Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.  

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

I don’t know about you, but thinking up side dishes is one of my least favorite things ever.

Another one of my least favorite things?  Being in the kitchen preparing food while everyone else is visiting around the grill, drinking ice-beverages on the patio, and watching the kids play on the slip and slide.

So yeah, pasta salads are one of my favorite, easy, make-ahead dishes for summer entertaining.  I can throw it together in the morning {which gives the flavors time to meld anyway}, hand the meat and the bread to the Tall Boy for grilling, and my work is done. ;-)

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

What I love even more about pasta salads is that you can load ‘em up with whatever veggies float your boat.  Since I went with a sort of Tex-Mex theme with this version, I used loads of bell peppers, corn, red onion, and cilantro.  I realized after I shot this that I forgot to add in the black beans, and I totally recommend that you do that.

Along with some sour cream, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and spices, I added in some Lowry’s Baja Chipotle Marinade to make a quick and easy dressing {NOT sponsored, I just really like using their quick marinades}.  You can find Lowry’s in your grocery store next to the salad dressings.

#sogood

I crumbled some Queso Fresco {Mexican crumbling cheese, found in the refrigerator case–I get mine at Wal-Mart} on top just before serving, but cubed cheddar would work just fine here, too.

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

Since grilling season is just around the corner, I’m looking for new side dish recipes to try.  What are your favorites?

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces small pasta
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Baja Chipotle Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used half green pepper and half red pepper)
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • optional: queso fresco cheese, for topping

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, combine the sour cream, Greek yogurt, marinade, lime juice and spices in small bowl.
  2. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Place pasta in a large bowl and add the bell pepper, corn, black beans, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add the sour cream/yogurt mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Keep covered in the refrigerated until serving. Just before serving, top with crumbled cheese.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/creamy-cilantro-lime-pasta-salad/

XO, Ashley

 

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Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it’s the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it's the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

I’ll be honest: I hate thinking up side dishes for our weeknight meals. Quite honestly, it’s chore enough to come up with a main course that everyone in my family will eat {without complaining}. Thinking up a side-dish in addition sometimes pushes my stress level right to the edge. So I often fall back on our old standbys: couscous or rice.

I’ve always been a minute-rice in a bag kind of gal {or long cooking rice on the stovetop if I’m feeling particularly domestic}, so when Zojirushi contacted me to test out their rice cookers it peaked my interest a bit. Many of you may already use rice cookers for your rice, but I’d never used one – and quick frankly, didn’t get what all the hubub was about.

I get it now.

Seriously, you guys…why did no one tell me about the awesomeness of rice cookers before? The Tall Boy rolled his eyes at having yet another kitchen appliance, but this one is well worth the storage space it uses. All I have to do is dump in my rice, fill the container up to the water line indicated inside the pan, and press “Start.” I don’t have to keep my eye on the pan or worry about overcooking anything when I get side-tracked watching reruns of “Castle” during dinner prep.

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it's the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

For this recipe, I used Jasmine Rice and the White Rice setting – in approximately 55 minutes, I had perfectly cooked, super fluffy rice. I added a bit of butter, since that’s basically the only way the Tall Boy will eat rice:

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it's the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

Then added a can of crushed pineapple {juice and all} and the juice of half of a lime:

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it's the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

I like to add in some chopped cilantro as well, although it’s optional {Doodle refuses to eat anything green, so I usually just sprinkle some on mine when serving}. It was so easy and so simple, I’m wondering why I haven’t been using rice cookers before now.

And guess what? Zojirushi is offering one of you the chance to win a rice cooker as well! Just enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the post.

You can find out more about Zojirushi here:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

With only four ingredients and the push of a button, this Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice comes together in a flash. Plus, it's the perfect side-dish for spring and summer meals!

Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice

serves 4

Pineapple-Lime Jasmine Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 2 cups water (if not using rice cooker)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • juice of half a lime
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Fill water to fill line in your rice cooker; add rice and set programmer for white rice. If cooking on stove top, cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water for 12 to 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. When rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in butter, crushed pineapple and lime juice. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/pineapple-lime-jasmine-rice/

So tell me, do you use rice cookers? What’s your favorite way to use it? I need some fun new ideas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Zojirushi. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs

These Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs are the perfect addition to your game day menu.  With just a few simple ingredients needed to make the sauce, you’ll be set for entertaining!

These Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs are the perfect addition to your game day menu.  With just a few simple ingredients needed to make the sauce, you'll be set for entertaining!

I’m a huge football fanatic.  NCAA football is my favorite, but I do enjoy NFL games as well – especially this year, when the Chiefs had a winning season!  And even if you’re not a fan of the games, just about everyone loves football food. :-)

Superbowl is the ultimate day for the consumption of finger foods, and meatballs are one of our favorites.  I love making meatballs from scratch, but when it comes to game day entertaining, I want quick and easy.  For this appetizer, I used frozen meatballs, but feel free to substitute your favorite homemade meatball if you’d rather.

Me?  I’ll be throwing these in the slow cooker and getting down to game-watching!

These Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs are the perfect addition to your game day menu.  With just a few simple ingredients needed to make the sauce, you'll be set for entertaining!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs

Slow Cooker Buffalo Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 (1-pound) bags frozen meatballs (about 40 meatballs)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Buffalo hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken broth, Buffalo hot sauce, and ketchup in the bowl of your slow cooker.
  2. Add your frozen meatballs into your slow cooker, and mix the sauce around so each meatball is coated.
  3. Turn the slow cooker on to high, and leave it on high for about an hour, stirring a couple times.
  4. Once it appears that the meatballs have somewhat thawed, turn your slow cooker down to low, and allow to warm for an hour longer, or until warm throughout.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/slow-cooker-buffalo-meatballs/

XO, Ashley

 

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How to Bake the Perfect Potato

Thank you to Weight Watchers for getting my new year started off right. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Today we’re going to talk about how to bake the perfect potato. While it does require a bit of a time commitment, this method simply has no rival.  Also: the biggest secret to a fluffy potato is opening it wide when it’s hot, rather than allowing the steam to be trapped inside.

How to Bake the Perfect Potato: get crispy skin and a fluffy inside with this easy method!  #SimpleStart

Last week I told you about my new healthier eating plan with the new Simple Start program, and I just have to tell you: I’m loving it!  The Simple Start is really just that: simple.  It includes two weeks of healthy recipes that helps get you off to a great start, and while there is some planning involved on your part, the app makes it so easy.  All you have to do is select your meals and snacks like I show you below, make your list, and get eating!

I have to be honest, snacking is one of my biggest downfalls when I’m trying to maintain a healthy diet.  While I love, love, LOVE fruit, it’s extra hard for me to reach for an apple or banana in the winter when I’m already freezing.  So I was thrilled to see that stuffed baked potatoes were on the Simple Start plan for a snack.  Even better, these potatoes are stuffed with salsa and fat-free sour cream, and we all know how I feel about those flavors! ;-)

While we’re here, let’s talk about how to bake the perfect potato.  I’ll be honest: there were times in my younger days when I called my mom for tips on how to get the perfect oven baked potato.  You know – crispy skin on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside.  So I figured maybe there were others out there searching for those same tricks.

How to Bake the Perfect Potato: get crispy skin and a fluffy inside with this easy method!  #SimpleStart

Quite honestly, there aren’t too many “tricks” involved. Really, all you need is a bit of time, and the best part is that most of that time is hands-off! With a potato this good, I have no trouble staying on track with this eating plan. Not only that, but I’ve easily adapted this snack to a main course, by topping it with a bit of steamed broccoli and serving it alongside Baked Tilapia.

What’s your favorite potato topping?

How to Bake the Perfect Potato

How to Bake the Perfect Potato

Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to the center position.
  2. Wash and scrub potatoes, and then lightly brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, if desired. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 1/4 hours.
  3. When potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and pierce them with a fork several times to form an "X" pattern in the center of the potato. Press the potato on the ends to push the filling up and out.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/how-to-bake-the-perfect-potato/

XO, Ashley

 

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Learn to Make a Classic Béchamel Sauce

So you guys. I have a confession.

