Winter Cobb Salad with Citrus Dijon Vinaigrette

We had the best Thanksgiving ever this year. My sister and her family who live in Arkansas came to visit us in Utah! We have lived in Utah for almost 10 years and have never spent it with my side of the family. My kids don’t have cousins their age here and it was so special for them to have their younger Arkansas cousins here to hang out with. We got almost 2 feet of snow while they were here so we ended up watching LOTS of movies, played in the snow, ate so much good food, laughed a lot, and just enjoyed each other. I miss them already!

Speaking of food, is anyone else craving something healthy after Thanksgiving? I definitely indulged for the holiday and have no regrets but my body has been begging for something light and healthy. I have had this salad on my recipe idea list for a long time and am so glad I finally had the chance to make it. It is loaded with healthy ingredients like pomegranate seeds and oranges. Y’all know I had to add some bacon to it to stay true to myself! Ha! The Citrus Dijon Vinaigrette might be the star of the show though. My son hates fruit on his salad and hates vinaigrettes even more but he tried this and loved it so much. I felt like I scored a touchdown when he approved! We had grilled chicken and roasted veggies on the side and it was so healthy and satisfying. If you’re looking to add some greens to your menu this week, my Winter Cobb Salad is exactly what you need!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of Dec 3-9: Salad greens/lettuce, oranges, bacon, eggs, Dijon, olive oil

Winter Cobb Salad with Citrus Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

5-6 oz salad greens
3-4 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
1 orange, segmented
2-3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup slivered almonds (or chopped pecans)
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons honey
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until well combined and set aside.
Add greens to large bowl or platter. Add bacon, pomegranate, oranges, eggs, feta, and almonds on top. Drizzle vinaigrette on top then toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Note: Add grilled chicken for a complete meal. Additional ingredient options: avocado, cucumber, pears.

Cowboy Crescent Bites

I was recently trying to remember the appetizers that I grew up eating in Texas and thought of sausage balls. Remember those? They are made of just three ingredients: Bisquick mix, cooked sausage, and cheddar cheese. They are pretty good but I thought I could do better. I have to say that my Cowboy Crescent Bites don’t even compare! They are loaded with so much more flavor and are still so very easy!

The combo of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapeno all melted together totally reminds me of queso! If you know me at all you know that queso is my FAVORITE. I have the best recipe for it here.

This recipe makes 32 little cups of deliciousness which is great for holiday family gatherings. The filling could even be made ahead of time then assembled with the crescent rolls when you’re ready to bake. Also, the crescent rolls that come in one big sheet work best but if you can’t find them just pinch the seams together before cutting into squares.

Make these for Thanksgiving and everyone will fall in love (with you AND the food)! You’ll be making them again and again for all your holiday gatherings. I definitely will be! Y’all know that I love simple recipes that are BOLD with flavor. This is my new favorite appetizer and I love that it was inspired by my Texas roots!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Nov 19-Dec 2: crescent rolls, sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese

Cowboy Crescent Bites

  • Servings: Makes 32
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 tubes crescent rolls
½ lb ground pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeno, half of the green onions, and spices.

Roll crescent rolls out, pinch seams together, and cut each sheet into 16 squares. Place squares of dough into mini muffin tins. Place a small spoonful of cheese mixture onto each square.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crescent rolls are golden brown. Remove and garnish with remaining onions.

Filled with ooey gooey cheese and sausage! Yum!

Rosemary Sweet Potato Hash

Here’s another roasted vegetable dish perfect for Thanksgiving! I made my Rosemary Sweet Potato Hash today on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was so fun to share. Everyone at the studio loved it! Watch me make it here.

I have been making this for years! Growing up, I absolutely hated sweet potatoes or yams. The only time I ever had them was at Thanksgiving and my mom (who was usually a great cook) used canned yams and covered them in marshmallows. Yuck! About 7 years ago I was really into Crossfit and of course started the paleo diet too (that didn’t last long-ha). I was looking to add variety to my diet and decided to give sweet potatoes another chance. I came up with this hash and fell in love! How can you not love them when they are roasted with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and loads of fresh rosemary???

This hash goes perfectly with grilled chicken, fish, and even with a fried egg. I make it year-round but it is such a great addition to Thanksgiving. I made it last year instead of Sweet Potato Casserole and didn’t miss the super sweet traditional side at all! I’d honestly rather save my calories for dessert or a cheesy appetizer. If you add this to your holiday table, make sure to comment here and let me know what you think or tag me on social media!

Rosemary Sweet Potato Hash

  • Servings: 8+
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup pre-cooked crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Toss all ingredients together on a sheet pan and spread to single layer. Bake for 20-25 min or until potatoes are tender (stir halfway through cooking).
I love cooking with host Nicea DeGering!

Crispy Parmesan Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Garlic Aioli

It’s brussel sprout season! Who’s cheering with me?? If you aren’t cheering with me just give me a minute to tell you that these aren’t your mama’s brussel sprouts. These could easily turn a hater into a lover! Crispy parmsan and panko crusted brussel sprouts with an amazing aioli loaded with roasted garlic. Yum!

I’ve loved brussel sprouts since I was a kid believe it or not. My mom prepared them terribly though! She’d boil them to death then drown them in butter and salt. I ate them as a kid but never knew just how incredible brussel sprouts could taste until I roasted them. My favorite pieces are the super dark almost burnt ones!

You could serve these as is roasted with the crispy coating and they are so good but the aioli takes them to the next level. Maybe a few levels! Also, roasting garlic is so simple! You just need a 400 degree oven, whole heads of garlic, a sharp knife, olive oil, and a piece of tin foil. I make it all the time and add it to mashed potatoes!

