Pretzel Bites with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce – The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to the August reveal for Group C for The Secret Recipe Club. If you don’t know about the SRC, you’re missing out! Every month, all the participating bloggers are assigned another blog and we need to select one recipe to make from our assignment. Then we all reveal our recipe and assigned blog on a Monday. It’s always fun to look through the links to see who had your blog.

This month, I received Ashley’s blog, Rainstorms and Love Notes. She shares recipes, writes about love and life and binge watching TV, her three cats and love for the Steelers (Go Eagles!). I went through all the recipes and found a great recipe for pretzel bites with a jalapeno cheese sauce. I loved the short cut in using canned French bread to make the pretzel bites. I’ve made pretzels from scratch before and it’s time-consuming. The sauce was really good and had the perfect amount of heat with the jalapeno. My daughter loved it too!

Pretzel Bites with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce - SRC | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 can French loaf bread
2 Tbsp butter
Salt for sprinkling

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the can and slice in half lengthwise. Cut each strip into small pieces and roll into small balls.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop 10 pieces of dough into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the boiled dough with a slotted spoon and transfer to a piece of parchment paper to cool. Continue until all pieces of dough are boiled. Place on a foil covered baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

While the pretzels are baking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and milk and whisk until smooth. Add in the jalapeno and garlic. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken. Once thick, remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and cayenne pepper.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on the baked pretzel bites. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Enjoy!

Check out all the other recipes in this week’s group by clicking the link below!

It’s All Greek to Me Anniversary Blog Tour – Featuring Dakos

IAGTM Anniversary Tour Banner

I’m excited to once again participate in a blog tour featuring Debbie Matenopoulos’ cookbook It’s All Greek to Me. It was another opportunity to pick an authentic recipe and I chose Dakos, otherwise known as Greek Brushetta. This salad is served on top of hard bread, not slices like I’ve had before. It’s simple and so delicious. Even my daughter had a couple of slices of bread. I can’t wait to make it again this summer when my garden is bursting with tomatoes. It’s best to use very ripe tomatoes, you want the juices to soak into the crusty bread.

If you’re a regular reader, you might remember the zucchini fritters I made during the first blog tour.

Greek Bruschetta | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 large barley rusk, about 7 inches or so in diameter (I used a sourdough round loaf)
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound brine-packed Greek feta, crumbled small
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Lightly brush the flat top of the rusk with some of the olive oil. Mound the diced tomatoes on top
and season them with nearly all of the salt and pepper, reserving about 1/8 teaspoon of each. Layer the feta on top of the tomatoes and evenly sprinkle the dill, oregano, and remaining salt and pepper on top of the cheese. Finally, drizzle olive oil to taste over the top and serve family style.

Debbie’s Tip: Can’t find a barley rusk? No problem! Simply buy a large round loaf of crusty, bakery-fresh bread and slice it in half horizontally. If serving on a plate instead of in a bowl, cut a thin slice off the top half so that it will sit flat on the plate without tipping over. Brush the cut side of the top half with olive oil. Set the bottom half aside for another use. Toast on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until very crispy and golden, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. To make the bread extra crispy, turn on the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes and crack the oven door slightly. Again, watch carefully because your bread can go from golden to charcoal in 10 seconds flat.

I’m rounding out the tour, but be sure to go back and visit all the other blogs that participated in tour to see many more amazing recipes!

IAGTM Anniversary Tour Schedule

Almond Crusted Chicken Bites – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s time for my reveal for this month’s Secret Recipe Club! This month, I was assigned Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking. I was Sid’s assignment a couple months ago (she made my recipe for crispy edamame) and was impressed with how many dinner parties she throws! I would love to drop in for one of her tapas nights! I was inspired by tapas and chose her recipe for Almond Chicken Fingers. I cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces instead of strips, and made them more kid-friendly. Both my kids gobbled them up…after dipping them in honey-mustard.

I have to apologize for my picture..darn daylight savings time!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. 
In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, bread crumbs, paprika, and salt. Dip the chicken pieces into the melted butter and then coat with the dry mixture. Place on the rack and continue until all pieces have been coated. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

I’m sad the summer growing season is coming to an end with a bumper crop of peppers. My peppers didn’t do great all summer, but now that it’s cooler and I’ve pulled out the tomato plants out of the garden, my peppers are doing phenomenal! I picked about two dozen jalapenos, a dozen green peppers and 6 poblano peppers the other day. I’ve been in the mood for stuffed jalapenos and had all the ingredients in the fridge along with half a package of bacon. Another perfect opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen!

These stuffed jalapenos are amazing! The gooey cheese in the center with the smokey bacon and the spicy pepper…there’s really no way for me to describe how good they are, you just need to make them! I baked half the batch as an appetizer for my husband and I to snack on while I was making the rest of our dinner. The other half were frozen and will be made in the very near future. These are going to be my go-to recipe to bring to parties!

12 jalapenos, sliced in half, ribs and seeds removed
8 ozs cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
12 slices of bacon, cut in half
24 toothpicks
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top. Set aside. 
In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic and smoked paprika using a hand mixer. Spoon the filling into the halved jalapenos and wrap with half a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on the wire rack. Continue this process until all the jalapenos are filled and wrapped. 
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the bacon is crispy. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Try not to burn the inside of your mouth with hot cheese!

Grilled Corn Dip Quesadilla

I found this amazing roadside farm stand last summer and they had the best corn on the cob that I’ve had in a long time. The corn kernels are small, juicy, and we’ve been enjoying corn from them again this summer. I’m actually going to be picking up another 1/2 dozen for dinner tonight after I’m done with this post. I have been wanting to grill corn and bought a couple extra ears that last time, just so I could make this recipe.