Growing up, I hated cooking. I wanted nothing to do with being in the kitchen and was pretty much as uninterested in food as a person could get. I realize now I missed out on gathering a lot of great knowledge from my grandmother, who was basically the best cook ever {grandmas are like that, right?}.  So yeah, I was pretty stoked when I discovered Craftsy.

bechamel-sauce

But now that I have a family of my own, the bonding time spent talking and laughing around the dinner table is one of the best parts of my day. Obviously, my cooking knowledge basically comes from trial and error, and not from any formal training. And so I decided to look into some cooking classes here in my town…to build a solid culinary foundation by learning some of the basics and how to manipulate those to make them my own.

And you know what I discovered? Those classes? They’re kind of expensive. Not only that, but they’re a fair distance from my house, they conflict with Doodle’s karate schedule, and I’m left wondering how I’m going to fit that in with the rest of my life. I mean, my “me” time is basically 9:30 pm and later…and last I checked, it’s pretty difficult to find a cooking class that starts at 10 pm.

Well, until now.

I recently discovered Craftsy, which is basically an online classroom that offers crafting classes, taught by world renowned instructors.  Seriously, I just took A Modern Take on the Mother Sauces taught by James Peterson, who has 15 cookbooks and won the James Beard Award 7 times.  Not only that, but I took it at 10 pm in my pajamas.

photo

Awesome, right??

Not only can you enjoy the classes entirely on your own schedule, but they are available to you anytime you want for as long as you want!  With each course, you’ll get several hours of HD-quality video content.  Plus, you’re able to ask your instructor questions, upload photos, and get personalized responses, and participate in discussions with your classmates.

Believe me when I tell you these classes are worth checking out.  I’ve already signed up for one on pizza making, bread baking, and Italian sauces.  I’m going to be a carb-eating machine.

I tried to compensate by roasting some cauliflower, but then I used my new-fangled culinary skills to turn it into cauliflower gratin, and well…the cream and cheese kind of cancelled out all of the veggies.  But it was worth it. ;-)

cauliflower-gratin

Here’s just a sample list of the types of cooking and baking courses offered by Craftsy:

Perfecting the Pie Crust
Artisan Bread Making
Sweet & Savory Food Gifts
Decadent Chocolate Cakes
Secrets of Slow Cooking: Mastering the Braise
A Modern Take on the Mother Sauces
Homestyle Pan Sauces
Roasting Techniques Every Cook Should Know
…and many more!

I know there is at least one topic on that list that inspires you!  Click here to check out the Craftsy courses (and save up to 25%!).  They make great holiday gifts for all of your foodie or inspiring-foodie friends.

Take your holiday traditions to a whole new level with Craftsy’s holiday gifting and cooking courses. Craftsy is also offering my readers up to 25% off a full-length Craftsy course! Whether you’re a pie perfectionist or gift-giving guru, Craftsy has something for you. Learn more about Craftsy and how to turn your ideas into reality!

Click here to get your special discount on this course!

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Craftsy. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

XO, Ashley

 

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The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

This Ultimate Green Bean Casserole is a fresh spin on the classic, using fresh mushrooms and cream to replace the traditionally used canned condensed soup.  Believe me, this version is worth a bit of extra work!

This Ultimate Green Bean Casserole is a fresh spin on the classic, using fresh mushrooms and cream to replace the traditionally used canned condensed soup. #recipes #thanksgiving #side dishes

If your family is like mine, green bean casserole is standard fare on the Thanksgiving table {our group usually demolishes two 9×13 casserole dishes in a matter of minutes}…but it’s also one of those dishes that isn’t given much thought. Pop open a few cans of green beans, stir in some cream of mushroom soup, a bit of milk, dump on some fried onions, and you’re done.

Even though we scarf it down like it’s going out of style, green bean casserole has never been anything “special” in my family.

Until now.

In this version, you’ll use fresh green beans.  You’ll cook those for just a few minutes in boiling water, drain them, then quickly plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking.  This process is called blanching.  Blanching vegetables will have the added effect of making them more brightly colored, and preserve some of their crispness.

Mushy green beans = thumbs-down.