This is all you need to make roasted garlic!

My Crispy Parmesan Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Garlic Aioli would be the perfect addition to your holiday table! It could be a appetizer or a side dish. I love traditional sides but every year I throw in something new for variety. You’re going to love this one!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of September 12-18: brussel sprouts, olive oil, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, butter

Crispy Parmesan Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Garlic Aioli

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

1 ½ lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
For the aioli:
2 whole heads garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon
Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off ends of garlic heads and place on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up and seal into a packet. Place in oven to roast for 45-60 minutes. It’s done when garlic is brown and soft. Set aside to cool.
Place brussel sprouts in a large bowl then drizzle with olive oil and melted butter. Add salt, pepper, parmesan and panko. Toss to combine.
Pour onto a large baking sheet and spread out to single layer. Place in oven and roast for 15-25 minutes or until browned and tender.
While brussel sprouts are roasting, make the aioli. Remove garlic cloves by either squeezing or using a small knife to pry out. Place on flat surface and mash using the tines of a fork.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Dijon, and cayenne. Add garlic then stir to combine.

When brussel sprouts are done, serve immediately with the roasted garlic aioli as a dipping sauce or drizzle.
Note: Fresh grated good quality parmesan cheese works best.

Spinach Artichoke Baked Pasta

As the days grow colder, I am craving comfort foods and my Spinach Artichoke Baked Pasta definitely hits the spot. Think spinach artichoke dip and baked pasta combined-so good! All the yummy cheese makes it indulgent for sure but the addition of lemon juice and zest brightens it up and balances everything so well. This totally tastes fancy like you’ve made so much effort but it is not hard to make at all. I love meals like this! Minimal effort but BIG taste!

This is my go-to meal when I want to make my family a meatless meal. However, if you wanted to make it heartier and stretch it further, you could definitely add chicken. Rotisserie would be perfect! This dish also makes a great freezer meal! If you have 4 or less people to feed, you could easily split this into two casserole dishes and freeze one. You might notice that red onions are pictured but they were all I had when I needed to take pictures. Yellow onions are definitely preferred! Food blogger probs-ha!

This is one of those dinners that you’ll keep coming back to and will become a family favorite!

This is a sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of November 5-11: cream cheese, Parmesan, frozen spinach, artichokes, mozzarella, olive oil, pasta

Spinach Artichoke Baked Pasta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

16 oz short pasta (mini shells, orecchiette, penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened (room temp)
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
10 oz frozen spinach (thawed, excess water squeezed out)
14 oz can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 ½ cups mozzarella, shredded and divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water before draining. Prepare 3-quart casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray.

Heat a skillet to medium and add oil and onions. Cook until onions are translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and cook for one minute.

In a large bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, ¾ cup Parmesan, ¾ cup mozzarella, lemon juice and zest, spinach, artichokes, onions, and garlic.

Add pasta, reserved pasta water, salt and pepper then stir to combine well.
Add pasta mixture to prepared pan. Top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella.

Cook uncovered for 10-15 or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Sweet Bacon Chili

This post is going to make a lot of people very happy. Why? Because this chili has been winning church cook-offs for 7 years and I’m FINALLY getting it on the blog! Seriously, half of the congregation at my church is ticked when I bring it because they want their chili to win and the other half would be super ticked if I didn’t bring it! Ha! I also made it for one of my cooking demonstrations at the Utah State Fair last month and promised everyone that I’d get it on the blog soon. Sorry it took so long!

This chili is also the “recipe that started it all” with my TV cooking. Three years ago this month I happened to be watching Good Things Utah when they announced a chili contest that they were doing. I thought, “My chili is awesome and always wins the church cook-off, why not?” I submitted my recipe and 2 weeks later got a call from the producer telling me that I was a finalist. I thought, “What in the world have I gotten myself into???” I had never cooked on TV or done any kind of public cooking demonstration. I was so nervous but as soon as I walked in to the television studio, my nerves melted away and I felt so excited. I rocked my demonstration and it felt like I was fulfilling a dream that I didn’t even know was possible. It was amazing!

Cooking on TV is a dream that was DEEP in my heart for years. Being able to do it regularly now is so awesome and I’m so grateful that I get to do it! Having this opportunity has lead to so many other things and I’m having the BEST time. I feel like I’m finally becoming the person that I was meant to be and honestly fulfilling my destiny (as cheesy as that sounds).

Ok, back to the chili! Crispy bacon. That’s a major thing that sets this apart. And I know what you’re thinking, “You’re a Texan and you put beans in your chili???” Ha! Yes I certainly do! That’s why I say my recipes have a ‘Texas twist” because they’re not all perfectly authentic. I really like the texture that the beans add to it. This is such a simple chili but the technique makes it AMAZING. You crisp the bacon first then cook the onions, jalapeno, and garlic in the bacon drippings. It adds so much flavor! The rest is pretty simple! My Sweet Bacon Chili will be your new “go to” chili recipe and if you take it to any chili cook-offs, expect to win! (Just give me the credit! Ha!) Here’s a really important tip too…ALWAYS double this recipe! Trust me.
(Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s October 15-21: ground beef (organic), bacon, onions, chili beans, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce

Sweet Bacon Chili

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 can mild chili beans (15 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can stewed tomatoes, *chopped (15 oz)
2/3 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain bacon grease from pan leaving about 1 TB. Add onion and jalapeño then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess grease from pan.

Add all remaining ingredients including bacon. Stir together then let simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Taste and add more cayenne and salt if needed. Just a pinch at a time.

**Note: Use kitchen scissors to “chop” stewed tomatoes while they’re still in the can.