The dip is so easy to make and it made enough to take to a party…plus leftovers! One of the recommendations to use this dip was to use it as a filling for a quesadilla. Let me tell you…it was AMAZING!!! Melty, gooey and the crunch of the tortilla…PERFECT! I know I’ll be making this recipe again and again!

4 ears of corn, shucked and grilled 
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
4 scallions, sliced
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 oz queso fresco
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lime
couple dashes of hot sauce
After the grilled corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and set aside. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream and scallions. Beat the mixture with a handheld mixer until everything is combined. Stir in the three cheeses and mix until well combined. Add in the spices, lemon juice and hot sauce. Mix in the grilled corn and then transfer to a smaller bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours for the flavors to combine. 
You can stop right here and eat the dip with tortilla chips, or you can slather into between two whole wheat
tortillas. Place the quesadilla on a warm skillet and cook until the tortilla is browned and the dip is warm and melting. 
Source: The Pioneer Women Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Mini Pretzel Dogs – The Secret Recipe Club

I always love when it’s reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club! It’s so fun to go through all the other recipes and find out who had you. This month, my assignment was Rebekah of Family, Food and Fun. I was Rebekah’s assignment in February! I looked through so many of Rebekah’s recipes and had a hard time selecting one…it’s that always the problem with SRC!? I finally settled on a recipe for mini pretzel dogs!

I haven’t made pretzels in so long, so I knew it was able time. This was a great recipe to make for dinner, plus I had leftovers and they’re great to heat up for an after-school snack for Madeline. I knew these would be time consuming to make and with our crazy schedule lately, I knew I would have to make these on the weekend. The pretzels were the perfect texture and were even better dipped in spicy brown mustard..YUM!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
8 hot dogs, cut in half
In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the packet of yeast on tops of the water and allow to feed for 5 minutes. You’ll begin to smell the yeast and see a foam starting to form. Once the yeast is frothy, add the flour, salt and melted butter. Knead using a dough hook on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly coat the bowl with oil. Add the dough back into the oiled bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover with plastic wrap to rise in a warm place. 
When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper will oil to keep the pretzels from sticking, Place the oven racks in the center and top third and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl and set aside. 
In a large stock pot, combine 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup baking soda and bring to a boil. As the water comes to a boil, remove the dough from the bowl onto on a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece of dough until its a foot long. Wrap the dough around the hot dog and seal the ends.  
Once the salted water is boiling, gently place the pretzel dogs into the water. Boil for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the boiled pretzels with the beaten egg and then season with salt, pepper or other spices. 
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes and serve warm. 

Edamame Basil Hummus

I had all intentions of getting this post up earlier but the hard drive on my computer crashed while I was downloading photos of this recipe. NO!!!!! Not what I need right now! I had designed these really cute we’ve moved post cards to announce our new address and they’re gone. Now we need to figure out whether we’re going to replace the hard drive or the entire thing.

Onto the hummus, it’s my new favorite variety. It’s so good and tastes fresh! Ross loved it and I had to take the container away so he didn’t eat all of it. I’m so glad I did, otherwise there would be no photo with this post. I’d love the addition of the hummus and the basil really brings it up a notch. Delicious!

2 cups shelled edamame
2/3 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the edamame, chickpeas, garlic, basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Once pureed, stream in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and blended well. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour it into a serving bowl and top with extra edamame, chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with chips and veggies.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Quinoa Pizza Bites

I’m on the search for lunch ideas that Madeline will be able to take for lunch this school year. Last year, she was only in half-day kindergarten so I could send in regular lunches to daycare for them to heat up. Next year, she’ll be eating lunch at school and she’s not a huge fan of sandwiches, so I’m going to need to get creative!

We all loved these and I know I can swap out the pepperoni for veggies and they’ll be perfect for Cooper too. I can’t wait to make them again but need to stock up on quinoa since I used the last of it on this recipe. They would also be great for a party too!

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 eggs
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup chopped turkey pepperoni
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Scoop about 1 heaping tablespoon into each tin and press down slightly to compact the mixture. Continue filling until the pan is full.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and then remove from the tin and place on a serving dish. Serve with a bowl of warmed pizza sauce for dipping and enjoy!

Source: So Very Blessed

Strawberry Mango Salsa – #TheSaladBar

I joined another monthly blog group – it’s all about salads! Each month the members get an assignment and the only restriction is that it needs to be a salad. It’s a great way to incorporate more vegetables and fruits in our diet. This month’s theme is BERRIES. Perfect timing since strawberries are just starting to come into season.

I love incorporating fruit into salad, something my husband isn’t too fond up but I’ll convert him soon. Fruit salsa is such a treat and there’s so many varieties – sweet, spicy…really anything you want. I decided on this strawberry mango salsa. It’s a sweet and spicy with the addition of red onion. We enjoyed it both with blue corn chips and also as a topping to grilled chicken.

3/4 cup strawberries, finely diced
3/4 cup mangos, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
6 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

 Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Source: McConkie Menu

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Baked Brown Sugar and Apple Brie

I love brie. I think it’s one of those cheese that I indulge in whenever I get the chance. I bought a round when it was on sale a couple weeks ago and it’s been sitting in my fridge waiting to be used. I finally decided on making a brown sugar apple baked version. I also have puffed pastry just waiting to be used, so it was the perfect combination!

My husband and I both loved it and I enjoyed the combination of the apples, brown sugar, melted brie and the crust. MMM…so good!

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
1 apple, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 wheel of brie
1 egg
1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll the puff pastry and lay the brie down on the pastry and press down slightly to form a circle where the brie was.

Remove the brie and layer the apple slices around and inside the circle. Top with brown sugar and then the brie. Wrap the puff pastry around the mixture and lay seam side down on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush over the top of the puff pastry.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into the brie. Serve with crackers and sliced apples.

Source: Big Bears Wife