This Ultimate Green Bean Casserole is a fresh spin on the classic, using fresh mushrooms and cream to replace the traditionally used canned condensed soup. #recipes #thanksgiving #side dishes

Next, you’ll skip that can of condensed mushroom soup!  You’re going to make your own version of a mushroom white sauce.  It’s super easy, and takes only about 10 to 15 minutes.  Again, a few minutes longer than opening a can, but it’s sooooo much better!  All you have to do is combine a bit of butter, fresh mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper in a dutch oven and cook for about 5 minutes.

Then, add a tablespoon of flour and cook for one minute – add in chicken broth and cream and simmer until the mixture is thickened.  Stir in your green beans and then arrange that yummy goodness into your baking dish.

This Ultimate Green Bean Casserole is a fresh spin on the classic, using fresh mushrooms and cream to replace the traditionally used canned condensed soup. #recipes #thanksgiving #side dishes

I don’t know about you, but I love those french fried onions in a can!  But to give your casserole that extra punch, combine the store-bought variety with some freshly made buttered bread crumbs.  Believe me, you’ll never go back to your old version again!

Let’s talk: What are your family’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes?

The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

approximately 10-12 servings, one 9x13 casserole

The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • 4 slices hearty bread, torn into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 ounces (about 3 cups) canned fried onions
  • For the beans and sauce:
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

    For the topping:
  1. Combine the bread pieces, softened butter, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until crumbles are coarse. Toss with canned fried onions in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. For the beans and sauce:
  3. Preheat oven to 425 and adjust rack to middle position. Fill a large pot with ice water and set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  4. Boil about 4 quarts of water in a dutch oven. Add beans and 2 tablespoons salt. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender. Drain the beans into a colander, and then quickly plunge the colander into the ice water to stop the cooking. Spread the beans onto the lined baking sheets to drain.
  5. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add butter, garlic, 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the mushrooms release their moisture and then liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add in the broth and simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until liquid thickens and reduced to about 3 1/2 cups, or for about 12 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. Stir in green beans, and then pour bean mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish. Spring with topping and bake at 425 until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
  8. If you want to make this ahead, mix up your bread-crumb topping and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Combine with onions just before baking. You may make the bean and sauce mixture and refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours. To serve, heat casserole in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add topping and bake as directed above.

from Cook's Illustrated

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/the-ultimate-green-bean-casserole/

XO, Ashley

 

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Simple Cranberry Sauce

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

Don’t get me wrong: my family loves the canned cranberry sauce.  You know the kind I’m talking about, right?  The jelled kind that jiggles out in a big lump and shows the rimming of the can on the ends?  Growing up, my cousin and I practically ate the entire can of this stuff ourselves–and we still devour one between the two of us every year.

But this simple homemade version?  Might be Is my new favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  Well, at least it will be until I post my updated green bean casserole recipe {stay tuned; it’s phenomenal!}…I’m fickle that way.

I’m not usually one for tart dishes, but a pinch of salt in the simmering liquid brought out the sweetness of the berries, and heightened the overall flavor in this simple sauce.  I also added in some orange zest, because orange and cranberries just seem a natural combination to me, but the zest is purely optional.

If you have frozen berries you’d like to use – you don’t need to defrost them ahead of time.  Just add about 2 minutes of simmering time and you’re good to go!

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

This simple cranberry sauce took about 10 minutes total to make – and it will stay good in the refrigerator for up to one week.  So do yourself a favor and make sure you save this easy side dish a spot on your Thanksgiving table!

Simple Cranberry Sauce

makes 2 1/2 cups

Simple Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries, washed and picked through
  • zest of 2 oranges, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water, zest and salt to a boil. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and return to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened and about two-thirds of the berries have popped open. For me, this was about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Transfer sauce to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

from Cook's Illustrated

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/simple-cranberry-sauce/

XO, Ashley

 

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White Queso Guacamole Dip

Hi guys!  I’m on day three of summer vacation with the Tall Boy and Doodle.  We definitely needed some time away, and I have to admit, it’s been really nice to disconnect for awhile – no Facebook, no Twitter, no social media of any kind…

I’ve sort of forgotten how easy-going and stress-free things could be without my phone or e-mail lighting up constantly with some new notification…although, I’m a little nervous to check my inbox when I get home…

In the meantime, Meghan is here today to share an awesome recipe with you.  Meghan blogs over at The Tasty Fork, and she’s kind of like my blogging soul-mate.  First: she loves dip recipes just about as much as I do.  Second: she loves to grill.  And third: she makes a mean taco.  Need I say more? ;-)

So, without further ado…here’s Meghan!

