99 Flavors of Dip: # 1 5-Minute Blender Salsa

This 5-Minute Blender Salsa is fast, easy, and fresh.  All you need is fresh ingredients, a little salt, and a blender.

5-Minute Blender Salsa prep

The salsa can be served with tortilla chips or used as a topping on tacos, burritos, or whatever else you like.

5-Minute Blender Salsa

This salsa is rather Hot.  If you’d like a less spicy version, remove the jalapeno seeds or use half of a jalapeno.

It tastes even better on the second day, once all the flavors have melded together.

5-Minute Blender Salsa

5-Minute Blender Salsa

  • Servings: 4-6
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Fresh, spicy tomato salsa made in the blender.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 ts salt

Directions

1. Place all of the ingredients except salt into a blender.  Blend on high until all vegetables are pureed to desired consistency (20-30 seconds).  Pour the salsa into a bowl and stir in salt.  Letting the salsa sit will allow the flavors to blend.

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99 Flavors of Ice Cream Sandwiches: # 1 Double Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

This might quite literally be one of the most amazing, delicious desserts I have ever had.  The chewy, sweet cookies combined with the slightly sweet, creamy ice cream is simply divine.  I wish I had an ice cream truck to share these…

The cookies are simple and can be whipped up in just 20 minutes.  I used my Pistachio Pudding Cookies recipe without chilling the dough.

pistachio pudding cookies for ice cream sandwiches

I used Talenti brand pistachio gelato for the inside of my ice cream sandwich.  I love the extra creaminess of gelato.  You can sit the ice cream or gelato outside of the freezer for about a half an hour to make scooping and squishing between the cookies easier.

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Rolling the outside edges of ice cream in slivered almonds adds a little bit of crunch.

Double Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwich

Double Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwich

Sink your teeth into this green beauty – the textures and flavor are truly amazing!

Double Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwich

Double Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • Servings: 8-9 sandwiches
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Two chewy pistachio pudding cookies filled with pistachio gelato.

Ingredients

Directions

1. Follow the recipe for Pistachio Pudding Cookies, but do not chill the dough.  After mixing the batter, drop by large tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake in the 375 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Do not roll in powdered sugar.  Let the cookies cool.

2. Take the ice cream or gelato out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving the ice cream sandwiches, if desired (for ease of scooping).  Crush the slivered almonds into smaller pieces onto a small plate.

3. Sandwich a scoop of pistachio ice cream/gelato between two pistachio pudding cookies.  Roll the outside edges of the ice cream in the crushed slivered almonds.

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99 Ways with the Air Fryer: # 1 Cheeseball Mozzarella Bites

The air fryer is great because you can produce food that tender on the inside and crispy on the outside without the fat and calories of deep-frying. One of my favorite things to make in the air fryer is cheese sticks or cheese bites. These Cheeseball Mozzarella Bites are coated in crushed cheeseballs and the perfect size for popping in your mouth.

To make things extra easy, I used cut up pieces of string cheese for the mozzarella. The cheeseballs need to be crushed into fine pieces so that they stick to the flour and egg coated pieces of cheese.

mozzarella cheeseball bites ingredients

When placing food into the air fryer, I give it a quick spritz with cooking spray to make sure the outside coating crisps up well.

cheeseball mozzarella bites in the air fryer

One thing I learned from using the air fryer is that you need to remove the food immediately, especially anything with cheese, otherwise it keeps cooking. The Cheeseball Mozzarella Bites need to be whipped out right away after 3 minutes otherwise you’ll find gooey cheese all over the bottom of your air fryer and empty pieces of crispy coating.

But follow this recipe and remove the bites quickly and you’ve got wonderful pieces of soft cheese with a cheeseball crust.

Air Fryer Cheeseball Mozzarella Bites

Air Fryer Cheeseball Mozzarella Bites

  • Servings: 4
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Soft bites of mozzarella coated in crushed cheeseballs and cooked in the air fryer.

Calories per 4 bite serving = 160

Ingredients

  • 3 pieces of string cheese
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 ts water
  • ¾ cup crushed cheeseballs or cheese puffs (can be done in food processor or in a bag with a rolling pin)
  • ¼ ts salt
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Mix salt with crushed cheeseballs or cheese puffs. Cut each piece of string cheese into 5 pieces. Roll each piece of string cheese in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in cheeseball crumbs. Repeat will all mozzarella pieces.
  2. Refrigerate coated cheese bites for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Place cheese bites in air fryer basket and spray with cooking spray. Set air fryer to “fries” setting or 400 degrees. Set time for 3 minutes. Remove cheese bites immediately after time has ended, otherwise the cheese will start leaking out. Eat quickly while warm and soft, before the cheese becomes firm.

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99 Flavors of Burgers: # 2 Double Smashburger with Secret Sauce

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of the world!

Being a mom is a hard job, so I hope you get treated royally today.  That includes eating whatever you want.  So today I can cheat and eat ground beef in this indulgent Double Smashburger with Secret Sauce.

