dish for baking. I used a 10 inch round tart dish.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on top third of oven or until bubbly and slightly golden.
Serve immediately.
Serves about 10-12 as an appetizer.

- If using fresh corn, cook the corn and then cut the corn off of the cob before using. Measure out 1 1/2  cups of corn for the recipe.
-You may make this ahead and bake when ready to use. Remove from refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before baking.  and set on counter. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
-You may add chopped peppers, tomatoes that have been seeded, onions (chopped fine), green chilies,  and/or other types of grated cheese.
-If you cannot find Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar, you may use other brands of cheese.  This would also be great with an Extra Sharp (yellow) Cheddar cheese. I would stay with a "sharp" variety of cheese. It will cut the richness of the cream cheese and sour cream combination and add a depth of flavor.