 

White Queso Guacamole has everything I love in a dip! Melty cheese, check! Creamy guacamole, check! Spicy pico de gallo, check! All of that scooped on to a chip and I’m a happy camper. This queso dip recipe is one of my favorites and it’s made all the time during football season.

White Queso Guacamole Dip #ultimatetailgating party. Guest post from The Tasty Fork

I’m Meghan and I blog over at The Tasty Fork. Ashley asked me to guest post for her while she’s having a fun family vacation and I instantly knew what I needed to share on Kitchen Meets Girl. Ashley & I have been blogging buddies for awhile and we both have same love for Mexican food. Especially spicy Mexican food! The first Ashley recipe I ever made was her Jalapeno Popper Turkey Chili. AMAZING!!!

White Queso Guacamole Dip. Perfect game day food from The Tasty Fork. #ultimatetailgatingparty

Another thing Ashley & I have in common is we both love game day food! Can you believe football season is just a month away??!! Tailgating food is one of my favorite recipe categories. We usually have friends over every weekend to watch football, so I have pressure to create delicious food for all of our guests. White Queso Guacamole Dip was created by accident. I had all three elements of the dip on my plate. The cheese was spreading all over my plate, so I was scooping everything onto tortilla chips. It wasn’t until I was done eating that I realized what my next queso dip recipe had to be. (It was one of those light bulb moments!)

Get ready for game day recipes!! White Queso Guacamole Dip. From The Tasty Fork #ultimatetailgatingparty

White Queso Gaucamole Dip is very easy to make. First, make a guacamole. I like my avocados mashed with tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Next you’ll make the white cheddar cheese sauce. It’s your basic cheese sauce but I like to add in jalapenos for some heat. The final step is chopping up tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro for the pico de gallo.

White Queso Guacamole Dip. Guest post from The Tasty Fork. #ultimatetailgatingparty

This queso dip recipe is layered. Guacamole is the bottom layer, ladle the cheese sauce over the guac, then top if off with the pico de gallo. I like to serve this dip in individual bowls. That way I don’t have to share with anyone. :)

Game day food! White Queso Guacamole Dip. #ultimatetailgatingparty

If you’re a fan of queso dip and guacamole, you must try this recipe!! It’s perfect snack for game day since everyone loves spicy cheese sauce and guacamole. If you’re like me and love game day recipes, be sure to check out a series I’m hosting over at Southern Mom Cooks. The Ultimate Tailgating Party is all about tailgating recipes and giveaways. You can see my new tailgating recipes every Sunday. Starting August 4th, I’ll be hosting my first tailgating giveaway from Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I hope you’ll come by and check it out!

The Ultimate Tailgating Party on Southern Mom Cooks #ultimatetailgatingparty

White Queso Guacamole Dip

For the Guacamole:

* 2 avocados

* 1 tomato, diced

* 2 garlic cloves, minced

* 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

* 1 lime, juiced

For the Queso Sauce

* 2 Tbsp Yellow Onion

* 1 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil

* 1 Tbsp Flour

* 1 Cup Milk

* 1/2 Pound of Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

* 1-2 Tbsp Diced Jalapeno

* Salt, to taste

For the Pico De Gallo

* 2 tomatoes, diced

*1 small onion, diced

* 1 jalapeno, diced (ribs and seeds removed)

* 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

* 1 lime, juiced

* Your favorite tortilla chips

Directions:

1. Mash avocados in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir into the avocados. Set aside.

2. Queso Recipe – Saute onions in the canola or vegetable oil in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes. Then add the flour and stir. Add the milk slowly while continuously stirring. When the sauce thickens, remove saucepan from heat. Start adding the shredded cheese and stir until well combined. Add the diced jalapeno and salt to taste.