I’ve come to love smashburgers and prefer them over a traditional thicker patty.  You can use a burger press, a rolling pin, or a spatula to smash your burger patty, which I did for this version.

smashburger

You don’t need to add any seasonings to the meat, just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  It’s important to use fattier meat (80/20) so that the smashburger can cook in it’s own grease (I know, healthy right)?

cooking smashburgers

American cheese is added while the burgers are still in the frying pan, resulting in melty goodness.

smashburgers with American cheese

The secret sauce lends the perfect amount of zing and when layered with two burger patties and American cheese, the result is amazing!

secret burger sauce

Just for good measure, I buttered and toasted the bun.

double smashburger

You know you want to bite into this sloppy burger mess.

Double Smashburger with Secret Sauce

 

Double Smashburger with Secret Sauce

  • Servings: 4
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Thin smashed burger patties layered with American Cheese and a tangy sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs 80/20 ground chuck
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 Tb mayonnaise
  • 2 ts sriracha sauce
  • 2 ts white sugar
  • 2 Tb sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 4 soft potato hamburger buns
  • 8 slices American cheese

Directions

1. To make the secret sauce whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, sriracha, and pickle relish in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth.  Set aside.

2. Place a large skillet on stovetop and turn heat to high.  Separate ground chuck into chunks that are a little less than a quarter of a pound.  You do not need to shape the chunks of meat. Place them directly into the skillet and flatten as much as possible with a large spatula.  Sprinkle the patties with salt and pepper.  When the first side has browned after 2-3 minutes, flip each patty.  Smash them again with the spatula.  Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until juices run clear and burgers are done.

3. Place a slice of American cheese on each burger patty and let sit in the skillet until the cheese has melted.  Butter both the top and bottom of the hamburger buns and toast them slightly.  Place a burger patty on the bottom bun, top with secret sauce, another patty, more sauce, and the top bun.

 

 

99 Flavors of Potatoes: # 1 Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks

My family loves potatoes.  Potatoes adorn our dinner place several times a week, which is why creating 99 flavors of potatoes is a good thing.

These Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks are a little extra work (I made them for a Sunday dinner), but well worth it.  The potatoes are soft and creamy, the cheese is melty, and the butter sauce morphs into browned butter in the oven, resulting in a delicious side dish.

First the potatoes are boiled – no peeling required.  Then the very top and bottom get sliced off of the potatoes to make flat surfaces for stacking.  I made the mistake of cutting my string cheese too tall the first time, resulting in toppling stacks of baby potatoes.  One quarter of an inch is about the right size.

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The butter sauce is quick and easy to make – done in the microwave.  Mmmm…butter…

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A quick roast in the oven and voila! – you’ve got potatoes that are creamy on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, with brown butter and cheese.  What is better than that?

Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks

Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks

Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks

  • Servings: 3-4
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Creamy Yukon gold potatoes, stacked with mozzarella cheese and drizzled with butter sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1 ts dried minced garlic
  • 1 ts dried parsley
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • ¼ ts pepper
  • 1 – 2 pieces string cheese

Directions


1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, but not falling apart, about 15 mins. Let cool for 5 minutes or until potatoes can be handled.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Slice the very top and bottom off of the potatoes so that they are flat, then cut the potatoes in half. Cut string cheese into small, ¼ inch flat pieces (if the string cheese is too thick, your potato stacks will topple over). Sandwich a piece of string cheese between two potato halves and place on the sheet pan. Repeat with all of the potatoes.
4. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Microwave an additional 20 seconds. Drizzle the butter sauce over the potato stacks.
5. Carefully place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven. If the potato tops have slid off, slide them back into place and serve.

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99 Kinds of Stir Fries: # 2 General Tso’s Chicken

Since my Sticky Garlic Chicken is my most popular post so far, I decided to share my version of General Tso’s Chicken.  Unlike the Sticky Garlic Chicken, which has a very balanced flavor, General Tso’s Chicken is spicy.  My version is coated in cornstarch and stir-fried in a small amount of oil, rather then deep-frying, which makes it healthier.  I also use reduced sodium soy sauce and chicken broth.

The smaller you make your pieces of chicken, the crispier and saucier they will be.

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Stir frying involves high heat, which creates the crunch of the coating.  You only need a small amount of oil and about 20 minutes total cooking time.cooked cornstarch coated chicken

I’ve fine tuned the sauce from multiple General Tso’s recipes.

General Tso's Sauce

This recipe is quick, easy, and one of our favorites.

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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Crispy coated pieces of chicken in spicy General Tso's sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 TB oil
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 rice vinegar
  • 1 ts minced garlic
  • 1 Tb cornstarch mixed in ¼ cup water
  • 1 ts red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breast into small bite-size pieces.  Pour cornstarch into a plastic gallon bag. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.
  2. In a bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients: chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and garlic.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  In a separate bowl, stir 1 Tb of cornstarch into ¼ cup cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce, stir,  and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces. Cook on high about 10 mins, stirring and flipping the chicken often, until the coating is browned and crispy.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking another 10 mins until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet.  Turn heat back to high and add the sliced green onions and red pepper flakes.  Cook, while stirring, for about 30 seconds, until green onions are wilted and red pepper flakes are fragrant.  Pour the sauce into the skillet. Cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes, until sauce just begins to thicken.  Add the chicken pieces back into the skillet and stir to coat.  Cook for another 2 minutes or so until sauce has thickened.  Serve with cooked white rice or fried rice.

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