Street Corn Layer Dip

It’s not a party without 7 Layer Dip. Am I right? It’s one of my favorite things to take to a party and is such a crowd pleaser. When I was asked to do the Halloween segment for ABC4’s Good Things Utah, I wanted to create something that could be made year-round but could also work for the holiday. The idea for this dip had been on my recipe list for a while and I thought this was a great opportunity to finally make it. Y’all know I couldn’t just make normal 7 Layer Dip! I had to put my own spin on it and the thing that was missing to me was corn. Then I thought of the flavors of street corn…lime, Tajin seasoning, queso fresco cheese…and the layers started to form. The GTU crew devoured it! Watch me make it here.

Look at those layers!

The cilantro lime corn layer is my favorite! The sour cream layer has a generous amount of Tajin seasoning and is so tangy and delicious. You can generally find Tajin in the Mexican food isle at your grocery store. This recipe makes a lot and can also be made in a 9×13 pan.

Now that New Year’s Eve is a few days away, I had to get this on my blog! A little late! Ha! For NYE, we always do a variety of appetizers. This year we are having a party for our local friends that will also double as a deployment farewell for my husband. My Street Corn Layer Dip is on the list to make for the party and I hope that it ends up at your parties as well! Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for supporting me and making my recipes!

Street Corn Layer Dip

Ingredients

2 cans (15 Oz each) refried black beans
1 packet taco seasoning
16 oz prepared guacamole
16 oz sour cream
3 teaspoons Tajin seasoning
16 oz salsa
32 oz frozen corn, thawed
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz package Queso fresco, crumbled
8 oz can sliced black olives, drained

Directions

In a medium-sized bowl, mix beans and taco seasoning until well combined. Spread in bottom of 9×13 pan or similar sized serving dish. Top with prepared guacamole.

Add Tajin directly to container of sour cream then mix well. Spread of top of guacamole. Pour and spread salsa on top for next layer.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine corn, cilantro, juice of 2 limes, and salt. Mix well then carefully spread on top of salsa layer.

Top with queso fresco then add olives to garnish. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving.

Note: As this sits, it does get “wet” because of the salsa. It still tastes great but if you want to avoid that, replace the salsa with pico de gallo or fresh chopped tomatoes.

Guests, host, and crew digging in on Halloween!

Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

I put a poll on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago asking my followers what kind of recipes they were looking for right now. The options were main dish, dessert, side dish, and appetizer. Side dish was the unanimous winner! That is one thing I’m always looking to change up too so I was happy that I got to make this Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole that reminds me so much of Texas.

Growing up in East Texas, this is one of those dishes that you’d find at every potluck and on every holiday table. Year round! Us Texans really like to put cheese on just about every savory food you can think of and broccoli is no exception. The broccoli rice I grew up with was full of processed cheese and sometimes canned cream soup. It was good but I definitely wanted to freshen things up with my version.

The homemade creamy cheese sauce is perfection! It’s very easy to make and isn’t that much harder than opening a can of cream soup. You mix fresh broccoli florets and cooked rice into the cheese sauce then top with a crunchy breadcrumb mixture. My kids who usually choke down broccoli absolutely loved this! My daughter said this is the only way she will eat broccoli from now on. Ha!

My Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole is such a great holiday side dish because it will go with any main dish like ham, prime rib, or turkey. Serve with chicken any time of the year for a complete meal too. I hope you enjoy another little piece of my Texas heart with this easy, delicious side dish!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Dec 17-26: rice, butter, flour, sharp cheddar, white cheddar

Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

6 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut small
2 cups cooked rice
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup gruyere or white cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11×7 (or similar sized) baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Make topping by combining 2 tablespoons melted butter, panko and parmesan in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Add ¾ cup of cheddar and ¾ cup of gruyere then stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add broccoli and cooked rice to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.

Transfer to baking pan and sprinkle remaining cheddar and gruyere cheese to the top. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover tightly with non-stick aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over the casserole. Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until brown.

Notes:
1. Make sure broccoli is cut into small bite-sized pieces so that it cooks through.
2. If needed, turn on broiler after 10 minutes to get topping browner.

Churro Toffee Cookies

Introducing…your new favorite cookie! My Churro Toffee Cookies might be my proudest creation yet. My husband described them as “snickerdoodles on steroids!” Haha! Let me tell you how I thought of these…

Back in October my family and I went to Disneyland and beforehand I, of course, made a list of all the foods and treats that I wanted to eat. One thing that kept popping up on all the Disney food related accounts that I follow was “churro toffee.” It looked like something I’d normally pass up but if that many people were obsessed with it, I thought it was worth a try. Oh my goodness I fell in love! It’s basically a large square of perfectly crunchy English toffee, dipped in white chocolate, then generously coated in cinnamon sugar. I didn’t even get a great picture because it’s not that photogenic but here’s one I found online in stock images:

I’m so glad that I tried the Churro Toffee! On the way home from our trip I could NOT stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to totally recreate it but wanted to make a dessert inspired by the flavors. These cookies have been in my head for 2 months and I’m so happy that I finally got them in my belly! They are the softest snickerdoodle type cookie with Heath chips added in. The toffee chips melt and are so soft! Then white chocolate is drizzled over the top with extra toffee chips for that crunch needed to taste exactly like a cookie version of Disneyland Churro Toffee. Y’all HAVE to make these cookies for the holidays!

These are the plain toffee chips you need. Not the kind with chocolate.

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of December 10-16: flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, Heath toffee chips, white chocolate chips. All ingredients!

Churro Toffee Cookies

  • Servings: Makes Approx. 4 Dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 oz bag plain Heath toffee chips, divided (bits o’ brickle)

For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
1 ½-2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
Remaining toffee chips from bag (about ½ cup)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make the coating by combining sugar and cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl or plate. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients in small amounts. Scrape sides as needed. Add toffee chips and mix until just combined.

Scoop out spoonfuls of cookies and roll them into balls then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat completely. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes. Cookie should be very light brown around edges when done. Allow to cool on sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Once cookies have completely cooled, drizzle with melted white chocolate and sprinkle toffee chips on top.

Notes:
1. Cookies will bake even better on a silicone mat that is placed on the sheet tray. Use one if you can!
2. If kept in an airtight container, they will last for up to a week. They remain soft for days!

One more close-up of these beauties…

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!