3. For the pico de gallo – In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir.

4. To make dip – Guacamole is the bottom layer. Next is the white cheddar queso. Then top with pico de gallo. Eat with tortilla chips.

meghan

 

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketgoogle+

Thanks so much for stepping in for me today, Meghan. And you’d better believe I’ll be making this white queso guacamole dip for my next game watching party (football season starts in just a month!!). Make sure you stop by Meghan’s blog and say hello. Happy Wednesday, friends!

XO, Ashley

 

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Sweet ‘n Tangy BBQ Smokies

Maybe we’re just boring around my house, but entertaining foods here almost always include little BBQ smokies.

Make your own sweet 'n tangy BBQ sauce for little smokies or meatballs - using apple butter!  Use the remaining sauce for grilling or adding into ground beef for kicked up sloppy joes! #applebutterrecipes #BBQ #entertaining

That might also be because I live with a 5-year old, but it is what it is. Fortunately, you can at least purchase turkey smokies now, so I don’t feel quite so guilty snacking on them.

This sweet ‘n tangy BBQ version is so fun and easy.  Guess what the main ingredient is?

Musselman’s Apple Butter.

Maybe you already knew that you could use apple butter in BBQ sauce, but I’d never tried it.  Quite honestly, I’ve really only ever used apple butter to smear on toast and biscuits.  This has sort of opened up a whole new world for me.

Historically, I’ve thought of apple butter as a fall flavor…but not any more!  You can use this BBQ sauce to brush on your chicken or pork during the last few minutes of grilling.  Stir it into cooked ground beef for BBQ sloppy joes, or heat with little smokies or meatballs for a quick appetizer.  You can even add it in with your baked beans for a kicked-up flavor.

Sweet n’ Tangy BBQ Smokies

Sweet n’ Tangy BBQ Smokies

Ingredients

  • 1 package little smokies
  • 1 cup Musselman's Apple Butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using. You may keep covered and refrigerated for a couple of weeks.
  2. To make smokies, place smokies in a small crock pot and cover with sauce, to taste. You won't need all of the sauce, so use the rest for basting while grilling, or add it to cooked ground beef for kicked-up sloppy joes.

recipe from Musselman's

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/sweet-n-tangy-bbq-smokies/

I’m keeping apple butter on hand this summer for an easy way to jazz up my grilling and entertaining dishes.  And good news – Musselman’s wants to give one of you an Apple Butter gift pack, too.

Musselmans-apple-butter_imageGrill

All you need to do to enter is leave me a blog comment letting me know what your favorite summer grilling item is.

You may earn additional entries by following the prompts on the Rafflecopter form below. Sometimes Rafflecopter gets bogged down, so be patient if it takes a second to load.

Good luck, and happy grilling!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

XO, Ashley

Musselman’s Apple Butter provided me with apple butter in order to facilitate my post. However, all opinions are 100% my own. You can read my advertising and disclosure policy here.

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Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

So I know this isn’t a picture of a cookie or a brownie or some other totally awesome baked-good that you want to face plant.

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas on www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - a quick, easy, and healthy appetizer for snacking or entertaining!  #recipes #hummus #dips

But when it comes to snacking around my house, I’m all in, all the time. Dips are the bomb.

What this really means: I’ve eaten too much jalapeño popper dip and hot-Mexican style spinach dip lately, and my jeans are starting to revolt.  Fortunately for me, chickpeas (legumes) are high in fiber and are recommended by many public health organizations as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health (source).

We do often eat hummus as a healthy snack, and we do often make our own homemade version as an alternative to the grocery store variety.  And as much as I love hummus, I’ve never thought to serve it warm.

You guys.  This stuff was amazing.

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas on www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - a quick, easy, and healthy appetizer for snacking or entertaining!  #recipes #hummus #dips

Plus, it’s filled with other lots of healthy stuff, including tomatoes, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, and lemon juice, so it practically cancels out the fact that you ate an entire loaf of crusty bread along with it.

Oops?

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.5) ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • crusty bread or pita chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the chickpeas and chicken stock in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add tomatoes. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chopped chickpea mixture, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm (or at warm temperature) with crusty bread or pita chips.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/tuscan-mashed-chickpeas/

XO, Ashley

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